Friday, August 11, 2006

Wilful, stunning ignorance

Quite coincidentally, I stumbled over this letter in—where else?—The Grauniad.
I was interested to read that Israel's attack on Lebanon has created an even greater refugee crisis in Israel than the one in Lebanon (Letters, August 10). According to Harry Grunstein's letter there are "already over 1 million Israeli refugees" with "hundreds of thousands living in bomb shelters". I would like somebody to explain this to me, given that, according to the news reports, the Israelis have killed 30 times as many Lebanese civilians as Hizbullah have killed Israelis (1,005 Lebanese civilians killed and 35 Israeli civilians killed), and have bombed the infrastructure of Lebanon. Why are Israelis fleeing in greater numbers than the Lebanese? The figures that I am aware of reveal a very different situation - Israel is not under attack.
Robert Vinten
Reading, Berkshire

Did you hear that clunking sound? Yes, that was my jaw hitting the floor. What the fucking shit is this man on? Whatever it is, even I don't want some. But, hey, let's take a closer look at Bob's letter, shall we? Just for a giggle, like...
I was interested to read that Israel's attack on Lebanon has created an even greater refugee crisis in Israel than the one in Lebanon (Letters, August 10). According to Harry Grunstein's letter there are "already over 1 million Israeli refugees" with "hundreds of thousands living in bomb shelters".

Let me just say, at this point, that I don't have any hard and fast figures for refugees in Israel, but I certainly heard the figure of 600,000 bandied about a week or so ago. However, I suspect that it is not "Israel's attack on Lebanon" that has caused people to flee; you see, whilst I don't have figures, I do know that the general path of flight does tend to be from the north of Israel towards the south. Please do bear this in mind; it will become important later...
I would like somebody to explain this to me, given that, according to the news reports, the Israelis have killed 30 times as many Lebanese civilians as Hizbullah have killed Israelis (1,005 Lebanese civilians killed and 35 Israeli civilians killed), and have bombed the infrastructure of Lebanon.

OK, Robert, let me explain it to you.

What's happened, you see, is that Hezbollah have been lobbing rockets, from Lebanon, over the border and into Israel. Now, although they have fired a good few rockets, they really don't have much range: the longest-range that they have used so far is about 50 miles. Now, if you would care to look at a map of Israel... good... now, can you see Lebanon in the north? Good, well done.

Now, Robert, what is happening is that the Israelis are fleeing from the north of the country to about 50 miles south of the border with Lebanon, so that they don't get hit by any of those rockets that Hezbollah are firing indiscriminently into the country. The ones that aren't fleeing are living in bomb shelters. The Israelis have quite a few bomb shelters because they get rockets fired at them on a daily basis. Admittedly, it's more often from the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, but Israel's a small country (smaller than even Scotland) and the occupied territories are actually in a perfect strategic position for easily invading the whole of the country. (Which is why, of course, Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan in the first place and is also precisely why Israel still occupies it and will continue to occupy it until the Arab states guarantee Israel's borders; and do so with enough sincerity that Israel, or indeed anyone else, actually believes them.)

But the big thing, and the obvious thing, Robert, is that if the Israeli civilians didn't flee or live in bomb shelters then... wait for it... more of them would be dead. You don't become a refugee or spent time in a dank cellar for shits and giggles, Robert. You do it because you are in fear of your life.
Why are Israelis fleeing in greater numbers than the Lebanese?

Are they? But let's accept your assertion and give a simple answer: because Israel started their bombing campaign on the infrastructure and the Lebanese can't get to anywhere. So, there ain't a lot of point in becoming a refugee when you can't flee anywhere safe. You fucking divot.

Oh, and the other reason? Some of those civilians aren't... well... you know, civilians. They are Hezbollah fighters. That's the point, you see; no uniforms. No identifying insignia. Because Hezbollah aren't a fucking state, they are not a legally recognised army and they are breaking all the rules of war by dressing as civilians and hiding military targets in civilian areas. You fucking dipstick.
The figures that I am aware of reveal a very different situation - Israel is not under attack.

Well, Robert, won't you share those figures? Are they that only three cheesecakes and thirty-three slightly bruised bananas have flibbled gyre whoop whopp tweet ma' mumma, sweet ma' mumma, fubbly bubbly grob? Israel is not under attack? I mean, for fuck's sake...
The UN's human rights chief, Louise Arbour, meanwhile, has condemned both Israel and Hezbollah for the suffering inflicted on civilians in Lebanon and northern Israel.

"Israeli attacks affecting civilians continue unabated," she told a special session of the UN Human Rights Council.

"Also unrelenting is Hezbollah's indiscriminate shelling of densely populated centres in northern Israel which has brought death and destruction. There have also been repeated allegations of Hezbollah's systematic use of civilians as human shields," she said.

Ms Arbour warned that commanders on both sides could face prosecution for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Robert Vinten: he's completely hatstand.

But so is Ms Arbour. Crimes against humanity? Prosecution? Israel and Hezbollah? Louise, you're fucking deluded, love. Why don't you go home and make me a nice cup of tea, eh? Put your feet up, I'll be back soon...

8 comments:

MatGB said...

Yup, you're right, he's hatstand. You missed one point by the way.

More Israelis are fleeing than Lebanese because less Israelis arre dying, due in part to the crapness of the HizB rockets, which (apparently) they're trying to point roughly in the direction of military targets (and I didn't save the link for that one).

Arbour's right in a way though, both sides have, by the accepted definitions, committed war crimes. Who the fuck will prosecute them I know not, no one will have the authority.

But still, tea? Coffee FFS.

chris said...

Anybody reading Al Guardian probably would not even know that the reason there are so many Israeli refugees is that the Israelis have been under attack by Hezbollah for years. They might even believe that is was Israel that started things and the Hezbollah missiles only started flying after that, rather than the truth which is the other way around. It simply is not useful for the Muslim Brotherhood's house magazine to point out inconvenient facts like that.

Tea? Coffee? Chocolate is the way forward, preferably the Spanish style that is so thick a spoon would stand up in it, and has so many calories you can get a sugar rush off the smell.

The Remittance Man said...

Hey, the guy not only buys and reads the Guardian, he writes letters to the editor - if that's not a sign of Detatchment from Reality Syndrome I don't know what is.

Hell! It's worse than writing comments on blogs :-0

RM

Tom Tyler said...

"both sides have, by the accepted definitions, committed war crimes. Who the fuck will prosecute them I know not, no one will have the authority".

Just wanted to copy and paste that bit. I'm not making any point about 'MatGb' one way or the other, I just saw that sentence and thought, Ain't it odd how sometimes, without even trying to, you can sometimes just say something off the top of your head which sums up an entire argument in one geniuslike sentence?

Tom Tyler said...

Err...Or even two sentences.

Harry G said...

Robert Vinten gets an explanation.
Israel attacked the Hizballah in Lebanon after being attacked. The Hizballah never had any intention of protecting their civilians by moving them north or building bomb shelters. On the contrary, Hizballah built multi-unit residential dwellings on top of their military bunkers. The unprotected civilians, cannon fodder, human shields against Israel, makes Hizballah look good in the eyes of the media as the casualty counts rise. Israel has always had contingency plans for the attacks of their terrorist neighbours. Israel does not use suicide bombers nor human shields as she holds life to dear. Yes, over one million have been moved to the south as hundreds of thousands are constantly running to bomb shelters to avoid Hizballah missiles. That is why the Israeli mortality rate is lower then that of the Lebanese. Vinten should be more mindful of the medias' counts of all the Hizballah missiles and rockets hitting the northern of Israel every day. Yes Israel is under attack. Arab media rejoice with the count of the hundreds of missiles hitting civilian areas rather then military. Sunday morning alone saw more then 200 launched to hit Israel. Today, Monday, even with the ceasefire in effect the thousands of Israelis from the north were told not to return home yet as missiles from Hizballah are expected to be fired after they have a break to re-supply.

Robert Vinten said...

I never denied that Hezbollah was launching missiles aimed at Israel. My point was that the agressor is Israel. - Israel attacked an entire country in retaliation for the kind of cross-border incident that had been occuring for years beforehand. Israel used Hezbollah's kidnapping as an excuse to launch an all-out attack on Lebanon.

Israel has illegally captured political prisoners from Lebanon and Gaza... does that mean that the Lebanese government would be justified in bombing the airport in Tel Aviv and the major roads throughout Israel?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Vinten, as you say," the retaliation was for the kind of cross-border incident that had been occuring for years beforehand." How many more such incidents from the Iranian trained terror group Hezballah does Israel have to suffer through ? How many more years does she need to suffer such aggressions ?
Peace brother, that is what we seek, not the button that Iran controls.

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