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30 March 2009


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Bill Wade, NH, USA

Associated Press

March 30, 2009 at 6:02 AM EDT

"JERUSALEM — State-owned Israel Railways says it has fired around 40 Israeli Arabs after deciding only military veterans could do their jobs.

The railways says its security department changed the criteria. But it also says it is interested in providing veterans work in this tight economy.

The workers acted as lookouts at crossings to prevent trains and vehicles from colliding."

Sounds to me like Israel isn't listening to anyone at all.


Just to qualify, there is a neutral failure, and there is negative failure. This seems to fall into the latter category - i.e., all would have been better if it had never happened.

I suppose one can hope the stories of soldiers will spur a deep reflexive consideration in Israel of what their society has become, leading to face to face negotiations. As my grandfather used to say when he no longer wanted to discuss a topic - where there is life there is hope.

Cato the Censor

It puzzles me to a large degree how knowledgeable people like yourself will point out obvious facts (like Israel's invasion of Gaza being a strategic failure) which everybody in a decision-making position simply avoids like they were virulent diseases.

Jon T.

In my life, the most difficult situations have been best handled face to face, with honesty. It is never easy when errors have been made by me or the other person.

Of course, it is a huge risk. It risks failure, rejection, humiliation, the need to change one's way of thinking and believing, the willingness to admit the other may in fact be right. Face to face risks human compassion and change. It risks admitting the need and possibility of compromise. If there is no willingness to face those possibilities, face to face does not happen.

I hope some Israelis who are dignified and noble to their cores do that. I know they are present. They may not be rulers. But they are alive.
And Palestinians too.

This may be harder than fighting on the battlefield this sitting down somewhere and choking on the words while seeing someone else's eyes.

The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission did happen. So it can be done.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn Americans and Iranians sat down together in Moscow and initiated a dialogue. This is a good sign.

Perhaps some Israelis and Palestinians can follow suit.

I believe Mr. Obama is a good poker player. Some initial moves may not reveal the entire hand or plan.

Like a skilled baseball hitter: their first at bat often is a study of the pitcher and approached much differently than later at bats. IMO, Israeli's would do well to learn to play baseball, like it was played in the 50's, not the high finance, corporate stearoid match play now in vogue.

Brien J Miller

An interesting bit down about 30 or 31 paragraphs in Seymour M. Hersh’s 30 March 09 New Yorker article suggests that the planning for this ill-advised Gaza attack had the aid of then Vice-President Cheney;

“According to the former senior intelligence official, who has access to sensitive information, “Cheney began getting messages from the Israelis about pressure from Obama” when he was President-elect. Cheney, who worked closely with the Israeli leadership in the lead-up to the Gaza war, portrayed Obama to the Israelis as a “pro-Palestinian,” who would not support their efforts (and, in private, disparaged Obama, referring to him at one point as someone who would “never make it in the major leagues”).”


This certainly suggests to me one reason why “Cast Lead” was such a disaster.


We had this discussion over at Abu Muqawama, where we have some (well just one) very smart pro-IDF person. But he poo-pooed the idea of using WP as a weapon, even if it was used as a flanking forcemultiplier tool (hinders movement).

A confirmed miltary oldschool veteran (who recommends you):

And as for the "WP," we're talking about infused felts that drop to the ground from high altitude and are designed to wick out in 15 minutes.

Think of dropping about 130 incense sticks from 150 feet up.


Whole discussion at https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=5440908667613269425&postID=7181643845026999911&page=1

Its a pretty interesting one.

William R. Cumming

Good old Whiskey Papa is not really a very good illuminant round even as air burst. Wonderful at creating uncontrollable fires as a point detonating round, however.

Patrick Lang


I am not CLAIMING that the IDF does not have combat arms NCOs. I KNOW it. pl

Dan M

I'm no expert, but at the time of the latest flurry of nastiness, i was asked on a radio show to talk about "The Tunnels" (I presume this was because i was the only person in New York who had been in one and answered his cell phone). I said something to the effect that building the tunnels was no big deal and they'd be reopened quickly and normal business would resume once the bombs stopped falling. "Really? They can just do that," I was asked. Yes they can.


Now on Huffington Post:

Israel Drops Gaza Probe, Calls Claims Hearsay

Israel has officially ended its investigative probe into any possible misconduct by Israeli troops during the Gaza incursion known as Operation Cast Lead earlier this year. The probe -- originally in response to incriminating conversations between soldiers at a military education conference that leaked to the press -- is now being called-off for lack of substantive evidence beyond hearsay, Israel says.


Fnord...about your 130 incense sticks analogy:

Israel admits troops may have used phosphorus shells in Gaza

Israel has admitted – after mounting pressure – that its troops may have used white phosphorus shells in contravention of international law, during its three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip.

One of the places most seriously affected by the use of white phosphorus was the main UN compound in Gaza City, which was hit by three shells on 15 January. The same munition was used in a strike on the al-Quds hospital in Gaza City the same day.

They didn't wick. Neither did the bombs that hit these people:

Knock yourself out watching this photographic evidence of WP hitting a UN school in Gaza and John Ging, head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and who was present, describing what you are looking at:
'Phosphorus shells' hit Gaza UN school

There are more links on there should you care to check it out. Doubt you will.



Looks like the IDF is trying to stop any further 'inquiries' regarding their 'war crimes'.


Israeli Army Closes Probe on Gaza Acts

......."The decision was made after the Military police investigation found that the crucial components of their descriptions were based on hearsay and not supported by specific personal knowedge," said an army statement. It said soldiers who first made the allegations "purposely exaggerated ... in order to make a point."........

Looks like the IDF is feeling the 'heat' and running for cover. Let's just hope that an international war crimes tribunal will be assembled to handle the IDF's crimes against unarmed women, babies, children, and old men.



Who is this person on Abu M that told you all these delicious, yet misleading facts on WP? Inquiring minds wish to know!

WP can be used as: an Illuminant; an obscurant; and as a set on fire to your ass and your crib-ant.

Trust me, I've seen it used in all three roles. Do you know how artillery and its' attendant fuse designs even function (laymen's terms, to be sure)?

If not, may I suggest you stick to the moral sides of issues, lest you be distracted by active I/O operations, (from whence we can only guess).



"How about face to face negotiations with the Palestinians as equal human beings? "

How about treating the occupied population as human beings with basic human rights?

An occupied population for the last forty years by a modern democracy? What a disgrace. The excuse for killing 1,300 people (at least half civilians)--because 20 Israelis have been killed by rockets in the last decade--is similarly pathetic.

If you follow what people do and not what they say, as far as insight into their true intentions, the Israelis have no intention of fair resolution of this occupation, if they did they would have given these people something to lose, such as the freedom to make a decent standard of living.

Gaza has nothing much to lose and that makes for a very tenacious enemy.


Doesn't seem to have been entirely useless. Ehud Barak has managed to clamber on board the next Israeli "government."

Clifford Kiracofe


well yes, negotiations leading to a one-state solution.


To all

"A report published Sunday in the Hebrew-language business paper 'The Marker', 21% of Israeli exporters say that they have been directly impacted by a boycott of Israeli products since the beginning of 2009."

Boycott Israel. The bar code for the country is 729.


What cynicism sir. Why only last Friday an Israeli soldier was removed from the combat area after he shot a Gazan woman in the leg "by mistake" during the recent offensive, military sources say.

See? The IDF is so morally upstanding, it will punish a man even for a non-lethal mistake.

Sarcasm aside, I think only now can one look back at the barrel shoot of Cast Lead (Perhaps Cast Phosphorous would have been too obvious?) with any kind of calmness.

That the IDF uses WP is nothing new. We saw its use in Lebanon in 06 but it was not widely reported then. It was, even then, used mostly as a way to bring terror to a civilian population.

Defenders of the IDF like to use the the obscurant argument for the use of WP in Gaza (much like the poster on Abu M, who, fasteddiez, calls himself soldiernolongeriniraq, who claims he is American (although he didn't understand my usage of the term "getting your goat") and hints at being either a senior member of the coinista brigade or a US military department).

The question for them is if it was being used as an obscurant, why was it being deployed in areas the IDF never dared go near like the central parts of Gaza City?

The fact is, we can now look back at Gaza and Lebanon and we can safely say that the IDF was in both instances most definitely fighting the last war.

It seems to have not dawned on them that we (the Lebanese and the Palestinians) are no longer cowed.

Our fighting men are no longer commanded by incredulous cowards, calling their orders from the casinos of Monte Carlo.

Our people our no longer afraid of the Israeli military machine.

Yes, we will take losses and loss of life as well as infrastructure, investment and dreams will be huge.

But they will not get surrender or retreat. Their collective will is no longer of any relevance.

The longer they wait to give the Palestinians their due, the stronger we get.

Dan M

To fasteddiez --
This anonymous guy on another blog who sounded like he knew what he was talking about told me that it was actually Nerf brand WP. Totally safe, apparently.


May I ask a probably silly question? Why did the Israelis name their operation "Cast Lead"? Does it mean something special in miliary talk?

Babak Makkinejad


Strategically useless but tactically enabled the Israel's Armed Forces to hone in their skills and improve their over-all performance.

You have to think of it as military maneuvers with live munitions and real targets including living human beings - sort of like how Japanese used the Chinese for bayonet practice.

I am not making this up - go read Dr. Cordesman's analysis of IDF performance at www.csis.org [minus my own commentary]. He notes improved performance compared to the Lebanon War of 2006. Find it @ http://www.csis.org/component/option,com_csis_pubs/task,view/id,5250/type,1/

Patrick Lang


you are right of couse about WP. I have seen all four uses of such ammunition. On th illuminating side, I suppose that is the material burning in parachute flares. It wouldn't bothre me at all to use it on attacking infantry. pl


Babak, if we follow that line of reasoning, we have to assume it was in preparation for something else


The picture is quite clearly taken during the day as many other are. What is there to illuminate?

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