Those terrible Palestinians (updated Jan 5 2009)

In recent days, the Israeli government has bombed the Gaza Strip, home to about 1.5 million people, in retaliation for the Palestinians firing several homemade rockets into Israeli neighborhoods. According to UN figures (see ), over 350 Palestinians have been killed, including 62 women and children, and over 1,400 wounded. Israeli losses during the same time period include the deaths of one soldier and three civilians, and 31 wounded.

The weapon the Palestinians have used since 2002 to prick the little toe of the Israeli leviathan is something called the Qassam missile (see ). The Qassam is actually just a homemade rocket, fueled by a mixture of potassium nitrate fertilizer and sugar. With per capita income in the Gaza Strip at $600 per year, that’s about all they could afford. The mighty Qassam has a range of up to ten kilometers, or a little over six miles.

If you fired a Qassam from downtown New York City, it would land in–New York City.

Between 2002 and May 2008, this highly efficient and effective weapon of mass terror and destruction has been launched over 3,000 times. It has managed to kill, in that time, fifteen Israelis. Put another way, it takes 200 Qassam missiles to kill one Israeli citizen.

You would probably have a much higher kill rate throwing rocks.

The Palestinians packed, sardine-like, into the Gaza Strip, which is completely surrounded by a security barrier ( should be happy to be there! Israel allows just enough goods into the Gaza Strip to avert a humanitarian crisis ( They should be grateful!

And of course, we must refrain from comparing the Gaza Strip to the early Warsaw Ghetto. Such comparisons are absolutely unwarranted.

Perhaps the most amazing fact to come out of the most recent mess in the Middle East is that 71 percent of US citizens favor taking neither side in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, yet the US government–including the incoming Obama Administration–stands by its one hundred percent support for Israel.

Here are the results from a recent scientific poll:

“A new poll of 18 countries finds that in 14 of them people mostly say their government should not take sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Just three countries favor taking the Palestinian side (Egypt, Iran, and Turkey) and one is divided (India). No country favors taking Israel’s side, including the United States, where 71 percent favor taking neither side.” (

As a libertarian, my view is that the US should steer clear of the entire mess. Like 71 percent of the American people, I have no desire to choose sides. I don’t have a dog in that fight. Thank goodness our elected leaders are wiser than us. They know that they should take the Israeli side every time.

[Update 1: See an excellent article by Justin Raimondo at on the subject of justifying Gaza. In particular, follow the links regarding just war theory and the concept of proportionality, which is out the window in Israel’s response in Gaza to the launching of home-made Qassam rockets. ] [Update 2: See also an article by Eric Margolis at regarding the incredible bias shown in the media in spinning the Gaza situation.]


  1. adamrussell

    Israel did seal its border with Gaza. How does that one border prevent Egypt or the UN from bringing humanitarian relief? They could still come in from sea, or from Egypt (who has a border with gaza) or even by air. I think you and the NY times exaggerate when you blame Israel for Gaza being poor. Sure they wont support gaza with relief efforts. I wouldnt support my enemies either. Blocking one’s own borders is not the same as blockading relief efforts. And no other nation would stand for the attacks that Israel has endured. Not one.

  2. Paolo

    Hi Adam Russell,

    Thanks for your comments. The problem is that relief ships attempting to bring medical supplies to Gaza have been in effect blockaded by the Israelis. This happened recently to former congresswoman Cythia McKinney, whose boat carrying medical supplies was harassed and rammed by an Israeli navy vessel.

    Egypt refuses to open its border with Gaza, although it has allowed a few Palestinians to be let out in order to be treated for wounds suffered in the recent attacks. Most likely, Egypt, as the only Arab country at peace with Israel, is under quite a bit of pressure from both Israel and the US not to give aid to Gaza.

    So, relief efforts have indeed been blockaded.

  3. adamrussell

    I believe the incident you refer to happened after the outbreak of war and so may not be used as an excuse for the Hamas bombing of Israel. Yes relief efforts were blockaded, but only *after* the outbreak of war. If Turkey had tried to bring relief to germany in ww2 we would have blocked that too.

  4. Paolo

    Hi Adam Russell,

    Actually, the blockade took effect immediately after Hamas won the election back in 2007. See and follow the links regarding the blockade. Israel only allows in barely adequate or inadequate amounts of human food, animal food, sanitary supplies, and some medical supplies.

  5. GovtFlu

    Israel could get caught drowning a pillow case full of kittens on youtube and the APAC bought & paid for 2 party DC Mafia clowns would still trample each other racing to a corporate media camera to proclaim their unconditional ass love for whatever Israel was allegedly accused of… then they’d blame Hamas & Iran for placing the kittens in danger.

    It would all be silly stupid political theater if 1000s of people were not being summarily slaughtered on our dime.

    Its just amazing how collectively and transparently hypocritically stupid an entire govt (the US) can act.. and still get re-elected every time.

    Meanwhile the American people polled about the latest Israel bullshit don’t really give a flying fuck for good reason; it has almost nothing to do with most of us…

  6. Paolo

    Hi GovtFlu,

    You make good points, if expressed a bit coarsely.

    I plan, in a future blog, to go over the whole concept of a “Jewish State.” I rarely agree with Thomas Friedman, but one thing he has said is true: you can either have a Jewish State, or you can have a democracy, but you can’t have both.

    Israel remains a Jewish State because non-Jews are systematically denied citizenship rights. Jewish immigrants, under the “Law of Return”, are granted instantaneous citizenship (subject to the Israeli government agency that determines who is and isn’t a Jew–an agency eerily reminiscent of the German agency that decided just who is and isn’t an Aryan). Those who are non-Jews may indeed apply for citizenship, but the process is long and arduous, and will likely be denied anyway in the end at the whim of the Israeli government. The government does not have to give a reason for denial of citizenship, though being non-Jewish just might be a factor, don’t you think?

    So what we have is a De Facto “Jewish only” citizenry.

    Palestinians, who have lived continuously in the Levant since the time of the Judges, have no such “right of return.” They are systematically excluded.

    This very closely parallels the state of affairs in South Africa when full citizenship was reserved for “Whites Only.” It is also, sadly, reminiscent of Germany’s “Aryans Only” policy.

    Anyway, the tanks are getting ready to roll today (Jan 3). We’ll see what happens….