Israel/Palestine discussion

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yedidyak
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby yedidyak » Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:42 pm UTC

Again, it not me, its four experts.

And I've worked with these things. When they are moving nearby you can't hear anything, a driver would have no chance.

Again, this was an active combat zone, not a protest rally. You can't stop everything because civilians are deliberately putting themselves in harms way. Accidents happen. Just this week an IDF soldier was killed after being run over by a tank. If you repeatedly stand in front of bulldozers, at some point an accident will happen.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby EsotericWombat » Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:51 pm UTC

Turns out international law doesn't go away just because you call something an active combat zone.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby yedidyak » Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:00 pm UTC

EsotericWombat wrote:Turns out international law doesn't go away just because you call something an active combat zone.


Turns out that despite international law, war zones are dangerous places. Accidents happen.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby EsotericWombat » Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:47 pm UTC

If they couldn't see that there was a person in front of them when they knew that there were protesters standing in their way at least intermittently, they weren't upholding their obligations under Geneva to protect civilians.

Again, the judge specifically said that the IDF was immune regardless of the facts of the case. He asserted that Geneva doesn't apply in an "active combat zone," which is a curious thing to call an area where no combat was taking place. Under that precedent, it's hard to imagine anything the IDF can be held liable for.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Vahir » Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:09 am UTC

EsotericWombat wrote:If they couldn't see that there was a person in front of them when they knew that there were protesters standing in their way at least intermittently, they weren't upholding their obligations under Geneva to protect civilians.

Again, the judge specifically said that the IDF was immune regardless of the facts of the case. He asserted that Geneva doesn't apply in an "active combat zone," which is a curious thing to call an area where no combat was taking place. Under that precedent, it's hard to imagine anything the IDF can be held liable for.


[Citation Needed] for everything you say the judge said. I have confidence that with all the qualified officials and experts who handled the case, the judgement was well founded. And why would there be an entire conspiracy to protect one grunt, when they could just turn him to the wolves for good PR? And for that matter, why would the driver purposefully kill her in the first place?

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby EsotericWombat » Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:30 am UTC

From the Jerusalem Post

A Haifa District Court invoked the “combatant activities” exception, and said on Tuesday that the US activist who was killed in disputed circumstances involving an IDF bulldozer could have avoided the dangerous situation, but calls her death a “regrettable accident.”

In the verdict, Judge Oded Gershon invoked the exception, noting that IDF forces were attacked in the same area in which Corrie had been killed just hours earlier while protesting an IDF home demolition in Rafah on March 16, 2003.

The combatant activities exception essentially says that a country’s armed forces cannot be held liable for civil damages for physical or economic harm to civilians in an area defined as a war zone.


Most accounts are saying that the case is destined for the Supreme Court. If the ruling is upheld, regardless of whether or not this incident can be accurately classified as a homicide, negligent or otherwise, it will essentially legalize murder by IDF forces and nullify the Geneva Conventions. Even if you think that the Corrie family isn't entitled to damages and that the IDF's self-declaration as the world's most moral army is accurate, and that the official story that they weren't demolishing homes is legit, this should bother you.

As far as jurisprudence goes this is some Dredd Scott-level bullshit. The judge could have ruled narrowly on his finding of the facts and not messed with the Geneva Conventions. As it stands, state power is defeating accountability no matter how you slice it.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Iulus Cofield » Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:40 am UTC

Is that exception saying individual IDF soldiers are exempt or the IDF itself or both? If only the former, I actually think that's pretty reasonable, in that I think the IDF (or any other state military organization) should be held liable if the proximately responsible soldiers were following orders and conforming to established policies and procedures. I do not under any circumstance agree with a military being held legally unaccountable.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby EsotericWombat » Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:54 am UTC

I'm not 100% on whether it applies to soldiers, but in this case it's being applied to the IDF
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Mambrino » Sun Sep 02, 2012 3:58 pm UTC

Vahir wrote:Protesters who go to other countries to publicly defy them and are surprised when things go badly are annoying. Obviously, her death was tragic, but come on, she knew when she went there that there was at least a possibility that things would go south.


... so nobody should be surprised when things like this happen in Israel?

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby yedidyak » Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:54 pm UTC

Mambrino wrote:
Vahir wrote:Protesters who go to other countries to publicly defy them and are surprised when things go badly are annoying. Obviously, her death was tragic, but come on, she knew when she went there that there was at least a possibility that things would go south.


... so nobody should be surprised when things like this happen in Israel?


I think the point was that nobody should be surprised this happened to someone who went out of her way to put herself into harm's way.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby EsotericWombat » Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:19 pm UTC

Who the fuck said they were surprised? I'm no more surprised by this story than I am by that tired old line being trotted out to justify it. None of this shit is actually new.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby yedidyak » Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:36 pm UTC

EsotericWombat wrote:Again, the judge specifically said that the IDF was immune regardless of the facts of the case. He asserted that Geneva doesn't apply in an "active combat zone," which is a curious thing to call an area where no combat was taking place. Under that precedent, it's hard to imagine anything the IDF can be held liable for.


I don't think he said that. He said that since this was a combat zone that she herself could have avoided, and that since she chose to place herself in harm's way, and since there was no intent or negligence by the soldiers - then the IDF was not liable.

Not that the IDF is never responsible.

It is also a generally accepted law - the US, UK and many other countries all have similar versions.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:15 am UTC

I just wanted to post here once to say that basically all of you are awesome. I've been arguing in other places and holy crap, they're all morons. You guys would rip them to shreds in a debate. Bye again.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby yoni45 » Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:27 pm UTC

EsotericWombat wrote:If they couldn't see that there was a person in front of them when they knew that there were protesters standing in their way at least intermittently, they weren't upholding their obligations under Geneva to protect civilians.


Out of curiosity, which geneva convention obligations are we talking about here? Mind citing them?

I'd imagine that such obligations wouldn't be completely "protect civilians at all costs" -- I'd imagine that, especially within a warzone, such obligations would be balanced against things like "reasonable attempts to avoid" such casualties (you know, such as the warning provided by the existence of a giant, slow, lumbering, but nevertheless oncoming bulldozer).

EsotericWombat wrote:...At least one of the eyewitnesses reports hearing IDF soldiers shout back, so I'm calling BS on your assertion about the megaphone.


I found this particularly interesting -- from my limited reading of the case, it seems to me that pretty much all (expert) parties agree that it was pretty much impossible for the soldier to hear things outside the bulldozer. So much so, that it was pretty much impossible for the soldier to hear a megaphone.

Yet you'd throw all that away because *one* of the eyewitnesses (being mindful of the bias of said witnesses) supposedly heard the IDF soldier shout back? I'd think that when it's questionable whether a megaphone is audible, the logical thing to throw away would be the testimony that claims to have heard the soldier's unamplified voice.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Iulus Cofield » Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:16 pm UTC

Netanyahu's duty dance towards deathan airstrike against Iran may be averted.

Haaretz: Barak hints U.S. military preparations may eliminate Israel's need for Iran strike

Haaretz: Reshuffling the deck: Barak now opposes Israeli strike on Iran, sources say

Or not.

Jerusalem Post: Barak hints the US would join Israel in Iran strike

It looks like Netanyahu's 12 week timeline was at least partially set in an attempt to force Obama to make a clear position on the issue, the lack of success on that front apparently made him turn an intelligence meeting "into a sharp exchange".

U.S. congressman confirms high-level U.S.-Israel spat over Iran

I think it is pretty safe to say Obama really, really, really, doesn't want Israel to launch strikes against Iran before the election. Which is the only sane position for a US president. But I remain totally in the dark on what Obama will do once he doesn't have to worry about reelection. Romney, of course, would not hesitate to launch the full might of the world's most expensive army should Netanyahu ask.

And on the lighter side from that Reuters article, Netanyahu actually believes Iran could launch a nuke within two months! Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to recall that conservative estimates had put Iran at least ten years away from just having a working warhead.

Rogers said the Israeli and U.S. timelines differed on how quickly Iran could put a nuclear weapon on a missile, if it decided to move in that direction.

Netanyahu believes "if they decide to do the dash it could be four weeks to eight weeks," while U.S. intelligence analysts believe it would "take a little longer than that," [Republican Representative] Rogers said. "But the problem is nobody really knows for sure."

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby yedidyak » Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:27 pm UTC

I don't think Netanyahu was saying they could 'launch' a nuke, just that they could reach the point where nothing could stop them getting a nuke. Not a nuclear warhead, a nuclear bomb.

Googling gives me this website. I have no idea of its authenticity, but it uses IAEA figures o work out how long it would take Iran to enrich enough uranium to weapons grade for a bomb with their current enriching plants.

* Number of months theoretically needed to accomplish the enrichment to weapon-grade if the number of centrifuges devoted to production at Fordow were:

doubled: 3.3 months
tripled: 2.2 months
quadrupled: 1.6 months (y)

* Date by which this quadrupling of centrifuges may occur:

November 2012 (z)
--------------------------

(y) If 292 SWUs are needed to bring a bomb’s worth of 20% enriched UF6 to weapon-grade, and if Iran’s centrifuges at Fordow were to produce approximately 1,072 SWUs per year, or 89 SWUs per month, then it would take about 3.3 months to achieve 292 SWUs; if Iran's centrifuges were able to produce 1,608 SWUs per year, or 134 SWUs per month, then it would take 2.2 months to achieve 292 SWUs; if Iran’s centrifuges were able to produce approximately 2,144 SWUs per year, or 179 SWUs per month, then it would take 1.6 months to achieve 292 SWUs. The above calculations assume that the each centrifuge would achieve the same average production rate as those in the main enrichment plant at Natanz (.77 SWUs).

(z) Iran completed the installation of about 1,000 centrifuges since May 2012. To fully outfit the Fordow plant, a further 644 centrifuges must be installed. Based on Iran’s past installation rate, the plant could be fully outfitted by November 2012.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby EsotericWombat » Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:18 pm UTC

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/09 ... -plan/all/

I still stand by what I've been saying for the past couple of years now. This war is just too fucking stupid to ever happen. If Israel goes it alone they can delay development for 2 years. If the US helps them, we can extend that 10 years.

In either case, if there was any question as to whether or not Iran actually is going to develop nuclear weapons, an unprovoked attack would remove all doubt. Anyone who thinks that the blowback that absolutely will result from such an assault would be worth it is either a moron or a sociopath.

Or, in the case of John Bolton, both.

Here's my $64 billion question: Do we think that Tehran is more likely to strike first with nukes than Moscow was during the Cold War? Given the geography, the extent to which they'll be outgunned for the foreseeable future in terms of both nukes and conventional arms, and the economic devastation that would result as the few countries still trading with them drop their support, it seems pretty obvious that MAD minus the M is going to be more than enough to keep even a nuclear Iran in check.

Therefore, I hope that where we wind up is conceding the right of Iran to pursue breakout capacity but not an actual weapon in exchange for a comprehensive peace treaty and a rigorous inspections regime. They're going to be present in Iraq and Afghanistan either way, so we might as well be on speaking terms.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby yoni45 » Sat Sep 08, 2012 8:31 pm UTC

EsotericWombat wrote:Here's my $64 billion question: Do we think that Tehran is more likely to strike first with nukes than Moscow was during the Cold War?


That's not a $64 billion question. It's a silly question with few implications for the situation.

Outside all the saber rattling, all the involved parties very well understand the minimal likelihood of Iran actually using these nukes aggressively. The $64 billion question is whether Iran's acquisition of nukes would, in general, hurt Western interests enough to warrant action. "Hurt Western interests" would include things like an emboldened Iran that cannot easily be stopped in cases of lower-intensity aggression, or an Iran that cannot easily be subdued in cases of a sustained local attempt at an uprising.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby bentheimmigrant » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:04 am UTC

It's those years in Philly and Boston coming out.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby boXd » Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:08 pm UTC

Forgive me for being uninformed here, but *why* is there such a tight bond between Israel and the USA anyway? Heck, why is this diplomatic relationship even influencing the freaking presidential elections in the USA? I'm sure I'm missing something important, but I just don't get it. What does the USA 'gain' from having Israel as an ally? (I find it hard to believe that having troops you like in the Middle East is worth being hated by everyone who hates Israel, which is rather a lot of people.) Can someone explain this to me?

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby bentheimmigrant » Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:32 pm UTC

I'd say a lot of it comes down to the idea of America needing to project power everywhere, and the need to protect interests (particularly in the Middle East), probably heavily influenced by Cold War doctrines. There's probably also a fair amount of religious reasoning, needing to maintain Israel as a bulwark against the heathen hordes.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby EMTP » Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:01 pm UTC

boXd wrote:Forgive me for being uninformed here, but *why* is there such a tight bond between Israel and the USA anyway? Heck, why is this diplomatic relationship even influencing the freaking presidential elections in the USA? I'm sure I'm missing something important, but I just don't get it. What does the USA 'gain' from having Israel as an ally? (I find it hard to believe that having troops you like in the Middle East is worth being hated by everyone who hates Israel, which is rather a lot of people.) Can someone explain this to me?


It's complicated, and there are a number of elements, some of which people avoid discussing for fear of being labeled anti-Semitic. Forces at work include:

1. Identification of Jews as victims of persecution and of Israel with Jews. To many people, especially on the right, the idea that Jews are the peace-loving victims in any conflict is axiomatic.

2. Money. It's been estimated that about 40% of the individual contributions to the Democratic party come from Jewish Americans. Estimates of the total contributions vary but the percentage of total contributions from Jewish Americans is high relative to their size (2% of the population).

3. Christian extremism. While historically, Christian fundamentalists have had a strong anti-Semitic streak (some would say they still do) identification with the Biblical Israelites, hostility to Muslims, and a few dashes of racism make the Christian right firmly (as they would say) pro-Israel(*).

4. Public anger at terrorism and identification of Muslims and Palestinians with terrorism. Israel has killed more civilians than the Palestinians, by a factor of ten or more. Regardless, they succeeded in shaping the narrative that identified Palestinian violence as "terrorism," even when directed at military targets, and Zionist violence as "self-defense" or "retaliation," even when employed for the express purpose of ethic cleansing or terrorizing a civilian population. They won that war of messaging, and for that reason alone many Americans see supporting Israel as part and parcel of hating terrorism like the kind we endured on 9/11.

5. The elites. The American public goes its own way, but like any culture, our attitudes are strongly influenced by our writers, actors, journalists, and politicians. The American Jewish community, for complex historical reasons including a strong cultural value of education and professional accomplishment, is hugely overrepresented(**) in all those sectors, relative to the size of their population. Which is entirely laudable. It has meant, however, naturally, that to the extent that Zionists have persuaded the American Jewish community to identify with the state of Israel, those feelings are reflected in the cultural output and decision-making of the American elites.

_____________________________

* The history of the Crusades is interesting in this context. In the latter history of the Crusader states, they depended upon money and manpower from Europe to maintain their position. However, the outsiders did not understand the need to reach an understanding with the neighboring Muslim states. Their dependence on outside funding and support, when outsiders were pushing them towards a more hardline policy, put the Crusader states in a difficult position. I think you can see a similar dynamic in Israel today.

** By "overrepresented" I mean statistically. It's not a value judgement. Jewish artists and intellectuals enrich America, and I would not subtract a single one.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Iulus Cofield » Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:13 pm UTC

Don't forget that by supporting Israel at the UN and providing them with arms, we gain precious leverage over them every time they start provoking Turkey/Iran/Egypt or get tempted to make a pre-emptive strike against an imaginary enemy or pull out their nuclear launch keys if they start losing a war.

I tend to think of allying with Israel as our penance for all of the warmongering various presidents have done or like a less selfish version of the Chinese-North Korean relationship.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby EMTP » Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:18 pm UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:Don't forget that by supporting Israel at the UN and providing them with arms, we gain precious leverage over them every time they start provoking Turkey/Iran/Egypt or get tempted to make a pre-emptive strike against an imaginary enemy or pull out their nuclear launch keys if they start losing a war.

I tend to think of allying with Israel as our penance for all of the warmongering various presidents have done or like a less selfish version of the Chinese-North Korean relationship.


Leverage over them? I presume that's sarcasm?

List is certainly not comprehensive. Cold War alliance, for example, brought the two countries closer.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby EsotericWombat » Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:26 pm UTC

There has been a hesitancy on the part of US pols to exercise leverage on Israel, but can you imagine what Israel's posture would be like if they were getting their weapons from Russia or China, who start to consider withdrawing support for a government when they slaughter their own people?
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby engr » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:43 am UTC

Wanna see something interesting and oddly relevant to this topic?
1. Open up Bing translator
2. On the left, type up "ופרמדיק" (means "and a paramedic" in Hebrew).
3. Put "Hebrew" and "English" into top and bottom fields.
4. Click "Translate".
5. Enjoy.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Iulus Cofield » Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:15 am UTC

Lol. I'm guessing Bing is using a similar translation method to Google and they really need a lot more samples.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby yedidyak » Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:11 am UTC

Another attack on IDF soldiers from inside Egypt today.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby EMTP » Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:49 pm UTC

yedidyak wrote:Another attack on IDF soldiers from inside Egypt today.


[Factually accurate but angry and unproductive comment deleted by user.]
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby EMTP » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:53 pm UTC

From Reuters:

Image

Photo caption contest!
"Reasonable – that is, human – men will always be capable of compromise, but men who have dehumanized themselves by becoming the blind worshipers of an idea or an ideal are fanatics whose devotion to abstractions makes them the enemies of life."
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby yoni45 » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:58 pm UTC

EMTP wrote:From Reuters:

---

Photo caption contest!


...talk about trying too hard.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby engr » Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:48 pm UTC

Footage of "peaceful Palestinian protesters" trying to burn an Israeli border guard to death. Other guards were watching it happen from the watchtower and were ordered not to shoot at the protesters. The commanders were afraid of giving the order to shoot out of fear of being court-martialed.
Finally, additional forces in armored jeeps arrived and evacuated the border guard from the booth. He suffered smoke inhalation but survived. A few more minutes, and he would have been dead.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby boXd » Sat Sep 29, 2012 11:22 pm UTC

engr wrote:Footage of "peaceful Palestinian protesters" trying to burn an Israeli border guard to death. Other guards were watching it happen from the watchtower and were ordered not to shoot at the protesters. The commanders were afraid of giving the order to shoot out of fear of being court-martialed.
Finally, additional forces in armored jeeps arrived and evacuated the border guard from the booth. He suffered smoke inhalation but survived. A few more minutes, and he would have been dead.


Why do you add the 'peaceful Palestinian protestors' part sarcastically (assuming I interpreted what you said correctly)? I don't think the Palestinians are trying to make the world think they're protesting (for lack of a better term) peacefully.

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby yurell » Sun Sep 30, 2012 12:03 am UTC

I'm sorry, who's claiming that they're peaceful, engr? I don't understand Hebrew (or whatever the language of that link was).
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Vahir » Sun Sep 30, 2012 1:47 am UTC

That's revolting, although I can only assume that was the act of a group of extremists, and representative of the Palestinians.

What do you guys think the guards should have done? Used lethal force?

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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Green9090 » Sun Sep 30, 2012 4:10 am UTC

Vahir wrote:That's revolting, although I can only assume that was the act of a group of extremists, and representative of the Palestinians.

What do you guys think the guards should have done? Used lethal force?

Yes. When you are an armed guard and someone is trying to light your coworker on fire, warning shots followed by shooting at them if they persist is the correct response. Why, do you think differently?
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby yurell » Sun Sep 30, 2012 4:12 am UTC

Surely rubber bullets would be sufficient?
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Green9090 » Sun Sep 30, 2012 4:27 am UTC

yurell wrote:Surely rubber bullets would be sufficient?

Sure, if those could have been deployed in the same timeframe then that's a possibility. I guess what I mean to say is that they should have used anything at their disposal to stop the people from lighting the booth on fire, and if all they have within arm's reach is a gun then that's fine. These people were trying to burn a man alive, so their safety should have been by far a secondary concern.
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Re: Israel/Palestine discussion

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Sep 30, 2012 5:05 am UTC

yurell wrote:Surely rubber bullets would be sufficient?

Man, I don't know how this attitude persists. The day Hamas launches rubber rockets into Israel or lights guard posts up with confetti is the day I think the IDF should be expected to rely on rubber bullets. Besides, even if Israel was using ONLY rubber bullets (instead of you know, just most of the time/some of the time/at all), you or someone would be blaming them for 'bruising' rioters.
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