The National Catholic Review
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Allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity capped a five-month investigation by the United Nations into the conduct of the Israel Defense Forces during their incursion into Gaza last winter. The report, released on Sept. 15 and named after its lead investigator, the international jurist Richard J. Goldstone, also condemns the indiscriminate missile attacks by Hamas into southern Israel that provoked the bloody conflict, but it reserves its harshest assessment for the I.D.F.’s brutal conduct of the war.

Judge Goldstone, a South African, was the chief prosecutor for the U.N.’s international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda. His credentials are impeccable and his reputation previously unassailable. Now he is the target of character assassination in Israel, where the report has been received with outrage. In the United States the report has been described as “unfair” by the Obama administration, which appears to be laying the political foundation for dismissing it.

That would be regrettable. The report’s findings offer a depressing collection of cautionary tales that deserve a hearing in the United States as it pursues Al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world. According to the investigation, the behavior of the I.D.F. in Gaza was objectionable in a distressing number of incidents: missile attacks on Gaza police that began the operation; artillery attacks on U.N. compounds and schools; the use of white phosphorus ordnance over civilian targets; and far too lax rules of engagement, which led to the killing of many Gazans who were doing nothing worse than running for shelter or seeking food or clean water for their families during the brutal three-week campaign.

By the end of Operation Cast Lead, 1,400 Palestinians had been killed and 5,500 wounded. According to a report from the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, 773 of the Palestinians killed in the assault did not take part in the hostilities, including 320 minors and 109 women over the age of 18. During the period of the conflict, Hamas rockets and fighters killed nine Israelis, including three civilians, and four I.D.F. soldiers were killed by friendly fire.

It is hard to believe that the Israeli strategy, as the report notes, did not reflect a deliberate if unspoken intention among Israeli hardliners to inflict collective punishment on the entrapped Gazan community in retribution for its support of Hamas. Subsequently, Israeli public opinion appears to be drifting toward a disheartening acceptance of collective punishment as a legitimate means for diminishing or even liquidating Hamas. It is therefore crucial now for the government of Israel to acknowledge its obligations under international law to protect noncombatants in combat zones.

The U.S. public likewise has rights and responsibilities in this region. Our ongoing military and economic support for Israel makes the United States complicit in Israel’s strategic decisions. The welfare of the Palestinian people, owing to their unique and vulnerable status, remains the responsibility of the international community. If collective punishment is to be the ongoing policy of the Israeli government, officially or otherwise, the U.S. public should understand the implications of such a position and press for an appropriate adjustment of U.S. foreign policy.

It is possible in this instance both to agree that Israel has the right to defend itself against such attacks and to insist that this right does not give a green light to unlimited use of force. The I.D.F. faces a difficult fight with an elusive opponent, but it also confronts a civilian population in no position to defend itself from the I.D.F. and its American-made hardware and no practical way to escape from its ferocious path. Even in the heat of battle, the I.D.F. cannot escape its responsibility to distinguish between civilians and militants.

Israel’s own traditions require it to do better. As the Mishneh Torah’s Laws of Kings and Their Wars (6:7) puts it: “When a city is under siege, the blockade should not include all four sides. One side should be left open to allow the inhabitants to flee for their lives.” In Gaza last winter, no such quarter was offered the unfortunate inhabitants.

Israel has a long history of ignoring U.N. resolutions, and the I.D.F. has a similarly poor history of investigating the excesses of its troops. Nine Israeli human rights organizations are calling for a thorough investigation of the Goldstone Report’s charges. The Obama administration, which will be under extreme pressure to neutralize the report at the United Nations, should instead join them in insisting that a truly independent body revisit the bloodletting in Gaza. If Israel refuses, the United States should support the report’s recommendation to bring the matter before the International Criminal Court. A good friend stands by his friend; a really good friend knows when to stand up to him as well.

Comments

Yolanda Hesch | 10/16/2009 - 12:07am
Interesting that the Roman Catholic Church would accuse Israel of "Crimes Against Humanity" for Israel's retaliation against Hamas during Operation Cast Lead. Your article, "Seige Mentality" calls for an investigation and trial of the IDF at the International World Court.  The article offers a one sided argument and you use the word "criminal" referencing the IDF.  Yet, you fail to mention the Hamas killings of Israelis and the constant katusha bombarments upon Serdot and other communities in Israel. 
Here in Santa Fe, New Mexico we just celebrated the 400 year commeration anniversary of Spain's conquest of the territory ... a land grab by any standards, not to mention the ensalvement of the Indians who lived in the near by pueblos.  Last week a high Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, in Santa Fe, honored, Felipe Prince of Asturias, son of King Juan Carlos of Spain. The historical land grab by Spain's King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella had the full co-operation of the Roman Catholic Church. Francisan priest were sent to convert the Indians.  It is documented that the Catholic Spaniards were cruel to the local Indians. This history coincides with Spain's Inquisition of the Jews who were forced baptized, subjected to expulsion, their homes and assets confiscated, they were tortured and killed by the Inquistors of the Roman Catholic Chruch.  Would you say this was "Seige Mentality?"  Are your Tribunal Courts of the Inquisition then ... to be a replay of what you are calling for today?  Your judgements against Israel's IDF, are flawed in light of your own history.  Once more you are launching a very troubling campaign against the brothers of Jesus.  I can say this because I was baptized seventy years ago in the forementioned cathedral. 
steve laitman | 10/15/2009 - 1:25pm
Israeli Atrocities?  Read [url=mailto:further.@americamagazine.org]further.[/url]









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You probably don't remember the name Eric Hoffer. 
He was a longshoreman who turned into a philosopher, wrote columns for newspapers and some books. 
He was a non-Jewish American social philosopher. 
He was born in 1902 and died in 1983, after writing nine books and winning the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 
His first book, The True Believer, published in 1951, was widely recognized as a classic. 
 
Here is one of his columns from 1968 - 41 years ago! Some things never change. 
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ISRAEL'S PECULIAR POSITION...by Eric Hoffer - LA Times 5/26/68 
 
The Jews are a peculiar people: things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews. 
Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people and there is no refugee problem. Russia did it, Poland and Czechoslovakia did it. 
 
Turkey threw out a million Greeks, and Algeria a million Frenchman. 
Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese and no one says a word about refugees. 
But in the case of Israel , the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees. 
 
Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single one. 
Arnold Toynbee calls the displacement of the Arabs an atrocity greater than any committed by the Nazis. 
 
Other nations when victorious on the battlefield dictate peace terms. 
But when Israel is victorious, it must sue for peace. 
 
Everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in this world. 
Other nations, when they are defeated, survive and recover but should Israel be defeated it would be destroyed. 
 
Had Nasser triumphed last June [1967], he would have wiped Israel off the map, and no one would have lifted a finger to save the Jews. 
 
No commitment to the Jews by any government, including our own, is worth the paper it is written on. 
There is a cry of outrage all over the world when people die in Vietnam or when two Blacks are executed in Rhodesia . 
 
But, when Hitler slaughtered Jews no one demonstrated against him. 
 
The Swedes, who were ready to break off diplomatic relations with America because of what we did in Vietnam, 
did not let out a peep when Hitler was slaughtering Jews. 
 
They sent Hitler choice iron ore, and ball bearings, and serviced his troops in Norway. 
 
The Jews are alone in the world. 
If Israel survives, it will be solely because of Jewish efforts. and Jewish resources. 
Yet at this moment, Israel is our only reliable and unconditional ally. 
 
We can rely more on Israel than Israel can rely on us. 
 
And one has only to imagine what would have happened last summer [1967] had the Arabs and their Russian backers won the war, 
to realize how vital the survival of Israel is to America and the West in general. 
 
I have a premonition that will not leave me; as it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us. 
Should Israel perish, the Holocaust will be upon us all. [/color]
[quote]

 
Submitted by,
 
Steve Laitman

301 post rd
Westport, Ct 06880

203.226.9789

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Laura Goldmeier | 10/11/2009 - 4:41pm
It is important to start by noting the Operation Cast Lead was a response to eight years of Hamas shelling Israel.  The vast majority of Israelis in southern Israel suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder.  This is not disputed territory that Hamas is targetting.  This is Israel proper.  Further, Hamas' charter explicitly calls for the destruction of Jews.  Hamas funding is from Iran, and they deliberately fire missles during times that children are going to and from school in Israel.  Hamas shoots from populated areas in Gaza hoping that an Israeli response will accidently hit civilians.  Given all of this, where was the outrage when the rockets and mortars were targeting Israelis?  Why was America Magazine and Judge Goldstone silent during this time?  War is not going to be a neat, nice targeted response.  No one would argue that the Israeli army is perfect, but the terrorist to civilian ratio in casualties is the lowest the world has ever seen. Futhermore, the Israeli response was praised by Colonel Richard Kemp of the British Army and military analyst for the BBC.  Unlike Goldstone, his credentials are impeccable, since Goldstone was known to be a constant critc of Israel before he joined this commission.
Bob Sargeant | 10/11/2009 - 9:27am
I was just wondering why The Church has not yet excomminicated Adolf, uh, well, you know who I am referring to, yes?
Bob Sargeant | 10/11/2009 - 9:18am
I was just wondering why The Church has not yet excomminicated Adolf, uh, well, you know who I am referring to, yes?
Robert Dark Star | 10/10/2009 - 1:09pm
Once again CAMERA operatives bombard any article critical of Irael's policy of ethnic cleansing.  Distracting our eyes from the powerful Israeli lobby that stifles open debates on Israel in the Congress, Senate and Executive level of government is the goal of most of these organized disinformation groups.  Read Stephen Walt and John Mearshimer's eye-opening academic investigation into this lobby here: [url=http://web.hks.harvard.edu/publications/workingpapers/citation.aspx?PubId=3670]http://web.hks.harvard.edu/publications/workingpapers/citation.aspx?PubId=3670[/url]
and learn why our the U.S. government turns a blind eye to Israel's crimes and gives $7million a day to this wealthy, well-armed nuclear power.  While Americans cannot afford health care insurance, their government can't or won't put a public option on the table, yet your tax dollars subsidize the building of illegal communities on the graves of Palestinians, for shame! 
Steve Eisenberg | 10/9/2009 - 6:28pm
With regards to your call for a boycott against Israel, I am amazed that
you could be sucked in by the propaganda of Goldstone and his pals
Hamas. The Palestinians live in a culture of death, which is partially
signified by their continual brainwashing of youth as to the
desirability of killing themselves for the cause. This is a sad and
twisted philosophy which only guarantees the misery and failure of the
Palestinians.
If they would leave the Israelis alone, the Palestinians would
be left alone. If Israel wanted to rub out all of Gaza she could do it
in minutes.
Israel provides water and medical supplies to
hospitals and neighborhoods in Gaza, in case you haven't heard. I
expect you do do a feature article on this in a future issue of your
magazine.
[color=#888888]
Steve Eisenberg
New Hampshire[/color]
Ahmad Yaqeen | 10/9/2009 - 5:55pm
Here is a perspective for you to consder:
A handfull of terrorists from Pakistan hijacked a ship, cut off the captains head and threw his body to the bottom of the ship. They snuck into Mumbai India.
Within 24 hours they killed 250 people and injured aprox 350.
All  they had were grenades and guns. They also took some time to go out of their way to kill some Jews.
In contrast Israel has been subjected to terrorist attacks and rocket attacks for more than  8 years.
Talk about patience and restraint.
With modern Jets and  the mostg "POWERFUL ARMY IN THE MIDDLE EAST", Israel used "TWO TON BOMBS" TANKS" ARTILLERY" etc....and in the entire period of this WAR...it is a war after all because HAMAS is the "DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED GOVERNMENT OF GAZA"....which lasted around 4 weeks, Palestinians suffered aprox 1200 casualties in total.
I challenge anyone to provide an eg of equivalent restraint as Israel has shown ?
But here is an eg of hypocrosy at its best, In the period that Israel was defending itself from rocket attacks, there were over 3000 victims of the GENOCIDE IN DARFUR.
Get that 3000 in December...and every month that followed.
Want another eg of hypocroay?  When Saddam invaded Kuwait, Palestinians cheered him on.Not one Palestinian fired a rocket into Kuwait...or at least none that were reported.... Kuwait replied by ETHNICALLY CLEANSING 450,000 PALESTINIANS from Kuwait as punishment for supporting Saddam Hussein...a known terrorist supporter and brutal dictator.  At that time, 1992 the Palestinian population in Gaza was around 450,000.
Fast track to 2009...Israel is under a constant threat and attack from Palestinian terrorists. Having said that Palestinian population in Gaza grew from 450,000 in 1992, to 1.2 million in 2009. In contrast Kuwaits Palestinian population rests at 10,000!
Add that the UN reported that "PALESTINIANS IN GAZA AND WEST BANK HAVE THE HIGHEST LIFE SPAN THAN THEIR BROTHERS IN JORDAN OR EGYPT...ADD THAT THEIR AVERAGE INCOME SURPASSED THE AVERAGE INCOME OF ARABS IN EGYPT AND JORDAN....APROX 3500 PER YEAR...
Hope you get the point! All under a "so called "occupation".
 
Ahmad Yaqeen | 10/9/2009 - 5:40pm
 End the Occupation of Israel!
                                                                                                      [url=http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1118635.html][color=#ff0000]http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1118635.html[/color][/url]
]Most of the Arabs in the Land of Israel immigrated here after our waves of aliyah. In other words, Zionism and the prosperity it engendered spawned "the Palestinian people." Since the Arab occupation of the Land of Israel in the seventh century, and throughout the centuries of Muslim occupation, not one of the occupiers viewed this land as anything more than a distant imperial outpost.
The demand to grant a state to Arab immigrants to this country and their army, which is stationed here thanks to the blindness of certain Jews and the nations of the world, is without foundation. It is tantamount to legitimizing a reality that was created here after the criminal act that allowed an occupying army to enter this country.
[/size]
[size= 12pt]"The critics' responses are predictable: What do you propose, that the Arabs just evaporate into thin air? In contrast with the critics who espouse a racist transfer of Jews from Judea and Samaria, I reject any forcible transfer of any population group. Perhaps there is no solution to the problem. There is certainly no solution at this point. But this is no reason to commit suicide or sacrifice the Zionist vision on the altar of "peace."
I do not want a binational state. If there is a solution, it cannot be found within the confines of just the western Land of Israel. In the long term, the solution will be a regional one that combines democracy, demography and geography. The Arabs of the Land of Israel will continue to live in their present homes and will hold Jordanian and Egyptian (for Gazans) citizenship, voting for their respective parliaments. In the long term, citizens of Jordan who comprise an overwhelming majority in eastern Transjordan will gain power in Amman. It is there that a solution will be found for their brothers who live west of the Jordan River.
But in the meantime, we must end the occupation. The Arab occupation in the Land of Israel
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manny genn | 10/9/2009 - 4:53pm
Sickening ,skewed reporting with an anti-Israel bias that crosses the line of common decency. If I had a little more Psychiatric backround I might venture a guess that it contains more than a little of what I view as anti-semitic fact skewing.
Adam V | 10/9/2009 - 3:40pm
As a graduate of a Jesuit University I am extremely troubled by the anti Israel bias that America continues to display. I find it ludicrous that the author of this editorial believes that a 3 week war, in a densly populated area that resulted in 1400 total deaths by some accounts, is a example of Israel's "unlimited use of force." Wouldn't you think that if the Israeli's used "unlimited force" and their goal was "collective punishment" a lot more then 1400 combatants and non combatants would have perished?
As others have noted the Israeli's took unprecedented steps to limit the civilian casualties in Gaza including waiting until approximately 8000 missiles were fired on it's civilian population before respond with a sizable military action. I doubt any other country in the world would have waited so long. I know that we would not have. Fact of the matter is Israel is held to a standard that no other country in the world is, including the United States. More civilians have died in Pakistan, Yemen and countless other countries since the Israelis defensive action in Gaza. How come I haven't read about any of these in the pages of America?
 
Mr Tony | 10/5/2009 - 1:42pm
I wonder how many of the people so critical of Israel have even been there? I was just there in June and my wife and I (powder-white blond and redhead from the southern US) were pelted with rocks by Arab "youths" when we went into East Jerusalem to find our hotel! We also had to have armed escorts walk with us through the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem after we exited a Western Wall tour. I can tell you from first hand experience that the "Palestinians" referred to bring their misfortune on themselves. I wish all the self-righteous, anti-Israel Jew haters would at least invest a few hours into researching how the "Palestinians" came to be and why they remain 'refugees'. Those haters would find that the "Palestinians" evacuated Israel at the behest of Arab armies in 1948 as they were trying to drive the Jews into the sea. They'd also find that when the Arab armies were unsuccessfull, they refused those very same people they urged to evacuate citizenship rights in their countries, thereby creating the 'refugee' problem themselves for political gain. Israel has had to fight for its existence with one hand tied behind it's back. The only thing this article proves to me is that there is still an abundance on Jew hatred the world over. There are only 14 million Jews world-wide. Why is it that a country that's 1/100th of 1% of the land mass in the Middle East with such a tiny population is such a pain to the 157 Million Arabs that surround it and the 1+billion Muslims and 1+billion Christians worldwide? How about getting off your self-righteous high-horses and allowing a minority to live in peace without all the straw-man arguments of how 14 million people worldwide control the other 6 billion through lies, deceit and tretchury? It's no longer an argument of good vs evil for the church, it's an argument of if the covetous, Jesus killing Jews should be allowed to even exist any more. Hopefully Matthew 7:1 will come back to bite these hypocrates - 1"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
Ehad Ha'am | 10/4/2009 - 1:03am
As a child, I grew up among Catholics in Dublin, Ireland, though I have lived in Israel for the last fifty years.
Still, the years of my youth in Ireland have left an indelible memory of Catholic attitudes towards the Jews.  That is why I was unimpressed during the years that followed, when anti-Semitism and other forms of racism became unfashionable in the West, by Rome's overtures towards the Jews and the Jewish state and its claims that anti-Semitism was being rooted out of the Catholic church. I was unimpressed because my own perception of Catholics was based on actions not words and I was resolved to change my opinion of Catholics only based on actions, rather than words.
This article in "America - The National Catholic Weekly" reinforces my opinion of the Catholic Church. Just as a leopard cannot change its spots, so Catholics cannot divest themselves of racism towards Jews - the people who they actually believe "killed God"! It is too deeply ingrained in their beliefs, and in their doctrines.
And that is why this publication rushes to embrace a one-sided, half-baked, unsubstantiated attack on the Jewish state. It fits in snugly with Catholic attitudes towards Jews. (And please do not tell me that there is an assistant editor of this publication whose "best friend is a Jew"!)
There is no hope for improved relations between Catholics and Jews as long as Catholics remain racists Jew-haters.
JIM MCCREA | 10/2/2009 - 5:59pm
Read Bernard Wasserstein's "Israelis & Palestinians:  Why Do They Fight?  Can They Stop?"
I have the 3rd edition (2008); the 1st editions is from 2001.
Moll | 10/1/2009 - 8:11pm
The tribal arabs, the descendants of Ham and his son Canaan, both of whom were cursed by Noah, who are living in judea, samaria and gaza are stateless - nomads, with no national identity beyond their tribalism (i.e. fatah, hamas, and clans). They are non-state players in the middle east. They do not play their war-like games by any of the traditional rules spelled out by the nations of the world after WWII. These non-state players do not engage in their terrorist activities by "gentlemen's rules". In fact, no rules but their own shariah-invented rules apply!  It can be described as assymetric warfare.  Why should any sovereign STATE, with national regalia, a military, and passports which identify itscitizens, engage in any traditional civilized types of interactions with these non state actors - other than killing, OR capturing and incarcerating them? How can a State negotiate, compromise, dialogue, with non-state individuals?  Finally, where in the scriptures does Catholic Theology read that they should negotiate, dialogue, appease, compromise, submit to the forces of the evil inherent in the heart of these barbaric tribal men?  The Word says "Draw nigh to God ... flee from evil."
Dexter Van Zile | 9/29/2009 - 9:35am

America has seen fit to invoke both the Goldstone Report and the Mishneh in its indictment of Israel’s behavior during the recent fighting.

This is pretty disconcerting given the magazine’s tendency to invoke the language of the Just War doctrine in a discriminatory manner when it covered the fighting between Israel, Hamas and Hezbollah in 2006. During this fighting, the publication’s writers and editors exhibited a troubling double standard in which violence against Israel was unremarkable and Israel’s response to this violence was subjected to intense scrutiny.

The problems with the Goldstone Report are numerous and have been recounted elsewhere.

The document portrays Palestinians who are members of terror organizations and who have gone through Hamas infantry training as illegitimate targets of attack.

The document relies on witnesses who have told numerous different stories about alleged Israeli atrocities.

The document falsely suggests that Hamas has “implicitly” accepted Israel’s right to exist by virtue of having signed the “Prisoner’s Document in 2006. In fact, Hamas leaders have continued to call for Israel’s destruction.

The commission itself included one member who judged Israel guilty of war crimes even before the fighting came to an end.

America’s reliance on such a document is troubling, but to be predicted.

What is innovative in the magazine’s editorial is the use of the Mishneh in its indictment of Israel. In particular, it invokes a passage stating that rulers must not blockade a city on all four sides, but should instead keep one side open to allow the inhabitants to flee for their lives.

Egypt controls the Rafah crossing and kept it closed during the recent fighting. There is nothing (aside from its own fear of Hamas) preventing Egypt from opening up this crossing to allow refugees into its country.

Israel warned the inhabitants of Gaza of impending attacks by dropping leaflets, sending text messages to cell phones and by making phone calls to peoples’ homes. Hamas, on the other hand, attacked civilians while hiding among civilians and civilian institutions.

At what point will the editors search the Koran and the Hadith for words of mercy, tolerance and responsibility and use these passages to assess the behavior of Hamas? Clearly, Hamas is worthy of some form or admonition and correction.

Hamas shoots its opponents in the streets, and throws its adversaries off rooftops. It has hijacked UN trucks carrying international aid and diverts the goods to its supporters. It steals food and fuel and denies Palestinian hospitals of the equipment and supplies they need to operate. It stages blackouts in an effort to portray Israel as a heartless and cruel oppressor.

In short, Hamas is a mass movement that rules the Gaza Strip by force, murders its opponents and uses the civilian population as a pawn in its effort to demonize Israel and render Israeli civilians as legitimate targets of violence. Hamas’ primary supporter is Iran, a country whose leaders have repeatedly expressed a desire to perpetrate mass murder of Jews in the Middle East and also oppresses its own citizens.

And yet, the editors at America magazine want Israel to be brought before the International Criminal Court.

Amazing.

Dexter Van Zile
Christian Media Analyst
The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America

Keyran Moran | 9/29/2009 - 1:01am
The editors' comment is on-target and extremely fair, if not a bit tepid for Slaughtering of the Innocents.
However, judging from the responses which seems to have been written by the agitprop committee of the War Party, one does wonder where the bishops and the Catholic publications have been..... at least since 2001.
With the profoundest fear of arousing the Lobby, the Church Militant fighting for Truth & Justice has become the Church Supine.
Should we not all link our hands from sea to shining sea and say together the prayer to the Holy Spirit....to strength our will...
to say No to the next episode of the Slaughter of the Innocents?
MICHAEL COLLINS MR/MRS | 9/27/2009 - 9:19am
This is a perplexing issue.  Certainly there have been many examples of disproportionate responses to Arab terrorism.  And certainly we have an obligation to "stand up" to our ally in its dealing with Hamas.  And I am certainly not in agreement with much of what Israel has done in the Middle East.  That said, I have never been a proponent of simply criticizing someone whose actions I deplore.  I think it far more productive to offer suggestions as to just what their behavior ought to be.  In this case, I'm very much interested to know how the critics would deal with an enemy who eats and sleeps amongst innocents, who places their artillery and missle launch sites in the midst of urban residential areas and so on.  I would welcome (and I bet the Israelis would also) the critics to offer some concrete and positive suggestions as to how the Israelis should conduct their military operations in these circumstances.
Charles Lewis | 9/26/2009 - 6:47pm
Judging the situation in Israel seems to make for great armchair analysis. How many of us in the United States or Canada can really judge Israel's actions fairly ? How many of have lived with the fear of rocket attacks and suicide bombers on an almost daily basis? And have lived in a place where all your immediate neighbors would prefer to see you dead than alive? 
The only taste we've had of that in recent memory is 9/11 and as a result of that we are in a war in Iraq and Afghanistan. 
[size= 14px]All this pontification is rich coming from the sons and daughters of European settlers who forcibly moved North America's original people into little ghettos or wiped them out when they became a nuisance.[/size]
[size= 14px]The day the critics of Israel are ready to do a full mea culpa for those sins, and then hand back all the land they have stolen (including their own homes), then I'll listen. But for most of those critics those crimes are ancient history. [/size]
Richard Sullivan | 9/26/2009 - 12:14pm
It is very difficult to find fault with Israel without being considered an anti-semite so I would expect some flak from this editorial. I find it strange that Robert J. Lanworthy doubts that many real Catholic readers would agree with itl. I feel sure that most fair minded people, including millions of Israelies, would agree with it.
Cecilia McCambridge | 9/25/2009 - 6:06pm
I just read your comment on "Siege Mentality" I agree with the legitimacy of your comment. It does not take an expert analyist for Catholics to recognize the power of the IDF vs Hamas. The International jurist Richard Goldstone justifably reported his findings and it should be seriously look at by the President. My disagreement with the comment made by Robert J. Langworthy is that Americans are getting tired of Anti Slogans.  It is time to recognize to agree does not mean that the opposition are" anti-Capitalis haiting thugs," or jew haiting jews.  
Timothy Leonard | 9/25/2009 - 5:12pm
The editorial calling for the U.S. to stand up to Israel is correct, and the longer we wait before joining in the call for a full investigation of the Gaza atrocities, the more such behavior shall become neutralized and accepted. Additionally, the continued building of "settlements", i.e. the continued expansion of Israel into Palestinian lands needs investigation. Often neglected in this discussion is the fact that Israel is the only state in the region with nuclear arms, so the U.S. condemns Iran for seeking what it has helped Israel build.
David M. Ross | 9/25/2009 - 4:26pm
Why doesn't commentary call for an investigation of the fire bombings of Hamburg, Dresden, and other German cities, largely filled with women and children at the time? Why not call for a similar investination of the fire-bombing of Japanese cities, not to mention the use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Were these proportionate responses? Apparently Israel is the only country required to have NO civilian casualties in a war.
Did "America" protest the Palestinians' rocket attacks on Israel before the war?
 
Carolyn Disco | 9/25/2009 - 4:13pm

I just finished reading a statement in today's Wall St. Journal by Ehud Barak, Israel's defense minister, when this came in my email.
Titled, At the UN., Terrorism Pays: It was my duty as defense minister to stop Hamas rockets,
http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=11888&comments=1#readcomments


I find Barak's comments more probative than this editorial. "Whenever we are forced to defend our own lives, it is our obligation to do so in a way that ensures that the lives of innocent civilians on
the other side are protected. This duty becomes extremely difficult when we have to face an enemy that intentionally deploys its forces in densely populated areas, stores its explosives in private homes, and launches rockets from crowded school yards and mosques. In Gaza, we reached out to the civilians via millions of leaflets, telephone calls
and text messages urging them to leave areas before we acted.

So when the Goldstone mission gathers testimony from local residents in Hamas-ruled Gaza, but forgets to ask them whether they happened to
notice any armed Palestinians during the Israeli operation, or didn't realize that its impartially chosen witnesses happened to be known Hamas operatives according to Israeli intelligence, I begin to question the methodology of such a "fact-finding" effort

If the U.N. or anyone else has complaints, they should direct them towards the Israeli government. I have in-depth knowledge about the extent of the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) efforts to reduce civilian casualties, and I am convinced that the actions our government took are equal to or exceed actions taken by the armed forces of any other democratic nation. Strikes against extremely valuable Hamas targets were aborted in mid-operation due to the unexpected presence of
civilians.

Hundreds of thousands of warnings of impending IDF activity were provided to the population by leaflet, radio, telephone and text messages. Humanitarian supplies were allowed to flow into Gaza despite the fact that Hamas shelled the convoys and confiscated the aid they
carried..."

Dan Casey | 9/25/2009 - 2:44pm
Reading this report reinforces my sense of bewilderment that Israel can continue to get away with these unconscionable actions with no response from the so called "champions of democracy" the European Union and the USA. What power does Israel wield over us that it should be so? This is hardly a bunch of anti semitic rabble rousers. Surely our government is aware of these abuses yet seem unwilling to commit us to a course of action that would bring real pressure to bear on the  state of Israel. Bloody awful!
 
Edmundo Rodriguez, S.J. | 9/25/2009 - 2:31pm
Thanks to the America editors for highlighting the Goldstone Report about the atrocities committed by the Israeli Defense Forces against the population of Gaza.  Too often such things are dismissed as unimportant or false and then nothing changes for the next time.  President Obama needs to take a tougher stand with the Israelis.
 
Robert J. Langworthy | 9/25/2009 - 12:44pm
Quoting anything coming out of a U.N. study is stupity beyond belief.
The UN is made primarily of Anti ( Our hapless president  on top of this list)American, anti-Israel ,anti-capitalist hating thugs and parasites, with a few Jew hating Jews tossed in to give a look of legitimacy. 
You and your little paper may be witless enough to swallow the garbage put out by the UN, but I rather doubt many real Catholic readers will follow your clueless lead.

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