New Zealand’s response to the Palestine crisis

Written By: - Date published: 4:22 pm, October 20th, 2023 - 129 comments
Categories: International, israel, Palestine, war - Tags:

Palestine has been a weeping sore on the world’s body politic for decades.

In 2002 John Pilger released a documentary Palestine is still the issue and it starts with this passage:

If we are to speak of the great injustice here, nothing has changed … what has changed is that the Palestinians have fought back. Stateless and humiliated for so long, they have risen up against Israel’s huge military regime, although they themselves have no army, no tanks, no American planes and gunships or missiles. Some have committed desperate acts of terror, like suicide bombing. But, for Palestinians, the overriding, routine terror, day after day, has been the ruthless control of almost every aspect of their lives, as if they live in an open prison. This film is about the Palestinians and a group of courageous Israelis united in the oldest human struggle, to be free.

That was 21 years ago but what Pilger said is even more relevant now than it was then.

Because the body count suggests that one side is the oppressor and the other side is the oppressed.

There have been a lot of International attention paid to the recent event at Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza where an explosion reportedly killed nearly 500 Palestinians.  Hamas has laid the blame at Israel’s feet.The Israelis and others claimed that a Hamas rocket is to blame.

I would have a greater ability to concede that there is the chance that Israel is innocent in relation to this particular incident if it was not for their insistence that the northern edge of the Gaza Strip needs to be emptied of people, or if there were not other instances of hospitals or ambulances being targeted, or if an Israeli air strike had not hit a school run by the United Nations’ Palestinian refugee agency in Gaza’s Al-Maghazi refugee camp.  Or if it had not cut power and water to Gaza which any level is an atrocious thing to do.  Or it had not been blocking aid from arriving in Gaza.

Or if it had not previously lied about the killing of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh by an Israeli army sniper or subsequently disrupted her funeral by Israeli defence forces because there was a Palestinian flag on her coffin.

Or if there had not been repeated instances where Palestinian children and teenagers had been killed by Israeli snipers.

Or if it had not previously illegally intercepting the Freedom Flotilla in International Waters because they wanted to provide solar panels and medical supplies with the spurious claim that this would somehow undermine Israel’s security.  Of course the reality is that the brutal unprincipled immoral way in which Israel treats Palestine is Israel’s greatest threat, not solar panels.

This is nothing new.  In 2021 I wrote about another smaller event in these terms:

In the last few days in its attempts to take out Hamas the Israeli Defence Force has managed to:

  • Kill 197 people including 58 children.
  • Destroy Al Jazeera’s and AP’s media offices in Gaza.
  • Bomb the Red Crescent Society Building in Gaza.
  • Put Gaza’s sole Covid lab out of action.
  • Damaged parts of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani Hospital for Rehabilitation and Prostheses.
  • Overwhelm Hospitals and cause significant shortages in medical and blood supplies.

Some of the individual losses are appalling.  Like the loss of Dr Ayman Abu al-Ouf who was head of internal medicine at Al-Shifa hospital and was killed along with members of his family in an early morning missile attack.

Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed that “Israel is doing everything possible to avoid harming innocent civilians.”

I would hate to see what would happen if it was not being so careful.

To augment the body count there have been other incidents of clear breaches of International Law, like continuous land grabs that even National realised were illegal.

At the risk of being accused of being anti semitic and, if I was in the United Kingdom, facing expulsion from the Labour Party can I just say that the senseless killing and destruction of civilian areas is wrong.  Hamas is wrong to engage in this.  And the Israeli Government is also wrong in engaging in this senseless behaviour.

The local response has been interesting.

I thought Nanaia Mahuta’s initial response was appropriate and well weighted.

But it attracted considerable blow back from not only National but also Labour leader Chris Hipkins.  From Radio New Zealand:

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Chris Hipkins on Sunday afternoon told reporters New Zealand “condemns unequivocally the Hamas attacks on Israel, we are appalled by the targeting of civilians and the taking of hostages which violate fundamental international humanitarian principles”.

“New Zealand’s designated the military wing of Hamas as a terrorist organisation, we recognise Israel’s right to defend itself, we are concerned that the situation will escalate in the coming days and New Zealand again calls for restraint, the protection of non-combatants, and the upholding of international humanitarian law by all parties.”

Christopher Luxon also adopted the messaging that Israel was entitled to defend itself.  Again from RNZ:

Luxon’s statement was a tweet at 10am, saying he was “shocked and saddened by the attacks overnight against Israel. We condemn these Hamas attacks on Israel and the violence and suffering being inflicted on innocent civilians. There is no justification for these attacks and Israel has a right to defend itself.”

He repeated that to reporters in the afternoon, and said the party also condemned “the impact that [attack] is having on the pain and suffering that is happening on innocent civilians, and we also respect Israel’s right to defend itself”.

But as time has passed some have formed the view that Mahuta’s more nuanced response was appropriate.

And her latest response concerning the bombing of the hospital is quite remarkable and I wonder what input National had into its crafting.

Note she was careful not to blame either side for what happened.  But the “targeting of innocent civilians” is in my view more than a hint to Israel that it should not be doing what it is doing.

The Middle East is more unstable right now than it has been for some time.  Hopefully cooler heads will prevail and the levels of hostility will decrease.  We need leadership like that displayed by Mahuta.

129 comments on “New Zealand’s response to the Palestine crisis ”

  1. Kat 1

    "We need leadership like that displayed by Mahuta…….."

    Well that ain't going to happen from anyone in the "govt elect"…….is it, it will be all guns blazing from the Nact cowboys………unless of course Winston becomes the new Mahuta……

  2. tsmithfield 2

    This is a truly dreadful conflict in which there are no winners. The sad thing for me is that this latest deterioration has probably pushed back any peace process for decades.

    It is starting to firm up that the hospital blast was due to a misfired rocket from inside Gaza although there is still conjecture over the event.

    That doesn't mean there aren't other instances like this occurring.

    What I think is really bad is the frothing at the mouth reporting that talk place that the media spewed during the first reporting of this incident. That has only served to whip up frenzy even more.

    I agree with many of the comments that Micky makes. However, Palestinian children being taught by schools to hate Jews isn't cool either, and likely just to perpetuate the conflict. It isn't easy to find a peaceful solution to this conflict when the only suitable answer for one side is the complete extermination of the other.

    • Subliminal 2.1

      On the contrary. There is no "firming up". What is obvious to anyone with an ounce of sensibility is that it is impossible for a misfiring Hamas missile to cause this much death

      Did you read anything of what Micky wrote? Did you take in the graphic tallying up the casualties for both sides? Hamas has the ability to fire a lot of rockets, many of which land in Israeli territory but while they will kill you if you are close enough, they are little more than large point and shoot fire works.

      • joe90 2.1.1

        Israeli air attacks are reducing huge swathes of densely populated Gaza to rubble and builders mix and leaving 5-25M wide holes in the ground.

        Yet the hospital stands.

      • SPC 2.1.2

        There were up to 1000 people in a small car park area sheltering there because it was beside a hospital (no visible structural damage).

        Cars have petrol – just about any explosive munition is going to be that deadly.

        • Subliminal

          Oh. So secondary explosions larger than the initial one? There weren't any. The IDF have the ability to detonate missiles at any predetermined height before impact. Result? Plenty of dead in a crowded car park with little structuural damage and no crater.

          • SPC

            So secondary explosions larger than the initial one?

            No, but why so many would die in that area.

            The IDF have the ability to detonate missiles at any predetermined height before impact.

            Sure, but there are doubts about it being a "hellfire" missile.

            Plenty of dead in a crowded car park with little structuural damage and no crater.

            Yes, and if deliberate, the hospital attack narrative was wrong.

            I could speculate as to artillery fire (missing the hospital) or anti-tank weaponry (that did not get to the fence) … but I'll leave that to those with expertise.

  3. Mike the Lefty 3

    Nanaia Mahuta's response was justified. Regardless of who started it and why, the killing must stop.

    Hipkins' later "correction" is another example of why voters turned against the Labour government – they didn't stand up for their own principles and if you can't do that you don't deserve to be in government.

  4. Anne 4

    Well said ms.

    Initially I felt deeply for Israel. The brutality towards Jewish families was reminiscent of Hitler's Germany in the 1930s. Two weeks later and that horror and sadness is with the Palestinian people. As far as I can judge the jury is still out on the hospital event. Let's hope the truth will be forthcoming soon.

    I, too, saw nothing wrong with Nanaia Mahuta's response and was surprised at Hipkin's reaction to it. Did some bureaucrat from MFAT get to him while he was out on the campaign trail?

    It was to be expected that the Hamas massacre would draw a tit for tat response from Israel, but it has gone way beyond any level of sanity. It is a sign that Israel has set itself on a destructive path that will end in tragedy for all Jewish people around the world. Jewish Americans have already marched in their many thousands at the abhorrent atrocities being committed in their name, and I believe it is being repeated in cities throughout Europe.

    There is little hope that the incoming NZ government will respond to the war with any degree of independence. Rather, they will follow the American line of… Israel good, Palestine bad. The Five Eyes have just held a meeting in the US so the situation will have been thoroughly thrashed out. Let’s hope NZ's view was one of top level diplomacy and moderation rather than wading in all guns blazing.

    • tsmithfield 4.1

      Anne, the Israeli-Palestinian is probably the most difficult conflict to resolve in our times.

      I have heard it said that if Hamas laid down its weapons tomorrow, the Israelis would happily negotiate a peace deal. But, if the Israelis laid down their arms, every Jew in Israel would be slaughtered. We saw evidence of that in the attack on Israel that sparked this last violence.

      I don't think there is much doubt that Hamas will do exactly the same again if it gets a chance. So, what is Israel to do to defend itself? It looks to me that they have decided to deal a terminal blow to Hamas once and for all.

      I just hope civilians can be spared going forward.

      • Anne 4.1.1

        "I just hope civilians can be spared going forward."

        I have agreed with you often in the past but not on this subject…

        I think your hope is a somewhat naive dream.

      • Lola 4.1.2

        Sorry, there was a chance for peace decades ago. But Netanyahu murdered that chance when he incited assassinations of the peacemakers Rabin & Arafat. Netanyahu's gov is also hell bent on stealing what little is left of all Palestinian lands including Gaza & West Bank. Don't just blame Hamas. Current Israeli gov is equally guilty. Our Western media is totally biased & do not report on the daily casualties inflicted by Israel against Palestinians. Enough is enough. Even some Israelis are supportive of Palestinian causes and against Israeli apartheid & colonisation of non-Hamas West Bank. Why can't Israel entice Palestinians by supporting the PLO in West Bank that has agreed to recognise Israel? I cannot blame the oppressed for rising up against their oppressors. The population was 10% Jewish & 90% Arab Palestinians when Britain seized it illegally after tricking Arabs to help ot defeat the Ottoman empires. European Jews do not have as strong a claim to the land as Palestinians do. It's already asking a lot of Palestinians to give persecuted European Jews a piece of their homeland. For these European (& American) Jews to then attempt to swallow the whole land is unconscionable. We need to deal with anti-semitism in our own countries, not rob Palestinians to pay Jews for our crimes against Jews.

        Please let's get more educated about the history & not inflict more suffering on Palestinians by labelling the victims the bad guys for not meekly accepting their victimisation.

        • SPC

          1.Arafat rejected a (Labour government era – Rabin Barak) offer of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as a capital in 2000, because it did not include right of return into Israel for 1948 refugees (there were also Israeli security conditions).

          Likud has used this (and the post 2000 intifada) to make occupation a de facto annexation settlement by settlement behind security fences.

          2.Even Likud Israel does not want Gaza.

          And it is now washing it hands of the area, so it can invite the UN to move in.

          Given the obstacle to Israeli acceptance of a PA led state has been the rockets out of Gaza, a UN peacekeeping group and disarmament of the armed groups there is the best outcome.

          Something a post Netanyahu government could work with as to talks with SA and the PA.

      • Subliminal 4.1.3

        Good grief! You have heard it said! Oh, well thats a relief then!

        Do you understand that the Israeli siege on Gaza is illegal? It has been described by David Cameron as an open air prison, a ghetto by Haaretz, a human rubbish heap by the Economist and a toxic slum in which an entire population is caged from birth to death by a UN human rights chief. These people fully have the right to attempt to break out from this prison.

        Israel does not have the right to self defence. They are illegal occupiers of another peoples territory. A rapist has no right of self defence against there victim. Neither can I invade your home and claim a right to self defence when I kill you to stop you attacking me. If you occupy territory that is someone elses you take responsibility for their welfare. If you cant then you should leave. And the passing of time makes no difference. The Nakba was real. Thousands of Palestinians were murdered or sent packing. These actions were not legal and have never been addressed so all rights on the Israeli side to self defence are void. The above link will also tell you that Hamas offered to lay down its arms for 10 years if the siege on Gaza was lifted. Unsurprisingly, Israel refused.

        • SPC

          Any nation state has right of self defence to any attack on its people and territory (as occurred October 7).

          Israel was a UN founded nation state. It acquired extra territory by conquest afterwards – after the failed invasion by 5 Arab armies.

          In 1949, the UN decided that land could no longer be acquired by victory in war.

          Since 1967 Israel has (meant to be as per international law) been a nation state occupying territory waiting for a Palestinian state recognising Israel to exist in this area (but since 1977 exploiting the lack thereof to establish Jewish settlements).

          The PA was offered a state in 2000.

          The refusal of some to accept that an Arab attempt to prevent a non Arab state forming in 1948 (now opposition to non Moslem governance) failed is what drives them to dig deeper and deeper holes for themselves.

          These actions were not legal and have never been addressed so all rights on the Israeli side to self defence are void.

          Void, what utter tosh. The actions of the 5 Arab nations were not legal either – how many Jews were left alive on the West Bank after they arrived. And in a sulk they expelled Jews from their nations afterwards.

          And just how legal was the occupation of the WB by Jordan and Gaza by Egypt?

          • Subliminal

            As an agressor state illegally holding occupied territory and laying a siege on another territory they forfeit that right with regard to Palestinians. How can it be otherwise? States can just invade and then pummel the invaded population claiming self defence?

            • SPC

              Is its occupation of the 1967 territory illegal? It took the territory off Jordan and Egypt who had no legal rights/status being occupiers themselves.

              It's illegal for the 1967 territory to be annexed into Israel.

              And it may be tenuous for the occupying power to determine on the building of settlements for citizens of their own state without the consent of any recognised agent of a future Palestinians State – already recognised as the PA.

              Hamas is the de facto authority in Gaza alone, and has no status in the matter of Palestine – it is not a party to the Oslo Accord.

              The sole agent of the Palestinian state cause is the PA.

              It did not sanction the rocket attacks out of Gaza, nor the recent invasion of Israeli territory to kill civilians and seize hostage. Nor did it provide any arms or training for this.

              If any nation, including Israel, is a victim of such an attack as on October 7 it has the right to counter-attack in kind (air attack and or ground invasion), and in extreme cases, call it a war, then there is either a cease-fire, or an end by another means.

              It would seem Israel is going to ask the world community to take over responsibility for Gaza (UN peacekeepers and administration and groups there disarmed), or watch as it goes for the elimination of the underground (a step by step process after control of the ground above).

              Is there civil society in Gaza, while it is the city hostage to the underground base of Hamas for its war vs Israel?

              Is there the chance of talks between Israel and the PA over the future of the WB, while Gaza is part of a Hizbollah and Iran agenda for defeat of Israel, rather than a Palestinian state in co-existence with it?

      • lprent 4.1.4

        I have heard it said that if Hamas laid down its weapons tomorrow, the Israelis would happily negotiate a peace deal. But, if the Israelis laid down their arms, every Jew in Israel would be slaughtered. We saw evidence of that in the attack on Israel that sparked this last violence.

        You might have heard it, but there hasn't been ANY evidence of that for at least the last 25 years. That appears to just you being a silly victim of obvious propaganda. Perhaps you'd ;like to point to any instance that supports YOUR claim.

        The exact opposite appears to be the case.

        The best hope for a end to the conflict was in Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated in 1995 apparently at the (disputed) bequest of right wing rabbis, (undisputed) agitation in unlawful settlements by Jewish terrorists, and the rhetoric of Likud leaders including from Netanyahu.

        Rallies organized by Likud and other right-wing groups featured depictions of Rabin in a Nazi SS uniform, or in the crosshairs of a gun.[2][3] Protesters compared the Labor party to the Nazis and Rabin to Adolf Hitler[5] and chanted, "Rabin is a murderer" and "Rabin is a traitor".[8][9] In July 1995, Netanyahu led a mock funeral procession featuring a coffin and hangman's noose at an anti-Rabin rally where protesters chanted, "Death to Rabin".[10][11] The chief of internal security, Carmi Gillon, then alerted Netanyahu of a plot on Rabin's life and asked him to moderate the protests' rhetoric, which Netanyahu declined to do.[8][12] Netanyahu denied any intention to incite violence.[2][3][13]

        Likud and especially Netanyahu have continued over nearly 30 years to gain and deliberately cling on to power by avoiding implementing or circumventing many features of the Oslo peace accords and any progress to a two state solution. This includes the deliberate under funding and clear economic sabotage of any progress to a Palestinian economy – including allowing more unlawful settlements on the West Bank.

        I'd say that Likud and Netanyahu are directly responsible for the attacks from Gaza, directly responsible for perpetuating the conflict, and have been progressing the Israeli state towards some kind of genocidal or ethnic cleansing solution worthy of any previous agitators planning a pogrom for political benefits.

        I just hope civilians can be spared going forward.

        Your sanctimonious hope is unlikely to happen. Apart from anything else have you had a look at news from the West Bank recently? It doesn't look like the IDF or the armed settlers in the West Bank are trying to retrain their attacks on civilians. Rather it looks like they are deliberately trying to provoke an uprising.

        This is probably the most egregious example.

        In one of the most shocking incidents caught on film in the past week, an Israeli settler entered a Palestinian village called Al-Tuwani near Hebron and shot an unarmed Palestinian resident in the stomach at point blank range, while an Israeli soldier appeared to look on.

        Needless to say, the victim had his hands spread out to the side in the video to show that he was unarmed. While this gutless murderer walked up to him and shot him in the stomach. This isn't uncommon at present in the West Bank over the last couple of weeks.

        Armed IDF and settlers appear to be starting to run up a high casualty rate against unarmed Palestinian locals. This has been both as part of massive arrest sweeps over most of this year in an area where radicals do not have a strong presence. But also in what suspiciously appears to look like the start of a organised ethnic cleaning campaign or pogrom.

        BTW: As far as I can see the Israelis haven't arrested the coward yet. That is despite clear video evidence, a victim fighting for their life in a hospital, and IDF troops on the ground. Probably there will be a report that settler fired into the air – as happened back in 2021 in the same village.

        Basically the armed cowards from the settlements with what looks like the full support of the IDF appear to be trying to push locals from the homes by armed intimidation. Or to provoke a uprising that will (yet again) provide an excuse fro forced resettlement for 'security reasons'.

        The current military situation in Gaza to me most resembles the Warsaw ghetto uprising in 1943, with the IDF (and west bank settlers) about to play the part of the German forces and their assorted allies.

        As far as I am concerned, the two state solution is dead – killed by 30 years of Likud and their political machinations. There is no other potential solution in place.

        It is time to force the state of Israel to accept that they will need to reverse the last 70+ years of ethnic cleaning and accept the Palestinians in the Palestine as citizens, and those if their ethnically cleansed diaspora who want to come back. Deal with the terrorists and nutters on both sides as a police and security issue.

        As an experiment the state of Israel has proven to be a complete and utter disaster. I am ashamed that our state voted for it back in 1947.

        BTW: you should really learn to read some actual history. Vague hand-waving

        • SPC

          You might have heard it, but there hasn't been ANY evidence of that for at least the last 25 years

          There was a land for peace offer in 2000.

          After its rejection a (and resort to intifada) there was the Israeli policy of disengagement – in one part fences and on the other withdrawal from some WB settlements, then Gaza and a plan to continue this in the WB. A policy of Sharon and Kadima.

          The current military situation in Gaza to me most resembles the Warsaw ghetto uprising in 1943, with the IDF (and west bank settlers) about to play the part of the German forces and their assorted allies.

          I'd not heard that the Jews ever came out to the ghetto to kill civilians.

          • lprent

            There was a land for peace offer in 2000.

            Sure. 95% of the WB sounds like a lot. But it looked like an offer by a general looking at how to control and command a large area with secure fire bases.

            It simply wasn't a realistic offer for a viable state. It didn't offer a way to build an economy that wasn't based on handout.

            It effectively ceded the Jordan river, its water, and most transport links to Jordan to the settlements (as in the transport links could be cut at almost any time). If a Palestinian state was to become viable then the WB needed clear and secure access to Jordan, just as Gaza would been secure access to the Med.

            Because of where the settlements were placed it wouldn't have made any different to the security position of a Palestinian state. As was made clear in the way that the intifada was quelled. The settlements in the command positions over transport links acted as fire bases and interdiction points to isolate and prevent any concerted effort even by unarmed insurgents.

            If Barak had been sincere, then he would have dumped the settlements except for security around Jewish populated urban areas (ie Jerusalem). Or better to be open to a multilateral international force to control Jerusalem and not allowed either the PA or the Israeli's to control the urban area or have it as a capital.

            That would have made it look less like a covert hilltop firebase plan and more like something designed to get agreement to build two secure statelets.

            He did have a better offer later that year, but it got thoroughly dumped by Likud under Sharon in early 2000. Sharon had been signalling that all the way through the Camp David process that he and Likud weren't going to be bound by any agreement. Hardly the basis for two parties to negotiate.

            Arafat had a similar internal political problem, (but probably less of one) with the other sectional groups. But it would have required a plan that didn't look like a military occupation from strategically place settlements blocking assets to build a state.

            I'd not heard that the Jews ever came out to the ghetto to kill civilians.

            Mostly lack of opportunity and a rationale. After all they were surrounded by Poles in 1943, not Germans. Both ghetto organisations were in contact with arms of the Polish resistance and arms dealers who were their main suppliers of arms. Insurrectionists are not notable for attacking groups

            As an analogy, you're asking implicitly why Hamas didn't attack the Egyptian end. Possibly because that wasn't where the persistent bombing, artillery, and frequent transport cutoffs to supplies or work came from.

            Besides while there was significiant targeting of civilians, that looks way less organised and quite a lot later than the targeting of significiant military locations.

            Captured video and plans of the attacks in depth by Hamas look like they were planned, well organised, and targeted directly at communication points, strong-points, and control areas. It looks like a military plan executed with quite a lot of precision.

            I'm not sure, but I suspect that they also withdrew in good order and before the IDF managed to mount a effective counter attack. At a guess Hamas didn't lose too many of their most effective and trained troops because they withdrew. Probably with as much equipment as they could carry and sufficient hostages to complicate an IDF attack and to be traded for the 6000+ Hamas in prison – mostly held without ever going through an open court.

            The IDF mostly killed and captured the opportunists and stupid who came over the border. After Hamas dropped the fences and cleared the way, then it looks like other armed groups and individuals came through as well. Probably well populated with men and adolescents who'd had family killed in strikes against Hamas or a punitive attacks against infrastructure.

            After all since 2007, after Hamas took over and before this conflict, there had been something like 5,300 fatalities and 62,000 injuries in Gaza dispensed from the IDF (and a few of their civilian neighbours) in a series of rather provoking and anger inducing attacks. Most were in northern Gaza and from what the aid organisations say – most aimed directly and indirectly against civilians as punitive collective punishment. That is before you look at the deaths and sickness caused by the land-sea-air blockage that was in force fro most of that period.

            Basically the 'civilians' in Israeli seeded the 'terrorism' part of this attack through their support of the IDF terrorism in killing and injuring family members of those who poured over the border.

            It doesn't make it right. But it does explain why building a large concentration camp next door should be an uncomfortable place to live next to.

            I'd also point out that if the Warsaw ghetto had had 15+ years to grow under continuous punitive punishment attacks, isolation, continued food and services restrictions, no ability to grow an economy, and without the demands of Treblinka – I'd expect a similar outbreaks of 'terrorism'.

            After all that is exactly what the British army had to deal with in the latter days of Mandate, from Haganah and especially from the Irgun, and LEHI. The Arab side at the time wasn't a major issue, but the refugees from the ghettos and concentration camps certainly were.

        • SPC

          As an experiment the state of Israel has proven to be a complete and utter disaster. I am ashamed that our state voted for it back in 1947.

          No it was the right thing to do.

          The first problem was in the UN not providing security for it and the other state, instead allowing the 5 Arab armies to start a war (involving refugees – also including Jews from Arab nations) and also prevent a Palestinian state.

          The second was in the UN not replacing Israel as occupying power in 1967 for the purpose of Palestinian nation building.

          As far as I am concerned, the two state solution is dead – killed by 30 years of Likud and their political machinations.

          That last phase is of a coffin building nature.

          There is no other potential solution in place.

          There is always a tear in the fabric of time, for the observant to operate in.

          It is time to force the state of Israel to accept that they will need to reverse the last 70+ years of ethnic cleaning and accept the Palestinians in the Palestine as citizens, and those if their ethnically cleansed diaspora who want to come back.

          You expect the world to act now, when it did not in 1948 and 1967? To do what de-legitimise a nation state member of the UN?

          The UN could require Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory and move in peacekeepers. Gaza first, then the WB.

          A Palestinian state providing a passport for all (refugees) who want it. This allows them an easier place in the world, whether in that state or not.

          Then a way towards economic co-operation. Those Palestinians who have jobs in Israel and refugee status able to apply for workplace residency there. Equally where settlers remain in the WB (where building consent and compensation is resolved) they (can/may) do so as Israeli residents of the Palestinian state (if they choose). Other settlements given out to Palestinian refugees.

          And as to where SA fits in …

          • lprent

            Problem is that the current total Palestinian is about 14.5 million counting all of the people in the diaspora with something like half already in the Palestine inside WB, Gaza or the state of Israel.

            Kick out the half a million fanatics in the settlements, which will be a task in itself – one that Israel would need to do because it is likely to be messy. They caused the issue, they are their citizens, they can clean it up.

            But in the end you really don't have much room for a right of return. There isn't any room in Gaza. West bank has population issues already as well.

            Plus the infrastructure to build a state isn't there. No coast in the WB. No corridor to Gaza. What you wind up with is something that Israel will simply treat as a apartheid ghetto based on ALL previous history of Israel.

            It is pointless. It'd be far easier and likely to succeed to get rid of more problems by simply getting rid of the Jewish state that has caused so much strife and bitterness and to put in a single state and deal with nation building with the required peace keeping and legal structures.

            Let the two sides learn how to work together and work on dealing with all of the intransigent fanatics with the process of law.

            • SPC

              Half the Jews in the world live there, the other half do not even though they could.

              The same would probably apply with Palestinians – some in Gaza and the WB would leave with Palestinian state passports (study, work abroad etc). And many abroad would stay abroad and those in the refugee camps would use the passport to leave and build a place wherever they chose/were allowed.

              There has long been discussion about transportation corridor between Gaza and the WB, from rail to road.

              As for infrastructure, all it requires is SA finance – and they want US protection from Iran and this is how they get it.

              Sure economic co-operation makes sense, but the first phase is political partnership, two states before doing the "EU" thing.

              • lprent

                The biggest problem is the settlements in the WB, followed by Jerusalem. The settlements themselves and routes required to support them are designed to create containment ghettos over most of the West Bank with fire positions held by some of the worst nutbars that Israel has to offer. That has to be the first step.

                The problem is that Israeli politics leaves no effective avenue to deal with either.

                Withdrawal from those ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ is the Israeli problem. They haven’t managed to do that except in Gaza and that eventually brought down the government that did it. That was a nearly two decades ago.

                The Knesset just repealed the Act that allowed those settlements (and later others) to be removed to happen in March this year. Israel repeals 2005 act that removed West Bank settlements

                Israeli lawmakers on Tuesday repealed a 2005 act that saw four Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank dismantled at the same time as Israeli forces withdrew from the Gaza Strip. The development could pave the way for an official return to the abandoned West Bank areas in another setback to Palestinian hopes for statehood.

                It was the latest move by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government, which is dominated by settler leaders and allies, to promote settlement activity in the territory.

                That pretty much sums up the future Israeli intent, and was probably part of the reason for the Hamas action. It was viewed an open invitation to invade Gaza again as well as to reoccupy the few unlawful cleared settlements in the West Bank.

                It doesn’t excuse the Hamas attack, but the current Israel government has been deliberately provoking and inviting this attack with their actions at the behest of those moronic settler groups.

                • SPC

                  Rockets out of Gaza was the "security" excuse for the end of the 2005 era disengagement policy, the current governments direction (is moving towards borderline national fascism on the WB) has provoked Israeli concern for human rights within the state of Israel (repeal of the basic law etc).

                  But there has been no similar concern as per the WB policy, as yet.

                  1. 1977 Likud began settlement

                  2. Labour was prepared to end settlement for peace – 2000

                  3. The post Likud era Sharon and Kadima applied the out of Gaza and retaining limited settlement areas in the WB disengagement policy as a transition position until there was a land for peace partner

                  4. Likud cites security concerns about withdrawal and goes full on de facto annexation of the WB mode and here we are.

                  A return to disengagement policy would require international partners

                  For mine UN administration of Gaza gets the Israelis out of the hole they and Hamas have dug for each other.

                  If that allows Gaza residents some sort of civil society and provides security for Israel, then the UN could offer the same for the WB.

                  There has never been a good reason for any other authority in Gaza and the West Bank than Palestine or the UN (nation building) since 1947-1949.

                  PS The UK (leadership of the British empire) has to own the failure of that time, they had forces on the ground to guard the partition line border design of the UN (and only needed to ask for UN partners to join them to secure it).

                  England have been dispatched from the World Cup cricket in India, still failing east of the Suez (Kashmir etc) … portending the time of golden dawn rainbow dominion.

    • cathyo 4.2

      Sure "Israel has a right to defend itself"

      but their response has always been totally disproportionate to the provocation, and their oppression of the Palestinians goes on.

      " …… the expansion of the Israeli settlements in the OPT, which has been declared as a "flagrant violation of international law” by Security Council resolution 2334 (23 December 2016), disrupts the peace process and threatens the Palestinian State formation process,"

      OPT = Occupied Palestinian Territory

      • tsmithfield 4.2.1

        I think the Israeli actions are understandable though undoubtably excessive.

        I think it is understandable in that their history has been one where multiple Arab nations have attacked them militarily a number of times; seven day war etc; and a number of countries in that area would happily see them wiped out. And, I am sure the Israeli public will be demanding strong action to deal with the problem.

        The Israeli approach has always been not to muck around. They likely see that any sign of weakness could be construed by those unfriendly nations as an opportunity to attack them.

        I think it is also necessary to place the blame on Hamas for what is happening. They will have known the likely results but pressed ahead anyway.

        There is evidence that Israel is open to peace deals given that it has peace deals with several countries in the area now. I think Egypt and Jordan?

        So, from the Israeli side, anyway, a peace deal should be possible.

        • SPC

          The Seven Day war in 1967 was the time Israel attacked first (albeit pre-emptive). They were attacked in 1948 (the Arab nations did warn they would if Israel was established) and 1973 (they knew the attack was coming but the USA said they would not supply Israel if they attacked first).

        • lprent

          There is evidence that Israel is open to peace deals given that it has peace deals with several countries in the area now. I think Egypt and Jordan?

          You really are a fool who doesn't bother to read history or look things up.

          The peace settlements are with states. Egypt made a peace settlement back in 1978. Jordan back in 1994. Lebanon in 1983 and which it fell over the following year and was eventually dropped by Israel in 2000.

          The Abraham accords which you are probably trying to strain towards remembering are with United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco and a mostly about bilateral relations and trade.

          None of them had anything to do with the residents and previously displaced residents of Palestine and occupied territories. That is a false and incredibly stupid comparison of peace agreements between states and the issue of people who have a claim to live in the areas taken by the state of Israel.

          Yet somehow you are equating this as peace with the displaced residents of Palestine who live or have lived in the bounds of Israel, Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem? These people are not citizens of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon or

          You really are an fool about equivalences aren't you. Like a soak point for stupid propaganda.

          None of those agreements show any willingness of Israel or the erstwhile citizens of the state of Israel to deal with the people that live or used to live in the areas of occupied by the state of Israel.

          The only 'peace' agreement with that has been the Oslo accords – which Israel has consistently and deliberately avoided implementing most aspects of, and has specifically violated many times.

      • SPC 4.2.2

        Also disruptive

        1.5 Arab armies that prevented two states being set up.

        2.Palestinians not asking Egypt and Jordan to leave 1948-1967, so they could set up a state on what was left of the awarded territory.

        3.Not accepting the offer of a Palestinian state in 2000 (because it did not include right of return into Israel for 1948 refugees).

        4.The intifada that led to the building of fences.

        5.The decision made by the PA President to allow Hamas to contest parliamentary elections despite not accepting the Oslo Accords – based on recognition of Israel – which led to the formation of the PA.

        6.Fatah being so corrupt the people voted in Hamas, and then the civil war between Hamas and the President's forces. That led to Hamas rule in Gaza and the Presidents rule in the West Bank being based around control by the gun.Which means civil society is under Palestinian occupation as much as Israeli.

        7.Hamas using Gaza as a base for attacks on Israel, so it got fenced in and this being used by the right in Israel to pose withdrawal from the WB as a security risk – diminishing support there for limiting the extent of settlement and occupation.

        Then going next level and digging the grave of Palestine yet further

        8.A group that does not recognise Israel, nor support such a state existing, receiving arms from those with the same aim – elimination of Israel goal – turning Gaza into an underground base for war with Israel. And using Palestinians above as hostage shields so that the price of any retaliation is accusation of disproportionate response.

        Hamas is not an agent of the Palestinian cause but a Moslem cause, its ME nativism – seeing anything not Moslem dominance as alien and to be subordinated and that includes secular democracy itself.

        There is a symbiotic relationship between this and religious Zionism (here Hamas represents a fusion of two factions in coalition with Likud, one religious and one nationalist fascist) in the current Israeli government and Christian dominionism (USA in particular).

        PS1.For mine reservists in Israel and the USA should have called for a unity government excluding the Finance Minister and National Security Minister of Israel (one cannot fight beasts while they are also within).
        PS2.The 8 wrong moves listed above has led to the virtual elimination of the two state peace party Labour from the Knesset.

        • Barfly

          To me the most informative thing you said there was

          "(one cannot fight beasts while they are also within)"

          'beasts'…. as in sub human?

          • Incognito

            Is evil sub-human?

          • SPC

            The terminology beast is used to identify an actor abusing power over others, it can be an imperial power over peoples and nations and it can also occur when fascists are in positions of power within a nation state.

            Those abusing power dehumanise their victims, by denying their equal rights to justice etc.

            The most egregious of those within Israel I identified and the man who organised their political alliance to create a right wing ally so offensive to other Israelis, they could only be part of a Likud led government is culpable for resorting to that strategy.

            Their dehumansing of Palestinians is a match for the people who made the 8 mistakes I mentioned and is now personified by Hamas and their Hizbollah and Iranian partners – and their use of Islam to justify their corrupt politics.

      • KJT 4.2.3

        "Israel has a right to defend itself"

        Surely if Israel has that right. Then the Palestinians have the right “to defend themselves”!

        It is hypocritical to say otherwise.

        • SPC

          A party (Hamas) opposed to the existence of a nation state is not defending itself. And certainly not by killing its civilians.

          It has done nothing but to undermine the Palestinian cause, because that is not is cause, but otherwise – the elimination of anything but Moslem rule in the ME.

          • KJT

            Yeah Right!

          • lprent

            I'd agree with that as well. It is hard from afar to see any positive features of Hamas for Palestinians apart from fund raising from Qatar.

            However I think that the continued support of Hamas by the party of Likud and other right wing parties in Israel to kneecap any other relevant parties amongst Palestinians – to kneecap the 2 state solution and any useful role for the Palestinian Authority since the 90s. In effect they are what froze the PA into a Fatah dictatorship and made the Isreali government the steadily growing quasi dictatorship that is look more and more like Hungary every day.

            I look at Likud and many if not most of the orthodox parties in Israel as just being Hamas in drag.

            They all appear to be dedicated to prevent any workable solutions in their occupied areas of the Palestine to prevent resolutions. Promoting conflict as a way of gaining power.

            • SPC

              The decline of Labour and Meretz to about 5% plus combined – the last parties supporting the two state process and outcome, is somewhat disturbing.

              The religious (far right nationalist in fact) Zionist group – their leaders now National Security Minister and Finance Minister – come out of the abyss of the right that had Rabin assassinated.

              One hopeful sign was the resistance to the removing of the basic law – which acted as a constraint on the Israeli government exercise of power (as per human rights). Especially if that leads to more IDF conscripts refusing to do corrupt things for the NSM in the WB.

              • lprent

                Yeah, the two state solution is dead. But it wasn't just the religious Zionists that did it.

                It was Likud and its corrupt current leader as well – as I pointed out with the quotation about their involvement against Rabin and the Oslo accords in the comment further up.

                Time to give up on that. It simply looks like being unviable bearing in mind the settlement encroachment, the way that the transport links are designed to isolate connections between residents, and the walling of the 'security zone'

                One hopeful sign was the resistance to the removing of the basic law..

                Problem is that appears to have been a straight rejection of corrupt practices and political balance internal state of Israel polity rather than any determination to deal with the issues of the occupation and SA style area apartheid.

                Everything I see about the behaviour of the IDF in the WB from media, people who have been there, and military gossip says that they now have the fully formed institutional backbone of garritoopers. They are a self-serving occupation force with all of the corruption and lack of dedication towards task that implies.

                Useless as soldiers in warfare, a place for the IDF to send the useless and more corrupt conscripts to, a place for their less-motivate troops to yearn for if they can't get a safe desk job, inclined towards bullying of the unarmed, etc. The stuff that frightened under-trained military massacres of civilians are made from. They also appear to have a widespread culture of covering each other arses regardless of how vile their comrades act.

                The IDF concentrates their better troops on active borders where there are actual potential military. In the WB they concentrate military stupidity and short-term thinking time servers.

                …more IDF conscripts refusing to do corrupt things for the NSM in the WB.


                • SPC

                  The current Minister of National Security is Itamar Ben-Gvir.

                  Israel's National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has said “The right of me, my wife and kids to travel around the West Bank is more important than that of the Arabs.”27/08/2023

                  Some people refuse to do IDF service on the WB.

                  • lprent

                    Itamar Ben-Gvir

                    Ah… urrgh. Self-entitled arsehole as I remember it.

                    Some people refuse to do IDF service on the WB.

                    Even more refuse orders to do things like remove unlawful Israeli settlements.

                    Turns out that there is a wikipedia page on IDF refusniks.

                    But what I'm always intrigued by with the IDF is that rising numbers of groups and people who are or can be exempt from national service. It is colossal.

                    By 2020, about 32.9% of men and 44.3% of women received exemptions from IDF service, and an additional 15% of men dropped out before completing their term of service.[11] Of those who received exemptions, some 44.7% were Haredim, 46.6% were secular, and 8.7% were religious Zionist.[11] There was a noted increase in exemptions granted for reasons of mental health.[11]

                    I have little time for conscription as being both ineffective and unmaintainable. But even worse than conscription is an unevenly applied conscription. There are some obvious examples in military and civilian history about just how corrosive that is to the social structure.

                    FYI: I volunteered in 1977 for the TF after conscription ended here, mostly because I was a ardent reader of history and biographies. The stories of survival rates amongst untrained conscripts in a time of war were horrifying. As was the probabilities of being involved in some kind of conscripted war in the late 19th and 20th centuries.

    • Sanctuary 4.3

      "…Initially I felt deeply for Israel…" When I was young civic society basically believed the "Brave Little Israel" story. And let's be honest – as a pluralistic, secular, democratic and free country in an ocean of autoritarianism Israel had a good story to tell. But ever since the 1982 Lebanon war that support in wider civic society across Israels patron states has ben waning. To quote Richard Seymour's news letter today:

      "…Israel "has always depended on a certain depth of civil society support within its patron states. That support has been eroding for decades, and now seems very thin indeed… …(there have been) Unprecedented mobilisations in Europe despite state bans in France and Berlin and the criminalisation of Palestine solidarity in the UK… …In both the US and UK, majorities favour an immediate ceasefire which no major ruling or opposition party is calling for…

      …Israel's patron states are besieged and internally fractured. In the US, staffers in the State Department are in revolt… In the UK, Starmer's support for collective punishment in Gaza has provoked dozens of resignations of councillors and council leaders across the country at what should be a moment of triumph for the Labour Party… …Across the European Union, the initial announcement that it would cut off aid to Gaza provoked uproar. Ursula von der Leyen's alignment with Israel, conducting diplomacy as though she represented the European Union in global affairs, has been hugely controversial. Recently, an open letter condemning this stance was signed by over eight hundred civil servants and diplomats. Unconditional support for Israel is now a project of the very upper crust of the state elites in its patrons and allies. The issue has been politicised in an unprecedented way, and the collapse of civil society support for the Israeli project has left its allies with few resources but travesty, slander, repression under the rubric of 'security', and bans. This is a watershed moment, not just for the state of Israel, but for the assembled foreign policy establishments rallying behind it…"

      • Anne 4.3.1

        It surely marks the beginning of the end of Netanyahu. While the case of Israel is an extreme example, it should be a warning of the potential threats posed by hard Right governments/regimes. WW2 should have been a sufficient example, but no, each generation has to learn the lesson all over again – to the detriment of global peace and stability.

        The voters in their lack of wisdom have just elected a far Right government in NZ who will undoubtedly follow the US/UK party line on this crisis with blind adherence – thus creating the potential for an upsurge in violent activity right here in lil ole NZ.

        • Belladonna

          Really – a far right government in NZ?
          Talk about over-egging the pudding!

          The 3 parties involved in potential negotiations are: National (Centre Right), ACT (Libertarian Right) and NZF (whatever Winston feels like today — but it's not likely to be hard Right – he's primarily a populist).

          I note that you've exempted the far left dictatorship regimes of Stalin and Mao – who were equally as culpable in terms of mega deaths in the 20th century – from your narrative. I wonder why that would be…. /sarc/

          • KJT

            Have you bothered to read ACT's policies?

            As for National being on the "centre"! Wait until next year.

            • Belladonna

              Of course I've read ACT's policies.

              ACT is an unusual (for NZ) political party, in that they are socially liberal (support abortion and euthanasia, for example), while economically conservative (small government, is one of their mantras; focused on ensuring the books balance – by cutting government expenditure, rather than increasing taxation).

              This doesn't make them 'hard right'.

              And there is nothing in National Party policy that makes them anything other than centre Right (as they have been for decades).

              So unless you are willing to share the source of your belief that this is all going to change next year – I'm going to have to dismiss it as more pie-in-the-sky leftie bias.

  5. SPC 5

    For mine, Mahuta's responses were both quite flawed.

    Her first did not acknowledge the right of any nation to act in its self defence, and the fact that hostages had been taken, apparently for the purposes of being exchanged for the release of Palestinians from Israeli prisons. It is not policy for any nation to treat terrorist actors as partners for negotiation. Nor call for any diplomatic effort to provide an alternative to use of force against Hamas (such as UN peacekeeping intervention in Gaza).

    Her second referred to targeting of civilians in relation to the hospital attack, when it appears it was misadventure, a misfiring rocket.

    On the wider issue, if Hamas fighters had made an incursion to gather hostages to negotiate for the release of Israeli prisoners (without killing a 1000 people) – it was possible that all those incarcerated that had not committed acts of violence could have been. The way they did it, was of a design to provoke an attack on Gaza and play the persecuted Palestinian card. In that they did not act as a responsible party acting on behalf of Palestinians.

    • Anne 5.1

      The way they did it, was of a design to provoke an attack on Gaza and play the persecuted Palestinian card. In that they did not act as a responsible party acting on behalf of Palestinians.

      No question about that. But it did not require the Israeli bombardment of an entire city of some two million people resulting in thousands of deaths and more to come. Nor does the prospect of further thousands dying by way of disease and starvation.

      That imo is evil on a similar scale to Hamas and other Middle Eastern terrorist organisations. It seems many Jewish people agree with that analysis and many more will likely join them as the fallout continues to escalate.

    • lprent 5.2

      … and the fact that hostages had been taken, apparently for the purposes of being exchanged for the release of Palestinians from Israeli prisons.

      That would probably be a more cogent point if Israel hasn't been doing the same in the West Bank through most of this year. The arrests by the IDF appear to have been deliberately targeting politically active Palestinians including Hamas, but largely concentrating areas where there have been local opposition to ethnic cleaning.

      I'd class most of those as being hostages bearing in mind the dearth of charges brought in front of courts. It has looked like removing local political organisation and to provide a way to demand concessions from Fatah and probably Hamas as well.

      • Belladonna 5.2.1

        The arrests by the IDF appear to have been deliberately targeting politically active Palestinians

        There is a moral and ethical difference between arresting adults you know, or have strong reason to believe, are actively working against you; as opposed to hostage-taking of random grandmothers and children. The Hamas hostages seem to have been chosen for maximum horror, combined with maximum ease of caputre/holding.

        • lprent

          The Hamas hostages seem to have been chosen for maximum horror, combined with maximum ease of caputre/holding.

          Sure – but the reason for having hostages by Hamas is purely transactional at several levels.

          The main one is that the IDF took hostages first and in vastly larger numbers.

          Oct 20 (Reuters) – Gunmen from the Palestinian group Hamas took at least 200 hostages and killed about 1,400 people during an Oct. 7 dawn raid carried out from the Gaza Strip on communities and military bases in southern Israel.

          Israel has responded by pounding Gaza with air strikes, killing thousands, and has said it will act to free the hostages while wiping out Hamas.

          Israel has amassed tanks and troops near the perimeter of the enclave and called on Palestinians to evacuate the north of Gaza before an expected ground invasion. Hamas has suggested the hostages could be swapped for approximately 6,000 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

          In 2011, Israel was criticized by some of its citizens for swapping 1,027 Palestinian prisoners to win the release of one Israeli soldier.

          Israel has said that there will be no end to its blockade of the enclave without freedom for Israeli hostages.

          Bear in mind that most of those 6000 prisoners are frequently held without a trial, without representation, were usually picked up as children, and seldom get released from indefinite jail time without a hostage exchange deal. Certainly that is what previous hostage/prisoner releases revealed. People in their mid 20s who were picked up as adolescents for stone throwing and who were planned to be imprisoned for 20 years. Frequently even parents can’t find out if their kid was picked up, what their sentences are, or find any route for an appeal.

          Quite a number are reputed to children, parents and grandmothers who were picked up and held as leverage against activists – which is a reversion to the type of medieval hostage taking practices beloved by dictatorial regimes.

          Quite simply waving Hamas 'hostages' around with a state and security structure as corrupt as Israel has become just highlights that some people have few appreciation of the art of comparative scale. I'd say that a state that descended to that level of barbarous behaviour is just inciting hostage taking.

          Or are you prepared to say that stone throwing against an armed and armoured occupation force deserves 20 year jail time. Or a state manufacturing imprisonment of family members to quell resistance is a just solution to a problem?

  6. adam 6

    Can someone explain to me how and when hamas got ammunition that can take down a building?

    Never seen them do that, even when they they have hit a building with multiple missiles. Never even seen them get close. Also secondary explosions – did not see any if ammunition was on the ground.

    Am I wrong?

    Has physics changed in the last 48 hours?

    • SPC 6.1

      Are you under the impression that the hospital was actually destroyed?

      People were gathering in the car park, because the locals knew that hospitals were the safest place.

      The thing about a misfiring rocket is that it has fuel and so do cars in the car park.

        • SPC

          The relative video footage would rule out a rocket identified in flight at least.

          But as per physics, why as yet no visual structural damage to the building apart from blown out windows?

        • Belladonna

          Your links are a bit suspect. The first one simply says that Gaza officials are blaming Israel. Zero evidence provided.

          The second one quotes the Sanad Agency – Al Jazeera's fact-checking wing – but does so, very selectively.

          A more balanced article – from Al Jazeera – indicates that there is a lot of ambiguity over the source of the attack. But rules out it being a standard Israeli missile (not enough blast damage to buildings) although it is possible that it was an airburst munition. It is also consistent with mortar fire (which could only have come from within Gaza).

          They make the point, that only analysis of the shell-fragments will give conclusive proof.

          What does seem to be conclusively established, is that it was not a standard Israeli missile – but rather something much more lightweight. The source is yet to be determined – but consistent with the weapons Hamas have been observed using – fitting in perfectly with your physics. It may turn out to have been an Israeli strike – but there is nothing in the physical effects of the explosion which conclusively proves it one way or the other.

          • aj

            What does seem to be conclusively established, is that it was not a standard Israeli missile – but rather something much more lightweight. The source is yet to be determined – but consistent with the weapons Hamas have been observed using – fitting in perfectly with your physics. It may turn out to have been an Israeli strike – but there is nothing in the physical effects of the explosion which conclusively proves it one way or the other.

            "Preliminary analysis by FA, @alhaq_org & @earshot_ngo into the #AlAhli hospital blast in Gaza casts significant doubt on IOF claims that the source of the deadly explosion was a Palestinian-fired rocket travelling west to east."


            Forensic Architecture (FA) is a research agency, based at Goldsmiths, University of London, investigating human rights violations including violence committed by states, police forces, militaries, and corporations. FA works in partnership with institutions across civil society, from grassroots activists, to legal teams, to international NGOs and media organisations, to carry out investigations with and on behalf of communities and individuals affected by conflict, police brutality, border regimes and environmental violence.

            Our investigations employ cutting-edge techniques in spatial and architectural analysis, open source investigation, digital modelling, and immersive technologies, as well as documentary research, situated interviews, and academic collaboration. Findings from our investigations have been presented in national and international courtrooms, parliamentary inquiries, and exhibitions at some of the world’s leading cultural institutions and in international media, as well as in citizen’s tribunals and community assemblies.


            • Belladonna

              Have FA come to any preliminary conclusion over what the cause of the blast actually was?

              • aj

                Hmm. FA had a long thread of tweets on their investigation, and all are now missing bar the first.

                Also the chronological order of their Twitter account is …. very odd.

                But to answer your question they noted an inspection of physical debris would be required.

                • aj

                  FA had a long thread of tweets on their investigation, and all are now missing bar the first.

                  But captured by Threadreader from another twitter user….


                  Our/@CobbSmith’s analysis of the crater size suggests a munition larger than eg a Spike or Hellfire missile commonly used by IOF drones. It is more consistent w/ the impact marks from an artillery shell—but w/o additional material evidence, we cannot make a definitive assessment…..

                  …..A conclusive investigation into this attack requires full access to the site and munition fragments, as well as witness interviews. We continue our work on this case, and reaffirm our solidarity with Palestinian people under attack, including our friends & colleagues.

    • Belladonna 6.2

      My understanding is that the missile/rocket hit the hospital carpark, with only minor damage to the building itself. The building was not 'taken down'

      The deaths were from the numbers of people present in the carpark – regarding it as a relatively 'safe' place from attack. Not people inside the hospital itself.

    • Michael P 6.3

      How – Iran and Syria would be my guess.

      When – Don't know

  7. tsmithfield 7

    My gloomy prediction is that this conflict will still be the subject of world attention one hundred years from now, or even one thousand years, if humanity survives that long.

    Middle Eastern cultures seem to carry grudges and hate over events that happened hundreds or even thousands of years ago.

    • Belladonna 7.1

      Sadly, I agree with you. I do not see how any stable solution can be found.

      • Grey Area 7.1.1

        Israel giving back the land it has stolen from Palestinians could be a place to start.

        • Belladonna

          Hamas (and other Middle East supporters) recognizing the State of Israel has the right to exist, could also be a place to start.

          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.

    • Muttonbird 7.2

      It's useful to acknowledge who the powerful are in this environment. It's the state of Israel. They really are the only ones who are able to end this but they seem reluctant to for some reason.

  8. Thinker 8

    There seems to me to be many parallels to Ireland in the 70s and 80s.

    The only thing I think I understand is that the roots of the conflict go back to post-ww1, probably enough time for most people alive today to have missed the opportunity to talk to their family ancestors who were alive at the start of the conflict.

    That suggests to me that, as with Ireland in the decades of my youth, people who are at odds with each other today we're born into the conflict, know no other life than living with the conflict, possibly have never contemplated a life beyond the conflict. To push this idea a step further, having regard to my intergenerational comment above, many may be less mindful of the origin of the conflict and more just fighting because they and their parents always did.

    Wars bring tragedy to humans on either side, most of whom would, if they knew peace, would rather choose it.

    I remember Brian Easton writing (which I take out of his context) something about tragedies that stem from the people who make policy being disconnected from the outcome of it.

  9. Mike the Lefty 9

    The Iranians are enjoying this conflict immensely. A chance to strike at their old enemy without risking themselves. Civilians being killed on either side won't trouble their consciences.

  10. Robin The Goodfellow 10

    I support whichever side is against the side Hitler would be supporting

    • Incognito 10.1

      The kind of thinking that perpetuates the vicious cycle of violence & suffering.

      • Robin The Goodfellow 10.1.1

        I just figure that being against Jewish genocide is a good thing and being pro democracy is a good thing

        But each to their own

        • Incognito

          You don’t think much about it before you comment, do you?

          You’re all over the place trying to sound virtuous and self-righteous, which really befits your nom de plume.

        • observer

          Please read a book some time. There are thousands on this subject, not least by Israeli journalists and historians, who know Netanyahu even if you don't want to.

          "Pro democracy"? Do you think settlers on the West Bank would accept being outvoted by the majority?

          • Belladonna

            We'll never know what the citizens of Gaza would have voted for – since they haven't had an election since Hamas took over in 2007.


            While Israel has held regular elections.

            You may not like the outcomes of those elections- but there is no denying which state is more democratic.

            • Brigid

              Unless you happen to be a Palestinian living in Israel. No democracy for you I'm afraid.

              Perhaps, also, you could do a little research on the creation of Israel. Any address by or interview of Professor Ilan Pappé, an Israeli historian, will educate you somewhat.

              • Belladonna

                Not addressing the issue at hand. Israel holds elections (you can argue how fair they are, and whether everyone is included) – Hamas/Gaza does not.

                An imperfect democracy is better than none at all.

                I'm quite familiar with the legal context within which Israel was created – and how that has been modified during the 20th and 21st centuries.

                I'm also familiar with the absolute refusal of Hamas and it's supporters to recognize that Israel has a right to exist.

                Perhaps you could do a little research on that topic.

              • SPC

                Palestinian Arabs within the recognised borders of the state of Israel have the right to vote.

              • Belladonna

                Perhaps you could also do a little familiarization with the other Middle Eastern states – and the …. extensive …. limits they place on voting (if, indeed they hold elections at all).

                Try Iran


                or the UAE


                Or Saudi Arabia (where elections are only, infrequently, held at the municipal level – and governance of the country is tightly held in the royal family)


                By just about any measure, Israel is the most democratic Middle Eastern State.

            • observer

              You simply ignored my question and answered another one.

              Have another go if you want.

              It is a strange definition of democracy: "claiming a territory as yours but not letting the people vote in your elections because there are just too many of them".

              Of course we know the answer, the same as always. There are too many Palestinians to make post-1967 Israel a democracy. That was true from day one, and will never not be true, unless you propose genocide, which I'm sure you don't and most Israelis don't.

              So they must hand back the occupied land, or continue not being a democracy. In any event, the West Bank settlements are of course illegal, but again, I'm sure you know that too.

              • Belladonna

                The answer to your question is "We'll never know".

                And the reason is that the democratically elected government has no policy to allow the 'West Bank settlers' to be 'outvoted' (whatever that means). The majority of Israelis continue to vote in governments which support the settler movement.

                Now, how about you have a go at defending the high levels of 'democracy' present in Hamas, and virtually every other Middle Eastern state.

                It is a constant source of amazement to me, that the Left continue to defend a fundamentalist theocracy – with openly genocidal policies to their neighbours, and any citizens which don't toe the line. What do you think happens to openly gay Palestinians?


                Or to women's rights activists – attacked by Israel for their activism, and by Palestianians for not knowing their place.


                • observer

                  The first time I heard Netanyahu speak was at an election event in Jerusalem, 1988. He had recently returned from the UN and was campaigning to enter Parliament (which he did). The audience (Jewish, engaged, and in many cases, critical) asked him what he was going to do about the Palestinians. He answered exactly as you have. Sure, there were problems but … "what about, what about, what about …". He could not answer the question, because he couldn't, or didn't want to.

                  But he was going to "clean out the nest" (his exact words). That was 35 years ago. Hamas did not even exist. Since then countless Israeli politicians have offered the same tough-guy rhetoric. There have been glimmers of hope, like the Oslo accords. Yitzhak Rabin paid with his life. The hope died too.

                  I visited Gaza, it was a hell hole then (under Israeli occupation) and is worse now. There is nothing surprising or complicated about this. It is human history since forever. When people are oppressed, when they lose hope, they become more and more extreme. I wish they wouldn't, but I could get on a plane and escape it all. They could not.

                  You can play "what about" if you want, safe on your keyboard thousands of miles away. But after 35 years (55 actually) of cheering for oppression that can never succeed, maybe it's time to listen to other voices (and there are many in Israel, Jew and Arab alike, incredibly courageous in speaking out, even right now, though largely ignored by the NZ media).

                  After thousands more innocent deaths in the next weeks or months there will be some kind of temporary ceasefire, and we can pretend it is over. Tragically, it won't be. Not until Israel faces up to the unchanging truth: the Palestinian people cannot be wished away.

                  • Anne

                    And to back up your personal experience here is a Piers Morgan interview with Cenk Uyger:


                    Even Morgan ended up apparently persuaded by his analysis and acknowledged as much by asking him to return for more interviews.

                  • Belladonna

                    I wish they wouldn't, but I could get on a plane and escape it all. They could not.

                    Well, actually, yes they could have all got on planes and escaped. The capacity of the surrounding Islamic countries to re-settle 2 million people is entirely do-able. Heavens, Saudi Arabia could pay for it out of loose change.

                    The capacity for the Islamic countries, under the Red Cresent, and through Egypt, to deal with the living standards in Gaza – is also entirely achievable.

                    The issue is that they do not *want* to do so – they want to retain the Palestinian population as an eternal threat to Israel. And as permanent hostages/targets for Israeli wrath. The most evident example of this is the tightly controlled Ramallah crossing – controlled, not by Israel, but by Egypt.

                    And, I note that you still haven't defended the democratic standards of Hamas, Iran, UAE or Saudi Arabia.

                    Can it be, because they are indefensible…..

                    • observer

                      "they could have all got on planes … re-settle 2 million people …"

                      You should have worked for the British Colonial Office.

                      Casually dismissing millions of people, just dots on a map, shift them from their home to somebody else's home, without a second thought for their rights – or the consequences.

                      Breathtaking arrogance. And you don't even recognize it.

                  • Belladonna

                    Still waiting for your defence of the democracy in the Middle East.

                    I suspect I'll be waiting forever.

                    If you don't think that re-settlement is one of the pathways forward – then I don't think much of your commitment to resolve the issue.

                    But then, your only answer is Israel giving up their security – and enduring constant attacks from militant rebels. Because nothing will ever be enough for them. Their only acceptable outcome is the total distruction of Israel. Just look at Hamas' charter. It's there in black and white.

    • Mike the Lefty 10.2

      Pointless comment.

    • Ad 10.3

      I have a sneaking suspicion Hamas are realising that the global public opinion war is a draw rather than a win for them. A global media win was their only chance. As is always the case with terrorist acts.

      Hamas are in a really, really bad position and there is no way out for them.

      • Belladonna 10.3.1

        Kidnapping of American citizens was perhaps the bridge too far.
        Not that I think that the US will be boots on the ground (hell, no, not under Biden) – but that this will have mobilized public opinion against Hamas in the US. The left-wing literati can be as pro-Palestine as they please, but the ordinary American citizens expect their state to rescue American hostages.

  11. Rolling-on-Gravel 11

    I support and are in solidarity with innocent people of both sides; the civilians that has no dog in the war or are hurt by the war. I oppose Hamas and Netanyahu/the hawks that wants to indiscriminately hurt people.

    I support a Palestine that refutes Hamas and any & all genuine anti-semitism and a remorseful post-Likud Israel (if a two state solution come to pass, somehow) and I also want to see the cynical and horrid Ruscist factions of the horrible leader of Russia that is Putin to go away and stop stirring things up along with the even worse Rapturist Armageddon-fetishising parts of American politics that wants Israel to be a thing so the Temple could be cracked-up (and have a red bull) and all Jewish people are bundled up in the final conflagration near some field so their blasted version of false Jesus could return after the world is destroyed and enact some dictatorship. I despise all these people.

    Above all, I want true peace in the Middle East and everywhere else. A peace unstained by the miseries of the past. I want people to co-exist and we can live to oppose climate change which is what truly matters.

    War truly fucking sucks and anybody who wants to continue these wars out of gleefulness can go get fucked.

  12. SPC 12

    A speech made by Prince Turki al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia this week on the current violence in the Middle East is unusually frank for a senior member of the Saudi royal family.

    It has been widely acknowledged as the clearest indicator yet of the Saudi leadership's thinking on the situation.

    • Ad 12.1

      What a waste of space. All he needed to do was set out how many tens of billions in aid Saudi Arabia was going to be sending to support Palestinian people. The "it's everyone's fault" is just as bad as "there's good people on both sides".

      Saudi Arabia is the most influential, richest, and most powerful state in the Arabian Peninsula by a country mile and all they can do is moralise.

      Typical pathetic royalist inbred.

  13. SPC 13

    Israel has suggested that the long-term aim of its military campaign in Gaza is to sever all links with the territory.

    Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said that once Hamas had been defeated, Israel would end its "responsibility for life in the Gaza Strip".

    Although Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, the UN regards the strip – along with the West Bank and East Jerusalem – as occupied land and considers Israel responsible for the basic needs of its population.

    • Subliminal 13.1

      Responsibility for life?? Who needs satire these days…

    • Ad 13.2

      It's time for some of the Palestinians' supporter nations to step up.

      They are currently all mouth and no trousers.

      • lprent 13.2.1

        The only effective way for Gaza to develop an economy is if the Israeli's stop blockading the coastline and stop repeatably striking the southern transport links as they did prior to the Hamas attack. As it stands there currently no way to supply the population inside Gaza because Israel blocks it all.

        I can't see Israel allowing the coast to open up, or to allow Egypt to supply from the south.

        I suspect that we will instead see a campaign by Israel to try to cause sufficient damage to make Gaza even more of a concentration camp than they have managed to do so far. Just like the Warsaw ghetto without the Treblinka overflow mechanism.

        Cut off the supply of food and services and see how many people they can starve or dehydrate to death. So far that does appear to be their only feasible objective and why they have only allowed 3% of a daily supply of food and water through in teh last two weeks.

        BTW: I can't see them having a hope in hell of seriously dealing with the underground infrastructure of Hamas and other groups in Gaza.

  14. Subliminal 14

    An oldie but a goodie. Nelson Mandela on why he supported Palestines right to exist and Yasser Arafat. Also, the necessary limits that must be placed on Israel before its right to exist can be affirmed. This is similar to the argument put forward by Norman Finkelstein linked above as to why it is not possible for Israel to make a legal case for a right to self defense. They have badly wronged, paupered and stolen the land of the Palestinian people. Their actions and statements make clear that they equate Hamas with the Palestinian people. A minimum at this point is the return of the occupied territories and the lifting of the siege. Palestine, like South Africa, is a struggle for liberation. South Africa found powerful friends unafraid to act. For Palestine, it is certainly starting to look like now or never on the will you be my friend and protector front.

  15. theotherpat 16

    Mahuta is on the money…..quite disgusted with Hipkins and Luxons standard globalised American hegemony position….. its almost like Israel have forgotten what the third Reich did to their people.

    • Belladonna 16.1

      It's the other way around. The Israeli people have never forgotten what happened to the Jews under the Third Reich. And are utterly determined never to allow it to happen again.

      • theotherpat 16.1.1

        well that might be so but it gives Israel no right to act like the thing they hate or indeed they are to be seen becoming the thing they hate….in Stuff today was this from Obama which i thought was very apt.

        Obama nodded to the tendency in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for Israeli hard-liners to broadly accuse the Jewish state's critics of antisemitism. He said that while there should be no tolerance of antisemitic, anti-Muslim, anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian rhetoric, "it is possible for people of good will to champion Palestinian rights and oppose certain Israeli government policies in the West Bank and Gaza without being anti-semitic".

        • Belladonna

          "it is possible for people of good will to champion Palestinian rights and oppose certain Israeli government policies in the West Bank and Gaza without being anti-semitic".

          It is indeed, possible.

          However, we've already seen attacks on synagogues in the rest of the world. Including – unbelievably – in Germany. Note, not because they are Israelis (they are German citizens), but because they are Jews.

          Our own Jewish population is on high alert – with at least one Jewish school (that I know of) teaching remotely, in order to guard against both the teachers and students becoming a target. Yes, right here in NZ.

          Anti-semitism is alive and well.

          Jewish people have a real reason to continue to be afraid. A reason which might be rooted in the past (Holocaust, and other pogroms), but which is reinforced by ongoing attacks, hatred and fear.

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            Jewish people have a real reason to continue to be afraid.

            As do some Muslim people, including worshippers "right here in NZ."

            Muslim New Zealanders should be safe,” she [PM Ardern] said. “Anyone who calls New Zealand home, regardless of race, religion, sex or sexual orientation should be safe.


            NZ (#2) has been ranked much safer than Palestine (#132) and Israel (#134).

            Given selective media coverage, the perception that Hamas has chosen hostages for 'maximum horror' is understandable, and comparing "Hamas' butchering of the innocent" to the collateral mass killing of Palestinian civilians is problematic.


            When this latest asymmetric battle in the on-going Palestinian-Israeli conflict ends, survivors will have real reasons to continue to be afraid, Hamas or no Hamas. Might conflict escalation now make the region safer later? Time will tell.

            It’s a time for choosing [23 Oct 2023]
            The humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Gaza requires each of us to make a choice.

            Which leads me, finally, to the choice the mostly unrepentant keyboard cavalry who are happily saddling up once more – in derivative columns and hyperbolic appearances on TV – made to side with their home team’s, by now, familiar mantra: Kill first, think later.

          • theotherpat

            "Jewish people have a real reason to continue to be afraid. A reason which might be rooted in the past (Holocaust, and other pogroms), but which is reinforced by ongoing attacks, hatred and fear."

            and it has been brought upon them somewhat by their own actions i:e the israeli administration"….we all bleed red and we all loive under the same sun….becoming what you hate/fear is no solution to any problem.

            • Belladonna

              Nope. Jewish people who are citizens of Germany, the US and NZ – amongst other countries – are not responsible for the policies or actions of Israel.

              To say they are is anti-semitism of the worst kind.

              • theotherpat

                dont believer anyone did however at last ya got to toss out the anti semitic accusation….

                • Belladonna

                  and it has been brought upon them somewhat by their own actions i:e the israeli administration"…

                  Your own words. In response to my discussion on attacks on Jews outside Israel.

                  The cap not only fits, you're smugly proud of it.

                  • theotherpat

                    how typical an answer…..לבריאות

                    • Belladonna

                      Unable to engage with your own words? Or are you trying a Winston Peters shimmy to try and get out of it.

                  • theotherpat

                    no just avoiding an antagonist wanker who like Israel took offense at fuck all and moved the topic globally instead of keeping it with the topic i.e Gaza and Israel

                    • Belladonna

                      When you resort to personal abuse – it is abundantly clear that you have zero defence for your blatant anti-semitism.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Sniffing for Antisemitism
                      In fact, it’s not at all clear that there’s any such thing as a unified and cohesive phenomenon that can be called ‘antisemitism,’ existing on both the left and the right, like a weed sprawling over both sides of a fence. The antisemitism that kills forms part of a specific fabric of political delusions: the reactionary conception of the world as a conflict between competing races comes first, along with all its associated fantasies and resentments. It’s hard to see what these ornate and Gothic conspiracy theories have to do with playground bullying based on arbitrary markers of difference, or leftist monomania on Israel, never mind the entirely innocuous politics of Corbyn or Omar. They’re simply not on the same spectrum—unless, that is, you’re willing to let racism become something entirely internal and subjective.

                      Some people can sniff out "balant anti-semitism" almost anywhere, and wield their discovery like a cudgel. Fwiw, based on comments in this thread, the repeated accusations of antisemetism seem wide of the mark.

                      Fwiw, the result of the vote on the latest UN resolution is encouraging – pleased that NZ didn't abstain, although some may perceive our vote as antisemitic.

                      UNGA calls for humanitarian truce in Israel-Hamas war: How countries voted?

                      [how selected countries voted – see the link for a full list]

                      For: France, Ireland, NZ, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland

                      Against: Austria, Israel, United States

                      Abstained: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, South Korea, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom

                    • lprent []

                      Fwiw, the result of the vote on the latest UN resolution is encouraging – pleased that NZ didn’t abstain, although some may perceive our vote as antisemitic.

                      Those would also be the people who think that the current Israeli indiscriminate bombardment campaign is also targeted. Which is it – targeted mostly at civilians. Probably (the tiny by comparison) bombardment by Hamas into Israel is far more precise in what they are attempting to hit.

                      As far as it is possible to tell, the Israelis appear to be making no attempt in the last two weeks to actually target military or even militarily relevant infrastructural targets.

                      I’d take a bet that that based on the shrapnel spray casualties, that what we are seeing is a deliberate campaign of targeting civilians in a deniable fashion. Don’t target them directly, just make sure that there is a high density of civilian population in the shrapnel and blast debris range.

                      How else can anyone explain the way that the IDF ‘safely’ herded the Gaza population into high density kill-zones in the south, and then concentrated most of their recent bombardments there.

                      The internet has gone down in Gaza. What is the bet that soon the IDF will start concentrating on areas with the remaining cell and sat phone signals? They really don’t seem to like the coverage coming out of Gaza at present.

                  • theotherpat

                    just another point of view tho probably a rabid anti-semite because um because….oh yeah…if you disagree with Israel you must be.

                    The latest outbreak of violence in the historical Israeli-Palestinian conflict has a stark lesson for us in Aotearoa. As Leon Goldsmith, a researcher on the Middle East based at Otago University, wrote in the Sunday Star-Times recently: “It’s necessary to be very clear about who is responsible for the violence. The Israeli coalition government of Benjamin Netanyahu, Itamar Ben-Gvir, and Bezalel Smotrich has fanned the flames of growing racism against Palestinians and Arabs and given a green light to racist religious Zionists settlers in the West Bank.”


                    • Belladonna

                      just another point of view tho probably a rabid anti-semite because um because….oh yeah…if you disagree with Israel you must be.

                      Twisting the argument again. You are anti-semitic if you regard attacks on Jews *outside Israel* as "brought upon them somewhat by their own actions i:e the israeli administration"

                      If you (or anyone else, for that matter), want to attack Israeli government actions or inactions – it's no more anti-Semitic, than it's racist to attack the government actions or inactions of Fiji (for example).

                      Try turning the table the other way. Do you think that attacks on Palestinian Muslims in NZ would be justified because of Hamas' actions in Gaza? No. Nor do I. Extend the same courtesy to other races/religions.

                    • Belladonna

                      The racisim (and religious hatred) is profoundly present both ways.

                      As LPrent said – I don't think there is currently any possibility of a 2 state solution, given the hatred on the ground from both sides.

                    • theotherpat

                      im twisting it???….well the kettle is black it appears

      • pat 16.1.2

        The Israeli Government are so determined that it shall never happen again they are willing to descend to near the same level of perversity….they have stared into the abyss.

        Theres a lesson in there for ALL governments.

  16. observer 17

    After a nice break in NZ for Labour weekend, this seems appropriate.

    Gazan Refreshed After Taking Weekend To Unplug From News (

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