A thing or two about “terror tunnels”

When I visited family in Gaza City in 2011, they reluctantly agreed to take me to see some of the tunnels that had been constructed in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

At the time, there were an estimated 1,200 to 1,500 tunnels criss-crossing their ways underneath Gaza’s border with Egypt. Designed to outsmart the blockade that had essentially cut the coastal territory off from the world since 2006, the tunnels instantly grew in popularity. They were seen as a source of relief. The food, construction materials, and even animals that Israel had banned from entering the Strip was finding another way in.

As Israel and the Egyptian government cooperated to keep even the most basic necessities out of the Gaza Strip, smugglers went to work. In just three to ten minutes, a runner could smuggle anything he wanted from one of the tunnel to the other. Many requests were bold — new cars, healthy sheep, a family who had waited too long at the border — and some were ridiculous — a family meal from KFC, and why not a wife — but they all got through. So is the quick-witted brilliance of the Palestinian under occupation.

With the popularity grew attention, and the Israeli and Egyptian governments agreed to handle the threatening illusion of freedom with force. Egyptian armed forces demolished any tunnel they uncovered. The Israeli military launched air strikes even during periods of rest with the same purpose in mind.

Since then, the number of tunnels in Gaza has certainly grown. It is a bafflingly elaborate system, and although few people will ever be able to conceptually grasp the full extensiveness of the tunnel network, a quick look at the tunnels themselves reveal just how much time and effort goes into them.

As I stood at the mouth of a tunnel used primarily to shuttle fish from an Egyptian port, one smuggler gave me a brief rundown of how the tunnels are built and, in some cases, destroyed. Curiously, he had no qualms about me taking photographs. Israel knew everything there was to know about his tunnels, he informed me. The one that smuggled fish and other small food goods had been hit six times already, prompting him to reinforce the interior of his tunnel with steel plates. Three years later, I am unsure if his tunnels still exist.

This is what the tunnels were built for in the first place, and for the most part, this is what they continue to be used for. Israel knowingly targets them, claiming them to be security concerns when all the tunnels really do is relieve a bit of the pressure that people in Gaza have had to face for almost a decade now.

There are other tunnels that are used to connect opposite ends of the Gaza Strip without exposure to Israeli weaponry. These tunnels are used by Palestinian government leaders who constantly have to duck Israeli assassination attempts as well as resistance fighters who are legally entitled to resist their occupier. Never forget this last part, I am always told.

These very same tunnels were the ones used to keep Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit alive when he was captured and taken as a prisoner of war on June 25, 2006. Shalit would later be swapped in a prisoner exchange with the Israeli government.

Lately, however, new tunnels have been uncovered in the northern Gaza Strip that are being used in the defense of Palestine. As part of the Israeli military’s egregious public relations campaign, Israel has officially dubbed them “terror tunnels,” carrying absolutely no context whatsoever.

To Israel, every tunnel — be it one that brings food into an impoverished Gaza Strip where over half of the population depends on food aid or one that delivers sheep to a Khan Younis farmer who lost his other farm animals to a prior Israeli incursion — is a “terror tunnel”. The phrase alone has given Israel the impunity it feels it needs to enact vengeance against the Gaza’s population. After all, “terror tunnels” was the pretext for Israel’s repeated bombardment of the Shuja’iyya neighborhood or the Jabalya Refugee Camp, where hundreds including many children were massacred and thousands displaced.

“Terror tunnels” is also why entire city blocks were wiped off the map, or why every single building in Beit Hanoun is either damaged or demolished, or why Eid Al-Fitr wasn’t celebrated in Gaza. “Terror tunnels” is Israel’s attempt at justifying war crimes and human rights abuses in the Strip, which are increasingly being investigated by the United Nations and other international observers.

Israel’s media strategists and spokespeople have been trained to bring up the “terror tunnels” as often as possible. In some cases, they even present the tunnels with unsubstantiated claims that they were built to ‘massacre’ Israelis.

The message they give is that Palestinians are popping out of the ground like groundhogs, and that Israel is simply hammering them back into the ground. Israel is, in essence, basing its invasion of the Gaza Strip on a hypothetical. But Gaza is all too familiar with this. Each Israeli major military offensive on the Gaza Strip has been announced as a necessary defensive maneuver to keep Israel from being wiped off of the map. Meanwhile, Israel wipes Gaza off the map.

Incidentally, one such “terror tunnel” made its way onto cameras yesterday when Hamas fighters filmed their infiltration of the Nahal Oz military base in southern Israel. Five Israeli soldiers were reported killed.

In another “terror tunnel” story that happened today, three Israeli soldiers fell into a booby-trapped tunnel entrance in the southern Gaza Strip.

While the Israeli government continues to purport the idea that the tunnels are meant to target thousands of Israelis, we are left with the very obvious: every single military assault carried out by Palestinian fighters that has used an infiltrating tunnel has only ever targeted Israeli soldiers. In other words, armed tunnel activity is targeting armed and active combatants, not civilians or noncombatants. Maybe Israel can learn a thing or two.

Meanwhile, the death toll in Gaza has just exceeded 1,300. Most of the dead, according to the United Nations, are civilians, with over 250 children.

Israel, who says that it acts solely in self-defense, is enacting on Gaza the kind of destruction and misery that it projects to the world as its greatest fear.

Israel, whose spokespeople say it acts “as surgically as is humanly possible,” has no regard for civilians in the Gaza Strip.

Israel, with its seemingly endless supply of advanced and pinpoint-accurate weaponry, has demolished entire neighborhoods and taken so many lives in search of tunnel entrances no larger than two meters in width.


There are 49 comments

    1. Pejman

      And you are very ignorant if you just believe whatever you read. Palestinian “fighters”!! joking me? you wanna hear from someone who has been there? take a look ! need to say no more!

  1. orchardpark2014

    If the elected government of Hamas had not decided to intensify its campaign to wipe Israel off the map soon after it pulled out of Gaza, there would have been no need for Israel to seal its border and impose a blockade on Gaza.

    It’s well documented that humanitarian supplies are still allowed into Gaza, even during war time. Also, Hamas’ s own family members sometimes recieve treatment in Israeli hospitals. It is also well documented by Hamas members themselves that their aim is to enter Israel through the tunnels and kill or maim as many people as possible. By saying otherwise, you are either very naive or a liar.

    With all the money that Hamas spends on rockets, one had to ask why they haven’t used that money to benefit their own people? Stop blaming Israel for everything and start building a country of your own which is based on producing something and not on teaching your children to kill Jews.

    1. Sami Kishawi

      1. The claim that tunnels are meant to “kill or maim” as many people as possible is false and is something propagated by the Israeli government without any evidence or substantiation to elicit sympathy. In an hourlong interview with Hamas leader Khaled Mash’al, conducted by Charlie Rose for PBS, Mash’al reiterates Hamas’ position on targeting just Israeli soldiers (see here: http://video.pbs.org/video/2365297457/). So far, of all of the attacks utilizing tunnels, only Israeli soldiers have been targeted. Going even further, out of the 64 Israelis killed, only three have been civilians, and these were casualties of rocket attacks spread out over the last three weeks that have no connection to any tunnel infiltrations. In other words, 95% of Israeli casualties have been legitimate targets: active combatants. 100% of Israeli casualties killed due to tunnel infiltrations have been legitimate targets: active combatants. On the other hand, of the 1,410 Palestinians confirmed killed as of this moment, at least 80% have been civilians, including hundreds of children.

      2. Having spent time in Gaza, which is something you presumably haven’t done, I can reassure you that the money sent to help rebuild the territory following the previous two major Israeli military offensives has been used for that purpose. Homes and government offices have been rebuilt, roads and sidewalks have been reconstructed, and new schools and social service institutions have been set up. When under siege, however, and when political leaders are constantly being assassinated, or when a blockade shuts the Gaza Strip off from the rest of the world, tunnels, among many other things, are a necessity.

      3. As for your “stop blaming Israel” comment, which comes after Israel has wiped out nearly 50 families in the Gaza Strip, killed over 1,400 people, targeted schools and hospitals and refugee camps, sniped fathers looking for their children buried in the rubble, and destroyed Gaza’s lone power generator (which, all in all, amounts to a severe collective punishment of the territory), you should probably consider reading this op-ed featured on Haaretz: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.608118. It’s titled, “It’s all Hamas’ fault, right Israel?”

      4. You seem to be the one peddling the anti-Semitism here. Nothing about resistance against the occupation has anything to do with ‘being against the Jews’. If anything, the real racism and hatred is coming from those who back Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza. Here, hundreds of Israelis shout racist chants mocking the deaths of children in Gaza and calling for more attacks against Palestinians: http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/gaza-graveyard-sing-joyful-israeli-youths. Additionally, countless Israeli soldiers have been caught on social media, for example, advocating for the ruthless murder of Palestinians and, in some cases, specifically Muslim Palestinians. And if you by any chance believe that ‘Palestinian textbooks teach kids to hate,’ that allegation has been disproven time and time again. In this example, a U.S. State Department-funded study revealed that these claims are bogus: http://forward.com/articles/170451/palestinian-textbooks-dont-vilify-jews-new-study-r/?p=all.

      1. Linn Dee

        SORRY SAMI – but as respectfully as I can say this – your article is nothing more than propaganda. Is is CLEAR that Hamas DOES NOT want peace with Israel – but rather, to destroy Israel. You can write ANYTHING you want – but that does not make it true.

      2. James Jameson

        Linn Dee and Sami the issue is no visual is given to support any claims. the only video I saw from Mossad is the one about the UN being used as a Bomb haven and a “Hamas” operative shooting at israel. When there was no time or date giving on the video to support that claim. Also, I put “Hamas” in parenthesis because I know Mossad is clever. If they get their hands on some Hamas rocket who stopping them from throwing on a ski mask and firing on off toward israel (knowing full well that it’s not going to harm anyone, the iron dome is extremely proficient 95%). Look up Mossads old motto “By way of deception, thou shall fight wars” And what Sami says is ABSOLUTELY true. If these tunnels were meant to KILL ISRAELIS why than is the tunnels are under family housing , school and the have all these explosives. Why not just plant a huge amount of explosive under said buildings and really do terror. This really isn’t about antisemitism, I’m Jewish. My family was in the holocaust.
        This is about inhumane behavior and cabala Zionist. Look up Rothchild funds Israel after he funded Hitler and every country in WW1 and WW2 and today (whose mother worked for Rothchild house and hitler is the suppose bastard child) yes hitler was a jew like Rothchild both of whom are Ashkenazi jews (read protocol of zionism and the cabala) and you’d under stand why These jewish men saw it fit to kill there own. So they can use the excuse that it’s antisemitism and calm all quarrels by simply saying that 6 syllabal sentence (anti semitism). Hell even the star of david is the symbol of the Rothchild family coat of arms ( the red star it has been there since 1700’s) was pinned onto jews in ww2 and the star of david had until than never been a symbol for juadiasm.But is now the symbol on the Israeli flag when jews who were basically force from england to populate israel wanted the only Judaism sign the Mona-rah to be it’s symbol. .
        To take what you’ve been constantly bombarded with from birth by media (who is owned by Rothchild as well, In fact his family owns just about ever central bank in the world, and their media) is not history. Know you past to know what’s going on today.

      3. Melissa Constable

        Excellent points, Sami…facts and real life experiences will always win over the Israeli propaganda machine. The world is waking up, taking the blinders off, and seeing through the tangled web of lies we are constantly being fed by news media. Social media, independent news organizations, and the availability and ease of talking with people who are living in this apocalyptic hell we are funding with our tax dollars, is razing our politician’s Tower of Babble.

      1. ontogram

        We can all see what a good guy Israel is, magnanimous, peaceful, helpful. Hamas has every right to push back on Zionist Israel, those thieves. And Israel is finally unambiguously the piece of lunatic supremacism/racism it was fated to be.

        For a long time I did not understand why Israelis “hate Arabs” with such overwhelming passion. After all, Israel is ascendant, the Pals are wiped out to almost nothing, stuck on reservations or blockaded in Gaza. In Zionist victory, why couldn’t Israel be more magnanimous, more giving, perhaps recognizing the injury done to another people, helping them out? But, no — Israelis are taught to hate Arabs because anyone who questions Zionism is a secret anti-semite intent on murdering Jews. Sick stuff really, but not a satisfactory answer to my question. It is not just the education, there is more to it. Finally I realized that the more powerless Israel has rendered Palestinians the more they loath and disrespect them as a people. Having boxed them in entirely, periodically killing them by the bushel, allowed to do anything they want, even “sport” with them, having reduced them to nothing, Israelis ridicule, denigrate and scoff at them. It is part of the psychology of winning: The losers are nobody of any consequence. Nervous, apprehensive Nazis instructed to exterminate were, at first, deeply concerned about the grisly task, about cold-blooded killing of people. But, after reducing the Jews to slavish dependence and poverty, they had no problem getting on with it. The denigration did not heighten the killer’s humanity, rather but it destroyed it entirely. Israelis are now sadists. That’s why Israelis “hate” Arabs, because of what they (the Jews) have done to them.

  2. milton

    Sami, The article is very interesting and I like that one can learn of other uses that could be done with the tunnels. Yet the article deliberately refers to one side of the coin. there are tunnels leading into southern israel. these tunnels are under civilian area and I presume they are not for peace purposes. Moreover what about the tunnels that are used to transfer/smuggle weapons in order to preserve the conflict ?

    1. TK Dana

      The tunnels you are indicating have indeed been referenced (see the section on the tunnel used in the raid against the military base at Nahal Oz).

      To my knowledge, there has yet to be any shred of substantive evidence showing any tunnels burrowing into city centers in Israel. There have been reports on fringe websites that ‘hundreds of not thousands of tunnels burrow deep into Israel,’ but these are only rumors with absolutely zero evidence to back the claims up. The Israeli military’s social media office has peddled the rumors a few times themselves, even suggesting that the tunnels are constructed for future plans to eliminate entire population bases. But again, there is no evidence linked to this claim.

      Regarding the idea that tunnels are being used to transport weapons, this is widely accepted as fact. But there is nothing illegal or wrong about transporting weapons through tunnels. It is merely a legitimate military strategy. This is no different from conventional armies storing weapons in secure weapons depots far from the fighting or transporting weapons under the cover of darkness where they are less likely to be uncovered. If, however, the concern is of the weaponry being used, look into the munitions Israel has used in Gaza so far: flechette shells, DIME bombs, and other weapons designed for maximum lethality with little concern for anything in the blast radius. You can even take it back to 2008-09 when Israel used phosphorous bombs on residential populations, which directly violates international laws that govern war.

      1. milton

        Hi dana , The tunnels which I pointed are leading to civilians area and under their dinning room( for example Kibbutz Kisufim, Kibbutz nir ) , not a “(“tunnel used in the raid against the military base at Nahal Oz”). I believe that finding 1 tunnel leading under a country indicates the existence of many more tunnels with the same purpose and that’s a strategic threat which should not be ignored.

        Your’e right when you say that it is a legitimate military strategy to transport weapons through tunnels but doesn’t that mean that you see the Hamas government as legal? Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization or maybe that’s old news.

        The weaponry being used by Israel shows military superiority. I guess that the countries in conflict should take that in account before engaging against one another. Sadly as in any war that does not mean that international laws that govern war are not violated. As you noted, what happened in 2008-9 is an example and obviously a painful case. Yet what do you say about Children and women used as human shields by the Hamas? doesn’t that violate international laws ? What about the fact that Rocket launchers are hidden in Areas with high density of population? how do you reflect on these moral problems?

      2. Sami Kishawi

        I’ll respond with a few quick points. My initial response pretty much echoes TK Dana’s post.

        1. There is no evidence of tunnels leading to civilian areas. There are certainly tunnels leading into the south of Israel (one was used in the military base raid), but none, from what we know, go deep enough into civilian zones or, more specifically, into dining rooms. Saying so is a provocation, and it is one that has been used to give Israel the impunity it needs to wage war on Gaza.

        2. Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. (in 1997), the European Union, Canada, and Australia. However, this designation is being reassessed by certain governments, especially considering that the initial designations were seen by many as being politically motivated. On the other hand, most governments, as well as the United Nations, do not designate Hamas as a terrorist organization and instead consider them to be a legitimate political organization.

        3. Military superiority in and of itself does not violate international law. However, when illegal weaponry is used, when civilian populations are targeted, when hospitals and places of worship and aid agencies are explicitly targeted, when ambulances are prevented from reaching their patients, or when civilian noncombatants are sniped or shelled, international humanitarian laws are being violated. It is important to realize that Israel occupies the Gaza Strip. Despite the 2005 pullout, it maintains direct control over its air space and sea space, as well as three of its four borders. The fourth border, with Egypt, is maintained by Egyptian officials working under frameworks and agreements designed and implemented by Israel. International law dictates that an occupier must ensure the wellbeing and safety of the occupied population under its control. Obviously, then, Israel is in clear violation of international law.

        4. On the topic of military superiority, Israel is certainly capable of hitting targets with such precision that nothing around it would be affected. In fact, we have seen this many times before. Israeli assassinations of certain Palestinian political leaders by air strike have been so precise that individuals sitting in the same car as them or walking around them survived. The New York Times actually reported on this. Why, then, are we not seeing such military superiority in action? Why are we seeing indiscriminate air strikes and tank shellings that have destroyed entire neighborhoods? In a previous post, we featured video footage of a few minutes under fire in Gaza City’s Shuja’iyya neighborhood. There was nothing “targeted” or “precise” about it. The only superiority we are seeing is Israel’s superiority in affecting as many people as possible.

        5. The “Hamas is using human shields” argument is another one of the talking points being peddled by the Israeli government. Israel brought the fighting to Gaza. Israel invaded Gaza. Hamas, then, logically must operate in the area of the invasion. Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on earth. Israel has clearly factored this into its strategy, which is why the death toll is so high. To make matters worse, Israel’s blockade on Gaza means that Palestinians can’t leave. If they want to escape the fighting, they can only flee to another part of Gaza (and as we’ve seen so far, Israel routinely strikes places it suggests Palestinians flee to, such as the eight-story building or the parts of Gaza City it requested Palestinians to seek shelter in). At the end of the day, with the civilian death toll rising, this cannot be blamed on Hamas for Hamas isn’t the one causing the deaths or forcing Israel to pull the trigger. Again, Israel has the military advantage and can easily put to use the kinds of weapons that would limit civilian loss of life, but that hasn’t been the case.

      3. Tami

        Sami, Dana,

        You are regrettably uninformed. You should take greater efforts in researching this subject, in order to provide accurate data, as follows:

        Terror tunnels were found leading to several kibbutzim: Sufa, Nir Am, and Nativ Haasara.

        Moreover, terror tunnels were found to lead to the dining room of Kibbutz Kisufim, underneath a kindergarten in Kibbutz Zikim, and to the entrance of Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha.

        The building process of one tunnel requires ~350 truckloads of building supplies.

        This amount could be used to build 6 schools for the benefit of Gazan children.

        But perhaps it’s easier to control the uneducated.

        Please double-check your statements, to make factual-based claims.
        Thank you in advance.

  3. M Ariel Evans

    Liar, liar, pants on fire! Not only that, you are a promotor of terrorism by cosigning hamas claims. Your obvious use of language is aimed at the destruction of Israelis. I will pray for you and the poor people of Gaza who have psychos like you to thank for their death and destruction.

    1. ontogram

      Oh, yes, do pray for me. It is characteristic psychopathology for the perpetrator to blame the victim — Hamas is responsible for all the civilian deaths, as though Israeli munitions has nothing to do with it. Why don’t the newspapers just get it right. Instead of “Israelis bomb UN building killing 20” it should be — if we listen to schizos like you — “Hamas Uses Israeli bombs to kill 20 Palestinians!”

      There isn’t a prisoner in the world who is guilty. Everyone of them will tell you that the victim “made them do it” or that they “had no choice”, the characteristic excuses used by Israel again and again. This nation, its leadership, is psychopathic.

      Netanyahu can’t emphasize enough the difference between US and THEM. They are, alas, animals, while we are human beings who care about our children. What’s lost in this stupidity is that such distinctions are the very substrate of racism. Nazis said that the Jews were “animals” and that the Aryans were the real human beings. Zionist Israel is virtually no better. Yet, the press doesn’t seem to know that Yahoo is talking racism, straight out of Mein Kampf.

      So, yeah, pray for me and for the world that has been so inverted that vicious racist murderers like the IDF going around pretending to be victims. Pray away.

  4. milton

    Hi , I must refer to the points given:

    1. It’s easy to say what is convenient to your belief and reject any other point of view without even making sure if its true or wrong. It looks like your’e fixated with your ideas.

    2. I guess that it does not matter that various important and influential countries designate Hamas as a terrorist organization. Still it does matter that many countries see Hamas as a legitimate political organization. I guess that decisions of countries such as Iran , Saudi Arabia are “not biased “.
    I must say that your answer emphasizes quantity yet not quality plus . Sadly your emphasis should be vice versa.

    3. I agree that targeting places of worships, hospitals , schools must be condemned and yes humanitarian laws are being violated. As i have stated in any war there is no escape with dealing with such issues. I am quite sure that the army did violate such laws. That happens and its a shame . It is true that Israel controls the air space, sea space and etc… but you should ask yourself If Israel is the only culprit of this bleak reality? I’m sure that 14 years of rocket firing towards southern Israel and other “peaceful” activities accountable by that Hamas should highlight another candidate accountable for this on going conflict.

    4. Its quite simple “Why, then, are we not seeing such military superiority in action? Why are we seeing indiscriminate air strikes and tank shellings that have destroyed entire neighborhoods?”
    There is a factor of chance which should not be taken as granted when analyzing such military operations. That noise concludes in a more or less efficient result and that means more or less death of civilians than predicted.

    5. Dismissing the argument “Hamas is using human shields” with another argument that Israel tries to sell this “false” argument to the world is quite baffling. You should talk to the point. Why does the Hamas hide rocket launchers in Areas with high density of population? in their homes? in their hospitals and etc? You’re avoiding these questions because they pinpoint the fact that this is part of Hamas’s strategy: To sacrifice its own population for the “greater good” while the “freedom fighters” hide in bunkers and the leadership is having a blast at the luxury hotels.

    1. Sami Kishawi

      Not to drag this out any further, but:

      1. Saying that someone is “fixated” on their own ideas when those “ideas” are backed entirely by fact is a cop-out.

      2. Your statement, in which you went out of your way to point out two Muslim nations, seems to implicitly suggest that Islamic governments are of poor quality, which is an inherently Islamophobic point of view. I’ll ignore that comment. I’ll respond, instead, to the question of bias. Israel’s closest ties are with the United States and the European Union. The United States pays over $3.1 billion annually to Israel. Israel is the United States’ most important ally/asset in the region. Keep this bias in mind. At the end of the day, the United Nations, along with every government in the world, is important and influential. But if you want to point out specific countries, every continent and region (save for maybe Oceania) has an important and influential government that sees Hamas as a legitimate political group.

      3. Israel’s occupation of the Gaza Strip spans many decades and was in place well before Hamas even existed. Blaming Hamas for the occupation is fallacious.

      4. Blaming the rising death rate on “chance” is an egregious and disgusting attempt at whitewashing Israeli war crimes. “Chance” does not cause the deaths of at least 410 children.

      5. To suggest that Palestinians are in the business of sacrificing their own for the greater good is to suggest that Palestinian culture champions death, that it is a backward culture, that it is prolonging the occupation and worsening the invasion to somehow draw pity for the Palestinian people, and that it is ultimately responsible for the price it has had to pay under Israel’s brutal control. Once again, your responses tend to suggest that Palestinians (and those who sympathize with them) are morally or culturally or just generally inferior. As for Hamas ‘hiding’ weapons in civilian areas, Gaza is overpopulated. The entire place is densely populated. But for the sake of your argument, why then are we seeing such high civilian death rates? Do civilians deserve to die because they just so happen to live close to a military target? Do they deserve to die because Israel has sealed the borders shut and they have no place else to go? An Israeli official just boasted about the military’s ability to take total control over Gaza — i.e. internal administration — in ten days. As was said earlier, Israel also has the military capacity to accurately and precisely take out a target with little to no collateral damage. Keeping Israel’s military prowess in mind, how come it can’t destroy the weapons without causing a death toll nearing 2,000? Must an entire neighborhood go down to demolish the mouth of a tunnel no wider then two or three meters? Maybe these are too hypothetical. After all, you attribute the collateral damage to “chance”. But think about this scenario: if, for some reason, a Hamas tunnel with ‘hidden rockets’ were located underneath a synagogue or a community center or a home in an Israeli city, would Israel level the entire neighborhood to make sure the target was destroyed? Would “chance” happen and cause the deaths of tens, including many children? The answer is no. Attributing these inhumane consequences to Palestinian resistance is, yet again, fallacious.

      1. milton

        Hi sami,

        1. When you say that your “ideas” are backed entirely means for example that you know the exact layout of each tunnel and their main function . From that I can infer that either you have psychic powers or either your’e the chief engineer responsible for building the tunnels ( and therefore your ideas are quite biased ) . My assumption is that neither is true, so you should check again your resources on this subject.

        2. First of all thank you for teaching me new concepts. I sense a demagogic perfume. I pointed out the fact there is a major problem when you exclude the fact that major and influential countries designate the Hamas as terror organization.No doubt that each country might be influential and important but one should ask himself if their policy and values have significantly advanced along the years . I’m sure that for example Canada and lets say Iran have no essential differences in various “unimportant” parameters such as openness, equality and etc. Therefore there is no major difference in the way they treat their own population ( women for example ) or how they see other countries in the world ( only peaceful announcements for western world in general and to Israel in particular ).

        Love is in the air!

        Moreover convincing yourself that the main reason for that designation is Israel’s relationship with those countries cannot hold water.

        3. I am not favor of the fact that Israel control’s Gaza. Yet again its a shame that you keep blaming the other side while pretending that the Hamas are innocent . Take the beam from your eyes.

        4. Actually chance is responsible for a lot of things. Because of chance you accidently stumble and break a leg . Because of chance your’e late to your bus , enter into the next one and fly to the sky.

        Its a simple equation actually. One can obviously reduce this factor – chance (which only means that you cannot control everything) – but still reducing it to 0 % is impossible. Not only that, but you should consider two other factors “Hamas’s attempts to keep the population in areas designed for bombing” and “Israel’s attempts to dissuade the population from remaining in areas designed for bombing” . I’m sure that you could analytically infer another culprit and other factors responsible.

        5. Do you read my replies? Did I refer to the Palestinians ? Is every Palestinian a Hamas operative?
        Did I write that “Palestinians are in the business of sacrificing their own for the greater good ” ?. You should wear glasses or at least do an integrity check. Moreover how did you understand that I think “that Palestinians (and those who sympathize with them) are morally or culturally or just generally inferior”. I must have Dichotomous emotions at the same time to countries such as the United states and Germany . Therefore I might have a split personality or maybe I am just schizophrenic.

        As for your questions ( which I don’t avoid ) . No civilian deserves to die . About “how come it can’t destroy the weapons without causing a death toll nearing 2,000”? and the following questions see section’s 1 and 4 .

      2. ontogram

        Interesting, Miltie, the elevated tone, the patient picayune patter, ever reasonable, yet utterly wrong!
        Indeed, the wrongness is in the tone and patience, the reduction to a “simple equation.” This all betrays your emotional DISTANCE for the subject matter, elevated and above, godlike in pronouncements. So, you are not a human at all and that’s the rub. The energy given to this elevated refutation alone is telling, isn’t it?

        But, let’s take this hasbara one step at a time.

        1. It does not follow that Sami’s “ideas” are biased merely by virtue of being the tunnel’s chief engineer. He could have deliberately built a faulty tunnel.

        2. There are no “major and influential” countries: There is only the US and one is either a client or an outcast. These independent countries measure out there propaganda such as to not irritate Washington too much. You know all this. The determination by the US State Dept about Hamas is an absurdity and was done at the behest of Israel which can’t have another well-managed enemy on its borders. This is the point that mass media were told to get with the “terrorist” terminology. As the US classification was done at the behest of Israel therefore those “major and influential” countries were given clear marching orders in that regard. Canada has only recently become a US client state to which I say, “Welcome aboard!” Sami’s conclusion not only “holds water” it matches the thinking of real analysts everywhere they poke their heads up. We all know that Israel is protected by the US and therefore by the client states including the “fuck the” EU.

        3. Talk about “blame” do you? Israel is managing a perverse script in which Hamas is responsible for killing their own, in effect directing Israeli artillery onto UN buildings which Hamas knows are filled with innocents. In this strange bit of pathology, Hamas has a logical communication line to Israel and directs the killing of innocents day by day. The only truth to this psychopathological explanation is that, were Hamas to crumble, the bombs might let up. IN sum — blame lies directly on Israel and, and this is touching, even the American common man can and has figured this out. Even he knows that the bomb falling on the UN buildings are Israeli and that nobody has forced Israel to slaughter civilians. It is their free decision.

        4. Palestinians have nowhere to go and Hamas is motivated to concentrate civilians any more than Israel is. The mere suggestion that they are is fundamental racism as it distinguishes between US and THEM categorically. The suggestion is as repugnant to civilized folks as the suggestion, which you probably also endorse, that blacks are shiftless and irresponsible. You are transparent. Israel’s slaughter is impacted by chance yet reveals a golden mean of vicious intent to kill Palestinians, to eliminate them once and for all so that Israel can live in peace on Palestinian land. This genocide was there all along, hiding behind the Balfour text, the subtext of Oslo, the settlements….all point to the extermination of Palestinians or, at least, a great many so that there is no Palestinian majority in the region to threaten the Jewish State, now foisted on the world and in possession of other people’s land. Indeed, foisted on the Jewish people who now must bear responsibility for the criminals who have escaped justice, at least for now. The death toll of civilians does not reflect Hamas — it reflects Israel’s extermination program.

      3. Anon

        I have yet to see evidence from human rights organizations that Hamas does in fact use human shields. However, there is documented evidence that Israel has used Palestinian human shields: http://imeu.org/article/the-neighbor-procedure-israels-use-of-palestinian-human-shields. Furthermore, it’s interesting that Israel continuously condemns Hamas for supposedly hiding weapons in civilian areas when the Stern Gang was found to have hid weapons in synagogues in 1948. They also stored weapons in TelHai elementary schools.

      4. Tobias hochstein

        I live in israel. I am the father of four beautiful, imaginative, intelligent children. My oldest son ( now twenty and in the middle of his mandatory army service) grew up during the period in which Hamas and Islamic jihad suicide bombers exploded themselves on the city streets of Israel spraying metal ball bearings, nails, and screws all around to anyone that might be by chance standing next to them. In busses, cafés, schools, public squares, etc.
        Now my youngest children (12, 6, and 3) have been running for cover from Hamas ground to ground missiles and mortars.

        Please Sami in simple terms without going into the redundant political rhetoric that is very popular these days, explain to me or to them, how to proceed. We want peace. We don’t want to occupy Gaza or the West Bank. We want to live our lives, contribute to science, the arts, and enjoy life. How do you suggest they do that with the missiles being fired at them? We don’t live in the territories. We are learning at home Arabic in hope of bridging the cultural gap. We don’t consume hate speech, war pornography, or religious fanaticism. What do you suggest we do. I’m not being sarcastic or cynical. I’m asking you honestly.

        I’d like to add that I and all of my family and friends are repulsed by violence in any way or form and right now at the point that the world seems to be in, are becoming more and more pessimistic about mans ability to stop the ever growing wave of killing in our region in the name of religion.

        We as Israelis are bent on creating somehow a peace. Whatever “the other side” might find as an incentive…be it financial, strategic, or idealistic. Please let me know any thoughts you might have. Thankyou,
        Tobias hochstein

      5. ontogram

        This is easy: Negotiate in good faith. Create (help create) a Palestinian state. Recognize the injustice done to these people, pay some reparations. Stop the “Jewish exclusive” thing as it is unworkable now, if it ever was.

        What the Jewish people have done to another people over the last century and particularly since 1948 will live in infamy with other gross injustices including the murder of Jews in Europe and Chinese and others in WWII. Racism, no matter where it rears up, always ends in murder. I have no idea how the Jewish people will ever survive these crimes as the crimes will never be forgotten, just like Germans are still answering for a mere 12 years of Nazi rule. Here it is decade after decade of devastation of a people, their homes, businesses, property, culture, even their bank accounts. Palestine had an emerging sophisticated and modern Levantine culture by 1948 and it was all wiped out entirely for a Jewish State that few American Jews are ever ever going to immigrate to.

      6. ontogram

        How many children has Israel lost to rocket attacks, huh? I thought Iron Dome made these pretty much innocuous, didn’t it? That’s what the IDF is saying. So how many?

        In 2008-9, Israel murdered 350 children. Get it? 350. Nobody is going to overlook this, nobody will forget. Not just Palestinians, but people all over the world will remember and Zionists will be hunted like Nazis. Nobody. People will shun Israel, Israeli goods, arts, whatever. Governments will reduce recognition. BDS will send your prices skyrocketing and your economy into the ozone. So much for “high tech.” Almost 30,000 ex pat Israelis choose to live in Berlin. What do you think will happen when things actually get tough in Israel? All those dual citizens will fly away living only the poor (of which Israel has plenty) to take the hit.

  5. park jam

    I’m baffled at this tribute to the tunnel system as if it helps Palestinians rather than drains their resources (economic, humanitarian, etc.) which are detoured into this project, so the elites can get their hot rods, and KFC. This type of classism hurts Palestinians.

    It’s also not truthful to suggest these tunnels are not militarized, or haven’t been used in actions against Israel which would constitute war crimes. We also know that 160 Palestinian children died as labor of these tunnels which you celebrate. Using these tunnels to take Israeli soldiers as hostage (You’ll say prisoner of war, but Hamas have yet to follow that protocol either, and sending a suicide bomber to do is nothing to champion) only baits more war. It’s also the reason Hamas have refused humanitarian aid deliveries which included food, and medicines, and demanded more cement.

    So I truly question the spin put on this.
    Surely you can oppose Israel’s occupation and support the Palestinian cause without losing an eye on right and wrong. Just as Palestinians shouldn’t have to live under bombs, they also shouldn’t have to live *over* them either, or on top of a black market underground city.

    1. Oha

      So what you just did was use a story from the Israeli military that was later discredited. Then you questioned the spin. Then to top it off you finished with a generic Palestinians-deserve-to-live line. Israel’s occupation to the rescue, amiright?

    2. ontogram

      Sure tunnels are militarized. Why shouldn’t they be? Pals have every right to resist the confiscation of their property, land and rights. Israel invests enormous sums ($3.2 billion of it a gift from US taxpayers) in weaponry. Why shouldn’t Pals have lots of tunnels? And your allusions to the Gaza economy and class hijinks are disingenuous as well: The economy is a creature of the blockade and nothing else. That anything at all can be diverted to defense and to reminding Israel of its crimes is itself a sort of miracle. Virtually anything Palestinians can do to push back on the giant military machine devastating them is acceptable, and nobody need waste time splitting hairs with you.

      1. ontogram

        This is a calumny: Gaza is blockaded and controlled by Israel. Nothing is built there that Israel doesn’t ok. It is logical that any funds to Gaza should be used to break the economic blockade so that Gaza can thrive. Israel does not want Gaza to thrive and does everything possible to keep it down and out including metering out calories to that population, (just like the Nazis did to the Warsaw Ghetto, btw!) Israel receives officially $8.5 million of US taxpayer money everyday, a subsidy to every single Israeli of over $500 a year, or $2000 a year to a family of four. And that is just official foreign “aid.” (and Israel is an advanced country with a high standard of living!) Israel gets hundreds of other benefits from the US because, frankly, its fifth column controls much of the congress.

    3. ontogram

      In addition, nobody needs advice from you on what “hurts Palestinians.” Guns, artillery, tanks, F-16’s and bulldozers HURT Palestinians and everyone knows it. Under the circumstances of complete dominance by a usurper backed by the world power, Pals are doing just fine.

      1. Anon

        No, you know what hurts Palestinians the most? The blockade they’ve suffered under for eight years. The blockade is against international law. You ignore the fact that Palestinians in Gaza wouldn’t need tunnels at all if they weren’t constantly and collectively punished and subjected to a dehumanizing, illegal, and inhumane blockade.

        Btw, most of the aid given to Gaza is used up to provide basic human necessities that are restricted because of the blockade. How do you expect a society to flourish and build schools and institutions when they’re in a large, open-air prison and infrastructure is attacked every once in a while to destroy up what they did build?

        As highlighted in this article, these tunnels are used for to deliver all kinds of basic necessities for people. Additionally, the KFC thing isn’t ‘classism’ that’s hurting Palestinians. It is a way for Gazans who have been isolated from the outside world to taste something they can’t have from inside.

        Okay, even if weapons are smuggled through the tunnels, why would people in Gaza need weapons? Maybe because they are surrounded and controlled by the third strongest army in the world that has a history of attacking and massacring Gazans? Bringing in international law again, they *are* allowed to have weapons and they are allowed to defend themselves and resist.

        Israel can’t put an entire population into a prison and deprive them of basic human needs and then bomb the living ish out of the region because of the tunnels people built to try to live a somewhat relatively normal life given the extraordinarily awful circumstances they were forced to be put under.

        Your whole framing of the issue is skewed. It ignores the root causes of everything. Not only that, using the tunnels as a framework for the invasion of Gaza wasn’t the original framework anyway. Keep in mind that the reasoning for the attacks has changed several times. First it was the kidnappings/deaths of the three Israeli teens, then it was the rockets, then it was the tunnels..etc. The victim-blaming will keep coming in my forms, but the root cause of everything still stands. And the disparity in the death toll still stands. These speak louder than anything.

  6. Setareh

    Can you please explain how all these rockets that are targeting Israeli civilins found their ways in Gaza? did they just fall from the sky? and what do you have to say about this if you claim that Palestinian “fighters” are not targeting civilians?
    By the way, those “fighters” are Hamas terrorists. and if they have some sympathy for people of Gaza, would let them use the tunnels as a shelter and not advise them to go and stand on the roof during air strikes.
    FYI, 160 Palestinian kids were killed in the process of making these tunnels

    I challenge you to respond to this, if you have something logical to say.

    1. ontogram

      Rockets no doubt come from Iran just like Israel’s weaponry arrives compliments of the US taxpayer. What’s your point? And tunnels are a legitimate weapon of war for the purpose of capturing enemy combatants. What’s wrong with that? Israel’s siege of Gaza is itself an act of war and any resistance to it, any, is justified. Even if rockets “target” civilians they don’t seem to get any. On the other hand, Israel which, let’s suppose, do not “target” civilians seems to be very efficient in this regard. So, “targeting” is meaningless compared to actual outcomes. BTW — If you say Hamas targets civilians but Israel does not — this is not a statement of fact but a bigoted racist statement claiming that Israelis are “better than” Hamas. Certainly, Jews think so, but then again Judaism is supremacist by definition. Still, it is a thinly-veiled racist remark.

  7. Zeev Suraski

    Since you complain about missing context, here’s some:

    A video depicting honest young Palestinians hurrying to work (published by Hamas):

    A video depicting some young innocent Palestinians enjoying a picnic out in the woods:

    Another group of innocent youngsters on a separate picnic:

    Through these tunnels, hundreds of terrorists can infiltrate Israel within a matter of an hour or two, take over entire Kibutz’s, kidnapping and slaughtering. Only reason it didn’t happen is that miraculously they lost the element of surprise.

    Perhaps next time you complain about missing context, you should do your homework first.

    1. ontogram

      “could” huh? That’s Israeli think for you! Yep, and the sky could fall! Israel is a guilt-ridden racist supremacist culture which is universally loathed. Israel could have made peace a million times over but that would have cost some part of Palestine and the Jews weren’t going to have that so they elude “negotiations” time and again, usually by instigating an assault on the negotiating partner, like this time.

      Poor Israel, caught with its hand in the cookie jar! We understand you and we (not Hamas) will take down the exclusivist State. We are everyone. There is no future for an exclusive Jewish state in the ME, no matter how “tough” “strong” whatever. There’s no future because the world’s Jews will not, despite their support, move to Israel; They are hypocrites and support Zionism FOR THE NEXT GUY, not themselves. That’s the rub — that’s is what will kill Zionism. In the meantime, Israel will invent favored peoples and immigrants, call them “Jews”, whatever, anything to give the appearance of success when in fact, settlements and all, American Jews will not aliyah in any meaningful numbers. End of case. In this sense, Israel is a very high-stakes sham, a “put on.” It is, to be blunt, so Yesterday.

  8. common sensor

    All claims to the effect that Gaza should enjoy the benefits of open borders, friendly cooperation from neighbourly countries, full access to the niceties of trade including rights to receive food, medecines and other necessities and be left alone from attacks, bombings and hostile actions are eminently reasonnable. Save for a small detail: Hamas, the people in charge, are terrorists monsters.

    1. ontogram

      Nope! Israel is the terrorist monster, appropriating land and rights, killing people by the bushel in order to get that land, stealing even personal property. They are racist terrorists who make Hamas look like innocent cub scouts. There are no criminals anywhere that compare to the IDF and its racist agenda.

  9. Tami

    Sami, how perceptive, I did quote the IDF ‘cartoon’, about the cement amounts (not the info about kindergartens and dining rooms, though). Do you have information indicating otherwise?….

  10. Ɓάsħtẵnδl™ (@MBashta)

    “Israeli and Egyptian governments agreed to handle the threatening illusion of freedom with force” .. This is bullshit my friend and if anyone has been doing any real help to the people of Gaza other than posting their feelings on Facebook and twitter its been the Egyptian government. The reason the tunnels were taken down on the Egyptian side (without any coordination with israel) is that they were a direct breach of our national security. We had death squads smuggled in that took out 26 high security prisons. Hamas is a terrorist organization as far as the Egyptians are concerned & we won’t allow having uncontrolled access points into Sinai where we are actively at war, that doesn’t mean we allow the slaughter of Gaza as Gazans are not Hamas. Egypt has supported, fought and will continue the fight for the Palestinian cause, not only for Palestine but for the simple fact the Palestine is our strategic depth.

    1. ontogram

      Bullshit, my friend. Egypt has been paid off to stay low key in the Palestinian struggle under Mubarak and these US payoffs now are continued (despite the military coup) to the current military dictatorship — very Mubarak-like. Hamas is not terrorist. That’s US/Israeli propaganda and savvy Americans know this. Egypt should be aiding Palestinians big time, full out because the enemy, the Zionist state, is so unacceptable to the Arab street, but nothing much is done. Instead, Egypt cooperates with the IDF! Shameful cooperation with the force that has mutilated Palestinian Arabs for decades.

  11. milton

    Tontogram, I feel a little hostility in your aforementioned reply/ies . By the way thank’s for your “compliments” for my explanations. Anyway regarding the overture of your Cacophony, if you Suffer from an inferiority complex that’s not my problem.

    1. if that’s so then the chief is either not consistent with basic terms of logic and that seems inappropriate( What about the money?, Proper Treatment should be given ) or maybe he is so sophisticated and its all part of the BIG plan which includes death of poor civilians .

    2. It’s ok to believe in conspiracies. I think that according to your answer there is at least one major and influential country. About the partiton: Us, clients,outcasts : Impressive the way you divide the countries. Still Us, outcasts and clients (Countries) have different features that sum up to what you call a country. I hope that you accept that each country is unique. Each country is influential and major relatively of course. Now instead of using the same false rhetorical phrases, read it again and respond accordingly.

    3. Again instead of pouring the same goo, try thinking a little bit about the bitter truth and the other side of the coin.

    4. Very insightful your suggestion that Israelis are racist. Isn’t it easy when you blame others without even knowing them and without even pondering on simple facts (For example , How many Arabs live in Israel? How many Jews live in Gaza?) .What else? You said that Israel’s goal ” to kill Palestinians, to eliminate them once and for all so that Israel can live in peace on Palestinian land” You also said that we have an “extermination program”. It sounds quite silly. So why do we drag this conflict on and on ? Isn’t it easier to just finish it all at once or in minimum years? How can it be that approximately 20% of Israel’s population are Arabs? How can it be that approximately 1.4 million Palestinians live in Israel?

    Now about racism you said : ” There is no future for an exclusive Jewish state in the ME, no matter how “tough” “strong” whatever ” .

    I think that according your “inspiring” quotes you suffer from that flaw.

    1. ontogram

      MIltie, Miltie, Miltie — you know very well how it comes to pass that 20-25% of Israeli “citizens” are Palestinian. Do we need go over this tidbit of history? Better, let’s enumerate the Israeli laws that discriminate against them and, umm…, that is 54! Zionist Israel is, and strives to remain, a racist state favoring a single “ethnic” group (though they come from all over the world, have varying customs and spoke different languages!) To be a Palestinian in Israel is to be a black in JIm Crow south of the US. It may be better than being a black in Ghana (though I think not) but it is still heavily oppressed as a group.

      Israel has only three choices. (1) A single Apartheid state that will be the recipient of boycotts worldwide, (2) a single state with equality and protected human rights for all or (3) genocide, the murder of enough Palestinians that they pose no demographic threat in the future, say keep their pop at 20%. Israel has elected (3) already. The fly in the ointment, the unknown unknown, is how the Jewish world will respond. If Jews flee Israel, or fail to make aliyah, genocide not be worthwhile. As Jews have no true ethical center, only laws and commandments, this is truly unknown.

      Lastly, the only evidence that other countries have character and positions all on their own are the GA resolutions censoring Israel repeatedly. IN this case, the harmless votes are inevitably like 167 for and 3 against…Israel, US and Marshall Islands. The entire world is actually opposed to Zionist Israel and yet, and yet…Israel remains, grows stronger, continues unfazed. The only explanation is that either the entire world is lying in the GA OR they are compelled to DO NOTHING by the US alignment. What seems reasonable to you?

  12. milton

    Tontogram , Tontogram, Tontogram ,There are laws with seemingly discriminatory content. Nothing is perfect in the world. By the way, these Laws constitute 7% of all laws legislated ( probably in times of right-wing governments ). So I can say that I’m not sure that the Palestinian issue is in top priority most of the time ( I think that it should be ). Yet again there are Palestinian’s who do well here, There are members of the Knesset which represent also the Palestinian’s side and etc. I don’t see this level of democracy in other Arab countries including Gaza strip. So I can say that although democracy here is not perfect , Its closer to perfection comparing to the other Arab countries and Gaza strip.

    As in previous replies you try to paint Israel in all such dark colors while dividing this complex situation into 3 states leading to a conclusion which will not shame any spy movie with a pinch of conspiracy theory to spice it up. In this way you try to justify immoral actions made by Hamas by blaming others without success.

    About the GA , It’s really hard not to be shocked when you see all the disasters in Gaza . It’s really hard to avoid parental emotions when you see dead children. Hence their actions are biased from the beginning and its understandable.

    The propaganda made by Hamas is much more effective but that does not mean it’s entirely true. Take for example recent news that tell about Hamas’s terror tactics against foreign journalists. Surely they supervise the journalists statements, films and more.

    Therefore only part of the story is told and that clouds the members judgement and decisions.

    1. ontogram

      The demographic problem tops the Zionist agenda and you know it. How ever will they assure not only a Jewish majority in Israel (Greater)? They have to keep the Palestinian population to 20-30% when it is a little more than half right now and growing faster than the Jewish population.

      So, you tell me: What are the options? Sterilization, murder, “transfer,” …or a 2 state solution (which they will regret neglecting now.)

      No. Nothing’s perfect and the pics of Gaza do create sympathy. But that doesn’t excuse discrimination in Israel, first of all. Second, it is not the pics that make the world loath Israel. It is the patent injustice of foisting a Jewish only state onto land occupied for centuries by others. That little bit of colonial hubris (the white man’s burden) is quite enough for the world to diss Zionist Israel.

      And when exactly did Jews become “white” anyway? One hundred years ago, they were “oriental” in the sense of “eastern.” When did they get elevated to “white?”

      1. milton

        Whats the connection between the operation and the Palestinian population in Israel, its growth and etc?

        It look’s like your mixing different topics unsuccessfully.

        A simple picture causes bias in the first place because one does not use all senses to analyze the situation. One mainly uses his sight.Also people take into account details from the past. So their thoughts are biased from the beginning even before they see the pics.

        Also You probably know the saying a picture is worth a thousand words, which indicates that a pic conveys a complex idea but that does not mean that the words express the whole truth and therefore the idea portrayed might be false or overestimated.

        A pic can also convey different ideas to different people so that does not mean that there is one whole truth.

        I agree that many people in the world disapprove with Israel’s actions not just because of the pictures but also because of the past. Yet I think that people tend to forget and the pictures are an effective tool to refuel their “tank of ideas”.

        About your talks of “elevation to white” and that this state was occupied by others. Well such ideas will not get you anywhere.Also You tend to make a generalization of the population and its inappropriate.

        Many countries were established after terrible wars and conflicts and the foundations were built under land occupied by others. So in each country one should search for its rightful occupiers and they should demand their lands back and use force if necessary. Your arguments should be pointed not only against Israel but as you can see this will bring chaos to the world and it will not be worthwhile.

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