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Sarkozy pilots Middle East cease-fire talks, fills US power vacuum

Israel’s land invasion continues with the Jewish state showing little sign it is ready to negotiate a truce.  While Hamas has indicated it is prepared to begin negotiations, Israel does not intend to sit at the table with Hamas in any future negotiations, reports Haaretz:
Israel will instead seek separate agreements with moderate Arab states, with the Palestinian Authority and with the international community.

"The international community will initiate the agreements and will impose it on Hamas," [a Haaretz] source said. "The agreements will be with both the PA and Egypt and then if Hamas will not agree it will pay the price, mostly by even greater [diplomatic] isolation."
Despite disallowing signals from Israel about the prospects of their short-term success, the ever-ambitious Sarkozy is taking advantage of the US power vacuum to assume diplomatic leadership in the talks, hoping to capitalize on France’s controversially reinvigorated ties with Syria, Time reports:   
As Israel's offensive on Gaza continues, Sarkozy announced on Thursday that he will visit both Israel and the Palestinian capital of Ramallah on Jan. 5 in an effort to broker a halt to the violence. So far, there are few indications that Sarkozy's signature take-charge moves will produce a quick result. But Sarkozy will be hoping that his controversial resumption of relations with Syria last year will translate into diplomatic leverage that can deliver Hamas cooperation in a new cease-fire.

Given the absence of the U.S.'s traditional lead role in the region until President-elect Barack Obama takes office, Sarkozy finds himself with a rare opportunity to wade into a Middle East crisis as the main diplomatic player.

Sarkozy's recent rapprochement with Syria, the regional player with the most influence over Hamas, means that the French President may have more diplomatic leverage than many of his Western counterparts.
Where in the world is the United States?  With a power-vacuum this big, Obama’s favorite transition sound-bite, “there is only one president at a time” should be changed to the clumsier but judicious, “there should only be one president at a time, but now we have none, so maybe somebody should do something about that.”  Then again, maybe Obama and Bush are secretly happy the problem can be pushed off for another few weeks before the US has to get serious about it - continue the New Years celebrations!

Whether Sarkozy’s prominence on the international scene endures once Obama takes office is another question. Yves Thréard at Le Figaro speculates not so much (translated partly by Time, partly by me):
Nicolas Sarkozy uses his energy and good faith to change the world — and that has had its chance as an alternative to the universally rejected Bush doctrine. But Obama taking command will alter that equation, and risks crowding [Sarkozy] out.

In the Middle East, the United States remains the masters of the game. 
Sarkozy’s fall in international stature is inevitable even without Obama taking office, now that his six month turn at the helm of the EU was transferred to the Czech Republic on January 1.  The Czech leadership and others in Europe are not comfortable with Sarkozy constantly overshadowing and crowding them out, and want the world to remember that the EU is 27 countries strong, not 26 countries following Sarkozy’s trail of baguette crumbs.

How was Sarkozy’s performance as EU President?  Controversial.  While many in Europe praise him for strong leadership and raising the EU’s profile during his six-month tenure, the Washington Post produced a scathing editorial, particularly criticizing Sarkozy’s specious (read: lily-livered) approach to Russia:
Most troubling, Mr. Sarkozy repeatedly showed weakness in handling Russia. After Moscow launched an invasion of Georgia in August, the E.U. president rushed to Moscow, filling a vacuum left by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. But the loophole-ridden cease-fire he negotiated allowed Russian troops to remain in Georgian territory, where they have established a Cold War-style frontier. Mr. Sarkozy led the European Union in resolving that negotiations with Russia would be suspended until its forces withdrew to their prewar positions. But just weeks later he pushed for the contacts to be resumed even though that condition had not been met. He pandered to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at a later meeting, declaring (in contravention of France's official position) that U.S. missile defense would "bring nothing to European security" and endorsing a Russian plan for a summit on European security.
And in a slightly surprising bit of news, outgoing NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer believes there could be support among NATO members to deploy a NATO force to the Middle East should a major peace deal one day be actualized.  Because NATO has so many extra expeditionary forces lying around.

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Pamela on :

Sarkozy? Isn't he the guy who had such great success smoothing things over in that little unfortunate dust-up between Russia and Georgia? U.S. Power Vacuum. Oh. Right. The U.S. Gov't is standing by Israel. Big vacuum there. BTW. Isn't Tony Blair some big muckety-muck for brokering an Israeli/Palestinian peace? So where the hell is he?

Pamela on :

More happy pretty butterflies and kumbiya from Haaretz re: Sarkozy: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1052589.html ---------- French President Nicolas Sarkozy told President Shimon Peres on Monday that the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip does not strengthen the hand of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and that all parties ought to agree to a temporary lull in the fighting so as to allow humanitarian supplies to reach the population in Gaza. [ ] (if anyone needs me to post on the humanitarian aid Israel is allowing into Gaza, not to mention supplying it itself, just let me know) [ ] "How France, which formally handed over the EU presidency at midnight on Dec. 31, plans to help broker a cease-fire remains unclear," (unclear? ya think?) [ ] ""No other leader has really put forward any initiatives," French Budget Minister Eric Woerth told Europe 1 radio on Sunday, a day before Sarkozy's trip. "I think he is the only one capable of taking an initiative like this," he said." (I also think Sarkozy is the only one capable of taking an initiative like this - but for different reasons.) [ ] After handling crises from Georgia to the near-meltdown of the bank system, Sarkozy ended his tenure in the EU presidency with a global profile not enjoyed by any European leader since the early days of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. (Oh, yeah, there's that pesky Tony Blair thing again - who has apparently gone AWOL - Georgia and Russia are trying to decide where all the EU 'peace monitors'just absconded to and the ECB is trying to figure out what the hell is going to happen to the euro) [ ] "But conscious that his hyperactive style and refusal to stand by while events unfold has often been criticized as putting show over substance, he has been uncharacteristically quiet about the crisis in recent days. "The less we talk about it, the better it is," he told a small group of French journalists last week. "It's very complicated." ----------- May the Good Lord bless and keep the French. Their talent for making the rest of us bust a gut in hilarity is without parallel.

Marie Claude on :

I'm waiting for laughing when the Americans will finally take a position with Obama, um no noise from there up to now, uh, good ol Georgy is already taking the temperature of his wheels tires to get until his Texas ranch... ya know, alea jacta est with the ME !!! oola, oola !!! may-be Armageddon is on the way, that's why the Americans are looking for their own eden

Joe Noory on :

It's clear that Hamas is getting very little support for this thing from Egypt, Jordan, or the PA though they must express outrage, and it isn't accompanied by widespread luvie-condemnation by the caring nannie-states of the world for one simple reason: as long as Hamas still exists, there is absolutely no way to even have symbolic treaty negotiation or even talks. What IS important for the "caring" states at this stage is that they appear to their own populations to have attempted to engineer a peace. With Hamas still in place unchecked, they can't even appear to bring home even the illusion of the kumbaya scenario that they think will vindicate their world view and let them be recognized as a force in global affairs. In other words, they couldn't suddenly resort to proposing a THREE state solution, OR the magical evaporation of Israel. The "agents of peace" are hemmed in. Their only other option is a time-killing measure - to appear to be appeasing the angriest people in the streets, and do nothing. The problem is that even without Hamas having that much influence it's a push. Just think of "Camp David II" that Clinton tried to rush through for his own legacy - it was a failure and introduced a new level of "we say this but we do that" etiquette which just adds to the media set and it's watchers lie-ing to themselves. Sarko's "cease fire" in Georgia was at first entirely ignored by the Russians, and then offered him an opportunity to not challenge the Russians when they kept their entire position. He presented it as a success. It wasn't. If Sarko goies in and tries to secure a cease-fire the way same way, it will reveal the powerlessness of the EU. The only illusion of success available to the Elysee is to call the parties' point of exhaustion a cease-fire, but THEY PARTIES won't buy that, and leverage with them will be lost. If Sarko and Kouchner DO somehow bring a cease-fire all it will do is leave Hamas with enough strength to fight again in 6 months rather than 2 years as they did the last time. The thing for the European team on this to do, is to try to be called away on something that looks like a bigger crisis. If they're lucky there will be floods or some sort of distraxting disaster somewhere, but frankly there is nothing for them to do there.

Marie Claude on :

"Sarko's "cease fire" in Georgia was at first entirely ignored by the Russians, and then offered him an opportunity to not challenge the Russians when they kept their entire position. He presented it as a success. It wasn't". not really, Putin admitted that without Sarko, he would have hanged saakatswilly's (um, sound good, no ?) balls, even not good enough for a BBQ !!! "If Sarko goies in and tries to secure a cease-fire the way same way, it will reveal the powerlessness of the EU. The only illusion of success available to the Elysee is to call the parties' point of exhaustion a cease-fire, but THEY PARTIES won't buy that, and leverage with them will be lost." he isn't doing the kind (of your declamation anti-France by whatever your means anyway), he is trying to deblocate a situation, that calls for all human rights bells, anything to do with the lefties parties ????, he is more "generous" than you may imagine !!!! "If Sarko and Kouchner DO somehow bring a cease-fire all it will do is leave Hamas with enough strength to fight again in 6 months rather than 2 years as they did the last time." Sarko will try the syrian office, the last stair step up to IRAN, that holds the strings, for a puppet in America that must one day or another finally come to a negociation seat with the masters of the ME, the mullahs !!! "The thing for the European team on this to do, is to try to be called away on something that looks like a bigger crisis. If they're lucky there will be floods or some sort of distraxting disaster somewhere, but frankly there is nothing for them to do there" um, your right, the europeans are loosing speed behing a veloced Sarko :lol: thanks for putting up your frustration, again, against the Frenchs, um the actual Lebanon crisis isn't of their fault actually, but IRAN's too !!!!

John in Michigan, USA on :

"Putin admitted that without Sarko, he would have hanged saakatswilly's (um, sound good, no ?) balls" The exact wording of Putin's statement would be helpful. If it is as you say (did he really say balls?), it shows that Putin's true goal was not just to "liberate" the Ossetians but to invade a sovereign country and remove its leadership, and possibly occupy that country. Do you have a link perchance?

Marie Claude on :

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24649823-2703,00.html

John in Michigan, USA on :

Great link Marie-Claude. Putin really did say balls. Damn. If this account is true, and I think it is, it confirms that Putin really does still control Russia, and really did want to invade a sovereign country and remove its leadership. Sarko deserves credit for preventing this, and for exposing Russia's true face. Comparisons are made to Bush, but even Bush (and Clinton before him) spend 12 years exhausting diplomacy, and sponsored an open debate in the UN, regarding Iraq. Putin never agreed to let the UN anywhere near his precious little peace-keeping force. The silence from the international community on this point speaks volumes, and contributed to the Iraqi decision, supported by the US, to try Saddam in their own justice system, instead of in some international court. As an aside, do we really believe that an actual Georgian court, even one under a Russian occupation, would have agreed to hang Saakashvili??? He has no where near as many enemies as Saddam. Finally, Bush will step down in a few days, and Obama is hardly a figurehead. Going forward, there is a danger. If Russia wanted to re-occupy Estonia, for example, it could convince the next representative of the EU that it really wants to occupy all three Baltic states. The EU would then proceed to negotiate, and claim victory because they held the Russians back and only gave them Estonia. In this example, Estonia = Ossetia. That is the problem with always preferring negotiations -- once negotiations become the normal, expected outcome, it is easy to corrupt the negotiations by making unreasonable demands. Fortunately, I don't think the French or the Czechs as head of the EU would fall for this ploy from the Russians today, but in the future, who knows?

Marie Claude on :

I think that Saashavily got the melon, he thought that Georgy would back him on the Ossetian trip, cause, naturally, he first launched the attack, may-be that there were provocations on the other side, anyway, even Rice told him to calm down... the comparison with Bush was only for the low score in the polls, that Putin would got among Russians as a final result. As far as Saakashvili, I think he would have fled away before Putin army would have reached Tbilisi, probably towards the US The UN are like the EU, a paralysed administration that doesn't want to take any responsability I don't think Putin wants to invade any new country, he has no more "money" enough for the kind of enterprise, but he is still efficient in harming any european country with his gaz and or oil supplies as he is making at the moment ; fortunately we don't suffer from this "new crisis", only 15% of our gaz come from Russia, and we still have 80 days of reserve, also Sahara sources, what about our Madame "NO" ? well, I don't like the administration style of negociation, where none wants to advance an argument, may-be that the kind of people fears reactions, or that they want to manage an hypocrit way of winning behind the curtains ; that's why I like the direct style of Sarkozy. And people shouldn't be fooled by his supposed "showing off" manners, he is "acting", and as a player, he'll find the way to finally win the part Finally, Bush will step down in a few days, and Obama is hardly a figurehead.

Joe Noory on :

Nonsense: Putin's late verbal flourish to the press was meaningless as it came well after the fact, and was intended for his domestic supporters. If you look at the 4 points that came out of the French/Egyptian meeting today, there is nearly nothing in there that the Israelis would possibly want. Just like with Georgia, giving the entire position away is not a negotiation that requires statecraft. Try to think how long these conflicts between Israel and Hamas or Israel and Hizballah have lasted - 1-2 weeks, wherein the outside interevention didn't have an effect on it ending temporarily. The Syrians have been trying to look like a ligitimate state, but have very little influence on Hamas. On the other hand, Egypt DOES have a closed border through which to provide the sustenance that Hamas' aggression has withheld from the population in Gaza. Let's get this in perspective: the border with Israel was shut down for 4 days what the food, fuel, and medical supply levels were declared a disaster. Just like 2006, Hamas somehow had enough fuel to power the TV transmitters but not the hospitals.... The whole thing looks engineered to put misery on film, and the Gazans are paying for Hamas' hubris. That alone is a reason to not try to stop it from running a few more days until Hamas takes more damage in order to prevent them from trying this tio the same degree again and again and again. oh, and David - I know that you're so wrapped up in your partisanship that all you can think to say is that if Rice isn't on your TV 24/7 that the US doesn't take a position on this... THEREfore you get to fill in the blanks. This whole "there can only be one president at a time" routine is to cover for the fact that Obama's advisors either agrees with the White House's position, can't figure out what position to take, or don't want to appear to be involved in this round of middle-east kabuki theater.

Marie Claude on :

COULE, http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gJledWNoIBc43rLj-CsczJss5dXwD95I3BD00 he, your still searching louses in french hair LMAO

John in Michigan, USA on :

Sarko's moves and Bush's silence are newsworthy of course, but Kyle you begin with a statement that begs to be examined more closely. "While Hamas has indicated it is prepared to begin negotiations..." This current conflict started mostly because Hamas unilaterally declared that it would not renew the cease-fire that was in place and (more or less) honored by both sides. And now they want a cease-fire? Such a request is absurd on its face. Can you really be so ignorant as to be unaware of this? I would prefer to learn you made this statement out of ignorance, since the alternative is that you are willingly perpetuating the sort of vile bias that helps keep this conflict going. Sadly, based on our past discussions, I am reasonably sure you are not ignorant of this history. When have you ever written about the countless times Israel sustained attacks and made no response other than to propose a cease-fire, only to be ignored by Hamas and the press? This is not a rhetorical question, please provide links. Failing that, please alter this post to remove your bias. Speaking of links...none of yours are working.

Zyme on :

"And now they want a cease-fire? Such a request is absurd on its face. Can you really be so ignorant as to be unaware of this?" I would not call it absurd, rather as an indicator how "well" the war is going on for Hamas. Apart from that it might also be a publicity move to further discredit the Israeli offense in the international community by displaying Hamas as the peace loving part and Israel as the war monger of the conflict.

John in Michigan, USA on :

It is absurd. War is not a child's game of "[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tag_(game)]it[/url]" where you can say "time out" just before you are about to be tagged and therefore avoid becoming "it".

Zyme on :

It is no more absurd than Georgia in mid 2008. Quite confident in the beginning soon all air was out of its "war machine" and all of a sudden it was willing to negotiate. This is the normal procedure of an initially overconfident force trying to save as much as possible.

John in Michigan, USA on :

I suppose all war has elements of absurdity. However, there are far more differences than similarities between Georgia and Hamas. Georgia does not want to eliminate Russia from the face of the earth; indeed, only a minority of Georgians want to ethnically cleans Ossetia or Abkhazia. Whereas some form of genocide or ethnic cleansing is in the Hamas charter. Georgia never shot a single rocket into Russia. Also, Georgia didn't declare an end to a cease-fire that was in place. There was no cease-fire in Ossetia, just a stalemate, before Russia escalated and Georgia tried to pre-empt the Russian escalation. But Georgia did ask for a truce so I that makes them comparable to Hamas??? Not. Besides, as I recall you defended Russia's right to act in her national interest. Why not be consistent and defend Israel's right to the same? If Israel, in preparation for a cease-fire, decides to go building-to-building in Gaza and remove, vandalize, or destroy every bit of hardware including the toilets, which is highly unlikely, will you defend them?

Zyme on :

"However, there are far more differences than similarities between Georgia and Hamas." Of course there are. I simply looked for a recent example where an aggressive war party was quickly willing to negotiate after lack of success - to show that this is far from absurd but rather normal. "Besides, as I recall you defended Russia's right to act in her national interest. Why not be consistent and defend Israel's right to the same? If Israel, in preparation for a cease-fire, decides to go building-to-building in Gaza and remove, vandalize, or destroy every bit of hardware including the toilets, which is highly unlikely, will you defend them?" Well I already stated that I can understand the reaction of the Israeli government. In my opinion they are free to act within their borders. They will only have to live with the consequences in the international community (I read "Pariah" here, which fits rather well). But that does not mean helping them is responsible of the Europeans.

John in Michigan, USA on :

Kyle so far is silent, and Zyme is the only one defending the situation as not absurd. This too is absurd.

Zyme on :

"This too is absurd." Well, I'll keep that in mind.

Marie Claude on :

"This current conflict started mostly because Hamas unilaterally declared that it would not renew the cease-fire that was in place and (more or less) honored by both sides." the conflict started because IRAN wanted it so, um some cautious Obama still doesn't know on which foot he ought to dance, and the iranians are pushing him in the last corner, where he'll have to negociate with them

Kyle on :

All the links should be working now. Thanks.

John in Michigan, USA on :

Thanks, Kyle. Now that I've read your links, I am even more puzzled by your interpretation of Israel's position. Both the NY Times and Haaretz report that Israel is prepared to negotiate. The main sticking point is that Israel will not agree to a truce with Hamas, no doubt because Hamas failed to renew the earlier truce. Which is only common sense, no? The Euronews link is a short article which sheds very little light on anything (although it does make the EU External Affairs Commissioner sound panicked and unprepared). The Time link still doesn't work. The other links don't appear to bear on the possible reasons for Israel's position re a truce. May we look forward to you defending your statement at some point? If not, how about correcting your statement?

Kyle on :

Hey John, I said, "Israel’s land invasion continues with the Jewish state showing little sign it is ready to negotiate a truce." Here are the statements from the NYT article that led me to write this statement: "Senior Israeli officials said that the fighting could go on for days, if not weeks, and that calls for a cease-fire were premature." "As one Israeli official said about efforts to end the operation, “We still have time.”" "Israeli troops and tanks, protected by heavy air, sea and artillery fire, sliced through the center of Gaza on Sunday, taking control of rocket launching areas and surrounding the main city, AS THEIR GOVERNMENT REBUFFED DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS TO END THE NINE-DAY ASSAULT." It is true Israel was talking to world leaders: "Mark Regev, spokesman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said that Mr. Olmert had been constantly on the phone with world leaders and that the goal of the conversations was to construct a mechanism for a cease-fire", but not necessarily with the intention to employ that mechanism until Israel accomplished its goals, with Israel making it clear it would not be pushed into a cease-fire truce prematurely. Your feeling I am biased to favor the Hamas side is unfortunate, since I wouldn't classify myself as strongly in either camp. I agree with Zyme that Hamas was calling for a truce when it realized it was taking a pummeling from a position of weakness. This is most likely a PR strategy -- I did not make any assessments of its morality or absurdity, I simply passed on the word. Thanks for the comments.

John in Michigan, USA on :

Kyle, Thanks for responding. Your statements in the original post were factually accurate, but, like the NY Times article, resulted in a distorted or biased view of the situation. Omitting relevant background facts (that Hamas failed to renew the truce it when it had the chance, as has been well documented. Prior to that, Hamas appears to have violated the truce, although details are murky) is the allegation. Since the topic of your post was European and US actions/inactions, I tried to make allowances for that. I can understand how it might not have been a priority to include as much background as I'd like to see. That is why I encouraged you to show elsewhere how you were able to be balanced on this question of truces. That is why I wrote: "When have you ever written about the countless times Israel sustained attacks and made no response other than to propose a cease-fire, only to be ignored by Hamas and the press?" Sadly, you appear to have ignored this invitation, leaving me little choice but to conclude that you are biased against Israel. This is particularly eggregious in that Israel has since agreed to a daily, unilateral cease-fire. THIS IS THE ONLY REAL, ACTUAL CEASE-FIRE IN THE CURRENT CONFLICT. "[url=http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L9116659.htm]Israel said Hamas fighters had fired at least 30 rockets into its territory on Friday[/url]" Why are there no calls for Hamas to do the same, as a confidence-building measure? Why isn't there pressure on Hamas to unilaterally obey the UN resolution for a more comprehensive cease-fire?

John in Michigan, USA on :

OMG! Kyle! Your reporting has been overtaken by events! [url=http://www.euronews.net/en/article/07/01/2009/israel-and-hamas-mull-egyptian-ceaefire-plan/]This Euronews report [/url]says that BOTH sides are willing to have a cease-fire...but both sides have conditions, of course. Meanwhile, Israel agreed to a [i]daily, unilateral cease-fire[/i] to allow aid to get through, while Gazan rockets "[url=http://www.euronews.net/en/article/07/01/2009/clashes-have-resumed-in-gaza-between-israeli-forces-and-hamas-militants/]continued today[/url]" (i.e. did not necessarily pause in response to the Israeli pause). When, in the recent history of warfare in the middle east, has any side been as unilaterally charitable to the other as Israel is being to the Gazans?

Don S on :

"Israel’s land invasion continues with the Jewish state showing little sign it is ready to negotiate a truce." Seems to me that Israel has given very simple and easy conditions for a truce long since past. Those conditions are that Hamas stop shooting missiles into Israeli territory and continue to observe the cease-fire. Israel behaved with a good deal of patience for several weeks after Hamas resumed hostilities. Now the IDF have finally invaded to stop the rocketry and kill the rocketeers, as what Hamas essentially has been asking for is a one-way state of hostilities. That is, Hamas has the right to throw missiles at Israel whenever it deems fit, but Israel has no right to respond, but must instead 'negociate' endlessly while their civilians are targeted for destruction.

Marie Claude on :

on the article, super Sarko does what he can at the best in crisis, : move on ! I can't blame him for that, plus he has the avandtages of being a french jew, that took immigrants from muslim origin in his government. France also has a great past with muslim colonial and political adventures, idem with Israel until the conflict of 1967, when de Gaulle took some space with israeli ambitions If the other EU nations, and or the US, are too cautious, they can put the blame on themselves, always arguing of the french preeminence, but doing nothing ! I am behind him in that fact, that he is for an EU of nations and not an EU of apathetic administrations that can only talk and say NO to french initiatives. Anyway, he is engaging the french reputation and not that become sclerosed EU I read that, even, our bizarre Czek president is also for an EU of nations, so, those EU nations that only look for EU as a blabla and bank charity organisations, they can watch their old western movies and STFU

Albert on :

Dear Marie Claude, 1 - Sarko is not jew. His grand father was. 2 - I agree when you say that he needs courage to let a french-morocan get into the Governement as Justice Minister. But he was not the first one to do so. Jacques Chirac had one.... 3 - If Sarko had real political courage, he would have support the Eurpoean Agricultural Policy (PAC) as Brits and others ask for long...instead of showing of where is not relevant. I am a french myself and all I see about Sarko, is that he's been acting like Chirac did, in more spectacular way = big noise, no effects....until when this behavior will last ??

Marie Claude on :

Albert, his mother is also jew from Thessalonique origin !!! Chirac has a "comic" french muslim writer for a minister that had no means, while sarko had also Ramaya, and a few more that I forgot actually the name "If Sarko had real political courage, he would have support the Eurpoean Agricultural Policy (PAC) as Brits and others ask for long...instead of showing of where is not relevant." precisely that was the policy that was repproached to Chirac, and I don't like the idea that the richest paysans get the most big PAC subventions, did you know that the queen of UK has the biggest in EU, then prince of Monaco, then netherland and or italian societies that own french soils !!!! Sarko may-be makes a lot of spectacular movements, but he does something, while the others don't, but also mediatised, I am aware that the nowadays policy, is images manipulations, the best at that, appears to be "efficient"

John in Michigan, USA on :

Regarding the PAC, we have that same problem in the US with our Ag policy, it is supposed to help the small farmer, but most of the funds go to multi-million-dollar businesses who are able to hire dedicated accountants and otherwise organize their finances to maximize their take. One starts to suspect that these large farming "factories" are the ones that really control Ag policy. And then (in the US at least) they some large farmers got the Ethanol subsidy and mandate on top of Ag subsidies...outrageous. I am temped to say we should end all Ag subsidies but of course that isn't realistic in the US or the EU. It is good that Sarko is trying to reform them, maybe if he does it will increase the pressure on the US large farmers to give something up.

Pat Patterson on :

Andree Mallan was not Jewish, its determined matrilineally, and when she met and wed Sarkozy's father she was listed as a Roman Catholic. No reputable Jewish group yet has claimed that Sarkozy is Jewish.

Marie Claude on :

eheh, check your sources "Andrée Mallah, then a law student, was the daughter of Benedict Mallah, a wealthy urologist and STD specialist with a well-established reputation in the mainly bourgeois 17th arrondissement of Paris. Benedict Mallah, originally named Aaron Mallah (and nicknamed Benico), was born in 1890 in the Sephardic Jewish community of Salonica, Ottoman Empire (modern day Thessaloniki, Greece). The family had originally been from Spain, then resettled in Provence, southern France, and later moved to Salonica into the Jewish community established there by other Spanish expellees victims of the Spanish Inquisition." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolas_Sarkozy

Pat Patterson on :

Matrilineal! It doesn't matter what the father was!

Zyme on :

Are you in favor of an EU as being one nation? Or what does an EU of nations mean?

Marie Claude on :

I don't like that EU of a supposed "one nation", it doesn't work, and has never worked !!! an EU of nations, that would supposed that each nation would be free to initiate its own foreign policy, its own taxes, only alliances with a few are possible, and on one agenda, so I am for more independance, less administration

Zyme on :

Then ask yourself - how would we have gotten to the level of EU integration of today when "each nation would be free to initiate its own foreign policy, its own taxes, only alliances with a few are possible, and on one agenda" ? Only together we could fully pursue our interests in the world. Don't you agree that differing initiatives of different EU countries practically eat up all the drive behind these efforts?

Marie Claude on :

I am not asking myself why anymore, just constating, it's not the EU that de Gaulle and Adenauer dreamt of. The actual EU global policy is "hypocrisy" diguised with supposed "good" sentiments from a foggy administration ; no country has ever made a global and real "generous" policy, so'let'get an objective alliance of "interests"

Zyme on :

Actually I am quite content with the EUs start of a foreign policy so far. By looking at the trading policies, the EUs stronghold of power so far you can see promising developments. Its sheer size enables the block to put pressure on our trading partners and increase European economic influence across the world. Why not extend it to other politicial areas, including the military? In this context, the Treaty of Lisbon would be a great step forward.

Marie Claude on :

yes, Zyme, it's a "star", but only a few states in EU can make it, and even among these few, there are alternative dissentiments, wether you are UK + France, wether you are Germanay + France, the both tandems are the opinionists of the traditional EU, not counting the eastern EU states... that are pro-american dream !!!! "Why not extend it to other politicial areas, including the military? In this context, the Treaty of Lisbon would be a great step forward." do you mean that Germany will finally participate to this military program ?

Zyme on :

"do you mean that Germany will finally participate to this military program ?" Most certainly! Under our rather quirky constitution military aggression is only possible in a system of "collective security" - thus the EU is the perfect wheel to move our ambitions upon.

John in Michigan, USA on :

Apparently NATO doesn't count as collective security, for the purposes of the German constitutional. If I recall, you and I sort of agree this is a problem re Afghanistan? So how can you be certain Germany will acknowledge that the EU is collective security as per the constitution? Your assumption cannot be proved or disproved anytime soon because there is no EUFOR to speak of...clever!

Zyme on :

"So how can you be certain Germany will acknowledge that the EU is collective security as per the constitution?" This is pretty obvious: While the USA is more or less in charge of Nato, Germany (together with France and Britain) would sit behind the steering wheel of European engagements. The public opinions of the biggest European countries do not differ much between each other(in contrast with the American electorate). So there would be no danger of being drawn into an "American adventure" mess.

Joe Noory on :

Since NATO is almost entirely about Europe's stability, I think you know what that would mean. I propose something different: the consolodation of all the miscellaneous member states of the EU who are in NATO now as a single party, and recognizing *immediately* the EU as a NATO member for everything subcategory of alphabet soup those states were in on. I mean immediate and unilateral - not another decade of division, evasion of who precisely (EU or EU member) is the responsible agent, etc. Risk or no risk during the transition, it's the only way they're going to "grow 'em up quick". THAT will then force the EU's security structure to develop with direct C&C of designated branches of the member states' armed forces at something closer to the brigade level. If EU security policy is to be coherent and an area of EU competence, then a partitioning of the powers has to go into force/take place. The "states' rights" and the scope of powers of the central government need to be established/implemented once and for all - it's causing a virtual leadership vaccuum in the world beyond and especially the near-beyond of the EU's fungible boundaries, rotating leadership, etc., etc., etc. The rest of civilization doesn't care how Europeans celebrate the twice-yearly incoming presidencies, not anyone wish they had to worry about how one politico plans on showboating the previous one with policy revision. Its' structure is effectively one of adopting paralysis as a policy and form of government - a form of paralysis which has effected the limbs, part of the brain, but not the mouth.

Zyme on :

A lot of thoughts you have here. "The "states' rights" and the scope of powers of the central government need to be established/implemented once and for all - it's causing a virtual leadership vaccuum in the world beyond and especially the near-beyond of the EU's fungible boundaries, rotating leadership, etc., etc., etc." Well this is what EU integration is all about. But you seem not to have a clue on how different 27 countries with entirely different historical characters can be. It is impossible to have all sit down and say "Let's do it NOW". Everyone has a slightly different idea of what Europe should look like, so there is a great deal of negotiations needed for every important step. And this is taking all those years and decades. "The rest of civilization doesn't care how Europeans celebrate the twice-yearly incoming presidencies, not anyone wish they had to worry about how one politico plans on showboating the previous one with policy revision. Its' structure is effectively one of adopting paralysis as a policy and form of government - a form of paralysis which has effected the limbs, part of the brain, but not the mouth." Like I said, diplomacy is the only option we have within Europe. How could you speed the process up? Force is no option anymore here. But rest assured, once a really important matter arises and becomes threatening because we reacted too late, the process will indeed speed up. "Since NATO is almost entirely about Europe's stability, I think you know what that would mean. I propose something different: the consolodation of all the miscellaneous member states of the EU who are in NATO now as a single party, and recognizing *immediately* the EU as a NATO member for everything subcategory of alphabet soup those states were in on." Well this does not work for a huge number of reasons. Most importantly the Eastern Europeans do not fully trust us and are not so eager at quickly joining a European force. As regards the Western countries - I have my doubts about a number of them wanting to have a common military future with the Americans on the long term. Why else should European nations develop their own satellite navigation and espionage networks? Why else should they pump billions into maintaining their own military aircraft sector, when they could simply buy American aircrafts like decades ago? That is of course what I consider also the main reason behind establishing a European military alliance. To stay away from American adventures and keep them out. This basically is why no country west of Poland is interested in strenghtening Nato anymore.

Pamela on :

Hi Marie Claude! I'm a bit confused by your post, so I will tell you how I understand it and you will be kind enough to correct me, yes? " read that, even, our bizarre Czek president is also for an EU of nations, so, those EU nations that only look for EU as a blabla and bank charity organisations," Are you referring to a single diplomatic corp such as that would be authorized by the Lisbon treaty? That is the way I'm reading you and it may be the reason for my confusion. If the EU is to speak with a single diplomatic voice, then why is Sarkozy off on a 'Lone Ranger' expedtion when EU foreign ministers are off on their own expedition? They were in Egypt yesterday. I posted about it on the previous thread (#21). So your post - to me - seems to contradict itself - please enlighten.

Marie Claude on :

hi Pamela, the Lisbon treaty is a born dead's, the Czeck president is an EU president without having endorsed it, so what he does on his side has no real authority, but he makes also spectacular movements, as super Vaclav is also known for being very narcissic, (um, more than Sarko :lol:)

John in Michigan, USA on :

"Lisbon treaty is a born dead's" I so hope this is true. But, some defenders of Lisbon don't appear to have realized this yet. Do you think they need a post-Lisbon treaty, or are there enough EU treaties already (without Lisbon) to accomplish your vision of an EU of nations?

Marie Claude on :

NO, I am fed up with that EU, that cuts down our basic citizen liberties, we have no control on what's going on in Brussels where non responsible civil servants decide the "good" and the "evil", how we should comport in our every-day life, that replace the "church" clerics as far as to sermon us, to make appeasement "peace and loving" policies where we should fermly stand and prepare to fight back, they are preparing the end of the western world like the former roman empire experienced the end of its civilisation with its army of civil servants, the barbarians are already dictating us their laws...

Zyme on :

Relax Marie - we all know where populist political movements lead to. Certainly not to anything useful. The Commission in Brussels on the other hand is able to work without such interference. They need not impress the average citizen with striking results, instead they can work long-term. And since they are someway elected by those elected by the people, everything is fine isn't it? :) Just look at how our wonderful national parliamentary systems "work" today. I don't exactly know about France, but here the party leaders dictate and its members of parliament obey. The ordinary parliamentarians sit there reading newspapers and sending text messages and only pay attention to how their party leaders vote. The party leaders might as well do it alone by gaining a voting power according to their election results and then use it in "parliament" - practically nothing would be different. In the EU parliament they have so much to decide on that the members of parliament merely receive a numerical list of topics to decide on and are continuously asked to vote yes or no for hours, if they show up at all. Do you really prefer this farce to civil servants not bound by party discipline and populism?

Marie Claude on :

Im not populist, my reflexion came after I got informed upon all the policies issues, when I decided to wake up from my dream of being the center of a wonderful and smart world I don't support any face of the EU farce anymore, except the commun money, the economical alliances, the opportunist political and military alliances ; there isn't any threat anymore about an EU country to go at war against another EU country, hey, we became intelligent since WWII, we exported our conflicts !!!! theses EU parliamenters make double emloy with our nationals, that are more representative of our political feelings This is a great lost of money and non-energy, while our own governments can really treat the crisis causes

Zyme on :

The Treaty is dead? This would be news to me. I recall a former timetable pressure for enacting the Treaty until mid 2009 at the latest since its new distribution of parliamentary seats for each country had to be in effect before the next European Elections in june this year. Now surely the Treaty of Lisbon won't make it until june - so the powers simply enacted the new distribution without waiting for the Irish to finally say Yes. And this case is becoming a pattern now, with the member countries seeking to incorporate the Treaty of Lisbon step by step through the backdoor until the Irish come to their senses.

Marie Claude on :

um, I don't believe that the Irish will revote for the Lisbon treaty, neither the Czeks, but emergencies like in last summer and autonm made that a few states can cooperate without regarding the treaty principles. I know that Germany is very rigorist about the rules, but it's mainly to use them for favorising her own domestic policies

David on :

Hats off to Sarko for attempting to stop the killing. Here is the NY Times: "We applaud European and Arab officials for intensifying efforts to try to achieve a meaningful cease-fire. While Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been in Washington telephoning foreign leaders (wasn’t Middle East peace supposed to be her legacy?), it is Europeans like President Nicolas Sarkozy of France who have traveled to the region for face-to-face talks." I note that Israel has prevented foreign journalists from entering Gaza in order to block reports and images of the carnage. Still, we learned that 40 civilians - mostly children - we killed today at UN school, on top of 20 children killed yesterday. I understand why Israel seeks to censor reports from inside Gaza: this is a humanitarian crisis beyond belief.

Pat Patterson on :

Perhaps it might be wise then to condemn Hamas for using the grounds of at least one of the schools, Beit Hanoun UN Elementary School, as a verified mortar lauching site. The onus here is on Hamas as the Geneva Conventions are quite clear that the use of civilian facilities to attack an enemy removes the prohibition against attacking that facility in return. Link at bottom of next paragraph. Plus Israel has absolutely no control over news sources that are not foreign, that is they use either sources accredited by Hamas or Palestinians hired by the same foreign companies that are loudly complaining that they are being censored. Since the only reporters allowed in must be vetted and excorted by Hamas the press seems to have admitted that the censoring is being done by Hamas. Even Huffington Post which to its credit was one of the first to talk about this incident also mentions that Israel is letting tons of food and medical supplies across the border contradicting hundreds of reports claiming Israel has enacted a complete embargo on humanitarian aid. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmXXUOs27lI&feature=channel_page

Pamela on :

We'll probably never know, but I wonder how many Gazan deaths are attributable to Hamas' murder of 'collaborators'.

Pat Patterson on :

In the Hamas takeover in 2007 a friend, with wildly opposing views to mine, was in Gaza City and referred to that period as "Fatah getting their wings." Hamas would question the Fatah member on a rooftop and then would proceed to give him flying lessons. Most Gazans, the few still outdoors, learned quickly to not linger by any of the taller buildings.

Don S on :

Sooner or later, Hamas may lose the ability to give 'flying essons', as there may no longer be any tall buildings left. Unfortuntely there probably aren't many Fatah members left, either. Yes indeed, this is a normal democratic change of power. Remember how many Democrats Gingich murdered in 1994, how many Dems Bush had executed in 2001? Think of how many GOP'ers Obama will finish off next year...... Well, perhaps not. Doing the 'Hamas changeover' merely converts the 'loyal opposition' into the 'deceased opposition'. Democracy Hussein style.....

John in Michigan, USA on :

Interestingly, these flying lessons probably aren't just improvised or spur-of-the-moment executions. Throwing someone off a cliff or tall building is one of the forms of execution mentioned specifically in the Koran. It is typically a punishment for homosexuality, but it can be used as a punishment for murder, or possibly any capital crime, under Sharia.

John in Michigan, USA on :

Not just collaborators. Many Hamas rockets are of crude construction hacked together in some hole in the ground euphemistically called a "lab" or "factory" by the press and by the Israelis. They routinely explode on launch, or fly off in odd directions, or fall short of their expected range (I originally wrote "fall short of their targets" but that isn't really true, is it. Gazan rockets are not targeted, they are indiscriminate fire and by definition a war crime). In these cases, Gazans end up as casualties. But naturally, the casualties are attributed to Israel. Read the Human Rights Watch reports, where they describe the quality Gazan rockets. Note how HRW shows that Gazan rockets have killed more Gazans than Israelis! Be sure to note how some rockets are make from pipes that Israel laid down when it built the Gaza sewer system. But Hamas prefers to make a few more crappy, explode-in-their-face rockets over saving their own from disease and the humiliation of living in an open sewer. Talk about guns vs. butter! I wouldn't be surprised to find that some Gazans are emptying morgues, desecrating bodies that are days or weeks old, in order to make them appear like victims of Israeli actions. Just like in Lebannon a few years back. There's no evidence of this (yet) but I wouldn't be surprised. Some in Hamas might convince themselves they are doing the families a favor, by giving these bodies (who died of disease, accident, friendly fire, or whatever) a "martyrs death". Of course, many Gazan deaths may legitimately be attributed to Israel, and probably, more deaths than Israel itself has suffered. This reflects that the Israelis are better at protecting their own, and also the different war aims. One side wants to win while minimizing deaths on both sides, one side wants to win by maximizing deaths on both sides.

David on :

The UN denies that there were Hamas fighters at the school that was destroyed yesterday. Again, the NY Times: "The director of the United Nations relief agency in Gaza, John Ging, who was not at the school when it was attacked, denied that Hamas fighters had been taking shelter in the school or using its premises. “There are no military people inside the school; it is fully controlled,” he said. Mr. Ging put the death toll at 40 and said 15 more people were critically wounded and 40 others less seriously wounded. He called for an international investigation. “Those who died or were injured deserve accountability,” he said." And despite Pat's predictable celebration of press censorship, the news agencies press on to gain access to Gaza: "On Tuesday, the press association released a statement saying, “The unprecedented denial of access to Gaza for the world’s media amounts to a severe violation of press freedom and puts the state of Israel in the company of a handful of regimes around the world which regularly keep journalists from doing their jobs.”

John in Michigan, USA on :

"The UN denies that there were Hamas fighters..." STOP right there. They are all civilians, according to the UN! Besides, as you saw from Pat's excellent video, the fighters were just outside the school building, on the front lawn. So the UN is technically correct but, like you, David, intellectually dishonest.

Pamela on :

Pat, I wanted to be sure you saw this. I've bookmarked it in my 'ammo' folder. http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=35&x_article=1580 Norwegian Doctors in Gaza: Objective Observers or Partisan Propagandists? Gilbert is a radical Marxist and a member of the political Red (Rodt) party, a revolutionary socialist party in Norway. He has been a pro-Palestinian activist since the 1970's and travelled to Lebanon in support of the Palestinians during the first Lebanon war in 1982. He has long been a vocal opponent of Israel and the U.S. Gilbert has acknowledged that he cannot separate politics from medicine, stating, "there is little in medicine that is not politics." He even criticizes the group Doctors Without Borders for providing medical assistance to both sides in a conflict instead of taking a strong stance and supporting only one party. In a 2006 article in Nordlys, journalist Ivan Kristoffersen lamented the fact that Gilbert allows his humanitarian efforts to be politicized by his radical agenda. (more at the link)

Pat Patterson on :

Bookmarked it as well, thanks!

John in Michigan, USA on :

Oops, jumped the gun. Pat's video was from a 2007 incident at a different school. However, a new web site called Honest Reporting has excellent coverage of the UN school incident. Highlights: - AP reported, eyewitness testimony from Palestinians that a morter crew, under cover of a crowd, set up near the school and fired several shots. "[url=http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/ny-wogaza075989330jan07,0,722143.story]Two residents of the area who spoke by telephone said they saw a small group of militants firing mortar rounds from a street near the school, where 350 people had gathered to get away from the shelling[/url]" - According to Honest Reporting, "[url=http://www.honestreporting.com/articles/45884734/critiques/new/UN_School_Media_Absolves_Hamas.asp]The Israeli return fire landed outside the school, yet a series of explosions followed, indicating the probable presence of munitions and explosives in the building. Intelligence indicates that among those killed were Immad Abu Iskar and Hassan Abu Iskar, two known Hamas mortar crewmen[/url]" NOTE that, if this is correct, the Israelis didn't hit the school, the school was destroyed by explosives stored inside the school. It could have been the pressure wave from the Israeli shell, or it could have been a [i]planned detonation[/i] of some sort. HonestReporting is a partisan organization, but I expect over the coming days and weeks there will be independent investigation of their assertions by non-partisan bloggers. The MSM may even have a look if bloggers make enough of a fuss.

Pat Patterson on :

I missed the follow up when the correct date on the video was posted and need to retract that part of my argument. But I must point out that David has chosen to characterize an explanation of the difficulties of the press crossing over from Israel even though they have accredited reporters already in Gaza as celebrating censorship is simply malicious and wrong. But at least David has chosen now to drop the racist meme and conjure up something just as misleading. Plus as usual David seems more concerned about the possibility of censorship than acknowledge that the actual censorship already exists in Gaza at the behest of Hamas who have been excluding foreign reporters almost completely since an anti-Hamas demo by school girls in 2006 that was covered by The Times of London. The Israeli's found that after that when they allowed the press free access during the War in Lebanon that they had to be escorted to safety several times, on several occassions broadcast life the tactical discussions of officers involved in the fighting and generally got in the way. But one of the main reasons the Israeli's are hesitant about allowing reporters free access from their territory is the legal peril that Israel faces if one of the reporters is injured. Israel has a well-established and functioning civil court system while Hamas can always fall back on Sharia to deny damages. And one of the main reasons that major news sources tend to rely on local and cheap stringers is that they are not employees and not eligible for medical or death insurance coverage. Now whether I agree with this is moot but a recounting is necessary to avoid the Israel is guilty at any price tenor of David's comments. As to the UN verifying that no Hamas fighters at the UN school one only has to remember that because of wildly inflated claims by the UN envoy to the PA and PLO, Terje Roed-Larson many still believe that instead of 56 casualties of the Battle of Jenin there were thousands. And because of these claims Sec. Gen. unwisely demanded that the UN send armed troops to the area to block any further combat by the Israeli's. I can only ask rhetoricaly how long would a UN official be allowed to stay in Gaza if he had admitted that the school was being used as a improvised mortar pit?

David on :

Pat, those were not my comments. They were the comments of the international press corps. Granted, they were not yet picked up by Wikipedia, so you were unaware of them. And here is the Associated Press on the grisly find by the International Red Cross: "Eventually, rescuers from the international Red Cross and Palestine Red Crescent received permission to go into the shelled houses during the halt in fighting Wednesday, four days after the buildings were hit by Israeli shells. "This is a shocking incident," Pierre Wettach, head of the ICRC for the region, said. The rescue team "found four small children next to their dead mothers in one of the houses. They were too weak to stand up on their own. One man was also found alive, too weak to stand up," the statement said. "In all, there were at least 12 corpses lying on mattresses" in one of the houses, it added. "The Israeli military must have been aware of the situation but did not assist the wounded," the international Red Cross said. "Neither did they make it possible for us or the Palestine Red Crescent to assist the wounded." The ICRC said it believes "in this instance, the Israeli military failed to meet its obligation under international humanitarian law to care for and evacuate the wounded." The world recoils in horror at what is happening in Gaza, but Pat knows these events really didn't happen, or were just staged to incite hatred of Israel.

Pamela on :

Link requested please. I've seen much today and I'm not sure what you are referring to. Thanks in advance.

Pat Patterson on :

So some nefarious person inserted the line, "And despite Pat's predictable celebration of press censorship...?" Plus, "...but Pat knows these events really didn't happen.." But maybe Pat does recognize that both statements are fundamental misrepresentations of what I did say and I am further disappointed that David again seems more inclined to attack the messenger rather than address the issue. I would also think by now that even David could recognize that the argument is over whether what Israel and Hamas have done rather than whether for the most part if the incident took place. As to the ICRC simply refer back to the Jenin fighting and the current charges to realize how unreliable they and the UN have become when it comes to their bete noire. Plus I'm picturing how life will be difficult for David when he tries to walk his campus with his body contorted like a pretzel when Pres. Obama basically agrees with Israel and the fighting goes on.

Joe Noory on :

Since when was war supposed to be like an orderly game of darts? While there hardly is a soul that doesn't find sadness in the story if the 4 children found barely alive, the question is what is it that those who repeat-repeat-repeat the story want to see happen? It's rather clear for most of them: they'd like to see Hamas perpetually shell Israelis without report, comment, sanction, or judgement. They'd like to continue demanding cease fires, retribution, and to berate any seeming figure of authority when Israel attempts to destroy Hamas' stockpiles. Don't forget that unlike the PLO (fatah), Hamas doesn't have as a primary object in its' articles the liberation of Palestinians. Their stated goal is to destroy Israel and establish theocratic rule. However, I'm not surprised by the marching, hear-bashing demos in the streets of Europe and America are unaware of this, since they still chant "end the occupation" of Gaza when there is no more occupation, but rather a border with it, and when the shelling is frequent and persistent, a blockade of that border. Another gaping hole in the way the press is promoting narrative rather than reporting is that they seem to have missed the fact that it only took 4 days of border closure for food, fuel, medicines, or anything a la "baby milk factory" that might carry an emotive power over the press and the public - to run out. And yet they had enough fuel to run generators for broadcast and uplink sites, but not hospitals. No mention, no questions, no nothing - because the agenda must go on. Anyone who really wanting a negotiated peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis should realize that Hamas must change, be demilitarized, and have their leadership emilinated. Were it not for those that now lead Hamas, the Palestinians would this month be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the establishement of the state of Pelestine. Clearly they aren't. So too is that true of the non-combatants of large parts of the media, entertainment industry, and academia abetting Hamas.

Pamela on :

Re: Gaza's civilian casualties: The IDF routinely sends warnings - ------------------- The IDF warnings are aimed at reducing the risk of injury to uninvolved civilians by prior announcement of the IDF's intent to attack, instructing residents to evacuate the areas where terrorists or terror infrastructure are to be found. http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Government/Communiques/2009/IDF_warns_Gaza_population_7-Jan-2009.htm ----------------- Which of course doesn't prevent a target from NOT evacuating his family - as as happened. 11 of 12 children, and most of his wives accompanied him to paradise.

John in Michigan, USA on :

To be fair, some Gazans are between a rock and a hard place. Hamas makes it very difficult for them to evacuate, and in some cases will murder, torture, etc. their extended families unless they stay in place as human shields. Other Gazans stay in place willingly.

Pat Patterson on :

Agreed, unfortunately laser-guided missiles and solid fueled rockets are stupid on impact. Both sides in wars tend to separate the wheat from the chaff by burning down the whole field.

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