Michael's Dispatches

It’s Raining


Published: 06 February 2009

There had been a light, cold drizzle just before the Muslim taxi driver picked me up in Jerusalem.  It should be a 90-minute drive to Sderot, in southern Israel.  Along the wet highway, I asked the driver to stop at a small town so that I could buy a juice, and inside the Muslim store a television was turned to news in English, showing success of the most recent Iraqi elections.

In the past, candidates often hid their faces, but this time photos were posted all over the walls and buildings.  A fundamental change has occurred.  A wave of satisfaction filled me, but also sorrow for the many losses we and the Iraqis suffered.  Was it all worth it?  This cannot be answered with mere logic, but I suspect that it will be worth it, though only if we continue to progress and stay engaged with the Iraqi people, and government.

The Israeli taxi arrived at Sderot just before noon.  Thousands of terrorist rockets have rained on Israeli towns within range of Hamas-ruled Gaza, as the world mostly ignored the thunder.  Those who knew about the attacks seemed to dismiss the rockets as just a nuisance, like mosquitoes.  Yet the rockets have grown more and more powerful, to the point where the largest these days carries about 60 times more explosives than a hand grenade.  On February 1, 2009, the day of my visit, The International Herald Tribune reported:

At least two rockets and several mortars were fired into Israel on Sunday, lightly wounding two soldiers and a civilian, and Palestinian militants opened fire on an army patrol along the border, causing no injuries, the military said.

Residents said that one of the rockets landed near a kindergarten in an Israeli village east of Gaza but failed to explode.

The playgrounds in Sderot come equipped with bomb shelters, decorated with kid-friendly art.  When the alarms sound, the youngsters have 15 seconds to dash, tumble or waddle into a shelter before impact, or risk being torn asunder. 

Earsplitting detonations, spewing searing hot steel, must be terrifying for the kids.  It is truly sad to imagine that a ten year-old can have more experience diving for cover than many combat experienced soldiers.

In Sderot, I met up with the American-Israeli writer and editor Allison Kaplan Sommer, who has lived in Israel for some 15 years, has three children and lives with her husband outside Tel Aviv.  Together we went into the police station where the Israeli officers have saved hundreds of the rockets that have been fired from Gaza.  Every journalist in Israel should see those rockets.  The officer explained that the peak times for launch are when the kids are going or coming from school, and shoppers are in the open, for the greatest odds of casualties.

Looking through the rocket collection revealed more than I had gleaned from the news reports.  From the media, one might gather that there is only one sort of “Kassam” rocket.  In fact there must be at least dozens of types.  Some of the rockets had graffiti scrawled on the casings before they were fired into Sderot.

Mostly the rockets are crude, homemade devices that look like they are put together by a bunch of low-skilled thugs with welding torches, and too much time on their hands.  But other rockets are factory made, and the policeman said they come from Iran.  The latest models carry a knockout punch.  Enough to destroy a home.

Allison and I set off to find some impacts, and we went to a neighborhood where a number of houses had been walloped with direct hits.  Two neighboring homes on one street had been hit.  The inhabitant of one home, a friendly older man originally from Morocco, explained that his home had been hit but is now repaired.  His neighbor had been an elderly lady in her seventies, who lived alone with a Philippina caregiver.  Her home looked as devastated as if a small asteroid had found her roof.  When Allison and I walked into the house, glass crunching under foot, I was astonished at the level of destruction caused by these so-called ‘nuisance’ attacks.  The destruction to this woman’s home seemed to be about what a Hellfire missile would have delivered.  The roof was destroyed and the ceiling caved in.  Luckily, she had not been home during the strike or likely she would have been killed. Still, imagine a 70 year-old woman returning to find her home destroyed.  Many of her belongings still were in the house.  And so now the home of this woman was destroyed, but I was assured that the Israelis had taken her immediately into care at a nursing home in Netanya, deeper into the country, out of range, until her home could be repaired.

Another home, a couple blocks down the road, showed a similar level of destruction, the inhabitants gone, workers inside.

The victims of these attacks gave us free access to their houses and I felt welcome and at home in Sderot.  It looks like a very safe place to be - except for the constant rocket strikes.

The economy of Sderot has been badly damaged because of the attacks, adding to the problems that all of Israel is facing due to the global economic crash.  To support Sderot not just in word but in reality, people from around the country have been regularly loading up in buses to drive all the way to Sderot, braving attacks themselves, just to do their weekly shopping in the town to boost its economy.

Thousands of blue and white Israeli flags line the roads or hang from windows and wave in the warm breeze.  We saw an older man in wheel chair, rolling down a road.  He had two large Israeli flags attached to the chair, and they billowed behind him as he rolled ahead.  When Allison asked him for a photo he grinned very big.  Brave people.  Instantly likeable.

As Allison and I drove around, lost at times, we came across Chinese laborers.  She said the Palestinians are angry because the Chinese and other foreign laborers imported from abroad have taken the construction jobs that once belonged to the Palestinians.  After all of the suicide bombings and other attacks, Gaza has been essentially sealed to stem the violence, a tactic which has been effective except for the rocket strikes.

Yet world sympathy seems to rest with the terrorists, and Israel is condemned for ‘trapping’ the Palestinians inside Gaza and for any retaliation for the missile attacks.

Europe, for instance, was nearly unanimous in its condemnation of Israel after the Israeli Defense Forces finally counter-attacked in Operation Cast Lead.

I considered going to Gaza, to hear the other side of the story, but after having seen so many terrorists attacks up close, there seemed little value in taking such a chance with my life, just to hear ramble from a leadership that condones and executes terrorism and launches thousands of rockets at school kids. Stories like this from April 2007 Times Online make it clear enough:

“The family of a BBC journalist kidnapped in Gaza appealed for his immediate release yesterday, as it emerged that Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, had informed the corporation that the journalist was alive and well.

This was the first sign from the Palestinian authorities that they had received any information on the welfare of Alan Johnston, the BBC Gaza correspondent who has now been held longer than any other Western hostage in Gaza.”

The story goes on:

“Mr Johnston, 44, the BBC Gaza correspondent for the past three years, was seized in Gaza City on March 12. About 20 foreign journalists and aid workers have been abducted in Gaza in the past year. However, the kidnappings have typically ended shortly after the capture of the victim.”

It makes no sense to risk life and limb only to allow people who intentionally target children to talk through my pen.  Not until they stop the terrorism.  Those members of the press who transmute Hamas’s crocodile tears into ink only exacerbate the disease.

Recently, I traveled about a thousand miles around Afghanistan, without military, to learn more about the country. Taking chances for good people is one thing, but taking chances to talk with Hamas terrorist leaders, whom I would not believe anyway, is just not smart.  Their propaganda is widely available.

One can roam Israel at will, write as one wishes, without reprisal.  The choice is easy: the Israelis won’t kill the messenger, even when journalists mercilessly rip into them.

In Sderot, Allison and I had the pleasure of having lunch with Noam Bedein, the Director of the Sderot Information Center, a privately funded organization.  According to the “Kassam counter” on http://www.sderotmedia.com/, as of February 1, 10,046 Kassam rockets have hit Sderot and the Western Negev since 2001.  During a single two-week period, 293 rockets rained in on Sderot.  According to a pamphlet from the Sderot Information Center, a kindergarten teacher asked her pupils, “Why does the snail have a shell?”  The Children answered in chorus, “So it can be protected from the Kassam rockets.”

Yet the Kassams and other attacks cause even worse harm to Palestinian children.  The Israelis and Egyptians have isolated Gaza.  Hamas and those who support them, thanks to their own terrorist ways, are consigning themselves to lives of squalor and war.

Allison believes that Gaza could be as prosperous as Singapore if their leaders would stop fighting, move forward, and focus on developing their economy.

The idea of a two-state solution, once popular with many Israelis, is evaporating.  More and more Israelis are coming to believe that any appeasement with the Palestinians is merely a reward for terrorism.  And so it is.  The Palestinians have become prisoners by their own hand.  The hand that builds the bombs, wields the guns, and welds the rockets, has caused a fence to be built around them.

They are isolated and imprisoned.  But it’s not only Israel who’s done this.  The Gaza Strip borders Egypt, and Egypt has done the same. The terrorists are tunneling like rats and the Egyptians and Israelis are trying to locate and destroy the tunnels under their respective fence lines.  Who wants the Palestinians?  If the Palestinians truly were a peaceful lot, victims only of Israel, one might think that they would have free entry into Egypt. But they do not.

Meanwhile Operation Cast Lead is threatening to unravel international relations.

The previously cozy relations between Turkey and Israel have gone frigid.  A British official told me that the British are investigating war crimes charges against Israel, while Israelis tell me that if the British charge Israelis with war crimes, they will charge British officers with war crimes for their actions in Basra, Iraq.  A Spanish judge is also talking war crimes.  The situation only gets worse from there.  Just as we have seen U.S. relations crash after our responses to the 9/11 attacks, important relations between responsible nations are fraying due to responses to terrorist attacks.

Many of us remember those long security lines in the airports, and the billions we must invest in security that could go elsewhere, and all because of a relatively tiny number of people.  Many of us remember the people raining from the buildings, choosing the falling death to the burning death, and reports of certain Palestinians celebrating those deaths.  How much veracity and weight to assign reports of Palestinians celebrating is unknown to me, but there seems to have been at least some basis in truth.

And today, where is the equity?  Why haven’t Hamas leadership been charged with war crimes for indiscriminate attacks on Sderot and other towns?  They, along with other terrorist organizations, launched about 7,000 missiles since 2005, and about 10,000 since 2001.   It would be impossible to know exactly how much explosives were contained in those rockets because the Kassams include a great mix of types and sizes.  Yet to make a ballpark guess, there might be an average of 20lbs of explosives per rocket since 2005.  Since 2005, that would be about 140,000lbs of explosives, not to mention the metal mass of the powerful rocket tubes.  Imagine about 140,000lbs of explosives raining down at random times, but particularly when the kids are going to school.

There are many types of fragmentation hand grenades that are designed to kill people.  One of the most widely used, the deadly American M67, contains a little more than 1/3lb of explosives per grenade.  (The entire M67 grenade including fuse and casing weighs 1lb.)  This means that 140,000lbs of explosives would be roughly equal the “net explosives weight” of about 350,000 grenades launched randomly against civilians.  So far, Kassams have killed few people, but it seems just a matter of time before a school gets wiped out, not to mention the general psychological trauma inflicted.

It simply does not make sense for us to support a Palestinian state, when at every turn they demonstrate that they will simply become more powerful, richer terrorists, with longer range rockets.

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Chris M · 13 years ago
    Thanks Michael, most interesting!

    But regarding the BBC reporter Alan Johnston being kidnapped, this has since been revealed to be a hoax. It was staged in the sense that Johnston, who is a Moslem, was complicit in the whole thing.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ned Chipley · 13 years ago
    As always, your reports are read by me with great interest. Yesterday I again reminded my large email list that you give the best, most objective and in my view, most accurate report of what is actually happening in Irag, Afghanistan, and as 'It's Raining" shows, in Israel and the Middle East as well.
    Many, many thanks from a retired pastor for what you do for our country and indeed, the world.
    "To show a stick is crooked, don't just talk about it. Put a straight stick beside it."
    Your reporting is a "straight stick" laid beside the crooked propaganda with which we are daily bombarded in the world press.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dave · 13 years ago
    and may they push Hamas into the sea.

    God bless Fatah, that they might aid in the destruction of Hamas and a peaceful reconciliation between Israel and Arabs.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mike H · 13 years ago
    Michael -- I appreciate your reporting on what is really going on in our war on terror. Most of America and the Western world get a biased view of Israel and Hamas in the national media. Hamas is a terrorist group and they don't want peace. Their goal is complete domination and destruction of the state of Israel. I am a Christian who believes God still loves Israel. He has judged them time and time again but still has a plan for Israel. The only thing I would criticize Israel for, is they should never give up more land and they need to destroy their enemies. The only way they will ever have peace is to defeat Hamas. This may require a nuclear device sent to Tehran. The mullahs are serious. They are not just some nut jobs. They intend to establish a new Caliphate and rule the world.
    It seems our country is either too ignorant or PC to understand this threat. I believe under this new administration will be hit again and harder. Whether one hates Bush or not, he did keep us protected. I have no confidence in the Pelosi's, Reids or Murthas of this administration. If the new president believes he can reach out to these people he is very naive.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ray · 13 years ago
    Michael, keep the factual perspective coming....no one else does....and the world needs to hear this!

    Nothing has changed in the last 25 years since I lived in Israel. The same attacks, suicide murderers etc. Being searched entering every store, supermarket, restaurant, nightclub, every building. The indirect fire of Kassam rockets is like someone forcing you to play Russian roulette, only someone else is squeezing the trigger at will. I cannot believe the Israeli's have been so self-constrained in there retaliation. The USA had four missiles fired at us on 911 and we launched two wars in response. Proportional to population, Israel has lost 10 or 20 times as many people as we did on 911. Self ƒ??constraint is the only description of their actions.

    Interesting fact, Jews make up 0.02 percent of the worlds population (14 million) and have receive approximately 125 Nobel prizes in every area recognized. Arabs make up 20 percent of the worlds population (1+ billion) and have received only 5 Nobel prizes. One of which went to a terrorist, Yassar Arafat. Who has moved on from the terrible loss. Letƒ??s see, Arabs will not assimilate their own, 600K Palestinian refugees since 1948 and Jews, who lost 6 million in the Holocaust and have benefited mankind, and have lead in every field recognized by the Nobel.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Blenster · 13 years ago
    First, thank you once again Micheal for your wonderful reporting. That being said...

    What evidence for your claim do you have, Chris M? I cannot find any evidence that Alan Johnston was complicit in his kidnapping. I could only find one newspaper that made such a claim (Al-Hayat) but their story seems to have been pretty thoroughly debunked. Is there any credible evidence that he was complicit?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Derek K. · 13 years ago
    It appears that the mistake was Israel's belief that a solution that included autonomous Palestinians was possible. I fear the only way out is to eject the Palastinians from the west bank and Gaza and create a multi-mile de-miliitarized zone. Let the other Arab states absorb the refugees and let the Saudis and other oil rich states pay for it. We may not be there yet, but it sure looks like where its going. Mushroom clouds would be much worse.

    I grow weary of the Arab world's "plight".

    As Golda Meir said (paraphrased): "The conflict can only end when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us."
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jamie G. · 13 years ago
    Thank you, Michael. I very much enjoy reading your updates. Keep up the excellent work.

    I am speechless to think that anyone could support Hamas knowing that they intentionally target kids. Having a young son is such a blessing and I canƒ??t imagine what the parents must go through wondering if they will be killed by a rocket at school. The fact that hamas targets these kids enrages me, what purpose could that possibly serve?. We are supposed to be protecting the children, regardless of what they look like, where they are from or who their parents are. We have fallen so short of our purpose.

    I know war is ugly, and sometimes collateral damage will injure civilians, but specifically targeting kids? May they feel Godƒ??s wrath and spend an eternity in the fiery pits of hell.

    Iƒ??m not sure why, but, when I read stories about people being friendly and accepting Americans it makes me want to visit. I specifically am thinking of your dispatches from Afghanistan. It gives me hope that these people want peace and prosperity. They are not looking to destroy everyone around them.

    At some point I also hope to visit Israel. As a Christian, what spiritual waterfall it would be for me and my family. It is nice to see that you are well received there and I hope eventually the world will come to Israelƒ??s defense and squash Hamas.

    Take care of yourself.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bill Brent · 13 years ago
    Bravo, Michael, for bravely speaking the truth about the Palestinians. They have done nothing to deserve a state of their own. When they put down their arms, when they start to build a civil peaceful and prosperous society that is not a threat to any of their neighbors, then they will deserve a state of their own.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Kevin86 · 13 years ago
    I hope you will find a way to talk to people from Gaza and get their side of the story. I understand your reluctance to go there, but how about a phone interview? I don't care to hear what the Hamas leaders have to say, I already know, but would be interested in hearing the thoughts of people living there.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Max Perry · 13 years ago
    Your insights on terrorists which comes from your being on the ground in the areas the Islamic terroists are most active. The bible has emphatic statements on the land of Canaan and the people of Israel, whom we now call Isaraelites. Past nations were bent on conquering and destsroying Israel, some did take over the land of Israel, killed many and took the rest to their country as slaves. God puts kingdoms up and takes kingdoms down, His covenant with the people of Israel and the land they are to live in, is assured in His word.
    I appreciate your decision to embed in Afganistan for a length of time. We need your balanced investigations to keep us informed on how the new Commander in Chief is performing. We have a Marine son who is now in Okinawa, and taking a billet to Afganistan in early summer, so we are vitally committed also and depend upon your reporting to understand what is trully occuring.

    Thanks Michael for your work
  • This commment is unpublished.
    ACougar · 13 years ago
    It is always wise to take everything that comes through the media with a healthy dose of salt, it still saddens me to see a reporter who seemed to have his head on straight... put forward such blatent propoganda. There are two stories of value that should be told, there is the story of the average Israeli family struggling with Hamas sponsered terrorism and the story of the average Palistinean family struggling with Israeli State sponsored terrorism.

    We hear the former over and over every time we turn on the news and now when we read your reports, nothing wrong with that at all. What we don't ever hear is the story of your average Palistinean family... the real other side of the story. What Hamas has to say is irrelevent, they are monsrers, what the IF
  • This commment is unpublished.
    rob5 · 13 years ago
    I appreciate your work to tell what you see in Irak, Afghanistan and anywhere else.
    But the way you cover the Israel-Palestine conflict is really too much a politically engaged report. You've been to Irak, where dozens of journalists have been murdered, and now you say that going to Gaza would be too dangerous... This sounds a bit ridiculous ...

    Moreover, when you say "imagine a 70 year-old woman returning to find her home destroyed", you should go to Gaza and talk to people who had to leave their house, with an untransportable old parent inside, because IDF told them that the area would be bombed, coming back and dig the rubbles to find the corpse of their family member.

    Your opinion is biased and I am really sad to see that even an open-minded american like you, who travelled and faced the reallity of the world, is still completely blind concerning the Middle-East problem.

    You do not support a Palestinian state, but would you stop fight for your rights if you were a Palestinian in Gaza, a prisoner of your own land, without the right to have a nation ?
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    Solo · 13 years ago
    Interesting to read in Islamic forums, complaints of Islamophobia, while we see protests across the world in support of Hamas. Palistine will never be anything but a sewer until the people decide to quit being used by the Arab world, and Iran, as an excuse to continue spreading hate (or as they call it, peace and love). The ideology of "Live to Hate, Hate to Live" is no way to build a prosperous country.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    senorlechero · 13 years ago
    Don't listen to the confused and ignorant comments by folks like Rob5 and acougar. You are correct in stating that you already know what the palestinians would say...their voices are constantly in the news. The palestinian people elected Hamas and allow terrorists to use them as shields while they terrorize innocents in Israel. I wish the U.S. of A. would send troops and military support to Gaza (and Lebanon) to root out terrorists like we did in Fallujah.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Neil Reinhardt · 13 years ago
    Great Report Micheal,

    Thanks for all your efforts!


    Hey. Rob5, ACougar and
    all of your idiot ilk, I am an Atheist, tell me I am pro-Jew or Moslem or any other religion and YOU ARE AN IDIOT!

    You and your Ilk are ALSO IDIOTS for saying Micheals REPORTING THE FACTS is "propaganda"

    You are ignorant fools with no clue as to the real world!

    Neil C Reinhardt
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Nicolas · 13 years ago
    Mike, I admire your writing a lot, I know you go to great lengths to get both sides of the story, and I can't blame you for not going into Gaza, but this story comes off really one sided.

    First, there are many reasons to fear Hamas, but the story about Johnston is not one of them. He was seized by another militant group, the Army of Islam, Tawhid or Islam brigades, which is backed by the Gazan Dughmush clan. The notoriously violent clan had been previously supported by Arafat, and when Hamas refused to pay it off, it seized Johnston as a means of putting pressure on Hamas. Hamas vigorously worked for his release, actually laying siege to the primary Doghmush compound, and they eventually caved, releasing Johnston. Hamas realizes the value of good PR, and a kidnapped reporter might be the worst PR possible. The Doghmush clan has consequently been emasculated by Hamas- in the battle of Shajaiyeh their core force was forced to flee into Israel.

    Point here is it's a very complex situation. Yes, Hamas has a stated goal of driving Israel into the sea. But the people we gave billions in aid to (Fatah) were the ones whose cronies kidnapped Johnston. Yes, Hamas is a terrorist organization, but rocket attacks decreased significantly after they took over and made a cease fire with Israel and they cracked down on cronies like the Doghmush clan, bringing order to Gaza. Yes, no ten year old should have to scramble for cover, but before the cease fire last year Israeli strikes on Gaza killed 99 Gazans, and they have no refuge of greater depth to which to flee.

    Hamas is not Al-Qaeda. Gaza is not Iraq. I think you should try to do a little more research so you can give us a more holistic account of the conflict. There are a lot of really bad reporters over there but there are definitely a few good ones as well. See if you can look up Tobias Buck from the Financial Times, or Khaled Abu Toameh from the Jerusalem Post, they both have exceptionally solid grips on what the situation is, as well as extensive experience with reporting from Gaza, which is really what you have to do if you're going to add anything to this story.

    Here's where I got the bit about the Doghmush clan: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/f55acd80-b509-11dd-b780-0000779fd18c.html

    Again, I love your writing and never for a moment question your commitment to reporting the truth, however controversially pretty or ugly it may be. I'm just trying to help you out.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    rob5 · 13 years ago
    Hey Neil (comment #16),

    Please keep your insults, they won't help the debate.

    I'm an atheist to, and I don't blame Mickael to report any propaganda.
    Of course reporting the facts is very usefull for all the citizens of
    the world who can't travel and see what's going on with their own eyes.

    The problem here is that Mickael is reporting only PARTS of the facts.
    He does not want to see the dead bodies and the destroyed houses on the
    other side of the border, even if they are hundred times more numerous.
    (civilian death toll during last war: israelis and more than 00 gaza people)

    I'm not pro-whatever neither. I'm just a civilian. And I think that the civilians
    in Gaza deserve the same sympathy than the civilians in Sderot. People in Gaza can't
    even choose to leave their country to protect their family! And worse: they are
    bombed by a democratic country!

    Open your eyes!

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jim K · 13 years ago
    Michael Is dead on about Gaza, There will never be peace unless all of Hamas Is exterminated. The people of Gaza were given free elections and they elected Iranian backed scum of the earth. This Is mainly to blame on Fatah who stole money for decades that was meant for the Palestinian people. Other Arab nations have no Interest In seeing a Palestinian state that Is democratic and free. That would make their own people demand change from their corrupt governments, RE: Iran, Syria and Of course SAUDI ARABIA. Why is it that Saudi Arabia and Iran can send rockets bombs and suicide vests but not food medicine and money. Why do Palestinian's living In Lebanon live In decrepit slums for decades. Are they not equal to their Muslim brothers? You can use casualty figures to twist the truth but 10,000 rockets do not lie. The Anti Semitism Is rampant In Europe and Is creeping Into this country. The Palestinian people deserve better and have suffered for years, But do not blame Israel for their situation. Clinton brokered a deal that would have established a homeland for the Palestinians and maybe finally peace. But Arafat refused and responded with suicide bombs. The only thing that Hamas and Iran will accept for Israel to be wiped off the map. This will not happen so the Palestinians will continue to suffer and die. The Iranians will soon have nuclear weapons. Israel and the world cannot accept this and you will soon see a major possibly nuclear war. Stop your liberal foolishness and open your eyes. Better yet take a trip to Gaza and have them send me a picture off your lopped off head.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Curt · 13 years ago

    First, thanks for your first person reporting, I really appreciate your perspective.

    I don't understand your position on Israel. My understand is that in Iraq, General Petraeus' brilliant insight was that he had to separate the insurgents from the general population, and show the general population that they would be much better off cooperating with us. From what I can see, all the Israeli's have done is to isolate the Palestinian population, and make it as hard as possible for the moderate political elements to better the lives of the average Palestinians. This makes it easy for Hamas to recruit and get support from the population. It looks to me like the Israeli's are ignoring every lesson we learned in Iraq, and are wondering why they are getting the same results we got before we learned these lessons.

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Noliving · 13 years ago
    First things first Rob5. It is spelled Iraq, not Irak. Why people still spell it Irak I don't know but even in arabic it is spelled with the letter q not k.

    He isn't against a palestine state, he is saying it is hard for one to support the idea of a palestine state when they have shown at every turn to only build more powerful weapons and then attack instead of building more powerful weapons and have peace.

    The truth of the matter is that attacking a place such as Sderot isn't fighting for palestianian rights, it is not a form of resistance. Launching rockets attacks on purpose during the times school children are leaving for school and leaving from school to go to home hoping to score a kill of a school child and civilians is not a form of resistance or fighting for ones rights. Plus Sderot is within 1948 boundaries of Israel. It's hard for Israelis to believe that if they withdrew to the 1967 boundaries that they would have peace with hamas when hamas is attacking within the 1948 boundaries of Israel.

    The conditions that gazans live with sucks and is horrible but due too the nature of the conflict it is not a surprise either that they have happend.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Noliving · 13 years ago
    First things first Rob5. It is spelled Iraq, not Irak. Why people still spell it Irak I don't know but even in arabic it is spelled with the letter q not k.

    He isn't against a palestine state, he is saying it is hard for one to support the idea of a palestine state when they have shown at every turn to only build more powerful weapons and then attack instead of building more powerful weapons and have peace.

    The truth of the matter is that attacking a place such as Sderot isn't fighting for palestianian rights, it is not a form of resistance. Launching rockets attacks on purpose during the times school children are leaving for school and leaving from school to go to home hoping to score a kill of a school child and civilians is not a form of resistance or fighting for ones rights. Plus Sderot is within 1948 boundaries of Israel. It's hard for Israelis to believe that if they withdrew to the 1967 boundaries that they would have peace with hamas when hamas is attacking within the 1948 boundaries of Israel.

    The conditions that gazans live with sucks and is horrible but due too the nature of the conflict it is not a surprise either that they have happend.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Solo · 13 years ago
    As Jim K said, Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map. Can this be done without destroying Palestine also? Not likely. Hezbollah, ( and al Qaeda ) care nothing about Palestine. They would consider it "acceptable loss", so long as Israel is gone. Palestine has great potential, but not while living under their true oppressors, the very hypocrites that keep them down while pretending support. Palestines history can't be changed, but their future is in their own hands. The blame is always placed on Americas policies in the Middle East, but perhaps there should be more discussion about M.E. policies.
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    W rocks · 13 years ago
    ...namely... there IS NO Palestinian people! This is a made-up people group trying to form a nation that never existed. Go ahead and move into Central Park in NYC with a few families and try to claim it is your own new country, and when they come to remove you go ahead and start shooting at the authorities and launching rockets around. That's the exact analogy to these self-proclaimed Palestinians, they are a false nation, they need to be expunged from the area, that's final!
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    KellyC · 13 years ago
    he wasn't embedded with an IDF unit? If you recall from his writings, for the most part when he was in Iraq or Afghanistan he was with a military unit. Additionally, Gaza is substantially denser than either of those countries and harder to get around safer.

    And another thing, Hamas is much closer to Al Qaeda than some of you want to admit. Was Mike accused of being one-sided because he didn't interview anybody from AQI and 'get the other side' of what was going on in Iraq?

    I've read Khaled Abu Toameh, and he gives me no reason to think that Hamas is not as bad as they appear to be and Fatah is really any better than Hamas...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Render · 13 years ago
    Mr. Yon does not need to tell the HAMAS side of the story, nor the stories of any other resident of the Gaza Strip.

    The entire rest of the worlds media has already done that at great length - without ever telling Israels side of it.

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Don100 · 13 years ago
    "Hamas is like a terrorist version of the Mafia,"

    This is a grave insult to the Mafia

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