You would not believe how welcoming and hard working Palestinians are. There is a generalization because of the conflict but at the end of the day these are people like you and me trying to achieve their goals in a positive way.
There is a political situation around it and it cannot be ignored from the moment you arrive but I strongly believe that Mercy Corps and GSG and initiatives like the coding academy help a population that lives in harsh conditions without access of what we give for granted in the US.
Here are some of the things that blew me away:
- About 50% of the founders in the GSG were women.
- There are a lot of very young and talented engineers.
- Walking through Gaza as a western looking guy I feared people would not be super happy, it was quite the opposite, endless invitations to have coffee, eat watermelon, say hello and welcome.
- Hardware startups solving issues that could be applied to underdeveloped countries, one of my favorites was a USB charger that you power by slipping into your shoe and walking.
There is no reason to not celebrate and join the people backing these initiatives, they have a direct impact on good people and even if you have concerns about the politics in the region, I think these programs help alleviate the tension and let people focus on living their lives and not be frustrated with the laundry list of day to day hurdles they encounter.
The opportunities for economic growth in the region are incredibly limited (40%+ unemployment; 40% below the poverty line; 80% dependent on some kind of foreign aid; ~50% dependent on UN food aid alone; extreme barriers to importing or exporting physical goods), and yet they enjoy relatively high levels of infrastructure and education (97% literacy; 20% population with a college degree - higher than in the West Bank; female/male near-equality w/r/t education levels; decent internet). All of this combines to make tech investments especially appealing.
I got the feeling in Gaza - relative to many other countries lacking these resources that have garnered a great deal of attention from the tech community in recent years, such as India, Brazil, and more - that the development of tech companies (especially tech, due to minimal infrastructure needs) there can make a significant contribution to the regional economy. The group's additional devotion to including women in the accelerator is especially laudable, and has contributed to an incredibly rich workspace.
There's a lot more info on the crowdfunding website too: http://www.powerupgazageeks.com/
I spent one week in Gaza and another week between Ramallah and parts of Israel.
After the time there I still have contact with the friends I made there and try to contribute with any initiative they put together.
It also pushed me to look for local initiatives here in the US .
You can also donate to their current campaign to help create the coding academy, which I've also done, after seeing it in person I can personally say it's fantastic and students there told me how much it's changing their lives, making them more confident and hopeful about opportunities for their future.
Link is here: http://www.powerupgazageeks.com/
Great question though - I'm curious too.
The Palestinian workers in Mellanox are well liked and respected from what I saw and the company enjoys having them.
Here’s a list of the supporters matching donations: Skoll Foundation, Salesforce’s Marc Benioff, Techstars’ Brad Feld, Y Combinator’s Paul Graham, author Eric Ries, 500 Startups’ Dave McClure, Aramex cofounder Fadi Ghandour, Crescent Enterprises CEO Badr Jafar, Leap Ventures’ Hala Fadel, Tech.eu cofounder Jon Bradford, Kapor Capital partner Freada Kapor Klein and Mitch Kapor, National Beverage Company — Coca-Cola Palestine Chairman and CEO Zahi Khouri, Jabbar chairman Samih Toukan, Google principal scientist Blaise Aguera y Arcas, Uber’s Amsterdam head of engineering Mustafa Sezgin, 500 Startups’ Khailee Ng, Techstars COO Jenny Lawton, and Techstars cofounder David Cohen.
The complexity of the politics of the region are beyond my grasp. I am not a political scientist, nor have I spent much time in the region. However, as an entrepreneur who has volunteered with Gaza Sky Geeks and who has traveled to Gaza to mentor at their co-working space, I feel compelled to say that (1) the organization is unquestionably using its resources effectively to foster startups there and (2) the entrepreneurs who are part of the accelerator and the wider community who attends their events are some of the most intelligent, hardest working, and good-hearted people I have ever encountered. That sounds hyperbolic, but it's true.
Most importantly, the entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs are young and have had no part in the decades of political and military conflicts that have created the regrettable tension in the region. They have been implicated in the large mess solely by virtue of where they happened to have been born. Regardless on which side of the issue you fall, it is undeniable that the problems have been created by members of the older generations. It seems reasonable to place the bet that, if a more peaceful future is possible, it will happen by creating productive pathways for the rising generation.
In the most challenging political context on the planet, Gaza Sky Geeks does an excellent job of rendering its work apolitical. I have seen this first hand. The organization is there to help Gazans create for themselves new opportunities and more hopeful futures. And, again, the Gazans who participate in their programs are of the best character and are only seeking to put their energy to create value for consumers, regardless of race or creed, via their startups.
I am not nor have I ever been an employee of Gaza Sky Geeks and have nothing to gain by writing any of this. I have no dog in this fight. But for whatever the words of an internet commenter are worth, I would urge skeptics to consider giving the organization the benefit of the doubt. I cannot say enough positive things about this organization's mission and their effective execution of it.
While many of the entrepreneurs I spoke to were hesitant to voice their political opinions because of the climate in which they live, it was clear that they simply want peace and a chance to be creative with their ideas and lives just like young people everywhere. They did not create the political situation they are in but very much want to change it. They do not engage with the rhetoric of the victim or the aggressor -- which are two sides of one coin-- but simply were focused on the possibilities of expanding their horizons and making something that could advance humanity bit by bit.
I was also impressed by the number of women present, as others have mentioned, as it exceeded the percentages I had seen throughout the rest of the Arab World. That alone is a significant achievement. These women were very motivated to create a better life. And I felt nothing but gratitude and a desire for upward movement and transcendence of conflict from everyone we worked with.
I hope those reading this thread will consider focusing on the future and supporting this initiative to support a positive future in Gaza, with hope for peace.
Please help their cause. I can personally vouch that the money will go to good people who are hungry to learn and eager to make a difference. I ran two workshops when I went and we had great turnout in each session. People were asking great questions and wanted to stay after to continue learning.
Women founders + developers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nAkx4n0yUU&feature=youtu.be
The crowdfunding campaign video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEJtZekhROE
There are some personal interviews too on that channel, but my favorite is this bloopers video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_f_w1aoJgO8
Another video that shows Gaza on the ground (no relation to the geeks there) is Gangam Style Gaza. Love this! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYMh09vPwdM
The Gaza Sky Geeks (mostly geekettes!) are the most resilient and inspired group I've met in my life.
Proud to support this effort. Would love to go back.
For those of you who have been conflating all Gazans with Hamas, read this:
Gaza electricity crisis: Hamas breaks up protest
Meanwhile, comedian Adel al-Mashwakhi was arrested hours after posting a video criticising Hamas, the Associated Press news agency reports.
"There is no work, no crossings, no food, no water to drink and also there is no electricity," he said in the one-minute video, which has been watched more than 250,000 times.
"Enough Hamas. Enough, enough, enough. We want electricity, we want electricity, we want electricity."
Hamas has not commented.
There were elections in 2006 and Hamas was elected over Fatah. Hamas does not recognize Israel and is declared a terrorist state by the US, EU as well as Israel.
There were supposed to be elections in 2010 but Hamas will not allow them.
Hamas has spent large sums of money shooting missiles into Israel and using concrete meant for building homes and schools for and hiring labor for building tunnels into Israel. So serious was the missile problem that Israel created the Iron Dome missile system (see youtube or CBS 60 minutes) to protect its population. That technology is now being co-produced with a US arms manufacturer for sale to other countries. The Israelis have also had to develop tunnel locating technology.
While Israel has a program of encouraging venture capital and startups, it is truly a pity that the Palestinians did not elect Fatah over Hamas.
The Palestinians were given the chance to self-govern Gaza when Israel pulled out in 2005 and show the world community that they are capable of self-government. Instead Hamas was elected and Hamas shot many thousands of missiles into Israel.
How exactly does such supervision help? I.e. let's say someone votes (under supervision) today against, and then, killed tomorrow for being in opposition. You get the idea. Supervision has zero value when fascists control everything.
Estimating by Egypt situation, around half of the population supports fascist groups, and half is against. Hamas is a projection of Egyptian fascists, so the picture can be similar.
They are terrorists who target among other things family restaurants (e.g., Sbarro in Jerusalem ) and teens dancing at Dolphinarium Discotheque. 
Incidentally, there were in fact Palestinians dancing in the streets during 9/11. (I was in Upper West Side of Manhattan when it happened).
If the people of the land don't elect the party we prefer (by cross-checking with our terrorist list) we have no choice but to support their seige, occupation and Apartheid.
In Gaza people who protest against Hamas get killed. During the 2014 conflict, 70 people in Gaza were hung for being collaborators with Israel, with no trial, proof, etc.
Gazans who are not in favor of their government are between a rock and a hard place: ostracized by the international community for a government they didn't choose, and suffering due to the local politics that they don't approve of. Wouldn't you at least want to support the people whose perspectives you align with?
Egypt has closed off their border and flooded illegal tunnels to Gaza as well.
I was a few miles away from the World Trade Center in Upper West Side Manhattan on 9/11. I don't feel kindly toward people that elect terrorist organizations to be their government. Sorry if that bothers you.
See also the UN OCHA report that records the 2,220 victims (67% of them civilians) of Israel's summer 2014 massacre in Gaza. 71 Israelis were killed during the same period (9% of them civilians).
So is the IDF a terrorist organization in your personal opinion?
> I was a few miles away from the World Trade Center in Upper West Side Manhattan on 9/11. I don't feel kindly toward people that elect terrorist organizations to be their government. Sorry if that bothers you.
Classic - equating Hamas with Al Qaeda and hence justifying prejudice against millions of Palestenians, victims of Apartheid, seige and civilian massacres by IDF in one smooth sentence.
So Khalid Sheikh Mohammed killing civilians is a justification for IDF killing the same number or more civilians.
Once again, is the IDF a terrorist organization in your personal opinion?
As another volunteer mentioned in the thread, GSG is helping a younger generation look at the future with a different outlook, that is a big reason I love the program so much, it has a real impact on Gaza and a new generation of people.
And here am i, naively thinking that everything that helps people turn away from violence was a step toward peace...
Israel has no interest in Gaza, they just want them to stop trying to attack, so if anything this program is for Israel, not against it.
If you need evidence for that, then note that even during the worst conflicts Israel kept full communication (Cell and Internet) active in Gaza, which is opposite of what is normally done (cutting communication of the opponent). And it's not for wiretapping since easy encryption makes that infeasible in bulk, plus the people you would want to tap are not the ordinary everyday Internet users.
As additional evidence, increasing economic activity in the West Bank has been the backbone of Israel's attempt to keep things calm.
The more countries depend on each other for trade the less conflict there is - this is a pattern worldwide.
I hate to bring politics in this, but any sort of aid given to the Gaza people can be construed by others as being political. In fact, people arguing for the Two-State Solution or the end of the expansion of settlements on the West Bank make the argument that such a development would be the best for Israel, and not against it. Since others (ie., the current right-wing gov't of Israel and its supporters) would interpret that as being against Israel, I can't imagine the same people would see economic aid to Gaza as being beneficial to them.
The two bombardments by Israel over the last few years and the fact that Gaza is still a prison city (in the 21st century!) makes me think otherwise.
> they just want them to stop trying to attack
And the best way to do that is to carpet bomb the city every few years and deny it aid after doing so. I'm certain that the many children who lost their entire families will love Israel forever.
> If you need evidence for that, then note that even during the worst conflicts Israel kept full communication (Cell and Internet) active in Gaza, which is opposite of what is normally done (cutting communication of the opponent).
What a generous gesture!
For sure there are two sides to the story and many Palestinians who think differently but Hamas in Gaza does not wish to lead a peaceful life side by side with its neighbors and that has consequences.
Do you even realize how difficult it would be for a child to live life normally after their school is destroyed? How do you think such actions will affect young children? If you were one of the children who witnessed the horrors during aerial bombardment, would you ever forget?
Part of the issue with rebuilding is that the raw materials get confiscated to support the war effort.
The bombing is at least partly related to the reduction of other options. Israel used to have the option of driving tanks in to get at some particular problem but now Gaza is so heavily mined and full of anti-tank weapons that this can't be done. It also has a significant tunnel network which makes infantry less of an option. So if someone fires a rocket at you from Gaza you have fewer options. This is just a pure strategic calculation, not really political. Part of that calculation is also the moral side, the impact on the population and the public opinion side of bombing, hence the "knock on roof" protocols and various pre-warning to allow people to evict buildings that are targets to a bomb. But surely a lot of innocent people still do get hurt, this tends to happen in war...
At any rate, this is very much not black and white. I think these days in Israel there is a lot less interest in peace mostly because getting burned with previous attempts has left deep scars in the general population. Anything that can be done to try and normalize things is welcome...
Hamas sometimes takes it a bit too far, I'll definitely admit that, but I think resistance is a valid approach to their conundrum. When you are outgunned and outnumbered, does that mean you just give up?
Gaza is not surrounded on all sides by a wall. They have a long border with Egypt that's been relatively porous until fairly recently when Egypt has begun to construct obstacles, they have the sea (under naval blockade but they're allowed to fish) and even the border with Israel is not 100% walled. You might be confusing Gaza with the wall that was erected between Israel and parts of the West Bank. It's true they are isolated which again is what happens when you piss off your neighbors. There are border crossings and people and goods do cross.
Their living conditions do improve, but slowly, and tend to regress when a conflict flares out. Again, partly by their choice of what to invest in.
Resistance is the cause of their (well Hamas or a portion thereof) conundrum and it's going to get them nowhere. What are they resisting? They're resisting the existence of the state of Israel.
As long as they continue "resisting" in the form of tunneling under the border, investing all their resources in arming themselves to the teeth, building and using an arsenal of rockets, supporting the ISIS contingency in Sinai, indiscriminately attacking civilians, inciting hate and racism, etc. they are going to find themselves in a bad spot. The answer to your question for most people is yes, if you're outgunned and outnumbered by many of orders of magnitude you "give up" or at least try and avoid outright war. They could get an agreement tomorrow if all they cared about was living peacefully in Gaza and improving their condition but they want to get territorial ownership of the entirety of Israel which they claim to be the rightful owners of from before 1948 when Israel was created. That's is closer to (but still not the complete, it's more complicated) root of the conflict.
If they stuck to peaceful forms of protest they'd have some chance of having their voice heard while at the same time improving their conditions vastly. If they seek a peaceful solution they must convince Israelis that peace is possible in some form. It seems they are thinking about taking Israel by force eventually and are willing to wait it out as long as it takes (at least the leaders, not necessarily the man on the street who has no say).
Not when stopping likely means your enemy is willing to help.
So the isolation and security came up because of violence, the terror against civilian Israelis is not an original reaction to the wall.
But I suspect you know this.
Looking at the whole picture, I maintain that resistance is justified.
If e.g. Finland or Estonia started to shoot rocket artilleri towards St Petersburg, the reaction would certainly be much worse than Israel's at Gaza...
(And because of Karelia etc for Finland and generations of slavery for Estonians, they have as good reasons as the Gazans.)
The situation is:
Side A attack side B's civilians. You only complain about side B's quite moderate defense against A's attacks. (Again, installed to stop the attacks.) Then you motivate that further attacks from A are understandable, because of B's defense.
It is such a sad case of hypocritical and hateful circular logic I get vertigo. :-(
Your analogy is incorrect.
When a sovereign nation attacks another, war ensues. That is very clear. But when resistance elements arise within a city that is supposedly part of a sovereign nation, you don't build a wall around the city. That's how you would handle it in the Middle Ages.
But the issue is even more complex than that, since the resistance aims to gain independence from the state. So I would say that the Gaza situation is somewhat similar to that of the IRA and the UK.
I don't recall the UK building a wall around Ireland and carpet bombing it every few years?
Woah woah woah man... quite moderate? The destruction of a third of Gaza and the death of thousands of people is quite moderate?
I give up. This discussion is going nowhere :(
This is carpet bombing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phzRY0DdRXk
This is a typical Israeli strike: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAT1uBNcOHU
And while we're at it, this is indiscriminate bombing of an Israeli town of Sderot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRz3nHwgjHY
The "knock on the door" technique employed by the IDF seems very considerate by the way.
And yes, I agree with you that knocking on the roof is a very considerate "last warning". Which other country goes to such lengths to minimize civilian loss of life? There are early warnings, too, though: by phone, text and leaflets. That's why you don't see any people running out of that house: it is already empty.
Arafat got at least two offers for a Palestinian state (at Camp David and once later), with about 91% of the West Bank iirc.
The later offer was when Barak needed Arafat's support of a peace agreement before an election (so the Palestinian side had a good negotiating position).
Arafat didn't accept either -- which was one thing. But there was no counter offer like "Give us XX and YY and customs advantages ZZ and ...". Instead Arafat started a terror campaign.
But there is no blame for all that refusal to even give a counter proposal; it is all a big Israeli conspiracy.
(Seriously, I feel a bit sick when I chat with hateful people.)
The lies you are talking about are just part of a long term negotiation until Hamas recognizes the right of Israel to exist and live in peace. Once this milestone is achieved, Israel will not have any excuse to move forward with the peace process because the Israelis, and the jewish people will not tolerate more excuses.
You had no problem with that description in your previous comment.
But good references to non partisan sources would be interesting?
(AGAIN: If the ones controlling an area -- including doing elections, defense, police and taxes -- put all their economy into rocket artillery against another country's civilians, the reaction will not be mild... And Gaza is not part of a city, it was a free area.)
The murder of Jews is regularly lauded by official Hamas spokesmen, and such murders are routinely celebrated by the Palestinian masses (http://www.dailywire.com/news/6451/palestinians-murder-israe...).
The solution is for Hamas to give up its dream of the liquidation of Israel and its replacement with an Islamist regime in which Jews are second-class citizens, in accord with the Islamist interpretation of Koranic verses which call for the subjugation of Jews by means such as the jizyah tax and so on.
- at time of withdrawal settlers were required to depart
- settlers wanted more money to leave greenhouses behind
- didn't get it from Israeli government, started demolishing
- Western philanthropists purchased remaining greenhouses and donated
- When Israelis withdrew, some greenhouses were looted
- some remained in operation, until inability to export produce through checkpoint to Israeli made them unviable
Which is not the same as "some greenhouses were looted". My image and recollection is more like everything got looted. I mean if only very little were looted it wouldn't be a "blow to efforts"?
Also see this story about the guy who paid for most it: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/18/nyregion/how-old-friends-o...
I'm sure those greenhouses could have been used for export or for local consumption if the Palestinians plotted a different course after Israel withdrew. There wouldn't be a blockage on Gaza either. The whole point wrt/ to Gaza is that once Israel left their next actions were looting of greenhouses (all or some, doesn't matter) followed by an endless stream of attacks against Israel (and the excuses don't really matter either, "they started" isn't a good enough reason for shelling Sderot e.g. unless you're a 3 year old).
You have got to be a troll, or did you forget that Hamas attacked Israel? I assume you think Israel should have just ignored that?
> in the 21st century
If the residents of Gaza actually joined the 21 century (for example in programs like what this submission is about) things might be quite different.
> And the best way to do that
You suggest something then.... What would you do with a population that just wants to kill you? Let them do it?
> will love Israel forever.
As if their hate has anything to do with Israel's actions. Seriously, do you not know even the slightest thing about the history of the area?
> What a generous gesture!
What other country leaves the communication of the opponent wide open during a war? Disrupting communication is like class 101 during warfare.
not sure if this is a serious statement or not. your tone suggests serious but your words are not serious.
Additionally hate for Jews is common in Arab counties that are very far away from, and don't interact with, Israel at all.
There is nothing at all Israel can do to change this. Look at Egypt for example - very long and successful peace treaty. But the populace still hates Jews.
If it's not possible to make an ordinary Egyptian not hate Jews, what makes you think there is any chance for a Palestinian not to?
If you want to change this, first see if you have any success in Egypt.
Morocco and Tunisia (my home country) have some of the oldest Jewish populations in the world. As a Tunisian, I am extremely proud to have Jewish brothers and sisters who share my culture. My grandparents (from both sides) had very close friends who happened to be Jewish.
Yes, they have decreased in number over the years, but I think Tunisia has done a good job protecting them. For example, right after the 2011 revolution, the interim government immediately reassured the Jewish community of Djerba that they would be protected.
Also, El Ghriba synagogue in Djerba is one of the oldest in the world AFAIK. I haven't visited it yet though!
A bit, I know. But Morocco and Tunisia have some of the best relationships to Jews among the Arab countries. You have to be aware that they are the exception, not the rule.
> I am extremely proud to have Jewish brothers and sisters who share my culture. My grandparents (from both sides) had very close friends who happened to be Jewish.
And it's people like you and your grandparents that give me hope for peace in the world. May there be more like you, and may you have much success in both your personal life, and in influencing others!
In 1948, there were 105,000 Jews in Tunisia. Now there are 1,500.
How do you explain that?
Especially since their assets were confiscated...
More notably, this was a move by the Tunisian government, in "solidarity" with Palestine and in agreement with the rest of the Muslim world. This does not mean it was right of course. From my conversations with my paternal grandfather (b. 1927), Jews were treated like regular Tunisians.
The other side is when the Jews were thrown out of the Muslim countries and their property stolen. Not in a civil war, but just from racism -- because they had the same religion as in some other country.
Note here that more Jews fled from the Muslim world than Palestinians in the Nakba. And in the fleeing Jews' stolen property there were more land than multiple times the size of Israel.
Contrast this with that not every Palestinian fled from Israel. They are still a large part of the population today -- the Israeli Palestinians were NOT thrown out as a reaction to when the Muslims threw out their Jews.
And you are really, really upset about Israel -- but dismiss the worse things happening in e.g. your home country Tunisia...
I have to stop here -- any further comment on your opinions, moral and intellectual integrity can't be polite. Let me just say that as a Westerner, I think you should judge yourself harder than you judge others.
You can notice it in traditions, in food, in music (have a look at התזמורת האנדלוסית הישראלית). Many Muslim musicians here used to go to the Synagogue because their friends playing in the same band were Jewish. And that's not that long ago, these people are still alive.
A bit back in time, Jews found a place to live here after being thrown out of Spain in 1492 because of the Catholic reform. To this day, there are towns with strong Jewish heritage. The "hate" you're talking about is only superficial, and only from the people who'd behave that way no matter where they are in the world.. Clothes have prêt-à-porter, thoughts have prêt-à-penser. Not all people can afford bespoke clothes and it's even more true with beliefs. They pick what's available, the easiest to wear, something not too challenging, not too far beyond the Overton window.
It's amazingly easy to talk with them and completely shatter that "hate" in 5 minutes. I've done it so many times that the pattern is clear. If it were hate, what I said would be so much against their beliefs that I would be attacked. Hate is not something you can shatter in 5 minutes, so this must be something else..
It's mainly lack of contact and communication that makes it easy to think that, somehow, Jews are a "different" specie. Once someone thinks they're a different specie, there's a feature void to fill, which people fill with their fears. I've been learning Hebrew and have corresponded a couple of times in it. I'm learning because of the culture but to tap into all which doesn't make the news: stuff regular folks do. There isn't a single one person I have told who hasn't been curious and intrigued about it and wanted to know more, or encouraged me.
Generalizations and simplifications are tempting because they work sometimes but this is exactly what I'm talking about. You don't like them because you think they don't like you, and they don't like you because they think you don't like them.
Everyday, conversations are taking place that address these issues and people are taking all kinds of perceptual positions. Hard questions that get talked about in groups of people who don't let you take the easy way out. People aren't dumb, despite what the media makes them look like.
And on that note, Happy Yennayer 2967. Today's the new year of my ethnic group.
"Just trust them and wait them out, they don't all hate you. Let them kill a few and hopefully they'll stop someday."
Right now, today, Muslim hate of Jews in nearly universal. In the past Christians were anti-semitic, sure, but right now today, it's relatively rare.
Tell me something, is there any city on the planet that you know with 100% certainty that if you stepped foot in it virtually the entire populace would try to kill you? And I don't mean the criminals, I mean the ordinary people who live there.
Because when a Jew travels near Palestinians areas simply getting lost is fatal, unless the army rescues them. And you want them to trust?
You, I think, need some perspective. There's nothing more to be gained from this conversation.
... you know that there can be no peace. Peace is made with people, not with governments. And Palestinians are overwhelmingly against peace with Israel on any terms other than submission.
Hamas is only a terrorist group, in the present day.
If this matters to you, why does it only apply in one direction?
I believe that is called subversion, not terrorism. Terrorism generally involves an attempt to murder innocents.
> During the 2007 trial the lawyers representing the foundation said that the Justice Department fabricated quotes and modified transcripts. Critics faulted much of the evidence given during the trial. For example, over defense objection, the government called two anonymous witnesses: an Israeli Security Agency employee who was known to the jurors and the defense as "Avi" and an Israeli Defense Forces officer who was known to the jurors and the defense as "Major Lior." Even the defense lawyers were not permitted to know the names of these witnesses. The government did not allege that HLF paid directly for suicide bombings, but instead that the foundation supported terrorism by sending more than $12 million to charitable groups, known as zakat committees, which build hospitals and feed the poor. The prosecution said the committees were controlled by Hamas, and contributed to terrorism by helping Hamas spread its ideology and recruit supporters. Some of these charitable committees were still receiving US funding through the USAID programme as late as 2006. None of the zakat committees was included on the Treasury Department list of designated terrorist organizations. Edward Abington, Jr., former U.S. consul general in Jerusalem, acted as a defence witness and testified that during his daily CIA briefings he had never been informed that Hamas controlled the Palestinian charity groups mentioned.
This is false and one-sided. Likud, the ruling party in Israel, has in its platform an explicit denial of the right for a Palestinian state to exist west of the Jordan river. Everything you've heard about Palestinians/Hamas denying Israel the right to exist is actually true about Israel as well towards Palestine. (In fact Hamas has stated they would respect a two-state solution; not the case for Likud.)
There are atrocities back and forth, for example "A month before [the murders of Israeli boys that set off the attack], two Palestinian boys were shot dead in the West Bank city of Ramallah." However the scale of Israel's atrocities in military operations is massively larger, and the conditions they maintain in Gaza through sanctions and violence are unconscionable. One could argue the conditions are calculated to foment discontent and keep the conflict on the military field, because politically the settlements and occupation have no standing, as regularly condemned by the whole world in U.N. resolutions.
The linked article which is not a court ruling, it's a report from the "Office of the Prosecutor", says:
"While Israel maintains that it is no longer
occupying Gaza, the
prevalent view within
the international community is
that Israel remains an occupying power
under international law,
the scope and degree of control that it has retained over the territory of Gaza
following the 2005 disengagement.
In accordance with
perspective, the Office
on the basis that the
situation in Gaza
can be considered within the framework of an international
in view of the continuing
occupation by Israel.
The analysis conducted
and the conclusions reached
of the view, alternatively,
the law applicable in the present context
in light of
the law of
Given the crimes of
possible relevance to the present situation, which are substantially similar in
both international and non-international armed conflicts, it is
not necessary at this stage to reach a conclusive view on the
the protection accorded by the rules on
international armed conflicts is broader than those relating to internal
conflicts, it seems appropriate,
purpose of a preliminary
in cases of doubt,
apply those governing international armed
So they're basically just discussing the context for this (whether the situation meets some legal criteria to get to the next stage, by the way it didn't). They say it's not really necessary to reach a conclusive view (i.e. at least the prosecutor has no conclusive view, not to mention the court) because it doesn't affect the outcome of this legal analysis.
In his statement on the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict, Richard Falk, United Nations Special Rapporteur wrote that international humanitarian law applied to Israel "in regard to the obligations of an Occupying Power and in the requirements of the laws of war." Amnesty International, the World Health Organization, Oxfam, the International Committee of the Red Cross, The United Nations, the United Nations General Assembly, the UN Fact Finding Mission to Gaza, international human rights organizations, US government websites, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and a significant number of legal commentators (Geoffrey Aronson, Meron Benvenisti, Claude Bruderlein, Sari Bashi and Kenneth Mann, Shane Darcy and John Reynolds, Yoram Dinstein, John Dugard, Marc S. Kaliser, Mustafa Mari, Iain Scobbie, and Yuval Shany maintain that Israel's extensive direct external control over Gaza, and indirect control over the lives of its internal population mean that Gaza remained occupied.
The situation on the ground is clear. The Palestinians (Hamas) control the internal area of Gaza. Israel is imposing a naval blockade. Israel controls the Israeli side of the Gaza-Israeli border and restricts traffic of people and goods. Egypt controls (for the most part) the Egyptian side of the Gaza/Egypt border and restricts traffic of people and goods.
For humanitarian and I guess legal reasons Israel provides some services and goods to Gaza, unlike what we've seen in Syria where a total siege is routinely used in warfare. This article itself is evidence that Israel does not maintain absolute control over the lives of the internal population of Gaza.
I think that anyone looking at the facts of the matter should be able to see that once Israel withdrew from Gaza the Palestinians had enough control over their own destiny. They certainly had enough control to build thousands of rockets and shell Israel. Or is the claim that Israel shelled itself?
I can also see why the exact legal situation is complex. Gaza used to be under Egyptian control before 1967. It's not recognized as a state by any country. Israel withdrew unilaterally without any agreement covering the transition.
Israel has been literally criticized a hundred times more than e.g. Sudan with a million rapes and a million murders (more?).
See e.g.: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Human_Rights_Co...
(Also, Falk have been writing for Counterpunch and so on, you don't do that if you're not quite politically extreme.)
Sure, but will they agree to actual terms? Terms that Israel won't instantly reject?
The Charter identified Hamas as the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine and declares its members to be Muslims who "fear God and raise the banner of Jihad in the face of the oppressors." The charter states that "our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious" and calls for the eventual creation of an Islamic state in Palestine, in place of Israel and the Palestinian Territories, and the obliteration or dissolution of Israel. It emphasizes the importance of jihad, stating in article 13, "There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.""
a. “The Jordan river will be the permanent eastern border of the State of Israel.”
b. “Jerusalem is the eternal, united capital of the State of Israel and only of Israel.
The government will flatly reject Palestinian proposals to divide Jerusalem”
c. “The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.”
d. "Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel... The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting."
So both parties are rejectionist in principle. However in practice Hamas has indicated they would accept a two state solution. Likud has not.
During the many years of this conflict Israel had right wing and left wing governments with various different approaches. Ehud Barak has offered Yasser Arafat a two state agreement very close to what John Kerry has recently described and was rejected . Earlier while Rabin and Arafat were attempting to make progress towards peace Hamas was busy blowing up buses and malls with suicide bombers which eventually lead to the rise of the right, the assassination of Rabin and the collapse of the process.
EDIT: Also worth mentioning that the withdrawal of Israel from the Gaza strip which included tearing down Israeli settlements and evicting them forcefully, was done by Arik Sharon, prime minister from the Likud.
I don't think there's any factual basis to a comparison between the Likud party and Hamas. I'll agree there are definitely opinions in the Israeli right who feel strongly that the Palestinians should not be given their own state for various reasons. Some practical (see Gaza) and some religious/ideological. However that is not the official position of Israel. No doubt there is various political maneuvering going on but the source of the trouble is the Palestinians refusal, or inability, to negotiate in good faith and compromise something they've had many opportunities to do and their insistence of using violence as means of addressing their grievances.
The majority of the world is not fully democratic (well, it's a mess) and doesn't share our values so decisions made in the UN by the "whole world" aren't exactly a yard stick of humanity. The UN is systematically biased against Israel. Where are the condemnations of US, Russian, Turkish involvements in Syria?
MORE on Israel's official position, one of many instances of Israel's willingness to make progress:
April 2003: A Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
May 2003: Israel accepts the roadmap
You keep saying Hamas has accepted a two state solution but I haven't seen an official link. In fact Israel's insistence that the Palestinians accept its right to exist wouldn't be a problem if the Palestinians indeed accepted a two state solution.
As for the claim that Israel has supported a two-state solution under Barak's leadership:
"the Camp David proposals divided the West Bank into virtually separated cantons, and could not possibly be accepted by any Palestinian leader... After the collapse of these negotiations, Clinton recognised that Arafat’s reservations made sense, as demonstrated by the famous 'parameters', which, though vague, went much further towards a possible settlement... After that, high-level Israeli-Palestinian negotiators proceeded to take the Clinton parameters as 'the basis for further efforts,' and addressed their 'reservations' at meetings in Taba through January. These produced a tentative agreement, meeting some of the Palestinian concerns... Problems remained, but the Taba agreements went much further towards a possible settlement than anything that had preceded. The negotiations were called off by [Israeli Prime Minister] Barak, so their possible outcome is unknown."
So the initial offer (separated cantons) was a bad faith offer designed to be rejected, and then Israel dropped the negotiations when it got fairer.
Generally the countries one would consider the "free world" have consistently supported Israel's right to defend itself, including against Palestinian terrorism.  is just one example but I can find many more. Please provide a source for your claim that UN decisions against Israel are nearly unanimous. I can't find any specific stats but I highly doubt your claim. While there's a lot of political deal making behind the scenes anti-Israeli decisions generally leverage the majority of the non-democracies of this world.
Hamas is an organization that does summary executions of people suspected of being spies and drags them through the streets tied behind cars (I'll spare you the link). Throwing their fellow Palestinians from Fatah off the roofs (again I'll spare you the link, you can find it yourself). Conducting campaigns of suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. Indiscriminate shelling of civilians and routinely using civilians as human shields. This organization is the source of suffering for both Israelis and Palestinians.
It's not that Israel is beyond reproach or always in the right but there's no comparison. How is "not getting a country with the lines that I want" justification for anything Hamas is doing anyways?
Please spend more time reading information from different sources about the facts and history of the conflict.
EDIT: Donno what pushed my buttons to get into this discussion but the Gaza situation specifically seems to be pretty clear cut. The Palestinians got their own mini-state within a small geographic region and they made their choices to have conflict where they could have not had one. The history of the entire Arab-Israeli conflict is almost irrelevant. The scale and type of Israeli responses to the happenings in Gaza can be criticized but the fact stands that Israel withdrew and let the Palestinians manage their own business and it turned out to be a complete mess which means the likelihood of this being replicated in other Palestinian areas is just about zero. The Palestinians had a chance to prove something and they proved the exact opposite. They can't blame Israel for that.
EDIT2: Doing a little more research into UN resolutions. Ignoring the question of bias vs. other world affairs it seems the pattern is as follows:
- Those Israeli related resolutions are generally proposed by non-free nations
- The US automatically supports Israel. Canada typically supports Israel. Next up in support seems to be Australia in my limited sample.
- The "non-free-world" overwhelmingly supports those resolutions.
- If the resolution is not too strong and just expresses overall regret over violence etc. etc. the EU will typically vote for it.
- If the language is strong or the resolution appears overly biased the EU will generally abstain. I think a lot of those stronger resolutions that still pass would not pass without the non-free world support.
So I don't think the statement that it's always Israel+US vs. the rest of the world stands to scrutiny. Also most resolutions are non-binding. Let's also not fool ourselves that nations vote according to some moral conscience (those that even have that to start with).
The Palestinian terrorists are declared martyrs, mural paintings are done, their relatives get a pension from PLO -- while caught Israeli murderers are sent to jail..?
It do seem like equivalent sides, as you claim... :-)
Judging from the public reaction in Israel to the manslaughter conviction of Elor Azaria (polling suggests something like 67% want him pardoned), some segment of the Israeli public isn't above sticking up for its murderers.
Now can we get back to discussing supporting the coding academy in Gaza?
Being discreetly discharged from the army for miscondcuct is probably what would have happened if not for the filming that triggered a PUBLIC trial.
After all, the state gave him a weapon, and indicts him when he uses it ? Part of the responsibility is on the state itself.
There are precedents to these kind of incidents:
The army did say that the soldier would be disciplined for violating the rules of engagement and for changing his account of the incident.
The sympathy for due process of terrorists will wear thin in most democracies. Afaik, most countries with continuous terror problems throw out the law book.
This is a quite logical result, since the point of terror is to get a fear and horror reaction from the civilian population to influence them. Scared voters make politicians hysterical, so everything is done to stop the situation. (Democracies seems to be even worse here, since voters are more important than non democracies.)
Afaik, this goes for USA, Germany, Israel, Britain, Spain, etc. (I saw claims from some English guy that they did it different regarding IRA, then some other GB guy contradicted and listed some English laws. Let's call that example uncertain.)
Israel undeniably has a better and more principled legal system than whatever the Palestinians have under the occupation. It's admirable that they found this guy guilty in the face of public opinion.
Insofar as your "mural paintings" statement spoke to the cultural differences, I think it's important (and unbelievably sad) to note that the difference when it comes to acceptance of bloody murder is just a matter of degree. All the parties involved have been degraded by this conflict.
Another poster wrote that this kind of argument takes away from the discussion of the good that's being done there, and I believe he's right, so... :)
Side A is officially antisemitic in their founding document (Hamas) and TV programs (even for children!); they literally took inspirations from the 3rd Reich. They condone murders of civilians (even children) and pay pensions to the family of killed murderers. They have expelled all members of side B. They persecute members of side B everywhere on the planet where both groups live in the same society.
Side B have racism from individuals, which is officially condemned by a democratically elected government. They throw murderers of civilians in jail. 20% (?) of the population in side B are really part of side A, with no expulsions (except once in a bad civil war, when both sides did it, almost 70 years ago).
And so on, there are lots of examples.
You can dismiss this as "just a matter of degree". But then note that there is also "just a matter of degree" in Celsius between Antarctica and Hawaii.
When do "double standards for different sides" go over the limit to the definition of stronger terms?
(Edit: If you're going to argue that persecution and hatred of Jews are excusable because of X, note that more Jews were expelled from the Muslim world than Palestinians that fled from the Nakba. And multiple times more land was stolen from them than the total area of Israel.)
Have you ever met a Gazan (outside of any military situation, if you're Israeli and had to serve)? If not, check this out since it may be the closest you can get... I don't think these people are ones you'd have any reason to dislike or want to punish:
If it seemed to you that anything I wrote intended to argue that persecution and hatred of anyone is "excusable because of X", this was rather a waste of time.
Which is of course a surprise, since discussion of the Palestinian conflict online is ordinarily so productive...
I wrote it INSIDE "()", AS AN EDIT. since that was the only thing you could comment on, sad...
EDIT: I used a ":-)" three comments ago as a mark of irony. Well, justin66 have no serious answer, so I end it here.
Edit 2: Justin66 seems to downvote my comments in this old discussion now, with multiple accounts... 15+ downvotes on old and new comments in 20 minutes. That is what happens when people lack both a serious argument and maturity. (Easy to find for HN mods..)
Edit 3: detaro -- The karma is irrelevant. And I should be equally ashamed as justin66 for needling whai I hope is a teenager when he have dearly held wrong opinions. Enough.
Then write the mods an e-mail instead of hoping they read your comments.
You're getting downvotes, and flags, because you are being rude and aggressive.
You have a point, I am easily trolled when people lack arguments and start discussing person.
Regarding earlier comments... I got mainly upvotes, until an hour ago.
I have argued, a year or two ago, that this subject have to much emotional attachments and doesn't work on HN. It is twice as true today, it seems people now often have secondary accounts used for trolling when they lack answers about soemthing they find important.
You may be right about the topic not being appropriate for HN. Regardless of the behavior of other members—even if you think they're trolling—it's important to be civil. Even more so when the topic is emotional. Otherwise it's just better to refrain from commenting.
I have found that I am easily trolled when I have the beginning of allergy troubles. It is better to not comment than to find out the hard way I need anti histamines.
Sorry for wasting people's time and energy.
> The Gaza flotilla raid was a military operation by Israel against six civilian ships of the "Gaza Freedom Flotilla" on 31 May 2010 in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea. Nine activists were killed in the raid. The flotilla, organized by the Free Gaza Movement and the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (İHH), was carrying humanitarian aid and construction materials, with the intention of breaking the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.
1) Background: Israel legitimately blockades Gaza due to acts of war by the local government (also known as the terrorist organization Hamas).
2) The Gaza flotilla was an attempt to breach the blockade by intruding into the zone controlled by Israeli naval forces in the area.
3) The Israeli forces intercepted the flotilla and boarded it; no weapons were used until provoked.
4) Immediately after boarding it, they were physically assaulted and returned fire: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaiMjAULWn0
There's no simplistic 1-line solution here. Take a look around the other Middle Eastern states that have lost their governments recently.
Israel could have easily cut the lines and used a jammer.
I totally get why they weren't really interested - but it's frustrating.
Most Israelis think this is a great opportunity and support these sort of initiatives. They've worked well with Jordan in the past.
It might well be a political statement, but not necessarily a statement against Israel. I think its more like providing an economic life-line.