The Instigator
snamd
Pro (for)
Winning
22 Points
The Contender
TombLikeBomb
Con (against)
Losing
20 Points

Israel is justified in attacking Gaza

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/13/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,595 times Debate No: 6498
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (33)
Votes (7)

 

snamd

Pro

Israel is completely justified in attacking Gaza. This is done to protect it's citizens and it's borders. All Hamas needs to do to end the fighting is agree to halt all bombings and halt the smuggling of rockets into Gaza. After a certain amount of time has passed that ensures the rockets and attempts to acquire rockets have stopped Israel will lift any remaining blockade. The fault is squarely on Hamas, and it is only Hamas that can end this fight.
TombLikeBomb

Con

Israel is justified in attacking Gaza, we learn, because "This is done to protect its citizens" and because "All Hamas needs to do to end the fighting is agree to halt all bombings and halt the smuggling of rockets into Gaza" and because after the "certain" but unarticulated "amount of time" it takes Israel to feel sure that "the rockets and attempts to acquire rockets have stopped", Israel will end the illegal blockade. Because Hamas has the ability to effect this, Pro reasons, "only" Hamas "can end this fight". And if that conclusion were logical (incidentally it's absurd), who wouldn't agree with Pro that Hamas, but not Israel, were at fault?

We derive from the above an unusual notion of justice:
a) An act is justified not by its expected consequences, but by its hoped-for consequences.
b) Collective self-defense justifies collective punishment on a disproportionate scale.
c) The party that initiated hostilities should dictate the terms of the cease-fire.
d) One and only one party to a cease-fire should be allowed to re-arm.

Additionally, we derive the following conclusions about Israel:
e) Its professed motives are its actual ones.
f) It wants a cease-fire.
g) It lacks free will.

Counter-argument A:
Clearly an act is justified not by its hoped-for results, but by its expected results. I would not be justified in dropping an anvil on my child's head, hopefully, regardless of whether I hope it will save his life or not. Hopefully, my act would be judged by the fact that dropping an anvil on a child's head is almost certain to have the opposite effect. Perhaps it's this sort of common sense that led the majority of Israelis, when polled just prior to the Israeli offensive, to oppose it. Rocket attacks during the period of the cease-fire prior to the lethal Israeli raid (a 5-month span), after all, were at 2% their previous level. Israelis in the Qassam radius were, after all, speaking positively and hopefully about the relative peace. If Gaza were to continue firing rockets at the pre-raid rate, they would never effectively reach the number that have been fired since, given that Israel expects to have in place technology rendering Qassams impotent by 2010. No wonder Israeli Jews are among those protesting in the streets. No wonder Israeli soldiers are being jailed for refusing to participate. Many Israeli citizens (conscripts, to be exact) are expected to die in the next phase of the assault. In that regard, Israeli soldiers have much more in common with Palestinians (who are likewise barred by Israel the option of leaving Gaza) than with Qassam victims, who have the freedom to evacuate the Qassam radius, just as Palestinians were forced to do 60 years ago. Israel, of course, has no intention of assisting such evacuation, as it would be the definition of "protecting its citizens". But, Qassam rockets having such a low casualty rate, the major threat to the Israeli population is long-term. The massacring and starving of the Gazan population is, as Bush put it, only likely to attract a new generation of "recruitiments" to the "death to Israel" side of the debate.

Counter-argument B:
The self-defense argument becomes even more flimsy when we reflect that Israel, in its effort to "protect its citizens", is killing Gazan and foreign innocents at a rate of 167 per Israeli civilian; that includes the zero Israelis who died in the period of the cease-fire, and the Palestinian total doesn't include non-elderly men, nor does it include the many dying. Additionally, 2,433 Gazan women and children have been wounded in the past 2-3 weeks alone; the total killed and total wounded in the entire 8-year history of Qassam rockets (including, crucially, those fired by groups independent of Hamas) are only small fractions of those figures. How does one justify harming thousands of civilians in order to "protect" a few? If it is difficult for you to remove race from the equation, how about an analogy? If a serial killer were systematically picking off members of my family, would I be justified in dropping atomic bombs on cities where I suspected him of hiding?

Counter-argument C:
The cease-fire was first broken 3 days after it was signed, when Israel still hadn't lived up to the minimum blockade-loosening requirements. 2 days later, Israel killed a leader of Islamic Jihad (and another Palestinian, possibly a civilian). Then Islamic Jihad fired 3 retributive rockets into Israel, predictably resulting in no casualties. Despite Hamas' public denunciation of the attack, and later arrests, Israel intensified the blockade from that point on. Finally, Israel killed 6 Hamas on Gazan soil, after which rocket attacks increased dramatically. We can take Israel's bare speculation (that Hamas allowed the early rocket attacks) on faith, but it's irrelevant to Israel's prior breach of the agreement. Why should Hamas extend the olive branch, when last time they had their arm cut off for it?

Counter-argument D:
In your capacity as impossibly dovish spokesman for Israel, you offer a cease-fire in which Israel is allowed to continue importing offensive weaponry, free of charge, from the US. But Gaza will not be allowed to re-arm. I've got an idea for a cease-fire: we give Gaza control of its own shores, Israel's shores, its own airspace, and Israel's airspace; then later, when Gaza's sure no Apache helicopters are being smuggled in, Gaza ends its blockade against Israel. Pretty crazy, right?

Counter-argument E:
Israel's careless handling of the cease-fire isn't sheer stupidity, of course. First, it's useful to remember that, while Israeli citizens are killed in retribution for Israeli hawkishness, no Israeli prime minister has ever been killed except in retribution for dovishness (Rabin's assassination at the hands of the Israeli far-right). The current Defense Minister is of that unlucky party (Labor), and the current Foreign Minister is defected from the Right and in a coalition with Labor. Both have prime ministerial aspirations and both were (prior to the offensive) losing ground in the polls to the Right's Netanyahu. Additionally, the military (under same Left coalition) was embarrassed in Lebanon in 2006 and is dying to end its losing streak. That most Israelis were opposed to the recent invasion is unimportant to a smart politician: in a race to fill the gap between you and your opponent, it's difficult to lose your base; even if you do, base votes will go to no one (or, in a multi-party system, to a coalition partner), whereas swing votes would have gone to the opposition. And it's particularly difficult for incumbents to lose in this situation. So maybe this Israeli equivalent to the Democratic Party took a page out of LBJ's playbook and put an "unprovoked" attack ("cease-fire" rockets) in perfect proximity to the upcoming election. But Israelis, like Americans during Vietnam, are very sensitive about draftees coming home in body bags. So Israel is undertaking a very cautious siege and will evidently stand at a distance and spray white phosphorus bombs until there's not a single living creature left. What we've seen is nothing: foreign journalists are banned by Israel. Even UN relief workers have gotten the message that they're not welcome. It's tough to take the Israeli government seriously, for example, when the Defense Minister calls the bombing of the UN compound "a mistake", apparently not aware that the Prime Minister is going with "miltants firing from the windows" this time.

Counter-argument F:
The idea that Israel wants a cease-fire of the kind you describe is belied by Israel's denunciation of a UNSC1860, which included all the terms you posit. Israel would rather complete "the objectives of the operation", which evidently include making Gaza unlivable.

Counter-argument G:
If someone puts a gun to your head and tells you to murder, and you do it, our justice system will call you a murderer: the decision is still yours.
Debate Round No. 1
snamd

Pro

Thank you very much for agreeing to this debate.
I would like to go through your counter arguments and examine their cogency.

Counter argument A - rebuttal
You mark a clear line between what you term "hoped for results" and "expected results" and automatically assume that the Gaza offensive can not be expected to produce any positive results for Israel. Clearly there are varying degrees of certitude, and I, as well as many others, clearly believe that the expected results of this offensive is an end to the Qassam attacks similar to calm the Lebanon offensive achieved in the North. If you would like to dispute the degree of certainty in that statement, by all means feel free, however claiming that the Gaza offensive by its definition would achieve nothing, or worse, achieve the opposite, I believe is incorrect. Time will tell who is correct, however i believe that within a week or two we will have a ceasefire agreement in which Hamas agrees to stop launching rockets and international monitors are placed ensuring weapons are not smuggled in. I'd recommend reading Thomas Friedman's most recent op-ed http://www.nytimes.com...
Further points.
a) please explain how you got your figure of 2% the previous level.
b) Currently 8706 rockets have landed in Israel since 2000. And let us state this for the record so we do not belabor this point further. Qassams, while they clearly do cause harm and both physical and mental damage, are mostly symbolic. They indicate a willingness on the part of Hamas and many of the residents of Gaza to indiscriminately attack Israel. It is both the indiscriminate nature of the attacks and the threat of escalation (i.e. if Hamas would obtain more powerful weapons, it is clear that they would try to use them in a similar fashion) that makes the attacks especially grievous. To argue that the Qassams are a nuisance that should just be ignored by Israel, ignores the greater danger to the Israeli population that they represent. A enemy that has sworn Israel's destruction is launching rockets intending to kill civilians and is constantly trying to obtain more powerful and deadlier weapons. Clearly something must be done to prevent this. You may want to argue about a time table that perhaps this should only be done once Hamas clearly obtained larger weapons, but Hamas has shown no desire to live in peace with Israel and the Israeli government decided to act now to prevent a future dangerous situation.
c) Israeli Jews have protested every war Israel has ever fought since the Yom Kippur War. They have done so in much fewer numbers this time than in previous offensives. Israel is a liberal democracy and has always had a wide range of views within its borders.

Counter Argument b - rebuttal
Please see note B above. I would further argue that Hamas uses civilian grounds to launch attacks and that Israel has taken every effort to protect civilians during this conflict. Compare the 2 week numbers of this offensive with the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993 where 1500 militants and civilians were killed and 5000 injured in 1 day of fighting. I would argue that the civilian numbers are therefore somewhat inflated given Hamas realization that their best tactic is large civilian casualties to create greater international pressure on Israel.
Further points
a) Your analogy clearly ignores a large gray area. I believe (perhaps you do not) that Israel goes out of its way to limit collateral damage. If a gang was trying to kill your family would you accept any amount of civilian casualties as part of your attempt to kill that gang? If so, how many.

Counter Argument C
Obviously Israel did not loosen the blockade during the ceasefire since the Qassams had not stopped nor was there ever any intention on the part of Hamas to stop them. You may attempt to argue "but Hamas only fired rockets b/c of the blockade!" But clearly there are different elements. Israel needs the blockade to ensure more rockets (and more powerful rockets) are not obtained. Hamas does not need an end to the blockade to stop firing rockets. Therefore, Israel's position is logical, stop firing rockets and we will ease the blockade, while Hamas' side is not.
Further points
a) No news outlet has reported this "killing of an Islamic Jihad leader" and further no Hamas representative used that attack as a justification for further attacks or any of the events you claim! http://www.telegraph.co.uk...
Why would Hamas not cite these events if they are indeed factual as a justification for further rockets rather than simply using the blockade as an excuse?

Counter Argument D - rebuttal
This is landed that Israel has controlled since 1967. It is giving the land to the Palestinian people. It would like to do so in exchange for peaceful relations. Therefore it is incumbent upon the Palestinian people to show that they will no longer attack Israel convincing Israel that the palestinians no longer seeks its destruction and are willing to live side by side in peace. These are not two equal parties. One is strong and wants to live in peace, one is weak and wants to continue attacks. As the saying goes, if the Palestinians laid down all their weapons there would be a Palestinian state tomorrow. If Israel laid down all of theirs there would be no more Israel.

Counter Argument E - rebuttal
There are no facts or arguments used here. Just the cynical "implication" that the offensive is being launched for political purposes. Further, there are numerous reasons to believe the Israeli army when they state that Hamas has attacked from civilian locations. First there are the videos they make public, and further after each incident, instead of issuing a hasty denial, Israel always initially states the matter is under investigation and only after the facts are obtained states what they believe happened. And in cases where their investigations have found them to have made a mistake, they have stated so. But please keep this type of argument out as there are no substantial facts, just meaningless speculation on your part.

Counter Argument F - rebuttal
Israel needs more than a UNSC resolution stating that Hamas will stop the rockets. It needs guarantees from Hamas that they will stop and explicit methods in place to prevent the further importation of weaponry. Given Hamas leaders outside of Gaza explicit rejection of the Egyptian cease fire proposal, that still seems unlikely. Hopefully the leaders in Gaza will be more willing to compromise and I believe a ceasefire should be agreed upon within a week or two.

Counter Argument G rebuttal
?
TombLikeBomb

Con

a) 2% is the following ratio: the number of rockets fired in the period between the signing of the cease-fire and the November 4 raid, divided by the number fired in the equivalent time period immediately preceding.

b) "If Hamas would obtain more powerful weapons, it is clear that they would try to use them in a similar fashion". Providing Israel continued to break cease-fires, continued to occupy Palestine, continued to annex territory, continued to not recognize the democratically elected Hamas government, and continued to besiege and routinely slaughter the Gazan population, yes. The only caveat to that is to clarify the "similar fashion" part. If Hamas had weapons as powerful as, say, Israel's, I see no reason to believe they wouldn't use them in a similar fashion to Israel--that is, "targeting" with only as much precision as doesn't slow them down. The only exception is that I doubt Hamas would target the UN after they've shared such an experience.

c) 700 such Israeli protesters have been jailed since the "liberal democracy" began its unpopular invasion. Since then, as would be expected from a Left government's new war, the population has rallied around the troops; what I find remarkable is that ANY appreciable number of Jews living in a young (the state, not the demographics) immigrant state founded on a Zionist aspiration for "Greater Israel" would be against a war meant to fulfill just that.

I don't consider the American press a neutral source on this matter, but I can't stop you from reading it exclusively, so I've taken a look. Friedman claims, as evidence that the Lebanon invasion worked, that Northern Israel has been relatively safe. This claim is like Bush noting no new terrorist attacks as evidence that his strategy has worked: casualties of historical infrequency should unsurprisingly fail to occur in such a short period. Friedman distinguishes current policy from the previous relative d�tente that, in Lebanon's case, began with the 2000 withdrawal. Friedman fails to mention that, while Lebanese forces between the 2000 withdrawal and the 2006 war killed 23 TOTAL Israelis, 44 Israeli CIVILIANS (out of a total 165 Israelis) were killed DURING the war. Again in Lebanon's case, the facts fail to justify the Israeli offensive even in terms of Israeli casualties.

"I believe that within a week or two we will have a ceasefire agreement in which Hamas agrees to stop launching rockets and international monitors are placed ensuring weapons are not smuggled in", except that Israel plans a UNILATERAL cease-fire. Thus, the terms of the new cease-fire will be less favorable to Israel than the terms of the one they broke. This is not historically unprecedented, of course. In 1971, Israel was presented with a peace initiative, which it rejected in favor of war. After it had lost the war, Israel signed a peace treaty on less favorable terms. This all seems insane until we consider international law. Much of international law becomes binding only upon cessation of hostilities; therefore, as long as Israel continues hostilities, it's theoretically shielded from the dictates of much of international law, including Palestinian statehood, Palestinian right of return, etc. But don't think Israel will have accomplished nothing through the devastation of Gaza. Israel will indeed have accomplished through destruction what they were unable to accomplish through invasive settlement: the rendering unviable of a Palestinian state.

Yes, Palestine has incentive to inflate the number of civilian casualties; and Israel has incentive to deflate it. The UN, which sees the women and children piling up in hospitals and morgues, tends to corroborate the Palestinian doctors' numbers. But this all a moot point because "If a gang was [sic] trying to kill your family would you accept any amount of civilian casualties as part of your attempt to kill that gang? If so [sic], how many." I answered the first question already in my atomic bomb analogy. As to the second, I might accept 0 or 100 civilian casualties, depending on my mood. But it would only be justifiable, and here I'm a bit more hawkish than international law, to accept a number of civilian casualties not exceeding the expected number of casualties that would result from my not killing the gang. But my personal opinion shouldn't suffice. If peace is to endure, my biased (my family's in danger, and I don't like to think of myself as a civilian-killer) opinion should be subordinate to an appropriate authority. In the case of Israel-Gaza, the appropriate authority is against the offensive.

You say Israel didn't keep up its end of the bargain "since the Qassams had not stopped", but you provide no evidence. In fact, the first Qassams of the cease-fire were launched 2 days after Israel had violated the cease-fire. "Hamas only fired rockets b/c of the blockade!" except that "nor was there ever any intention on the part of Hamas to stop them" suggests that Hamas didn't react to Israel's violation by firing rockets. In fact, if you look at the monthly numbers, you'll realize how absurd it is to suggest that the other factions were proxies for Hamas: Hamas obviously had enough stock to potentially inundate Israel with rockets. Rockets instead followed a retributive pattern: before Israel broke the cease-fire, no rockets; after Israel tightened the blockade, rockets at 2% their normal rate; after Israel began raiding Gaza and killing Hamas, rockets at half their normal rate; after Israel refused Hamas' last attempt at extending the cease-fire (4 days after it had expired), rockets at twice their normal rate. And that's where we are now.

"Hamas does not need an end to the blockade to stop firing rockets." Yes, and Israel doesn't need an end to the rockets to stop the blockade. But Hamas has already signed, and was only the second party to ignore, a cease-fire that required Hamas to stop the rockets first and Israel the blockade second. Israel probably figured Hamas would reject another sham cease-fire, but Hamas called their bluff and a bluff it turned out to be.

"Israel needs the blockade to ensure more rockets (and more powerful rockets) are not obtained." I don't even think the Israeli government has ever made that argument. I've only heard it from Israel apologists who I suspect are consciously being deceptive. In your case, it's more likely you simply don't know what a blockade is. A blockade isn't customs stations; it's the prevention of all cross-border movement of capital, goods, and persons. That means death to a refugee camp like Gaza. First of all, the weapons' smuggling is purported to be coming from the EGYPTIAN side, not the Israeli side. Secondly, the smuggling is purported to be coming from TUNNELS, not border crossings. Thirdly, even if the smuggling was meant to be coming through Israeli border crossings, that would only justify arms checks, not a blockade. Israel's professed reason for the blockade is to "put pressure on Gaza", which, given the timing of its inception, means regime change. But to the extent that Israel is a foreign government, the blockade constitutes an act of aggression; to the extent that Israel is an occupying power, the blockade constitutes a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. It is not enough that Israel claims the blockade is not causing a humanitarian crisis: the appropriate authority, the one on the ground, the UN, says it is.

"No news outlet has reported this "killing of an Islamic Jihad leader"" except these:
www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2008/0624/breaking30.htm
www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/06/24/2284797.htm
www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSL24735034
…Those are the first 3 that popped up on Google. In fact, I doubt you could find a major news source that hasn't reported it.
Debate Round No. 2
snamd

Pro

Your argument boils down to the following points
1) Israel broke the ceasefire, not Hamas, and therefore Hamas was justified in launching the Qassam barrage after the official end of the ceasefire.
2) The damage done to the Palestinians is disproportionate
3) The actions of Israel will further danger their civilians and not protect them
4) Israel is pursuing this course since they seek a "return" to "Greater Israel"

All of these statements are demonstrably false.
1) Sequence of events. On June 24th 2008 Israel killed two members of Islamic Jihad in the West Bank. Islamic Jihad a) rejected the ceasefire explicitly and b) were in the West Bank where the terms of the ceasefire did not apply. This was NOT a violation of the ceasefire. After this raid, mortar shells were fired from Gaza into Israel followed by Qassam rockets. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Afterward Islamic Jihad came forward and claimed responsibility. Even if you believe it wasn't actually Hamas that did the firing, Islamic Jihad is obtaining their rockets from Hamas http://www.haaretz.com... violating the ceasefire. Following this attack Israel tightened the blockade over Gaza. During the next 5 months 20 Qassams and 19 mortars were fired into Israel in violation of the ceasefire. On November 4th Israel spied Hamas attempting to build a tunnel to a location outside of Gaza to be used in order to kidnap Israeli Soldiers in the same manner Gilad Schalit was captured, in violation of the ceasefire. Israel went in to destroy the tunnel. During the operation 1 Hamas member was killed and 4 israeli soldiers were wounded. Afterward Hamas launched mortars at the Israeli base and Israel returned fire to the launch location killing 4 more Hamas members. Hamas then launched 203 Qassam rockets at southern Israel violating the ceasefire. Then after the ceasefire ended Israel did not as you claim "refuse Hamas' last attempt at extending the cease-fire (4 days after it had expired)" but, without any provocation, Hamas launched a torrential downpour of Qassams onto Israel. And let us not forget that the Qassams greatly increased after Israel withdrew from Gaza and the blockade was only put in place after the withdrawl and after the Qassams continued. I.e. there was a point in which there was no blockade, and no Israeli presence in Gaza, yet Hamas still fired Qassams. Hamas has stated that they intend to destroy all of Israel. That is their own words. The blame for the ceasefire violation falls squarely on Hamas. The blame for the current offensive falls squarely on Hamas.

2) In your example of a serial killer attempting to pick off your family you stated that in your attempt to kill this serial killer, the total number of civilian casualties you would allow would need to be less than the total number of people the serial killer intends to kill. There are two points in which we disagree. First is Hamas intent to kill versus their ability to achieve kills, and the second is whether future intent can be a factor. Hamas, in their own words, intends to destroy all of Israel and kill its inhabitants. At its broadest definition since Hamas intends and desires to kill 6 million Israeli citizens, I suppose collateral damage of Palestinians would be set at 6 million minus 1. But even if you want to ignore future intention (which I don't believe you do since I assume there are members of your family still alive) and focus squarely on current intent of Hamas, the number would still be higher. Every Qassam is launched with the intent of killing Israeli civilians. Hamas does not target the numerous military bases within the Qassam's range, but rather ACTIVELY chooses civilian population centers. Let us assume on average a Qassam has the potential to kill 2-3 people. Obviously if a Qassam hit a crowded group or destroyed a home with numerous people in it the numbers would be higher, but 2-3 is a valid hope. Almost 9000 Qassams have been launched all with the intent to kill. Given current capabilities, that would place our new number for Collateral damage at 18,000 to 27,000 minus 1. It is somewhat sickening to think that Israel would have to hold themselves back from attacking Hamas completely b/c they have created early warning systems and force Hamas to fire Qassams hastily with poor targeting. If only Israel told it's residents to not seek shelter and not bother the rocket shooters that Israel could afford more "collateral damage." sick.
In your example of a serial killer, if he currently is using a bow and arrow with limited success at killing your family members, must you wait until he has acquired a sniper gun before you use your full force to stop him? The Qassam danger is real, and Hamas' intent is both shocking and worthy of severe retribution.

3) I believe the ceasefire announcement is a positive step that will hopefully lead to an extended period of quiet which will allow Gaza to prosper without a blockade. And hopefully at that stage Gazans will not let Hamas fire any more rockets out of the understanding that it accomplishes nothing and only brings misery. Gaza is certainly not an unviable state. The settlers there created tremendous greenhouses (which were destroyed by Hamas) which accounted for up to 60% of the produce of certain vegetables grown in all of Israel. It is relatively prosperous (even under a blockade) when compared to other impoverished nations such as Haiti. It receives billions in international aid. Imagine if the tremendous amounts of money used to acquire weaponry had instead been used to build Gaza's economic infrastructure, the idea of an unviable state would be laughable. Only future results will resolve this point in our dispute, but so far I believe things look positive.

4) It seems that in your attempt to understand why Israel would logically attack Gaza or any of the actions you describe "Israel continued to break cease-fires, continued to occupy Palestine, continued to annex territory, et al." you have come to the conclusion that, in reality Israel is seeking to claim "Greater Israel" punishing the Palestinian people no matter the cost. I could tell you that after the 67 war ended Israel immediately offered all land acquired for state recognition, an offer that was declined, or that Israel has allowed total Muslim control over the Temple Mount, Israel's holiest site since then, or that Israel did make peace with Egypt in 79 giving back a huge chunk of valuable land in exchange for simple "recognition" (Israel also wanted Egypt to take Gaza. They declined), or that Israel did begin Oslo with the stated purpose of giving the Palestinians their own state (The first country in History to attempt to grant Palestinians the right of self determination is Israel) in exchange for the outlandish request of "stop bombing us," Or that in 2000 Israel did offer the Palestinians their own State (imagine, this could have been over; there could now be a Palestinian State!), or that Israel did expel its own residents from Gaza ceding not just the towns they lived in but the extremely valuable economic component. At the very least, wouldn't you agree that this does not fit your perception of a country hell bent on acquiring "Greater Israel," but perhaps more like a country that simply wants to live quietly with the knowledge that its neighbors do not want it destroyed? And as for the Palestinians, why does it seem like every major advance made by the Israelis towards a peaceful resolution is met with greater resistance. After Oslo, suicide bombings greatly increased from their previous pace during the first intifada. Israel's offer of Palestinian statehood in 2000 was met with the second intifada. Israel's retreat from Gaza was met by a tremendous increase in the use of Qassam rockets. Is it any surprise that more and more Israelis are turning away from the peace process?
TombLikeBomb

Con

1) If you'll recall, I didn't cite the West Bank killings as violations of the cease-fire. They were carelessly provocative, but not technically violations (Israel had unilaterally refused to include the West Bank in the cease-fire). In fact, the cease-fire had already been broken, 2 days prior, when Israel had not loosened the blockade 30%. The subsequent tightening of the blockade was a tightening from 20% of normal commerce. 20% was, in fact, Israel's explicit intention. They banked on few people reading the text of the cease-fire, and evidently they were successful. As to the rockets, I criticize your use of American (Israel's financier and one of only 6 nations currently voting against http://www.un.org... and its predecessors) press, and you respond with Jewish Israeli (another of the 6) press? But again, I cannot force neutral media upon you; I'll simply point out that "[Israeli] security forces said" and "according to [Israeli] security forces" are as credible in this case as "Hamas said" and "according to Hamas". In the face of such contradictions, we ought look at the facts. First, the article you provide is from 2007 and therefore cannot be in reference to the 2008 truce. Second, Islamic Jihad (PIJ) had been firing rockets since before Hamas was even elected to government. Your favored press never disputed that: it wasn't at the time convenient to make PIJ appear a welfare case. Also uncontroversial is that Iran—a purported source of rockets—favored PIJ. Additionally, the Center for Near East Policy Research credits PIJ with having developed and improved upon their own distinct rocket (the Quds). Also uncontroversial is that Hamas and PIJ have battled each other since Hamas assumed power and, again, that Hamas made relevant arrests during the lull. It is not at all clear, on the other hand, what motive Hamas would have to sign a cease-fire only to break it 5 days later with rocket fire at 2% their previously and subsequently proven capacity. PIJ, as you say, didn't sign the cease-fire, and 2% is entirely consistent with the relative size and strength of Gaza's minor factions. The rockets hit only Sderot, a distance we know Hamas to have been able to exceed. And finally, the Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center reasoned "the objective of the rocket and mortar shell fire is not only to protest so-called Israeli violations of the arrangement but to make Hamas aware of their [PIJ and Fatah's] reservations regarding the lull." Now I ask you: is it reasonable to suppose Hamas would have to make itself aware of anything? The cease-fire forbade neither side from preparing for a resumption of hostilities, and neither side failed to. Thus, it would be irrelevant if Israel's bare speculation—that the tunnels were for offensive purposes—were correct: the tunneling itself is no more an act of aggression than Israel importing and arming tanks and attack helicopters. At any rate, the cease-fire was broken on day 3, making all your talk of "violations" moot. Hamas' charter does call for a single Islamic state, which is no less appropriate than the current single Jewish state. But the relevant fact is the leadership of Hamas has joined the worldwide near-unanimity in advocating a two-state solution, which Israel (specifically the Left) theoretically supports but refuses to join the UN General Assembly in voting for. There is also a right wing in the Knesset, which alternates power with the Left and doesn't even pretend to favor Palestine's right to exist. Given that, Hamas' right wing (that which favors its own version of a single state) is taking a Churchillian approach to a rogue empire. You say there was a period of time before the blockade in which a Hamas-controlled Gaza was firing rockets into Israel, and yet you provide no evidence. In fact, the first of the rockets and mortars fired after Hamas took control occurred June 18th. Whether you believe it (there was only 1) was fired by Hamas or not, you must admit that June 18th is preceded by the beginning of the blockade. I read in the New York Times—a source you evidently approve of—that the blockade was "on the grounds that the Fatah forces had fled". Even what we call "the blockade" was preceded by a slightly less severe blockade that spanned from Hamas' election to their victory over the Israeli-sponsored coup attempt, all of which preceded June 18th. The blockade has succeeded in inciting the remaining Fatah to contribute to the rocket-fire; what else it has accomplished is unclear. Nor was there a time period of the relevant nature (one without Israeli occupation of Gazan shores and airspace). More importantly, the Fourth Geneva Convention makes no exception, neither on the basis of rockets or any other hostilities, to an occupying power's responsibilities to the civilian population, of which a blockade is the opposite.

2) "First is Hamas intent to kill versus their ability to achieve kills, and the second is whether future intent can be a factor." Future intent, if accompanied by not only theoretical ability but also expectation, is certainly a factor. But the idea that Hamas could be expected to kill "6 million Israeli citizens" is absurd. The idea that "on average a Qassam has the potential to kill 2-3 people" is irrelevant. (The average lightening bolt has the "potential" to kill plenty more, but that doesn't mean a lightening rod would be worth massacring civilians. The relevant fact is that the Qassam casualty rate is .4%, prior to the expected Qassam defense system). If there is an American neo-nazi who "intends" to annihilate Israel, and I drop an atomic bomb on his vicinity, I will rightfully be tried on many counts of murder, and rightfully be found guilty. One good reason is that our neo-nazi clearly cannot be EXPECTED to accumulate anywhere near the number of casualties I've DEFINITELY effected. When you say, "If only Israel told it's [sick (only because of the pun)] residents to not seek shelter and not bother the rocket shooters that Israel could afford more "collateral damage." sick." I can't help but wonder if "sick" refers to your own comment. What kind of state would want to increase its own civilian casualties for the sole reason of justifying an increase in another's? Presumably, the objective is to DECREASE civilian deaths, no? Obviously, if Israel were to take your advice, it would not be justified in "preventing" ANY deaths through slaughter that it could prevent more easily by other means. Incidentally, not even the hard-liners within Hamas wish to "kill all Israelis". If you were familiar with Islam, you would know that neither Judaism nor any of the Abrahamic traditions that predate Islam offend Islam. Israeli occupation of Palestine certainly offends Islam, not to mention international principles of justice, but that again is within the realm of Israeli choice. "In your example of a serial killer, if he currently is using a bow and arrow with limited success at killing your family members, must you wait until he has acquired a sniper gun before you use your full force to stop him?" If his acquisition of a sniper rifle is bare speculation, then yes. If, even were he armed with the sniper rifle, my "full force" would entail killing many more innocent people then he could, yes. If he has a legitimate grievance to whose addressing I've preferred murder, yes.
Debate Round No. 3
33 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TombLikeBomb 8 years ago
TombLikeBomb
Likud, whose reign was the inspiration for Hamas' charter, cites "the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel", in which Likud includes "Judea, Samaria and Gaza". The platform does mention "defense" but only of Israel's "interests", which according to Likud include the whole of Palestine, with which Israel has that "3,000-year-old special connection" you relegate to history. Palestinian bantustanhood should, to Likud, be "permanent". If Israel's governing parties want Hamas to give Israel anything more than "self-rule", it would go along way to vow never to form a coalition with Likud. That wouldn't be unprecedented: Ben-Gurion demanded, as he left office, that Israel never include an Arab party in any coalition; that demand has been kept ever since.
Posted by TombLikeBomb 8 years ago
TombLikeBomb
There were discussions for the release of Gilad Schalit; Israel rejected Hamas' offer of prisoner exchange and evidently made no counteroffer. Unlike the blockade cessation, Schalit's release was neither timetabled nor its terms specified by the cease-fire. In fact, your only evidence that the ceasefire even mentioned Schalit (and not a specified level of commerce) is the testimony of the 2 states party to the non-recognition of Hamas, the attempted coup, and the blockade. You've not even produced such testimony, probably because it's subsequent Israel's violations. But let's take their account for granted. Are there any limits to your interpretation of "loosen"? Would an infinitesimal loosening suffice? The UN, which is distinguished both by its authority, its presence in Gaza, and its non-instigation of the conflict, considered Israel's loosening a violation by virtue of its insufficiency. Evidently, grownups are not so willing to play semantic games with "loosen" or for that matter "territories". ("territories occupied in the recent conflict" means "as much or as little as Israel decides"?)

At any rate, Israel's Intelligence and Terrorism concluded that Hamas was "trying" to stop the rocket attacks, which, given the success of Hamas' efforts, could never have amassed the civilian casualties of the invasion. That's inconsistent with your conspiracy theory.
Posted by snamd 8 years ago
snamd
So there was no written document and all we have is Hamas' word that it was 30%. Neither Egypt nor Israel confirmed this amount to any news station, only that Israel would "loosen" the blockade, an action they did immediately.
You can tell this account was not what Egypt brokered since it does not include discussions for the release of Gilad Schalit which is a statement that Israel and Egypt did release to news stations.
Posted by TombLikeBomb 8 years ago
TombLikeBomb
You callin' me a liar!? I can't open PDF on this computer, but if want to verify it go to crisisgroup.org and read their report. I think it's the January 5 report, but I could be wrong.
Posted by snamd 8 years ago
snamd
I don't believe there was an actual text to the ceasefire... and I believe you have made up the 30% that you claimed.
Posted by snamd 8 years ago
snamd
please post the text of the cease-fire
Posted by TombLikeBomb 8 years ago
TombLikeBomb
Hamas evidently felt that the 80% continuance of the blockade, though disobedient to the cease-fire and by all accounts (except Israel's) a tremendous strain on the refugee camp, was at least a step in the right direction and hardly worth resumption of the hundreds of rockets per month Hamas had proven capable of firing or giving to any "proxy" to fire. By contrast, 2% of normal rocket fire justified for Israel a further tightening of the blockade, during which time the cease-fire expected them to be ending the blockade. You're right that PIJ can't be held responsible for Hamas rocket attacks, which came months later. The blame for the latter falls squarely on Israel, which by that time had broken all three of its obligations under the cease-fire. I don't see how you can "disagree", when you admittedly have not even read the cease-fire.
Posted by debatefan01 8 years ago
debatefan01
Fact: Israel left Gaza completely in late 2005/early 2006. All troops left the region. ALL TROOPS AND GROUND FORCES.

Hamas moved back in, took control of the city, and began lobbing missles, rockets, and other explosives into Israel; all targeting innocent Israelis.

Israel is justified and they should kill every rat bastard terrorist in Palestine.
Posted by snamd 8 years ago
snamd
You are playing a silly game. And either way, if Israel had broken the ceasefire why did Hamas not launch a barrage right then, and if they had not, then why launch the barrage at the end of the truce. I will say both sides did not hold by the truce. I say Hamas broke it first and that claim of Islamic Jihad was a sneaky attempt to claim innocence, you disagree... either way that has NO effect on Hamas' subsequent missile launching.

I say "woop de freakin do" to the idea that Israel would give Hamas a territory with the virtual guarantee that after 50 years (or less, and just say it was Islamic Jihad) they would once again seek to destroy Israel.
seriously. You honestly call this an olive branch. "Give us everything we demand and we say we wont kill you for 50 years"
Is the bar set so low for the Palestinian people that this is considered an olive branch?

And that neighbor country that wants your demilitarization is the one that is giving you the land. When in history has a country conquered (in a defensive war) land next to its borders and then allowed the inhabitants of that land to create a new country? Especially when that country swears its destruction?? It is the complete lack of recognition of the magnitude of this offer that hurts the peace process the most. Yes, Israel would like it demilitarized for the obvious reason that they would use their weapons against Israel!
Posted by TombLikeBomb 8 years ago
TombLikeBomb
Of course subsequent arrests were made. But a failure of Hamas crime prevention doesn't constitute an attack by Hamas or even a Hamas "proxy". And it's absurd for Israel, who had been funding the violent destabilization of the Hamas regime, to complain of Hamas' lack of control. And again, a cease-fire is only valid until it's broken. After Day 3, it had been broken.

You say "Woop dee freakin do" to a 50-year lull in violence, but Israel's never had anywhere near that! You talk up the promise of half-eaten Palestinian state as if it's something Palestinians should be greatful to the Israelis for. Where's Israel's gratitude for this unprecedented olive branch on the part of the Palestinians?

"and read the charter... tell me if ['Palestians'] are people you would like live next to". They're certainly not people whose land I would like to occupy. Anyway, "Palestinians" elected Hamas on the basis of their electoral manifesto, which both postponed the question of Palestinian statehood and relegated it to the pre-1967 borders mandated by international law. Nor would I like to live next to a hostile country whose "moderate" party conditions "peace" on the complete demilitarization of my country while they enjoy all the fruits of the US military-industrial complex.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by JBlake 8 years ago
JBlake
snamdTombLikeBombTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by wjmelements 8 years ago
wjmelements
snamdTombLikeBombTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:21 
Vote Placed by zach12 8 years ago
zach12
snamdTombLikeBombTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by azlotnic 8 years ago
azlotnic
snamdTombLikeBombTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by shnikie 8 years ago
shnikie
snamdTombLikeBombTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60 
Vote Placed by bdavidov 8 years ago
bdavidov
snamdTombLikeBombTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by DisgracedFish 8 years ago
DisgracedFish
snamdTombLikeBombTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05