What Happened To The Gaza International Airport Is What’s Happening Again Today In Israel

Secret Flying says they will no longer post flight deals to Israel until there’s a Palestinian state. My belief is that Secret Flying has been stealing content from other deal sites, forums, blogs and news sites all over the internet without attribution for years, and suddenly develops a moral compass?

Such an odd flex in any case because Palestinians heading from the U.S. to Gaza would fly into… Tel Aviv.

Boycotting flight deals to Israel “until a two-state solution is in place,” is an easy platitude but who is Israel supposed to negotiate with? There hasn’t even been a Palestinian Authority election since January 2006. And what compromise is possible?

In 2000 Arafat was offered a state that included 95% of desired land. He could not accept because he’d have been assassinated. Hamas does not want a negotiated peace, but to destroy Israel and kill Israelis. “From the river to the sea..” means cleansing of Jews.

Palestinians are getting a raw deal. They’ve gotten a raw deal from Hamas, who kept them from having a state and whose goal is to see Palestinians killed by Israel in response to their attacks – to prevent normalized relations with Arab neighbors (they were on the brink with Saudi Arabia) and to prevent two co-existing states.

There is no good end game that I am visionary enough to see. Israel can’t govern Gaza, and whatever replaces Hamas may not be different. And after this attack, Israel will not feel secure with a Palestinian state controlling Gaza.

I feel for the massacred Israelis and their families and for the hostages that have been taken. I also sympathize with the plight of Palestinians.

But anyone who simply says “we need a Palestinian state” with no talk of what that looks like (within any zone of possible agreement that the parties could sign onto) and how to get there simply is not serious.

It wasn’t always this hopeless. Things seemed so much better at the turn of the last century. The 1995 Oslo II Accord included international funding for Yasser Arafat International Airport in the Gaza Strip. Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands donated a Boeing 727 and 2 Fokker 50s to help launch Palestinian Airlines.

Palestinian Airlines Fokker 50, credit: Bram Steeman via Wikimedia Commons

The new Gaza airport opened in 1998, and Bill and Hillary Clinton attended the official grand opening. At the time there were plans for a port and for a… casino! It was a time of hope.

In 2000 they forced Arafat to turn down a deal for a Palestinian state. Hamas sabotaged peace then, launching scores of suicide bombings. October 2023 is hardly their first foray into killing Jews. To defend itself from attacks and limit the ability of Hamas to supply itself with weapons, they destroyed the Gaza airport’s control and radio towers in 2001 and bulldozed its runway in 2002 in response to the Second Intifada and killing of Israeli soldiers.

Palestinian Airlines did not shut down! They moved to El Arish International Airport 29 miles away in Egypt. But Egypt took a full day to process Palestinians crossing the border.

Eventually the airline shut down in 2005, though they briefly restarted service again in 2012 before leasing their aircraft to Niger Airlines. (The planes were returned in summer 2020, and the airline formally shut down in 2021.)

Hamas does not want a compromise with a peaceful two state solution and they’ve blocked one for decades. Sympathy for Hamas sickens me because they have caused an entire generation of Palestinian suffering, trading it for the hope of destruction of Jews.

That’s also let Israeli politicians play to voter fears and ‘taken them off the hook’ from pursuing a peace that seemed impossible. I’m not sure what the real alternative there is, but we haven’t seen Israeli leaders who pressed for peace since Yitzhak Rabin (who was assassinated for his peace efforts), Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak. It’s not clear what peace has been available.

President Clinton, who nearly achieved Mideast peace, relays in My Life that Arafat once told him “You are a great man” and Clinton replied, “I am not a great man. I am a failure, and you made me one.”

Now Israel must defend itself and murderers of civilians should certainly be punished, but there are difficult moral questions around how you do that when the perpetrators hide amongst civilians and use them as human shields? Hamas is not offering terms for peace. Even if they negotiate a cease fire their very purpose is to repeat what they’ve done and more.

So what is the appropriate response here? I am not sure there is one other than that the lives of Palestinians are being sacrificed first by Hamas and then as a consequence of what Hamas has done and maybe in there Israel goes too far.

Much of Palestinian suffering has been brought on – on purpose – by Hamas, so that Palestinians would be symbols of suffering. It helps their cause with foreign allies (who do not open their borders to refugees). It helps their recruiting. And it helps their ultimate goal of destruction of the Jewish state and of Jews. That doesn’t excuse the role that Israeli leaders have played.

These are difficult moral questions and I have a degree of uncertainty. I hope that the situation doesn’t escalate further bringing war with Iran and directly engaging the United States and how many nuclear powers need to be at war at one time?

A quarter century ago democracy was ascendant. China appeared on a path to freedom. David Hasselhoff sang about freedom atop the Berlin Wall as the Iron Curtain fell. And a new airport was inaugurated in Gaza and a U.S. President attended. All of that hopefulness of my youth has departed.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @Gary- I don’t always agree with you but this is well written and in my opinion, accurate. There will be no winners in this, especially for the Palestinians who will suffer from both Hamas and the IDF.

  2. Well said. It is a horrible mess and innocent Israeli and Palistinian families are suffering. While government policy and actions by the Israeli government through the years have not been perfect, they have had the unenviable position of being hated and attacked by their neighbors since the literal day of their founding. Fighting Hamas, who seeks civilian deaths on both sides, is like fighting with one hand behind your back. They continue to launch rockets at civilian populations while holding more than 100 Israelis hostage while a growing number of people demand that Israel unilaterally call a cease fire. No other nation would do that, nor should they. Sadly, there are no easy options on the table, and the coming weeks will almost certainly be bloody. We can only pray for minimal civilian casualties and a quick and decisive defeat of Hamas.

  3. Well said Gary. I’d add that I’m not sure about Palestinian “civilians “ being so innocent, they all seemed happy to parade raped women in the streets of Gaza. When interviewed by foreign press they mostly seem to rejoice in the killings of Jews at every opportunity, and let’s not forget who voted hamas into power ? There is probably some percentage of civilians who are against war and Hamas, but they seem far outnumbered by those who support everything they do and send their youth to join its ranks. The the Palestinian people want peace with Israel or wipe them from the river to the sea?

  4. Bizarre. What on earth does this flights deal website have to do with Mideast geo-politics? All very odd.

  5. Sorry but I disagree. Yes, Hamas is evil and they never wanted peace. They should be removed. However, Hamas is not Gaza and Gaza is not Palestine. No one in Israel has been trying to negotiate peace with Palestine in a long time. Heck, why hasnt the entire world supported a Palestine State all along? With all the resources, im sure even the UN could have removed Hamas, restore peace and support Palestine creating their own state but no one did. It’s gotten too far and people are upset. If you say something about Palestine now you are called “anti-semitic”, but where is the “anti-arab” term?
    Again, everyone cries and cries and no supports Palestine.

  6. “who kept them from having a state and whose goal is to see Palestinians killed by Israel in response to their attacks – to prevent normalized relations with Arab neighbors (they were on the brink with Saudi Arabia) and to prevent two co-existing states.”

    The Israeli government did more to screw up 2 states deal than anything Hamas ever did.

  7. Yes, “Hamas does not want a compromise with a peaceful two state solution”, but Bibi also does not want a compromise with a peaceful two state solution. Israel has long played Hamas and the PA against each other because its better for Israel to have one unsuitable partner (Hamas) and one unstable partner (PA) than one true negotiating partner representing Palestine.

    While Arafat may have been offered a state that included 95% of desired land, his position was that he couldn’t compromise on top of the original compromise (the 1967 borders).

  8. I agree with most of what you say, Gary. Though the Israeli government starting with Begin allowing new “facts on the ground” by letting fanatics build settlements in the West Bank (and take the ground water too) is a problem Israel brought on itself. How in the world can they get hundreds of thousands of people out of there?

    There may be no answer–or if there is, somebody will earn a Nobel Peace Prize very quickly. (No takers yet, and the idea that Trump’s son-in-law could solve the problem was laughable from the start.) What I don’t get is how any outside group can imagine they can destroy Israel–their army and air force are excellent and they have atomic bombs!

    It is a dark time. Hungary, China, the GOP, the Israeli government itself, and many other countries and groups are sinking into repression. (And I certainly don’t excuse the U.S. government over many years and administrations–among many other terrible ideas the Iranian situation began with our overthrow of its legitimate government in 1953.) Still, things can and do change, and sometimes very rapidly. The Germany of 1939 was not that of 1959, nor was the Spain of 1970 that of 1990. Losing all hope is not an option to envision a better future, and I do have some faith in the young people of the world, who given a choice don’t always want to fight the battles of their elders. And after a lifetime of extensive travel to well past 100 countries I find most people everywhere to be decent and just want to be left alone to raise their families in peace. That can still happen. Somehow.

  9. @Nate nate – you treat the Palestinians as though they have no agency, and are mere pawns of the Israelis? It’s true that the Israeli right felt Hamas was ‘the devil they knew’ and were quite fearful of what might rise in its place were it to fall. Who was Israel to negotiate with?

    Israel was invaded in 1967. They took territory. And the invasion showed them the risk that they faced. The 1967 borders would have held had Israel not been invaded.

  10. @drrichard – the settlements were a bad idea, Israel has its own unhelpful domestic politics. You are very much spot on regarding the problems that U.S. (and British) intervention has caused in the Mideast, with each intervention creating problems that sow the seeds for the next.

  11. accurate… going back to after WWII, the world suffered from collective guilt for the Holocaust, gave Israel its own land and Israel learned how to arm itself to the teeth and insert Jews in the highest levels of US government and put the largest number of Jews in the US, ensuring that the largest military power was their friend.
    Hamas and Iran repeated the same error 8 days ago by doing something so horrific that no rational person can defend them.
    Hopes for an independent Palestinian homeland have been dealt a serious setback and it is the Palestinian people that will suffer.

  12. @Tim Dunn “Israel learned how to arm itself to the teeth and insert Jews in the highest levels of US government and put the largest number of Jews in the US”

    Israel did engage in some sort of cabal to “put the largest number of Jews in the US” nor did they “insert Jews in the highest levels of US government”

  13. @Dude26
    Well…it’s what’s happening in the world. If it’s too much for you, feel free to click over to YMMV for some indepth analysis of whether it is better to sit next to the window or the aisle.

  14. Naming an airport after a guy who was responsible for bombing an airport is the ultimate irony.

  15. First thing, Palestinians trying to get to Gaza would absolutely never fly into Tel Aviv. Crossing the border from Israel to the Gaza Strip is nearly impossible. Almost everyone, and especially civilians, crosses from Egypt, and would fly into Cairo.

    Secondly, virtually all of this is on Israel. Israel is illegally colonizing the West Bank. Yes, Hamas sabotaged peace deals before, but that was also decades ago – where did Hamas recruit their current (and apparently increasingly barbaric) membership? From the Palestinian youth that have been imprisoned in Gaza since 2007.

    Israel doesn’t need to enter Gaza. They need to secure their 32 mile border with Gaza. They failed at security, and as a result the terrorists Israel created with their 2 million person prison / Hamas recruitment center exacted a terrible cost on Israel’s civilians. Israel’s answer to their security failure is to continue the collective punishment and starve 2 million people. Which will just create a new generation of Hamas recruits, who will hate their prison guards even more.

    1,400 Israelis were killed last weekend, but Israel has been conducting an occupation campaign against millions of Palestinians for decades, and practically starving 2 million of them since 2007.

    Of course Hamas is terrible. But Israel is also terrible, just with the benefit of most of the world not caring what Israel does to Palestinians.

  16. One possible, though rather bloody solution: Hamas does not have 100% support in Gaza. They’ve got internal enemies. If Israel can weaken Hamas enough, as well as Islamic Jihad, perhaps the rest of Gaza will rise up and deal with the Hamas/IJ problem on their own. I’m sure there are people who have been waiting years for the right moment to settle scores. Maybe what remains, Israel can deal with.

  17. There are some who say that a 2 state plan is flawed because the many people in Gaza who lived near Tel Aviv but were forced to flee to Gaza and lost their homes that they owned without compensation is not part of any plan. Sometimes, it’s referred to as “right to return”.

  18. The Israeli GOVERNMENT may not have inserted Jews into the highest levels of the US government but the US became the largest home of Jews outside of Israel because the US has taken care of Jews for decades including during WWII.
    And it is precisely because those Jewish leaders are in the places they are that Israel has a voice that will not be silenced in the US for a good long time.
    Jews have contributed and do contribute greatly to what the US is.

  19. Hopefully you will allow this Q and A to post.
    Q: Why can’t Israel show restraint, and not bomb Gaza?

    Imagine you were sitting in your home with your children, and someone would begin shooting bullets into your home, killing one of your children, tying up another one and burning him alive, and then kidnapping and torturing another one. Do you think the correct thing is to show restraint and allow all your children to die? Or should you stop the killers?

    Before last Saturday, Hamas sent more than 20,000 rockets raining down on Israeli cities, with the singular intention of murdering as many Jews as possible. Should Israel just say: Send some more; we are fine if Jews die; or should Israel try to crush the terrorists?

    Even before last week, if not for the Iron Dome, Israel would have been reduced to rubble, and thousands would have been killed. Even with the Iron Dome, there are gruesome casualties and millions of Israelis are living in dread. When a siren goes off in the middle of the night, they have ten seconds to rush all the children into a shelter. Should Israel just accept this?

    Then came the massacre of last Saturday morning. Hamas breached the fence between Gaza and Southern Israel, entered into dozens of Jewish towns, and tortured and murdered more than 1300 Jews, among them many babies and the elderly. They mowed down Jewish youths like they were blades of grass. More than 3000 were wounded, many of them critical. More than 100 Jews were kidnapped and taken as hostages to Gaza. Should Israel remain silent?

    Q: Instead of firing back at Hamas, why does Israel not concede to Hamas’ demands so they would stop killing Jews and stop firing rockets?

    A: Hamas openly calls and aims for the death of every Jew in Israel, as clearly stated in their charter, written in 1987 (which you can read online). Should Israel concede to this demand? Should we murder every Jew in Israel and then there will be no more terror and no more rockets?

    Hamas is a genocidal terrorist organization that wants to wipe Israel, a country the size of New Jersey with 6.6 million Jewish residents, off the map. They would be happy to burn 6 million Jews alive, as they did to the children in Southern Israel, last Shabbos. Hamas would be more than happy to murder 10,000 Jews daily, or as many as they can. What they did last Shabbos, they would gleefully do every single day, if they had a chance. Should we allow them?

    Q: Why do you say it is about genocide? Maybe it is just about occupation? Israel is occupying Gaza and has created a siege around it, so in desperation, the Gazans need to kill Jews and shoot rockets to fight the injustice.

    A: I believe Hamas. They state clearly in their charter and all their messages that the goal here is the eradication of the Jewish people.

    Q: Why not just withdraw to the pre-1967 lines, and create a Palestinian State, and all will be fine?

    A: Israel did just that with Gaza! Gaza was the first Palestinian State, created back in 2005, and it became a center of terror. It became instantly clear that the demand for a Palestinian State was not to live side by side with Israel but to replace Israel. One can only shudder to think what would happen if a Palestinian State were created in the heart of Israeli society? Do you think Israel should commit national suicide? Would you give Hitler a Palestinian State?

    Following the Oslo Accords, when Israel gave autonomy to Palestinians in the West Bank, Israel saw the worst terror attacks against its citizens. Conceding territory, sadly, is an invitation for war, not peace.

    Q: How can Israel justify killing civilians if their intent is to destroy Hamas?

    A: The death of every innocent human being is horrific. But what is the reason for all these tragic casualties? Because Hamas places its fighters among the civilian population, using them as human shields, and launches its rockets from schools, hospitals, and homes. The Palestinian people are being held hostage by Hamas. A civilian who is killed while being used by a terrorist as a human shield is a victim of the terrorist, not the Israeli army, who does not target innocent civilians.

    If Hamas would not be sending murderers and shooting rockets into Israel would even one child in Gaza die? Never. So why are we blaming Israel for deaths caused by Hamas? Many German civilians died during World War Two. Who do we blame for their deaths? Hitler or Churchill? What Nazi Germany was to England, Hamas is to Israel. Literally.

    Q: But Israel is shooting rockets into Gaza and killing these innocent people?

    A: If someone declared war on your country, and it is waging the war from amidst its civilian population, do you try to defeat your enemy or do you just allow your people to die? Still, there has never been an army in the history of warfare that had tried so hard to minimize civilization casualties the way Israel does. Sadly, they are not always successful due to the deliberate and criminal aim of Hamas to ensure the greatest possible deaths of their own children for which they can blame Israel.

    Consider the following facts. Before bombing a residential building filled with Hamas operators and used to launch rockets against Israel, the Israeli military sends letters warning them to leave, even though that gives ample time for the terrorists to flee as well.
    Does anyone even expect Hamas to phone Israeli residents before sending a rocket to their homes? What does this tell you about the difference between Hamas and Israel? One is trying to murder as many innocent people as possible; the other is trying to protect as many innocent people as possible.

    If you really care about the safety and future of Palestinian children, you should embrace Israel and combat Hamas. If only Hamas would love their own children a little more than they hate Israeli children, there would be peace.

    Q: Still, isn’t Israel’s response disproportionate? Can’t they show more restraint?

    A: What would be your reaction if in 1945 politicians would urge the US and England to show restraint? Hitler began a war, and the Allies were trying to end it, by defeating the enemy. Hamas declared war against Israel, and Israel is trying to end it. When you are trying to end a war, you try to end it as swiftly as you can. Remember, if Hamas would not murder and kidnap Jews, this war would have never begun.

    Israel’s moral duty today is to eliminate Hamas completely and take full control over Gaza, so that no more innocent people die. Israel’s great mistake is that they did not do this the moment Hamas fired the first rocket after Israel gave them their Palestinian State.

    This is not about being proportionate. This is about ensuring that 6 million Jews in Israel are not slain. During the Second World War, there were millions of more civilian deaths in Germany than in Britain. Does this make England wrong, and Nazi Germany right?

    Q: Israel has an army and the Iron Dome to protect it from Hamas soldiers and rockets, while the Gazans are left without protection from the Israeli rockets and army?

    A: The people of Gaza have something far more effective than an Iron Dome: a neighbor who would never shoot even a single rocket at them and would not kill even one Gazan. If Hamas ceases to terrorize Israel, all of Gaza will be safe. Sadly, it is only Israel that needs an army and Iron Dome because Hamas seeks to destroy it.

    If Hamas went on vacation for a month, no one person in Gaza would be hurt. If Israel’s Defense Forces went on vacation for a month, not one Jew would be left alive.

    Q: Doesn’t Israel understand that they are creating more terrorists? The fury at Israel as a result of bombing Gaza will make more people want to join Hamas.

    A: First of all, feelings of frustration and rage do not make you into a terrorist. A culture of death and education of hate does. Israel doesn’t need to do anything to create terrorists—Islamic extremism does that, but Israel must act to destroy those who threaten its people.

    On the contrary, anyone who learns the facts understands that the fury ought to be directed toward Hamas, who does not care for its people and has subjected them to this suffering. Instead of blaming Israel, why don’t we blame the true perpetrators? But regardless, Israel needs to eliminate the organization that keeps on murdering Jews. Do you think England and America should have not targeted Hitler and the Nazis so as not to infuriate the German people?

    Q: Israel, because of its power, must be kept to a higher standard. Even if Hamas is using violence, Israel must not.

    A: That is deeply misguided. If someone is coming to burn your children alive, do you stop them with all your might, or do you just welcome them?

    If a woman is being attacked by a thug who wants to violate her, and she punches the attacker in the face, is she to be lauded or humiliated? If Israel would do nothing and allow its children to continue to die, would it be compassionate or cruel?

    Q: If all the above is true, why is there such a double standard when it comes to Israel?

    A: Somehow the Jewish people still trigger profound sentiments, in one direction or another. Since the day Abraham began his journey, the world has been anything but indifferent to the Jew. Some people love Jews, others don’t, but nobody can ignore them. Despite not numbering even one-quarter of one percent of humanity, the world is obsessed with Israel. Do you need better proof that our role in history is as vibrant as ever? That we are Divine ambassadors to fill the world with truth, justice, and love, and the world is longing to hear our voice. We must not duck into fear and insecurity. We must speak the truth and fight every expression of evil and hatred. The world respects Jews who respect Judaism and respect their history, heritage, and faith. The world will respect Israel when Israel respects Israel and will stop appeasing terrorists and their supporters.

    May G-d bless Israel. May G-d bless our soldiers. May G-d protect every Jew living in Israel, and may He protect all innocent people, the world over. May G-d give our leaders the wisdom and courage to do what they need to do to protect our people and our homeland. May they not surrender to fear and insecurity and root out completely every vestige of terror in their midst. May we all have the moral clarity and courage to be outraged by evil and intoxicated by good.

  20. There is already a Palestinian state, 4 of them. Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon. If you want to live in a Muslim country in the immediate region, then move. Arabs lost multiple wars while trying to remove Israel from the face of the earth, this push for a Palestinian state is just a continuation of that, little by little.

  21. @bers: Yes, you will want to kill the killers. That doesn’t mean you just go to the town they’re from and kill a bunch of people there.

  22. @drrichard @gary
    The Settlements are not a bad idea. They are a deterrent that protect Jews from these viscous attacks. Up until 2005, there were several Jewish settlement within the Gaza Strip (Gush Katif etc) that protected the area from becoming infested with terrorists. In August 2005 Prime Minister Sharon decided to give the arabs more land, and withdrew all settlements from Gaza. Look what happened.. it’s now run by Hamas.

  23. The Palestinians in Gaza celebrate each time a terrorist kills an Israeli. They don’t disagree with Hamas policy of exterminating all Jews – not just those in Israel.
    There are few, if any innocent Palestinians in Gaza.

  24. @Gary – I think the greatest political risk is in allowing Hamas to succeed. So, my proposal: Get Saudi, Israel, and the West Bank PA to the negotiating table. Nobody walks away until terms are made to where Saudi normalizes relations with Israel, WB becomes its own state recognized by Israel (necessary sacrifices needed here by PA to give Israel a right to continue limited anti-terrorist ops – a thorny, tough issue to be certain), Israel has security guarantees from WB and returns territory illegally taken by the settlements (no one is ever truly happy with a compromise). Why would all the parties involved do this? Because they need to show the world that peace works, and terrorism fails. By elevating WB to a state, but invading/retaking Gaza, Israel could send a forceful message to the world about which approach works.

    None of this is to say that it’s likely, but the international outrage and shock leads to the rare opportunity to break the status quo. And IMHO, Israel has more to risk by continuing the status quo (effectively encouraging more terrorism) than by taking this measured risk on WB.

    Now, do I have faith in any of the relevant politicians to do the right and smart thing here… well, let’s just see, shall we? Unfortunately, everyone’s current political incentives aren’t aligned with the best outcomes.

  25. An Israeli-Saudi normalization is not going to deliver a sustainable peace and drain the swamp on which terrorism lives. If you want a sustainable peace that doesn’t ultimately involve a lot more people sent to the grave due to violence, the way to get there and pull the rug from under Hamas and others who want to see the destruction of Israel as a homeland for Jewish peoples is to land the following:

    An Israeli-Saudi-Iranian peace deal that immediately provides for a fully sovereign, democratic Palestinian state inclusive of all of Gaza and all of the West Bank which got taken in wars with other state actors; further internationalize governance and policing of Jerusalem’s religious/disputed flashpoint spots; let East Jerusalem be the Palestinian seat of governance; and let the Turks and Saudis jointly enforce a demilitarized Gaza, West Bank. The question then turns on whether: a) Israelis in the aggregate are content enough with peace and demilitarized Palestinians, or if the right-wing settler mentality wins out anyway; and b) under what circumstances the Iranian right-wing will accept Israel as a homeland for the Jewish peoples and as a country that deserves to live in peace.

  26. The meaning of “from the river to the sea..” isn’t uniform across all use. It most certainly doesn’t necessarily mean ethnically cleansing the area of Jews, any more than “jihad” necessarily means violence; but if you buy into the Hamas talking points and the likes of WND’s Islamophobes or anti-Arab racists — and there are Arabs who are racist against Arabs — then it is to be interpreted as being the worst thing possible even when that is not the general meaning except for those who are extremists and those who fall for the talking points of the extremists thriving on hate and/or fear.

  27. mom47,

    You’re a mom? The median age of the population in Gaza is around 18 years of age, and 40-45% of the population is under 15 years of age. Not sure about you, but I consider the hundreds of thousands of pre-teen kids to be pretty innocent even as they are wrongly stripped of their naivete and childhood by seeing the kind of brutality around them this month which no child should face. Not sure about you but I consider it a crime against children when violence is perpetrated by or against those who have a duty of care for the children and that violence is done around the children.

    A lack of empathy for the young children of “the other” speaks to a rotten spirit of dehumanizing “the other”, but I’ve seen this kind of thing over the ages. Think back to the Holocaust, for in it you should recognize the Nazi mentality with its lack of empathy for children of “the other”. I can only hope you taught your child/children more of love for all humanity than hatred for any.

  28. Senor Leff,

    I wouldn’t suggest being a cynic to the extent of losing hope.

    Some steps forward, and some steps backward. But we aren’t yet back to living like in the stone ages. We got past the nuclear strike classroom training exercises at US schools and they aren’t back like before. Although if the climate change trends continue as is, perhaps I should have done as your Peter Thiel fellow and invested in New Zealand instead.

    Peace dividends are not eternal, just as those living in the Roaring ’20s — 1920s — eventually realized. The problem is that the way people get fed and consume content nowadays is that they get the amen choir stuff that keeps them hooked and coming back, and anger and fear is so very marketable and addictive to the audiences that they get even more of what they want than they would otherwise have gotten.

  29. Well said. The problem comes down too many people too little land. As long as both the Palestinians and Orthodox Jews believe their religions require them to breed excessively there will always be issues.

  30. Thank you for this level-headed response that sees the humanity and tragedy on all sides and has the moral clarity not to excuse evil. This is sadly rare to find these days.

  31. @ted poco
    So you are pro innocent Israelis and Palestinians dying? That way there will be less people around?

  32. Great war leaders like Roosevelt and Churchill never talked about peace. They only talked about victory. Everyone understood victory would bring peace. Today is no different. Israel should be seeking victory along the lines of what World War II victory looked like: unconditional surrender of the enemy. Disarmament of the enemy. Surrender of the enemy leaders to stand trial for war, crimes, and crimes against humanity. implementation of a replacement for the Hamas charter, which will permanently and irrevocably, disavow terrorism, guarantee effective enforcement against those who advocate or use terrorism, and formal recognition of Israel’s right to exist.

  33. Hamas is a criminal gang that is a symptom of a problem. Wiping it out by generating a huge amount of civilian casualties and engaging in massive ethnic cleansing is only the peace of the grave and a stain on what remaining morality there is. There is no certainty that a massive program of death delivers long term peace and security for Israel. It certainly hasn’t delivered that for Palestinians.

  34. @GUWonder: Groups of Palestinians have engaged in a long-term program of terrorism, but in the scale of war, very little death, especially in comparison to the campaign of death Israel has waged on Palestinians. With the exception of last weekend, Palestinian terrorist attacks are spectacular but not particularly deadly, while Israeli actions are not particularly spectacular but extremely deadly. A bus or restaurant bomb kills tens of people, while for example Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip in 2014 killed 2,251.

    For some reason we apparently view bombing civilians differently depending on whether you have the resources to fly the bomb on a plane first.

  35. And that’s just violent deaths… actions like the blockade of Gaza Strip cause tens of thousands of “silent” deaths due to lack of medical supplies, etc.

  36. Come on Gary. There are no where for civilians to go. Stop parroting Israeli propaganda. Israel is trying to forcibly displace like a million people by making them leave their homes and move south yet Israel keeps bombing at the same time. These actions are in violation of international law. Egypt sent tons of supplies to gaza to aid civilians yet Israel bombed out the gaza side of the border and is refusing to cooperate with civilians getting aid. Don’t pretend that these civilians, almost half of who are children, are being given any choices here. I don’t support the terrorism of Hamas but if you think the Israel government is coming to this with clean hands then you are delusional.

  37. “The Hamas-run Interior Ministry has issued instructions for activists to always refer to casualties as “innocent civilians” or “innocent citizens” in internet posts.”

    Hamas is known to use women and children in its operations. Others it intentionally places in harms way by locating military targets in civilian areas. That is a war crime.

    Apparently some of you got the memo.

  38. @Bill – Hamas is hiding amidst civilians, and using human shields. They could stop that and eliminate the risk to civilians. There is a humanitarian tragedy going on in Gaza. Does a siege violation international law? Interesting discussion https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2023/10/14/israel-siege-gaza-hamas-legal/71170435007/ the range of potential disagreement is what proportion of blame lies with Israel vs. Hamas here.

    I do no think “think the Israel government is coming to this with clean hands” I disagree with many of its policies over the years Israeli leaders are responsive to the country’s domestic politics just as ours are. But Israel is trying to minimize civilian casualties as it strikes back at Hamas, while Hamas intentionally targeted civilians including children for killing and abduction.

  39. Hamas propagandists used to claim that Israeli military assets are embedded among the Israeli civilian population given mandatory compulsory military service. The same kind of argument being used by Israel to justify mass scale retaliatory attacks against Palestinian civilian heavy areas is no less morally bankrupt than what Russian has been doing to Ukraine.

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