We’ll discuss the ongoing crisis in Gaza one day after Israeli tanks reportedly shelled a crowded shelter at a United Nations school, killing 15 and wounding 90. On the same day, another Israeli strike hit a fruit and vegetable marketplace near Gaza City. According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, that attack killed 17 and wounded about 200. Over the 23-day conflict, more than 1,300 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed. Israel has lost 56 soldiers and three civilians.

George Bisharat, professor of law, UC Hastings College of Law and former legal consultant to the Palestinian Legislative Council
Michael B. Oren, fellow at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya and the Atlantic Council and former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. (2009-2013)

  • Peter

    When the Israeli historian Benny Morris visited Berkeley in 2009, soon after Operation Cast Lead, he was asked the inevitable question, “What should be done about Gaza?” He replied that the most important thing to remember about the Gaza Strip is that 80% of its present inhabitants are descendants of people who lived in what’s now Israel until the war of 1948. This is a point that’s been missing from mainstream media coverage this month. Morris supports the consistent Israeli policy of refusing to allow these people to return to their original homes in Israel, but shouldn’t the present crisis be an opening to a debate about pressuring Israel to allow them back and accept them as equal citizens? Mainstream human-rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch support their right to return.

  • thucy

    As a reflexive Israel supporter, I found the award-winning writer and illustrator Joe Sacco’s books “Palestine” and “Footnotes in Gaza” to be vastly illuminating.

    They were also excruciating to read. Not only was the expulsion of the Palestinians cruel, but it was ultimately, as we see, counter-productive to the security of the nascent state of Israel. How could we not see this coming?

    I still support Israel’s right to exist (where else are the Israelis to go? and what is the role of my country, the US, in forging that state and its current fate?), but no longer without recognizing what this has cost the Palestinians.

    Sacco is as hard-hitting in the Middle East and the Balkans as he is in the US. His latest work, with Chris Hedges, titled “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt”, covers (among other things) our own ethnic cleansing here in the US.

    • thucy

      The New York Times book Review: “Joe Sacco’s brilliant, excruciating books of war reportage are potent territory….He shows how much that is crucial to our lives a book can hold”

      Publishers Weekly: “Having already established his reputation as the world’s leading comics journalist, Sacco is now making a serious case to be considered one of the world’s top journalists, period. His newest undertaking is a bracing quest to uncover the truth about what happened in two Gaza Strip towns in 1956… Sacco’s art is alternately epic and intimate, but it’s his exacting and harrowing interviews that make this book an invaluable and wrenching piece of journalism.”

  • Sean Dennehy

    What other country would be allowed to get away with such an awfully high civilian kill rate? It’s what, 70% now, according to the UN? Even if Hamas is using human shields, why is the IDF willing to kill those human shields?

  • Sam Badger

    How is it morally justifiable to kill hundreds (now more than a thousand) of innocent civilians to destroy a few tunnels that have predominantly been used to attack military targets? And how on earth does Israel think that their warnings to Palestinian civilians in the war zone make them look better when Palestinians are not even safe in the supposedly ‘safe areas’ and won’t ever allow them to flee into Israel proper, even if many were even born in what is now Israel?

  • colinvgallagher

    What warning were given to the 11 years old boys killed by the Israeli shelling on the Gaza beaches? The statement by Mr. Oren that warnings had been made are belied by the actual films taken by independent journalists.

  • optikool

    I’m curious and haven’t seen an answer to this question… if the Gaza strip is about 25 miles long and packed with around 2 million people, how much of that land is available for Hamas to put it’s weapons and if there is not land available, where should these weapons go if not in the cities? Also why does Israel need 80k troops to take out tunnels in a 25 mile strip of land and does Hamas have the same number of troops. And is everybody in the Gaza strip Hamas and if not how many citizens in the Gaza strip make up the Hamas group?

    • Bill_Woods

      Most of the Strip is open land — farm fields and whatnot.,34.39545&z=11&t=H

      • optikool

        So they should store the weapons on farmlands? If those weapons are destroyed on these farmlands, how will that effect the food supply for the people in the Gaza strip?

      • Another Mike

        You may be looking at the Eshkol Regional Council side of the line. Most of the Gaza strip is built-up.

      • Another Mike

        Per the CIA’s World Factbook:

        Gaza Strip

        arable land: 7.39% (i.e. annual crops such as grain)

        permanent crops: 10.96%
        (i.e permanent crops such as orchards)

        other: 81.64% (2011)

  • Another Mike

    The current Egyptian military regime opposes the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Hamas is a part. Egypt has sealed the Gazan border, and is busily destroying the smuggling tunnels into Gaza.

    So why would Hamas look to Egypt as a mediator?

  • Livegreen

    Israel has claimed it needs peace and moderates to come to a permanent agreement with Palestinians. Yet during many relatively peaceful years Israel felt no urgency to act on a permanent solution and did nothing. It has a responsible partner with the Palestinian Authority yet again it does nothing.

    Do Israeli politicians really want peace?

    • Bill_Woods

      Several Israeli governments have made proposals for a permanent solution, but the Palestinians have rejected every one and never put up an alternative. In the latest round of the ‘peace process’, the Palestinians had to be bribed simply to attend meetings. The Israelis accepted Kerry’s framework — Abbas responded by bailing out and making a deal with Hamas. “Responsible partner”?

      • Another Mike

        Arafat could not bring himself to sign away the Palestinians’ right of return for all eternity.

        • Bill_Woods

          And there won’t be peace until some Palestinian leader does, and survives assassination.

  • Rubincon

    Isn’t it ironic that Israel sees his main support in the
    Islamic world comes from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria? The one fascist, other one
    absolute monarchy and the other one a brutal dictatorship.

  • Another Mike

    I would expect the IDF to have recon photos showing rocket launchers and mortars in Gaza, so they can pinpoint their locations. Where are these photos?

  • rick d.

    I guess there we have the bottom line from Mr. Bisharat ….. Israel should not respond to the rockets that he himself acknowledges intimidate large sections of the Israeli population!

    This seems to be the response that several of the posters below would endorse.

    • Another Mike

      The anti-rocket Iron Dome system is not a response?

      • rick d.

        Let me understand ….. it’s OK for Hamas to fire rockets on Israel because they have the Iron dome – is that what you are saying?
        …. oh, and implicitly, you approve US funding of the Iron Dome?

        • Another Mike

          Q: Israel should not respond to the rockets that he himself acknowledges intimidate large sections of the Israeli population!

          A/Q:The anti-rocket Iron Dome system is not a response?

          Possible answers: The anti-rocket Iron Dome system is a response, because…
          The anti-rocket Iron Dome system is NOT a response, because…

          • rick d.

            I think you know the answer …..

            Of course the Iron Dome is a response ….. it is defensive i,e. does not get triggered unless there is an attack.

            So does this justify Hamas firing rockets for as long as the I.D. is operative? And imply that the US should fund Iron Dome ad infinitum? And restrict Israeli forces from destroying the tunnels?

            What I do not understand is why Israel does not dig a huge moat a hundred yards from the border that is monitored and mined. That would seem a safer and less invasive way to beat the tunnels.

            No one wants to see casualties and deaths on either side – Israel just requires security, and per our earlier discussion, the right to exist in peace wit its neighbors.

  • Mo

    The ANC was a terrorist group. The IRA was a terrorist group. They were included in negotiations because long-term solutions need to address legitimate grievances. Nelson Mandela was removed from the U.S. Terror list in 2008. Now he is our hero.

    Why are we not addressing the legitimate grievances of Palestinians in Gaza? The people have no economic opportunity under siege. They are denied their right to return to their homes in what is now Israel. These are serious issues that need to be addressed.

    Israel can’t bomb Hamas out of Gaza. Seriously, how many university degrees in security studies did it take to put this one together?

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