Free Markets, Free People

Yglesias – Israel engaged in "collective punishment" of Gaza (and "the children")

A member of the juice-box mafia is at it again. This one, well, it just amazes me (but it shouldn’t). Matt Yglesias:

As I’ve noted before, in the eyes of its defenders the blockade of the Gaza Strip is a security measure aimed at denying rockets to Hamas, while in fact it’s a comprehensive effort to collectively punish Gaza residents—a majority of whom are children—in hopes that this will somehow lead to Hamas being replaced by a more moderate regime. Yousef Munayyer’s rundown of the consequences of the blockade makes the point clearly. For example, “In 2006, Israel carried out an attack on Gaza’s only power plant and never permitted the rebuilding to its pre-attack capacity (down to producing 80 megawatts maximum from 140 megawatts).”

On the surface, it’s pure conjecture. And, as you’ll see, it is pure conjecture based on a false premise. But not unusual for those whose sole intent is to demonize Israel.

As has been pointed out many times, Israel absorbs about 4,000 rocket attacks a year from Gaza. Random attacks aimed at Israeli civilians. I wonder what Yglesais would say if Israel responded in kind? Would that be “collective punishment” for Gaza, but not Israel (which, though he hasn’t apparently noticed, has women and children endangered by those attacks – in fact, they’re the targets).

Anyway, since he uses this Munayyer joker as his source, why don’t we then see what Israel says about it:

According to the UN report of May 2010, 120 megawatts (over 70%) of the Strip’s electricity supply comes from the Israeli electric grid, while 17 MWs come from Egypt and 30 MWs are produced by the Gaza city power station. Since January 2010, there has been deterioration in the supply of electricity to the Gaza Strip since the Hamas regime is unwilling to purchase the fuel to run the Gaza City power station.

Throughout 2009 Israel transferred 41 trucks of equipment for the maintenance of Gaza’s electricity grid.

Israel facilitates the transfer of fuel through the border, and maintains that the diversion of fuel from domestic power generators to other uses is wholly a Hamas decision. Over 133 million liters of fuel entered Gaza from Israel over the last 18 months.

Wow – Google truly is your friend.

If the assumption is that 140 MW is what Gaza needs (since Yglesais implies the Gaza electrical station could produce that at full capacity) then it appears they’re fine. They receive 167 MW from various sources, mostly Israel. And, it appears, at least according the data the Israelis have produced, that “41 trucks of equipment for the maintenance of Gaza’s electric grid” points to something quite different than “never permitted the rebuilding” (and yes I realize that doesn’t necessarily mean the main power plant exclusively, but it doesn’t exclude it either).

As does the fact that Hamas has been diverting fuel from the domestic power generators to other uses.

I suppose one could try to construct a defense of what the policy actually is, but instead most people seem to prefer to defend something else. Of course Israelis don’t want to be hit by rockets, but why shouldn’t Gaza’s civilians have electricity?

I suppose one could come up with pure unsubstantiated BS and conjecture and try to pass it off as truth too – oh, wait …

And what does it leave us with? Uh, yeah, those rockets. Still real and still hitting Israel.


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45 Responses to Yglesias – Israel engaged in "collective punishment" of Gaza (and "the children")

  • “Israel absorbs about 4,000 rocket attacks a year from Gaza. Random attacks aimed at Israeli civilians”
    Well, as I read in comments somewhere, those don’t count, since no Israeli has ever been injured by them. On the other hand, Israeli actions against Gaza routinely result in the deaths of innocents.  Why, the recent boarding of the relief ship resulted in nine deaths of peace activists — in and of itself proving that Israel is more bloodthirsty than the Gazans!
    There is no lower limit on the idiocy of those who attack Israel and defend Hamas. None.

  • Did this moron also notice that Egypt also maintained a sealed border crossing with Gaza until this incident happened? I suppose Egypt was also engaged in “collective pubishment”?

  • The Israelis should have outsourced it to the North Koreans.Then the Eurotrash could go back to munching their cucumber sandwiches, and our Muslim ‘brothers’ could go back to servicing their camels.

  • Here, in America, we have no idea what Israelis go through each day of their life.  Oh yes, Egypt did seal the border crossing with Gaza and no one said anything about that.

  • It seems to me that we “collectively punished” lots of people lots of times.  We are doing it now with North Korea, Iran,  and various terrorist states.  We “collectively punish” Cuba and others of our neighbors who pose a threat to us via their ideology or love of crime.  That is considered the model of diplomacy and restraint when dealing with rogue nations.  I support “collectively punishing” them a lot harder in some cases.
    But Israel is not the genius of the misery of the people of Gaza.  If anything, they are a demonstrable benefactor, as McQ notes.  The true well-spring of the misery in Gaza…and in Israel neighboring Gaza…is Gazans, who tolerate Hamas and Fatah in their midst, and who nurse in the breasts of their children a blood hatred that consigns them to future misery.  Israel gave them Gaza, and it was a good gift ripe with opportunity.  They have used it as a launching pad for terror.  And a lying boob like Yglesais is a willing accomplice and psy-ops warrior.

  • The fact is that Israel’s tactics are failing.  Israel is arguably less secure now than in 1967.   As tactics shift more to asymmetrical warfare and terrorism, Israel’s capacity to defend itself has diminished.  The 2006 war with Hezbollah was a jolt to Israel’s sense of military superiority, and showed vulnerabilities, especially should Iran gain better weapons and supply terror organizations.  Israel need to change tactics not to appease people like Yglesias, but to actually become more secure.   I go into that in a lot more detail in my own blog today.  I think the Israelis have legitimate security concerns and disagree with the condemnation from most of the international community.  However, Israel’s current path not likely to work — for pragmatic reasons they need to recognize that their destiny is linked with that of the Palestinians.   Israelis and Israel  critics need to recognize that to be pro-Israel means you have to be pro-Palestinian, and to be pro-Palestinian you need to also be pro-Israel.

    • Israelis and Israel  critics need to recognize that to be pro-Israel means you have to be pro-Palestinian, and to be pro-Palestinian you need to also be pro-Israel.

      If…and only if…by “pro-Palestinian” you mean “anti-Islamist”.  Otherwise, this is just an Onion routine waiting to be written by someone with much more realism than you possess.

    • The Palestinians have got to realize that if Iran ever nukes Israel, they will be in the middle of the fallout too.

      • But, remember, the Palestinians are intifada-fodder for their Muslim brothers.  Always have been, are now, will be tomorrow.  If a home-land was the goal, Israel’s neighbors have MASSIVE amounts of land to carve off.
        Remember, too, that Arabs have killed Palestinians with great alacrity right along.

      • Exactly.   That’s why I say they share destinies.   If Israel is destroyed, so is Palestine.  If the Jews are killed, so are the Palestinians.

    • You need some t-paper to clean up the sh*t that’s coming out of your mouth?

      The only place Israeli tactics fail is the one place they can never win anyway – international opinion.  As you so ably demonstrate.

      • Even the Israeli government disagrees with you.  They know that the threats to Israel are greater now than any time since 1967.  There is an existential threat to Israel.  That’s something the anti-Israeli voices fail to see (they still buy the idea that Israel is strong enough to be fully secure and is just being brutal).   The current approach isn’t working for Israel.  The Israelis know that.

        • Hey dummy, there’s been an existential threat to Israel SINCE MINUTE ONE.  But there’s no way that pursuing weakness (which you advocate) will gain them any mercy from the pack of scum who want to blow the nation away.

          The alligator may eat you last, but it still eats you.  The Palis are what they’ve always been – unvalued pawns in the Islamist game.  If you think the Muslim world has any use for them outside of the value they bring as a club against Israel, you’re dead wrong.

        • I wonder how accurate it is to say Israeli tactics are “failing” in the current situation.  It seems not to be the case that much has changed with respect to Israel’s ability to defend itself (outside the Iranian nuke issue).  I don’t see anything like Obama’s “unsustainable” notion respecting the blockade…given just a modicum of international support.  Israel could maintain the blockade virtually forever.
          The game changer seems more to me to have been the slow, corrosive effect of years of collectivist BS about the awful plight of the poor Palestinians, skillfully manipulated by some of the worst people on this planet, and the strong trend in the West to embrace dhimmitude as a means of placating a medieval ideology instead of fighting it.  This latest incident merely highlights how irrational the West has become, being as it was a transparent provocation by Islamist thugs who changed the “peace flotilla” paradigm by ambush.

          • I think Israel is less secure now than in 1967, since then it was military conflict that threatened them.  Now nuclear terrorism (whether from Iran or rogue Russian nukes) could destroy most of what is Israel.   The Palestinians have suffered — no one can deny that.  That could be Israel’s key to change this game — to show concern for innocent Palestinians (something Hamas does not do) and alter direction.  This is not something Israel can “win” militarily.

  • The only way this can end is wither with the forceful removal or genocide of all Arabs or all Israelis, one group or the other. There will never be peace between them. At least not in any time frame in which we normaly measure human events.

    • I commented on a friend’s LiveJournal (after one particular idiot said “there will never be a resolution to the issue), that all Israel would need to do is kill all the Palestinians.  Some other moron replied “How would that solve it?”
      I didn’t have the heart to show the math on how removing one side ends an argument.

      • As I commented to a poster on my blog, there is a modern model that suggests peace can be had; Japan during and after WWII.  They were deeply indoctrinated to hate the West, and that was religiously based, too.  They changed faster than I think anybody alive at the time thought possible.  I am a cock-eyed optimist, however…

        • Well yes but that would require a forty year occupation, along with ruthless suppression of all mullahs and leaders who advocate violence, and Enormous capital investment by the occupying powers to build up the infrastructure and put everyone to work.
          There exists not the will or capability for that among even the collective UN much less from Israel or the United States.  Much simpler just to forcefully push them out into Egypt, North Africa, and Syria. Let their fellow muslims feed them.

          • I dunno if that’s the only formula that might work.  The larger point is that it seems doable, which is important.  This tangle sometimes seems Gordian.  Nobody said it would be easy…

      • But you can’t do that.  If Israel tried such a holocaust option, Israelis would realize they were acting like Nazis and be repelled.  Such a final solution would be no solution for the Israelis, they would end up as shamed and defeated as the Germans were when they tried something similar to what you suggest — though in that case the Jews were their target.

        • No, see, the Jews never did anything to the Nazis, while Israel has a valid beef with the Palestinians…

          • Killing people because of who they are, due to collective identity, is evil.  Israel would be morally equivalent to the Nazis if they just killed the Palestinians.  Luckily, that is a view shared by most Israelis, who are too moral to undertake the Hitlerian solution.

        • “But you can’t do that….”

          No sh*t, Sherlock. You are a master (or should I say doctor) of the obvious. Look up ‘rhetoric’, ‘rhetorical’, etc. 

    • Their destinies are linked.  Genocide against one will be genocide against both.   Neither can be forcibly removed.   However, there is no reason to think peace is impossible.  For both sides, it’s either peace or destruction…or continued tension and insecurity.

      • Their destinies are linked.  Genocide against one will be genocide against both.   Neither can be forcibly removed.

        Bull. If the IDF lost its dominance for a day, genocide would happen. The only things preventing genocide is Israeli military capability and the support of the US.

        However, there is no reason to think peace is impossible.

        Israeli would choose peace if their neighbors also choose peace. Alas, it is obvious that their neighbors will not choose peace anytime soon. Anything is possible, it is possible that some new disease will spread in Gaza that turns them into decent, peace loving people. The observable facts suggest that the people in Gaza are going the other direction, however.

        Bottom line is that the people of Gaza need a significant shift in thinking for peace to be possible.

        For both sides, it’s either peace or destruction…or continued tension and insecurity.

        So far, the people of Gaza have opted for destruction, even if that means the death of their children.

        • Israeli would choose peace if their neighbors also choose peace.

          Not only would they, but they have.  Gaza was a major peace initiative that the Israelis paid dearly for…still are paying  for.  A decade ago, Israel offered a deal I thought was just madness, essentially given Arafat everything he asked for.  The answer they got was a new war.
          The reality on the ground could not be more starkly displayed.  Erb has only one customer he needs to sell on the whole “peace” thing.  Tough sell, because they are a culture of death.

          • Most Palestinians want peace and accept Israel’s existence.  There are extremists on BOTH sides that want to eliminate the other side.   Just as Sadat was murdered by an Arab for making peace with Israel, Rabin was murdered by a Jew for making peace with the PLO.   There are Israeli extremists who want to control all the land and hate Palestinians, there are Palestinian extremists who want to destroy Israel.  The key is not to let the extremists control the agenda.  I think Israel’s tactics now actually play into the hands of Hamas, Iran and the Palestinian extremists.   To save themselves, Israel needs a new approach.

          • ” The key is not to let the extremists control the agenda.”

            So just how, oh wise political scientist, do you propose to prevent Hamas, etc. from controlling the agenda? There is a Nobel waiting for the person who can do that.

      • “Genocide against one will be genocide against both.”

        I see you have joined the leftist ‘Meme of the Month Club’. 
        Patent nonsense. There is absolutely no evidence proving that if the Arabs achieved their fondest wish, the elimination of Israel, that the Palestinians would also disappear.


  • And you know what?  Even if Israel was engaged in “collective punishment” of Gaza and “The Children™”, I wouldn’t care.  Either get rid of Hamas, or deal with the consequences of sitting idle while they run your country into the ground and act like 3rd-rate thugs.  You either get a neat country, or Hamas.  Pick one.

  • If we look at this article in the context of the remarks made recently by Helen Thomas, can we start considering the conclusion that lefties in general are anti-Semites?

    I suppose one could try to construct a defense of what the policy actually is, but instead most people seem to prefer to defend something else. Of course Israelis don’t want to be hit by rockets, but why shouldn’t Gaza’s civilians have electricity?

    Well, they could… if they elected a government that was more interested in picking up the trash, keeping the lights on, and making sure the trains run on time than it is in slaughtering people on the other side of the border.  And why shouldn’t the Israelis have the ability to sleep safe in their beds at night instead of having to cower in a bunker on a regular basis?  Why do the Palis in Gaza have more rights to a normal life than the Israelis?

    Let’s try rewriting the paragraph just a bit and see what happens:

    I suppose one could try to construct a defense of what the policy actually is, but instead most people seem to prefer to defend something else. Of course Britons don’t want to be hit by V-rockets, but why shouldn’t Berlin’s civilians have electricity?

    At its root, the Palestinians are willing hostages of their own government (if we can use this term to describe the gang of bloodthirsty thugs who run their “country”): Hamas is perfectly willing to let its own people live in squalor and poverty and even die in order to score propaganda points against Israel.  Why?  BECAUSE THIS POLICY WORKS.  They’ve learend (hell, they’ve probably been coached) that the Western left and the media it controls will leap at the chance to document Jewish “atrocities” and run sob stories about how much the Palis are suffering.  Remember the faked story a few years ago of the poor little Pali boy “gunned down” by nasty ol’ Zionist soldiers?  Or the photos that Reuters faked in an attempt to show that Israel was carpet-bombing its enemies? 

    If the Palis and their masters in Damascus and Tehran ever have their way, I wonder if the left that is so concerned about civilian casualties today will lift an eyebrow while Jews are being NOT denied regular electricity, but rather herded into extermination camps?  As Ragspierre asks, how did we go from “Never again!” to “meah…”?

  • It appears pretty clearly to me that the left is simply impervious to truth and facts on this issue and I’m really not sure how to get through to them on it. Hamas is blatantly fascist and the palestinians engage in the worst kind of activity and terrorism regularly, yet they’re the good guys in this?

    • Yes, Hamas is fascist.  But collectively it gets hard to label the Palestinians as all bad, or the Israelis as all good.  Both the left and the right get it wrong.  They want to choose one side as good and the other side as bad, rather than go to the hard work of understanding both perspectives, and figuring out how blame is shared.   My sympathies are with the civilians of each side first, though the Israeli leaders are clearly superior than the Hamas leaders (and the PA leaders are often just corrupt).   Yet there is no easy answer, and both left and right seem too quick to just ‘pick a side.’.

      • ” both left and right seem too quick to just ‘pick a side.’.”

        In the real world, meathead, you have to take a side. Only useless posturing spectators like you  get to straddle a fence and claim that moral cowardice is actually sophisticated reasoning.

        • You are 100% wrong, and show no understanding of how the world works if you seriously believe that one just “picks a side” in every disagreement.  You are advocating moral cowardness by falling for a simplistic “I’ll choose my side and then list all those moral arguments people on my side make.”  The other side does the same thing.  Both are irrational and mindless approaches.   Reality is complex, and here the reality is that neither side can win if it’s some kind of conflict where the two sides must be in opposition and cannot find ways to solve the series of problems.   Your position is one of emotion with no thought — thank goodness you are only a “posturing spectator.”

  • Erb seems strangely reasonable on this issue. I find this disturbing.

    • “Erb seems strangely reasonable on this issue”

      It’s not ‘reasonable’, it’s cowardice and ignorance. And when you inflict this ‘reasonable’ dithering, instead of  making a decision, on the real world people die. 

  • Collective punishment for collective responsibility.  The Palis elected Hamas into power who conducts a war of rocket terrorism on Israel.  Hamas is the legitimate government in Gaza (or so the Pali sycophants will have us believe) and still enjoys massive popular support among Yusef and Fatima Pali.  Ergo, the Palis are collectively responsible for the rocket campaign against Israel resulting in the blockade.  The “collective punishment” is completely legitimate.

    • Besides the moral holes in your argument (your collectivism is the biggest), the practical problem is that such action hurts Israel and makes it less likely the Jewish state will survive.   That is the essential point: for long lasting peace in the Mideast there must be a secure and viable Jewish state of Israel.   That is a fact that many critics of Israel don’t quite understand.   Yet killing civilians and causing suffering only strengthens the Islamic extremists, who milk Israeli tactics for all they are worth, even as Iran grows stronger, Hezbollah rebuilds, and Hamas strengthens international ties.  Israel faces a much stronger existential threat than any time since 1948, and their current tactics are geared towards a different era and a different kind of conflict.

      • Don’t come in here and talk about fixed morality – just last week you admitted that morals are whatever we vote to have.   So if Germany votes to annihilate Jews, that’s their business and it’s okay because it’s what the Germans voted for.  And the only thing that keeps people in line is fear of earthly retribution.
        And every time you try to use ‘morality’ as a foundation for your argument I intend to remind you that morals are just the whims of the populace according to you.