Oh, yep. Israel, who relies on legitimate military force to protect its people, is the aggressor against the Palestinians, who rely on the terrorist organization Hamas which uses its own civilians as human shields. Israel, who honors the ceasefire, is the aggressor against the Palestinians, who openly breach the agreement. Israel, whose Defense Forces alert Palestinian civilians before a strike by dropping leaflets and making calls, is the aggressor against the Palestinians, who specifically target population centers in Israel to cause as many civilian casualties as possible. Hamas, who is a self-proclaimed lover of death (to Israel: "We love death more than you love life") is definitely the victim here. And by the way, you have your history completely wrong. Shocker.
After the Holocaust and WWII, most world leaders agreed that the Jewish people needed a place to call their own so that they could defend themselves from radical anti-Semites like Hitler. "Palestine," as the region had been referred to since the time of the Romans (who chose that name to replace the Hebrew name "Judah" as a way to deny the historic link of the Jews to the land of Israel), had been a protectorate of the British, but when the UN passed the Partition Plan of 1947 and the British withdrew, neither side was content. The Jewish leaders knew that the tiny sliver of land granted to them was completely indefensible. The Arab leaders didn't want their to be a Jewish state at all. Additionally, both sides wanted control of Jerusalem, which is considered a holy site by both the Jewish and the Muslim religion.
So what happened? A civil war broke out between the Arab and Jewish communities--both of which had existed prior to the Partition Plan. After the civil war had gone on for about a year, with some extremists and some truly good people on both sides, the Jewish forces were gaining ground and David Ben-Gurion declared the establishment of the State of Israel. Neighboring Arab nations, including Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, decided that they would not tolerate the existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East, and they declared war on the fledgling state (ironically conceding to its legitimacy in the process). The real war was started by the Arabs, not the Israelis. Thankfully, Israel was victorious and after gaining land all the way down into the Sinai peninsula, Israel turned over much of its conquered territory in the interest of preserving peace, and the only free state in the Middle East was preserved.
They didn't have to give back the land that they conquered, but they did. Why? Because Israel is not imperialist. Israel is not anti-Arab. Israel is not interested in war. The one goal of the State of Israel is to provide a safe haven for the Jewish people, who have been hated and persecuted basically since the beginning of history. While Hamas "celebrated" the ceasefire by firing guns into the air and rioting in the streets of Gaza, the Israeli Defense Forces celebrated by praying to God for lasting peace. "עוֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם בִּמְרוֹמָיו, הוּא יַעֲשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם עַלֵינוּ, וְעַל כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן"--"He who makes peace in His heights, may He make peace upon us and upon all Israel; and say, Amen."
But when you hear Hamas pray for peace instead of for the destruction of the Jews, let me know, and I'll rethink my position. For now, I stand forever with Israel.
You're welcome, and I have to apologize for sounding somewhat sarcastic at the beginning. This was obviously before we started talking on that other thread and I realized what a reasonable and decent person you seem to be.
My dad told me what was really happening. So apparently Hamas was hiding weapons were people, freakin civilians live! Who the flip hides weapons where there are people? Simple: people who want to blame Israel for everything... _____ and punk--rocker basically said it. They do use their own civilians as shields. Its not Israels fault really if Hamas would just stop them maybe Israel wouldn't fire rockets back...
oh that it were so clear cut and simple. Those 'freaking civilians' were themselves victims (or children of victims) of the Israeli acts of the previous 3 decades.
Gaza is a thin strip of land 25 miles long and 4 - 7.5 miles wide and it contains upward of 1,500,000 people. About 2/3 of the people are refugees or descendants of refugees who were driven out of other parts of Palestine by Israel when the state was established in 1948.
In the 1967 'six day war', Israel occupied Gaza and in 1971 Ariel Sharon set out to 'pacify' Gaza by bulldozing houses, uprooting refugees and setting up 21 illegal settlements in Gaza.
In 1987 there was an uprising as a response to the Israeli occupiers and the illegal sttlements and in 1993 the Oslo accords granted limited autonomy.
In 2000 Ariel Sharon and a bunch of Likud politicians made a very provocative visit, surrounded by riot police and soldiers, to the Haram al-sharif, the site of the gold Dome of the Rock, the third holiest shrine in Islam. This triggered the second uprising.
In 2001 Israel destroyed the Gaza airport and docks.
In 2005 Israel evacuates the illegal settlements (in preperation for expansion of illegal settlements on the West Bank). The Israel military withdraws but keeps control of Gaza airspace, territorial waters and borders.
In 2006, Hamas won the Palestinian Legislative elections, The Israel government, the United States and the EU did not recognise the election results and the result was sanctions and closures of border crossings. The resulting shortages are declared to be 'collective punishment' by many International Human Rights organisations, who claim that such punishment of a civilian population is outlawed under the Geneva Convention.
In 2006, Israel launches 'Operation Summer Rain' bombarding civilian infrastructure like water and electricity plants, schools, hospitals, government buildings. This type of behaviour carries on still, with government buildings and law enforcement targetted regularly.
In 2006 Hamas makes it clear they are seeking a long-term truce if Israel ends it's illegal occupation of Palestinian territories. The Hamas Prime Minister makes it clear that they will accept a 2-state solution. The peace proposals are ignored by the USA, EU, Russia and the UN.
The Palestinians in Gaza were not free to decide where they could work, or travel, who they could trade with and nor how their taxes were spent. When Israel left the Gaza Strip in 2005, 65% of Gazans lived below the poverty line and there was 35% unemployment.
At the end of 2008, Israel began a bombing campaign on the Strip which left some 1,400 people dead, including over 300 children.
The main routes into and out of the Gaza Strip have been blockaded for decades and Israel finally added the finishing touches to it's Gazan ghetto by building a 'seperation barrier' along the entire land border. Unable to move people or goods through the destroyed airport and the blockaded sea port, the Gazans were left with only siz land crossing points that Israel has arbitarily closed for long periods of time, isolating the Palestinian people, crippling the economy and punishing the Gazan people.
Fishermen cannot fish, the Israeli blockade restricted access to the ocean. Initially it was allowed within 20 nautical miles of the coast. That has reduced over the years to 3 nautical miles. If the fishermen sail further, they are fired upon, boarded or rammed by the Israeli navy. It is believed that this control of fisheries is due to the discovery of a rich gas deposit discovered 25 - 30 kilometres off the Gazan coast.
Fuel imports are totally blocked. The only fuel that has come in has needed to come covertly through tunnels from Egypt. Gaza's only power plant relies on fuel for it's operation so electricity is limited.
As a result of the blockade, 70% of Gazan families live on less than $1 per person per day according to the UN. This is a report from International Aid Organisations - [link] which details the impact of the blockade.
It is a very terrible situation and for Israel to claim no responsibility for the humanitarian crisis they have engendered and for the hatred Gazan's have for them is disingenuous to say the least.