Posted by: sean | June 10, 2010

Israeli opinion on the Gaza blockade

I really don’t understand how it’s possible to interpret these numbers charitably:

A 2008 survey commissioned by the human rights group Gisha showed that [Israelis] were at once realistic and intransigent. Seventy-nine percent of the 600 Jewish respondents, a near-consensus, agreed that the closure [of Gaza] primarily harms civilians. Sixty percent worried that it would increase Islamic extremism, fully two-thirds (67%) said it hurt Israel’s image internationally. Nearly eight-in-ten (78%) said it would not bring down the Hamas. Despite acknowledging these failings, a broad majority of nearly two-thirds (63%) rejected easing the closure.

So according to these numbers, Israeli Jews believe that the blockade primarily hurts civilians, increases extremism, won’t hurt Hamas and damages Israel’s reputation abroad, but they still support it. If there’s another explanation than obstinate cruelty, I’d like to hear it.



  1. Inertia? Fear of change?

  2. Maybe, except this is a relatively new policy (2006-2007), so that kind of seems like a cop-out to me. The inertia, I feel, is more that Arabs aren’t really people, they’re “the enemy,” so it doesn’t really matter how they’re treated. In fact, the harsher, the better.

    I feel like this is fairly typical thinking these days.

    Also, this.

  3. So according to these numbers, Israeli Jews believe that the blockade primarily hurts civilians, increases extremism, won’t hurt Hamas and damages Israel’s reputation abroad, but they still support it. If there’s another explanation than obstinate cruelty, I’d like to hear it.

    Well, you have this way of setting up straw men to allow yourself to engage in your moralistic self serving wondering. The bulk of the polled Israelis think that the blockade is good only as far as it prevents Hamas from growing stronger and solidifying its rule in Gaza. They assume that Hamas grip on Gaza is now total, so there is no chance that its rule is challenged in the strip. And yes, they admit that the blockade massively hurts the population.

  4. So far as I can tell, the Israeli attitude towards Gaza and its people is one of being totally fed up with never-ending hostility and their unwillingness to compromise. The Gazans, the angry Arabs, and so on, clearly don’t care about Israelis or Jews, can’t tolerate the idea of Jews being equals, and have been hostile this way for at least 90 years.

    Before that Jews were only allowed to be dhimmis under Islamic rule, a painful experience that Jews, especially Israeli Jews, are hyper-aware of. This is as powerful as the memory of the holocaust, if not more so.

    So the blockade and all are seen as keeping the critters in their cage. They choose to behave like animals so they’ll be treated like animals. I exaggerate to make a point clear, of course. The Arabs are human with free will, and they are responsible for their behavior. Perhaps a better analogy would be a crazy redneck neighbor.

    The Egyptians are just as Arab, just as Muslim, as the Gazans, and feel the same way about Hamas and Gaza and the Palestinians. It’s not a simple ethnic dislike; It’s based on behavior.

    Consider that Jordan hosted and supported the PLO for years but found that they had to kick them out in 1970 for their own survival.

    Consider that the PLO brought a lengthy and very bloody civil war to Lebanon, and that the Lebanese treat the “Palestinians” in the camps worse than Israelis treat Arab citizens of Israel.

    There is no Israeli who does not remember the murder of the Israeli Olympic athletes, the bombing of that big Passover Seder, the bus bombings, and so on. The Israeli attitude should not be a mystery.

    The Palestinians do not seem to be natural diplomats.

  5. some people think when your neighbour has a charter that expressly calls for your destruction and blatantly declares all international agreements with you inherently void and only possible to delude you for a little while – that its a good idea to hug them – open your doors to them and make sure they can have everything they possibly need [to effect that charter] and in any event not even consider hampering access..

    maybe those people also keep a copy of that charter under their pillow.. who knows..

  6. And some people think the correct reaction to election results you don’t like is the collective punishment of 1.6 million people, 720,000 of whom are children under the age of 15. And of those children, now 1 in 10 is malnourished and more than 1 in 3 is anemic. Keep up the good work!

  7. @sean:

    The blockade only went into effect after Hamas tore down the democracy and fought a civil war, of sorts, with Fatah. It was not instituted as a response to the election victory of Hamas.

    Gaza is an example of the “One man, One vote, One time” system. Hamas has utterly destroyed any vestige of democracy in Gaza, canceling elections, and so on.

    The Israeli actions are not in response to power struggles, but the military policies of Hamas. If any democracy starts rocketing its neighbors, the response will be violent, elections or not.

  8. and furthermore.. we have impoverished people as well and 1/3 of israeli children are considered to be below the bread line.. but of course you wouldnt care.. in fact ud probably argue that we want it that way.. it suits us..


  9. Areaman: Are you talking about when Israel and the US supported with money and arms a Fatah coup in Gaza led by Dahlan? And then when that didn’t work, Israel decided to put the territory under stricter blockade.

    Lirun: I’m not sure what Israeli poverty has to do with collective punishment of Gazans, but I do know that for the large part, those poor are either Haredim who choose to study religion instead of work or Palestinians who are discriminated against in education and in the job market, earning 40% less than non-Haredi Israeli Jews.

  10. of course you have no idea.. the point being that in the quest for defence and security we as a nation sacrifice a great deal of our collective welfare as well..

    your “knowledge” of our poor is far from complete.. there are many non haredi and non arab poor in the country.. many indeed.. we still are the country’s majority and a lot of people live tough lives..

    when we confront the gazan regime its not for fun.. even those of us who live well are still enslaved to the mission of fending off enemies.. its not such a quantum leap to realise that this is far from shit and giggles.. its serious..

    the mere fact that you can so easily overlook how serious my country perceives this threat – shows how non existent your connection is with this region..

    it is the underlying driver of much of he interaction that arabs and israelis have had over the decades.. and most people who delve into this conflict know.. the mutual lack of trust is the essence of our vicious cycle.. not the blood thirst of any particular side but the shared breakdown..

    once you open your eyes and acknowledge the reality of this region your views may increase in value..

    for now that are mostly hizbulla paraphrasings into american english..

  11. and your pathetic analysis of our job market is even more disappointing..

    the reason you piss me off so much is that you actually have an opportunity to gain real and meaningful information about our side.. and i am eager to share.. seriously.. but instead you play this stupid game of who can out-quote who..

    what a waste of oxygen..

  12. Sean please use the info in this post to convince yourself that the only feasible solution is two separate states. The one-state solution that Sean was entertaining in an earlier post is not feasible because there isn’t enough respect among the Jews for the Palestinians (and probably vice versa) as evidenced by what’s in this here post, and lots of similar data.

  13. sean, the two interlocutors here defending the blockade have just further proven your point. Thieves nagging about how they are living in fear of retribution from people they have stolen from. Obstinate cruelty it is. Or just firm belief in collective punishment.

  14. abdellater i agree with you.. i think the tension and distrust between the sides is extremely explosive.. not just from the news but also from a host of activities that i am involved in designed to foster dialog.. without getting into specifics – the wave lengths are totally different..

    one day – i hope a federation will be formed.. one that will allow us to benefit from our proximity.. but today for the sake of everyone – i wish for us to be separated..

  15. Thanks for the Vanity Fair link on Dahlan and his coup in Gaza, Sean. Didn’t know about that!

  16. The hope of a two state solution are passed. Netanyahu is making sure of this with the continued outgrowths of settlements full of beasts unworthy of the title “Jew”.

    Interesting that there is such poverty in Israel. I have read and posted work from a few Israeli/Zionist organizations on poverty and it seems bad all around. However, considering how much money Israel extorts from Germany and the United States, plus any others, this poverty should not be happening to Jews.

    The biggest crime is that of the poverty of the real Holocaust survivors (as opposed to many of the false ones). Most of them live in dire poverty yet the money is sent on a timely basis. Also, the Jewish banks refuse in almost all cases to return the accounts and valuables stored before WW2 to their original owners or descendants. The banks being, of course, in Switzerland, not in Israel.

    No matter how you look at it, there is no easy solution but for starters, the Jews could stop Caterpillaring houses and orchards and increasing the homelessness of decent farmers and families.
    These families have done nothing to deserve this treatment.

    Granted the mini bomblets from Hamas are not good. However, the Israeli response is absolutely over the top and unnecessarily cruel… until you listen to the rabbis speak.

  17. Do you want to know what international law really says about blockades? Listen to an international law expert clarify where international law stands regarding Israel and its blockade of Gaza.

  18. Hey Sean, you enlightened guy you. Do you see it as remotely bigoted to say that an entire nation (or specifically the Jews of that nation) act out of obstinate cruelty? Considering that the rockets have stopped, does it not make sense that people would think that saving the lives of Israeli civilians is more urgent and important than how Israel looks to the world or how much it increases extremism (like the Palestinians ever needed an excuse)? I know that Jewish lives don’t count for quite as much to you, but if you lived in a community where your children were terrorized by the threat of rocket barrages and were forced to sleep in bomb shelters, you might consider doing the same. Of course, the Palestinians could have chosen to make better use of the land that Israel ceded control of…

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