Friday, February 27, 2015

Protocol Breach

A detached hand dripped it's red payload onto the silk Persian rug, the fingers were commanding approachers to stop.

The smugness on the face of the maitre d' of the Washington Cigar lounge had not been disturbed by the sword that disconnected his shrugging shoulders from his aloof brain.

The leather bound guest register had been signed with a large and exquisitely symmetrical turd placed with apparent care in the exact centre.

It was difficult to tell if the limbs and heads that were distributed around the lobby belonged to 8 or 9 random bunches of folks. What was clear was that there had been a lot of money spent on the hair of the three heads of the ladies which lay in a pyramid in front of the oak panelling. Women whether whole or in pieces were a testimony to the progressive strides the club had taken to embrace modernity in the past decade.

Some may say it is a pity the march to modernisation did not included allowing the uncouth man who marched into the club yesterday to enter. Mr Bibi was not wearing a necktie and behaviour such as that cannot be tolerated.  Protocol and yes simple old fashioned good manners are the two pillars which uphold the great American civilisation.

The erosion of tradition and custom is a threat to us all. A foreign non member cannot enter unless he has been invited not by the majority leader but by the president of the club himself. You can see it is written here in the rule book section 12, under the smeared of blood, it is clear and irrefutable.

The boorish Mr Bibi was shouting on top of his lungs that the vicious zealots were right outside and that they were chanting for the death of all of us Americans. Did he not know that we cannot allow shouting in this establishment ? How can we enjoy a hard earned martini with all that racket ?

The attack took us completely by surprise. We followed the press very closely in the days proceeding the holocaust, and there was no mention of any danger. Yes all Americans were killed and there are no survivors, but at least we will be remembered as a civilisation who cherished dignity above all.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Love in the Time of Contempt, Consolations for Parents of Teenagers by Joanne Fedler.

Love in the Time of Contempt, Consolations for Parents of Teenagers by Joanne Fedler. 

This is the first of Joanne's books that I have had the privilege of reading. As the parent of two teenagers I know I could use all the help that was available to prepare myself for further trials that await our family in the gauntlet of the next few years. 

Remember to think, remember to breath and remember to laugh. These are the central messages I took home from the book. 

Joanne does not preach or direct us, she does not prescribe behaviours. She provides us with a privileged window into her own brilliant mind.The artistry of her words did not have me reaching for a dictionary....much, and at the same time did not feel dumbed down at all. The pictures she painted with these words allowed me to feel present at the many touching and hilarious anecdotes.  

The book consists of 30 bite sized chapters that can be read in any order, and independently. She tackles a variety  themes as learning to drive ,suicide, bullying, religion and school . I read a chapter or three, each day, and always found myself thinking and smiling. I didn't always agree with Joanne , but that is not something she tries to accomplish do or wants. 

I gained an insight into how the mind of a brilliant intellectual, feminist works. My take on her "spiritual shit" is more inline with that of her kids than hers. She does seem like an "eccentric aunt" in many places but one who can laugh at herself, and see herself from the point of view of others. 

The world would be a far better place if others could be as tolerant, liberal and empathetic as Joanne. 

I would have loved to have seen more of the father's - Zed's point of view in the book.I know this is my own sexist bias creeping in but sometimes I could identify more with his hands offish approach. 

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to grow as a human being.  I do not think you even have to be a parent to be able to benefit from her book, her reflections will inspire you to be more tolerant and empathetic of any beings displaying seemingly irrational behaviour 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Peace hinges on Open Minds and Open Hearts

Below is an article appearing in the business day South Africa followed by a response from my friend Mark Furman and a few comments of my own.

Peace hinges on accepting a common humanity


A FEW years ago, I had what I thought, on balance, was a very good meeting over lunch with a representative of the Israeli government. She had been asked to sound me out about the possibility of visiting her country in my capacity as a "balanced" and "even-handed" political commentator and newspaper columnist.

While the allegation of even-handedness and balance may, to a lesser or greater extent, be grounded in truth, I would be highly disturbed if anyone accused me of being neutral.
It is because I am not neutral that I made it clear to the Israeli government representative that I have nothing against Jews and the idea of visiting Israel but would never visit her country as a guest of her government because I strongly believe that the policies of her government towards Palestinians are fundamentally unjust.
I must confess, though, that I have postponed writing this column on several occasions since the onset of the present conflict in Gaza. In fact, since I became a columnist for this newspaper, I have tried to avoid writing about the Israeli-Palestinian question and my success record in this regard is probably 100%.
Of this, I am deeply ashamed because it is not because of a sense of fairness, balance or even-handedness that I have avoided writing and commenting about the Palestinian question, but out of a lack of courage and because of a deep sense of fear that I chose the appearance of neutrality.
I was jolted out of my comfort zone of cowardice by the words of a small Palestinian girl who, while lying injured in hospital, asked with tears in her eyes why children had to die for something that had nothing to do with them.
What she meant, in my view, is that children must be allowed to be children.
Why do I lack the courage to speak out when I today write as a free man because others dared to speak out against the evil of apartheid, despite the fact that some of us committed the sin of violence to overthrow an oppressive regime?
My first encounter with antiSemitism was through Shylock in The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare.
I was still in high school but, even then, Shylock seemed to be echoing my pain as a child growing up in apartheid SA. He, to me, was speaking on behalf of all people who are oppressed and discriminated against when he in effect asks whether Jews are not as human as other people.
I am still not sure whether Shakespeare gives a satisfactory answer to Shylock’s question. On the one hand, Shylock is a victim of antiSemitism but is, on the other, undermined because he lacks "the quality of mercy", a quality in the play that seems to be more inherent to the "Gentile" than it is to the "Jew".
Maybe a benign reading of the play must be framed in terms of the suggestion that the human condition is so complex that we must make room for the possibility that, because the oppressed do not learn much from their own oppression, they may become the oppressors of tomorrow.
This brings me to my fear.
I came to the conclusion, long ago, that the Israeli government lacks the quality of mercy and compassion.
At times I have wondered whether it is because of, or despite, the Holocaust that the Israeli government has such a low regard for Palestinian lives.
I have been afraid to say this openly because some among us are too quick to play the anti Semitic card dishonestly and as an attempt to turn critics of the Israeli government into victims of their emotional blackmail.
Our responsibility, especially those of us who were victims of apartheid, is to work towards a point when it will be possible to achieve peace as a result of the world succeeding in convincing both Jew and Palestinian to acknowledge the humanity of the other.
We are not going to achieve this by ignoring the suffering of the Palestinian people and the cruelty of the policies of the Israeli government.
A false sense of balance is not the answer.
• Matshiqi is an independent political analyst.


The writer should understand that he will also not fulfil his so-called responsibility by stating the calumny of how the (democratic and representative) Israeli government "lacks the quality of mercy and compassion", while ignoring or at least choosing not to investigate any further how that little girl with her heart-rending question came to be lying injured in the hospital. It is not "balance" that is so sorely lacking here, it is courageous and diligent reporting that seeks to understand not just the image before oneself but the full context of that image and who ultimately bears responsibility for it.
Israel and the Jews feel embattled right now, by Hamas, by real anti-Semites who take advantage of the conflict to rant against "the Jews" and by a world media that is thoroughly incurious as to the underlying and historical causes of the conflict and is happy to sit there and simply regurgitate unthinking but emotionally fulfilling talking points.
Contrary to his stated wishes, Mr Matshiqi’s piece does nothing to change this and takes us no closer to that point where peace can be achieved.
Marc Furman 

My own comments

I think by refusing to educate himself and visiting Israel either by accepting the offer from the Israeli government or on his own dime Mr MATSHIQI has displayed the cowardice which he mistakingly believes he has escaped. His displays a bizarre determination not to enlighten himself and perhaps make his mind up through his own observations rather than through the eyes of which ever sources he may be reading (Shakespeare). His pride in thinking he is even somewhat "balanced" and "even handed" is misplaced on this issue.  "The quality of mercy" and compassion and empathy are on full display in Israel if you choose to open your eyes. 
Mathshiqo justifies Anti-semitism with his Shylock-reference and does not even attempt to disguise it as Anti-Zionism as is sadly the common practice.
The question the Palestinian girl asks is valid and so is the interpretation that they should be allowed to be children. They should not be human shields or suicide bombers in training or dying digging terror tunnels. They should be children, happy, safe and free.
I always try and read both sides of an argument and use multiple sources. I observe and choose the arguments which I think are most valid. Mathshiqo seems to prefer ignorance and closed mindedness.
Perhaps in time Mr Mathshiqo will garner enough courage to stray from the tired script which most South African's who were were victimised by apartheid seem to have. Maybe he will learn some truths but I don't think he has the balls to do that. 
Ryan Heitner

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Prune your Facebook Friends

A number of people have expressed to me over the last few weeks that they are experiencing dilemmas because of Anti Israel and Anti Semitic comments made by Facebook Friends.

These "Facebook Friends" are often work colleagues, old school mates, friends or even family.

The question is how to react to these comments.

I think the comments fall into two categories.

The sentiments are expressed out of ignorance and misinformation. I think this is where the majority of cases lie. People do not always feel equipped or motivated to try and re-educate these people as to the truth of the situation in Israel. It is very rare that you will have a discussion with someone and they will come out of it at the end saying, "yes you are correct , I never thought about it like that". People will generally stick to their formed opinions but perhaps your arguments and information can help to diminish by a fraction as to how tightly they cling to these views. I suggest you keep these friends and try to feed them a diet of non-biased media.  If you are unwilling or unable to present the arguments for Israel send them links. I know you may be reluctant to politicise your relationship, but remember they are the ones who made the initial comment.

The second category are easy to deal with. These are people chose to be misinformed and choose to hate us, people who have a wealth of lies and propaganda at their fingertips and spread hate. Un friend these people and try to avoid them in any situation. You will never convince them to change their minds and no-one else will either.

  1. Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of ALL Jews — it says so in their charter and they refuse to repudiate it.
  2. I am a Jew so Hamas is trying to kill me and my family.
  3. Someone who supports, aids or provides information in support of Hamas (and by extension their mission) is an accomplice in my attempted murder and does not get to be my “friend”.

You will find yourself to be lighter and happier in the end.

How To Unfriend on Facebook

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Israel Supporters Caused the War in Gaza

Many of the Israel supporters are the cause of the current war in Gaza. You caused this war out of love and empathy. You caused this war because you could imagine the pain of your son, your brother being held hostage by sociopathic monsters. You said to yourselves what would I do to bring him back and the answer was a resounding anything. You put bumper stickers on your cars, you wore T shirts, you signed petitions, you updated your Facebook pictures with his picture, you tweeted. Every child in Israel knew his name, and many Jewish children outside of Israel.

No one is mentioning his name anymore because we are all talking about the names 60 other sons who have been taken from us. Again we are crying and feeling the pain as if each of these boys was ours. We see the children of Gaza killed and whether it is by our own mistakes or by the hand of Hamas, we still feel their pain and we weep for them too. We see the mothers in Gaza weep and we feel their pain. Our love is killing us.

Gilad Shalit was deemed to be more important than Gilad Shaar. By your actions he was elevated to the status of celebrity, a life more valuable than all others. His Parents did what any parents should do … anything to save their son, their son not yours. I do not blame them I blame you and your love and empathy.

Disproportionately is the buzzword of the anti Israel lobby in every conflict with Hamas and friends. I share the word but in the sense that releasing 1027 prisoners for one Gilad Shalit is disproportionately

When Netanyahu agreed to bring home Gilad Shalit at the same time he signed the death warrant of Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frankel and Eyal Yifrach and of course that of Mohammad Abu Khadir who was brutally murdered by a mentally unstable Jewish Terrorist. and that of Baruch Mizrahi who was murdered by one of the prisoners released in the disproportionate exchange.

Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frankel and Eyal Yifrach

Mohammad Abu Khadir
Baruch Mizrahi

Our Prime Minister  Benjamin Netanyahu knew better, but under tremendous public pressure he made a terrible mistake. In Israeli cabinet meeting in which the agreement was approved, after being supported by 26 ministers and opposed by 3 ministers - Avigdor Lieberman, Moshe Ya'alon, and Uzi Landau who said "... this deal is a triumph for terror and [is] detrimental to Israel's security and deterrence"

It was a great victory for Hamas 1027:1 and from that day the return on investment in tunnel digging increased dramatically. Tunnels were the way to freedom from Israeli prisons, it was open season for kidnapping.

There were many foiled attempts at kidnapping and even the kidnapping and murder of Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frankel and Eyal Yifrach was failed in the eyes of Hamas since they did not get to haggle for the exchange before they were brutally murdered.  But it was a question of when not if we would pay in blood.

Gilad Shalit's release let to the murders discussed above, it led to the terror tunnels being dug at the cost of an estimated 160 child labourers lives. It led to the awful mess we find ourselves in.

I do not advocate never having prisoner swaps butI do advocate proportionality in them.

Do not worry I am not angry at you because you made your mistake out of love.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Debunking the Debunking of Five Israeli Talking Points on Gaza

This goes out to Ian S who finds it  astonishing that a "well-regarded" commentator on the Israel-Palestine conflict can be wrong on every point she makes"

Noara Erakat's article Five Israeli Talking Points on Gaza—Debunked argues against five of Israel’s recurring talking points" I will look at her arguments and hopefully demonstrate that they are false. I have listed the full text of her argument .

1) Israel is exercising its right to self-defense.
As the occupying power of the Gaza Strip, and the Palestinian Territories more broadly, Israel has an obligation and a duty to protect the civilians under its occupation. It governs by military and law enforcement authority to maintain order, protect itself and protect the civilian population under its occupation. It cannot simultaneously occupy the territory, thus usurping the self-governing powers that would otherwise belong to Palestinians, and declare war upon them. These contradictory policies (occupying a land and then declaring war on it) make the Palestinian population doubly vulnerable.
This is a clever argument essentially stating you cannot make war on yourself and that nations have an obligation to protect their citizens.  Let's take them one at a time. 

First, as I will discuss further under point #2 (if that one is invalid this one is invalid too) Israel is not the occupying power in Gaza.  In 2005, the the country pulled out of every inch of the Gaza Strip.  Nor does Israel "controI" Gaza in the way suggested here.  One of the reasons Israel pulled out in 2005 was because the area was virtually uncontrollable.  Also, if Israel was able to maintain "Effective Control" in the Gaza strip do we really think that rockets launched from the area would be raining down on major Israeli cities?  I also suggest that there would be no terror tunnels unless Israeli control included attacking itself. 

Second, the writer is correct that a nation must protect its citizens.  In this instance that means that Israel as true democracy must protect its Jewish, Muslim and Christian and atheist citizens  (all of whom can vote) from rocket attacks.  

The precarious and unstable conditions in the Gaza Strip from which Palestinians suffer are Israel’s responsibility. Israel argues that it can invoke the right to self-defense under international law as defined in Article 51 of the UN Charter. The International Court of Justice, however, rejected this faulty legal interpretation in its 2004 Advisory Opinion. The ICJ explained that an armed attack that would trigger Article 51 must be attributable to a sovereign state, but the armed attacks by Palestinians emerge from within Israel’s jurisdictional control. Israel does have the right to defend itself against rocket attacks, but it must do so in accordance with occupation law and not other laws of war. Occupation law ensures greater protection for the civilian population. The other laws of war balance military advantage and civilian suffering. The statement that “no country would tolerate rocket fire from a neighboring country” is therefore both a diversion and baseless.

Oh boy, where to start with this one.  The International Court of Justice ruled in 2004 before the Gaza pullout. A ruling on whether Israel could legitimately invoke the right of self-defense in 2004 is simply irrelevant in 2014.  This is a terrific example of using irrelevant facts to to mislead.  This entire paragraph rest on the assumption that Israel is an occupier in Gaza which is completely erroneous as discussed under #2.  

Israel denies Palestinians the right to govern and protect themselves, while simultaneously invoking the right to self-defense. This is a conundrum and a violation of international law, one that Israel deliberately created to evade accountability.

Here we have Erekat's editorial comment and it is preposterous. Israel allowed Gaza to hold free elections.  That is called governing and is nowhere near "Israel denies Palestinians the right to govern.  In terms of denying Palestinians protection, I have two thoughts: 
1) if Hamas were not lobbing rockets at Israel there would be no reason for the citizens to protect themselves.  It hardly makes sense for Israel to go from controlling the Gaza strip to handing it over to the Palestinians with the intent of attacking the populace.  

2) if Hamas had spent its financial aid building bunkers for the Palestinian people (defensive) rather than terror tunnels to enter Israel and kidnap and slaughter citizens (offensive) the Palestinian people would be far better protected.  Of course, if they were to build malls and schools and institutions of democracy they would be even better protected. 

So now we come to the important #2. 

2) Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005.
Israel argues that its occupation of the Gaza Strip ended with the unilateral withdrawal of its settler population in 2005. It then declared the Gaza Strip to be “hostile territory” and declared war against its population. Neither the argument nor the statement is tenable. Despite removing 8,000 settlers and the military infrastructure that protected their illegal presence, Israel maintained effective control of the Gaza Strip and thus remains the occupying power as defined by Article 47 of the Hague Regulations. To date, Israel maintains control of the territory’s air space, territorial waters, electromagnetic sphere, population registry and the movement of all goods and people.
The core of this argument is that Israel maintains control of the Gaza Strip because it controls air space, territorial waters, and movement of goods and people. So let me be completely and utterly clear on this point: the Gaza naval blockade and other issues raised are fully approved and enforced by the UN as being within International law. Why? Well, in 1993 and 1995 Israel and the leaders of the Palestinian people agreed to the terms in the Oslo accords.  In those terms, Israel made it very clear that the territorial waters around Gaza were to remain theirs.  That was fully agreed to by the Palestinians!  

Israel does restrict Gazan airspace and territorial waters for the purpose of preventing weapons transfer into Gaza. 

I am not sure what an Electromagnetic sphere is, I will assume it  is referring to Radio, TV, Telecommunications and Internet. Hamas has it own rabidly anti semitic TV station which encourages kindergarten children to murder of Jews. Is Israel controlling that? Since 2007, Hamas has blocked the radio station of the Palestinian Authority. These are not signs of Israeli control. Gaza has relatively open internet despite the burning down of internet Cafes by Islamists. 

As by the Oslo accords Israel keeps a copy of a population registry, having one's name in the Israeli copy of the registry can  allow certain privileges to a Palestinian. As by the Oslo accords Article II.1.f.(5)  The right to vote in Palestinian Elections they are in either the Israeli or Palestinian register. Israel also uses the register to determine whether or not to issue Palestinians with a work permit in Israel. This has nothing to do with controlling Palestinians in Gaza. 

Israel controls the movement of goods and people between Israel and Gaza. The Rafah Border Crossing between Gaza and Egypt is not controlled by Israel, thus it is false to say the control the movement of all goods and people. Every country has the right to control the movement of goods and people between their country and its neighbours.  Note the policing of the U.S. and Mexico border as an example.
Israel argues that the withdrawal from Gaza demonstrates that ending the occupation will not bring peace. Some have gone so far as to say that Palestinians squandered their opportunity to build heaven in order to build a terrorist haven instead. These arguments aim to obfuscate Israel’s responsibilities in the Gaza Strip, as well as the West Bank. As Prime Minister Netanyahu once explained, Israel must ensure that it does not “get another Gaza in Judea and Samaria…. I think the Israeli people understand now what I always say: that there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan.”

Wow.  This paragraph makes complete sense.  Perhaps because these are not Erekat's ideas but those taken from elsewhere.  
Palestinians have yet to experience a day of self-governance. Israel immediately imposed a siege upon the Gaza Strip when Hamas won parliamentary elections in January 2006 and tightened it severely when Hamas routed Fatah in June 2007. The siege has created a “humanitarian catastrophe” in the Gaza Strip. Inhabitants will not be able to access clean water, electricity or tend to even the most urgent medical needs. The World Health Organization explains that the Gaza Strip will be unlivable by 2020. Not only did Israel not end its occupation, it has created a situation in which Palestinians cannot survive in the long-term. 
This is just completely false.  Either Erekat is so blinded by hatred that the mistake is honest or its a deliberate attempt to mislead.  What was the first election if not a day of self-governance (not to mention all the days leading up to the election)? Furthermore, the naval blockade was put in place AFTER Hamas declared all out war with Israel and started shelling it's cities. Israel is fully entitled under to international law to put in place a blockade in it's own territorial waters as a means of self defence. The UN has never challenged this action because it is so completely water tight. Finally, the election of Hamas in 2006 was the most forceful rocket Palestinians have launched at Israel.  Hamas is considered a terrorist organisation by most democratic countries around the world.  The United States added Hamas to their list of terrorist organisations in 1997 -- well prior to the events of the World Trade Center bombing.

Ultimately, the Palestinians had a chance to govern themselves. They elected a terrorist organisation that started firing rockets at a democracy.  In short, Erekat's statement is almost true.  We can fix it by adding the word "good" so the sentence should read: "Palestinians have yet to experience a day of good self government.

As for in habitants not being able to access electricity etc., Israel provides 100 megawatts of electricity to Gaza. The Palestinian Authority owes Israel Electricity Company around half a billion dollars in unpaid electricity bills. On July 13th, some areas in Gaza lost electricity which was promptly blamed on Israel.  The reason for the outage was that a Hamas rocket hit the power lines running into Gaza. Israel repaired the line at its own expense while risking the lives of its own population.  As a final comment, Israel allows medical products and food and other non military products through it borders to Gaza.

So now back to Netanyahu's comments about Gaza. The test of self-rule in Gaza has been a disaster for Israel and an utter disaster for the Palestinians themselves.  Whatever Israel allows has been turned against them.  They pulled out and allowed Gazans to elect a government.  What did they get? A terrorist organisation.  They allowed goods to flow across the borders and what did Hamas bring in?  Rockets that they promptly started firing in 2007.  Israel put in place a blockade to try stem the rockets but allowed in cement, iron and other building products and what did they get? Massive underground tunnels beneath their border and beneath the homes of civilians in Gaza. There is no advantage in these activities for the people in Gaza and it only makes sense in a world where Hamas believes one dead Jew is worth the sacrifice of a hundred Palestinians.  As I said, there is simply no good government.

Edit I am including this excellent link I debating the above two points

3) This Israeli operation, among others, was caused by rocket fire from Gaza.
Israel claims that its current and past wars against the Palestinian population in Gaza have been in response to rocket fire. Empirical evidence from 2008, 2012 and 2014 refute that claim. First, according to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the greatest reduction of rocket fire came through diplomatic rather than military means. This chart demonstrates the correlation between Israel’s military attacks upon the Gaza Strip and Hamas militant activity. Hamas rocket fire increases in response to Israeli military attacks and decreases in direct correlation to them. Cease-fires have brought the greatest security to the region.
This is a deliberate attempt to mislead less sophisticated readers or Erekat has no clue about numerical analysis.  It is disingenuous to claim that Hamas rocket fire is a response to Israeli aggression because a chart shows they are correlated.  It will just take a cursory examination of news articles over the years to show that this analysis is, like their rockets, off target. When Israel responds to initial rocket fire from Hamas , Hamas escalates the rate of rocket fire and the statistic increases. That is why there is a "correlation" between Israel's military operations and rocket fire.  Glancing at the graphs without examining the exact timing of each incident is uninformative but if you like this kind of statistical stupidity you can find more by looking at the relationship of skirt length to the U.S. stock market and dream about how shorter skirts are going to make you money. 
During the four months of the Egyptian-negotiated cease-fire in 2008, Palestinian militants reduced the number of rockets to zero or single digits from the Gaza Strip. Despite this relative security and calm, Israel broke the cease-fire to begin the notorious aerial and ground offensive that killed 1,400 Palestinians in twenty-two days. In November 2012, Israel’s extrajudicial assassination of Ahmad Jabari, the chief of Hamas’s military wing in Gaza, while he was reviewing terms for a diplomatic solution, again broke the cease-fire that precipitated the eight-day aerial offensive that killed 132 Palestinians.
I'm not sure I see the relevance here other than to build no the ridiculous analysis already discussed and to blame Israel for the deaths of people in Gaza.   
Immediately preceding Israel’s most recent operation, Hamas rocket and mortar attacks did not threaten Israel. Israel deliberately provoked this war with Hamas. Without producing a shred of evidence, it accused the political faction of kidnapping and murdering three settlers near Hebron. Four weeks and almost 700 lives later, Israel has yet to produce any evidence demonstrating Hamas’s involvement. During ten days of Operation Brother’s Keeper in the West Bank, Israel arrested approximately 800 Palestinians without charge or trial, killed nine civilians and raided nearly 1,300 residential, commercial and public buildings. Its military operation targeted Hamas members released during the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange in 2011. It’s these Israeli provocations that precipitated the Hamas rocket fire to which Israel claims left it with no choice but a gruesome military operation.
This is absurd. Israel has provided evidence that Hamas was behind the kidnapping and murder of three innocent teenage boys. Israel named the two chief suspects Amar Abu-Eisha, 33, and Marwan Kawasmeh, 29. They are both Hamas operatives. Israel has released a tape recording of the voices of the Hamas suspects taken when Naftali Frenkel attempted to call the police with his mobile phone. Erakat refers to them as settlers although only one of the three lived in the West Bank and could therefore be classed as a settler by the commonly accepted definition.  

There are so many erroneous facts here it's hard to tell what's going on but stick with me. If you examine the time line of the events proceeding this operation you can see that the claim Israel started this is just wrong.  First off, Israel arrested 422 Palestinians, not 800 and raided 2218 homes not 1300. Nine civilians were not killed during the raids. Each of the deaths has its own background, 3 were heart attacks and others were in response to attacks and were not civilians. 

Ultimately, consider a the situation: Three civilians are kidnapped.  The evidence points to Hamas and Israel brings in Hamas operatives to ascertain where the boys are.  Hamas response is not to help Israel locate the missing children but to fire rockets at civilians. That's the narrative behind the numbers. 
4) Israel avoids civilian casualties, but Hamas aims to kill civilians.
Hamas has crude weapons technology that lacks any targeting capability. As such, Hamas rocket attacks ipso facto violate the principle of distinction because all of its attacks are indiscriminate. This is not contested. Israel, however, would not be any more tolerant of Hamas if it strictly targeted military objects, as we have witnessed of late. Israel considers Hamas and any form of its resistance, armed or otherwise, to be illegitimate.
Yes, Israel considers attacks on its population to be illegitimate.  Erekat said in the first paragraph that the state is responsible for protecting its citizens and cannot have it both ways.  That said, attacks on legitimate military targets would have a lot more supporters within Israel.
In contrast, Israel has the eleventh most powerful military in the world, certainly the strongest by far in the Middle East, and is a nuclear power that has not ratified the non-proliferation agreement and has precise weapons technology. With the use of drones, F-16s and an arsenal of modern weapon technology, Israel has the ability to target single individuals and therefore to avoid civilian casualties. But rather than avoid them, Israel has repeatedly targeted civilians as part of its military operations.
Earlier, Erekat blamed Israel for going after Hamas leadership with a targeted attack but is now advocating those same targeted attacks.  But this is where things are just preposterous once again.  Erakat admits that Hamas targets civilians because they have crude weapons.  If Israel were to use similar weapons would the targeting of civilian populations be OK with Erakat?  Israel spends a fortune on advanced weapons systems to AVOID civilian casualties to the degree possible and should be applauded for making that investment.  Crude weapons are indiscriminate and are intended to create terror.  That's why Hamas is considered a terrorist organisation.
The Dahiya Doctrine is central to these operations and refers to Israel’s indiscriminate attacks on Lebanon in 2006. Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot said that this would be applied elsewhere:
What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on. […] We will apply disproportionate force on it and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases.
Israel has kept true to this promise. The 2009 UN Fact-Finding Mission to the Gaza Conflict, better known as the Goldstone Mission, concluded “from a review of the facts on the ground that it witnessed for itself that what was prescribed as the best strategy [Dahiya Doctrine] appears to have been precisely what was put into practice.”
According to the National Lawyers Guild, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, Israel directly targeted civilians or recklessly caused civilian deaths during Operation Cast Lead. Far from avoiding the deaths of civilians, Israel effectively considers them legitimate targets.
Hamas Hamas digs terror tunnels and their planned to invade Israel during the Jewish New Year and kill and kidnap as many civilians as the could There have also been three other attempted incursions in recent days, the motives which are unclear, but would surprise none if the target was indiscriminate. Unsubstantiated estimates suggest around  child labourers died constructing the terror tunnels, 600,000 of tons of cement  are estimated to have been used in the subset of tunnels so far discovered by Israel Military. In wars sadly there are always unintentional civilian deaths, just as there are always friendly fire deaths, war is chaotic and stressful and human errors happen. No army even the ones with the most sophisticated weapons can avoid this, it has never happened. Nato, US, UK and other ethical armies always inflict civilian deaths.  Israel's environment is arguably the most challenging of all a densely populated urban region where there are multiple documented cases of  Hamas attacking from civilian areas and even the frequent use of human shields. The number of civilians killed in Gaza  is very contestable and both sides gain by either inflating or deflating the ration of civilian to enemy combatant  casualties. The measures Israel takes to minimise civilian deaths are well known. and include roof knocking, telephone calls, text messages, and abandoning strikes if civilians are spotted.  Erakat claims without basis the ""Israel, however, would not be any more tolerant of Hamas if it strictly targeted military objects" It is without basis since there is no precedent of Hamas only attacking military targets.
With regards to the Goldstone report Richard Goldstone distanced himself from the report. Erakat's fails to mention this fact since she is obviously trying to mislead the reader. 
5) Hamas hides its weapons in homes, mosques and schools and uses human shields.
This is arguably one of Israel’s most insidious claims, because it blames Palestinians for their own death and deprives them of even their victimhood. Israel made the same argument in its war against Lebanon in 2006 and in its war against Palestinians in 2008. Notwithstanding its military cartoon sketches, Israel has yet to prove that Hamas has used civilian infrastructure to store military weapons. The two cases where Hamas indeed stored weapons in UNRWA schools, the schools were empty. UNRWA discovered the rockets and publicly condemned the violation of its sanctity.
International human rights organizations that have investigated these claims have determined that they are not true. It attributed the high death toll in Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon to Israel’s indiscriminate attacks. Human Rights Watch notes:
The evidence Human Rights Watch uncovered in its on-the-ground investigations refutes [Israel’s] argument…we found strong evidence that Hezbollah stored most of its rockets in bunkers and weapon storage facilities located in uninhabited fields and valleys, that in the vast majority of cases Hezbollah fighters left populated civilian areas as soon as the fighting started, and that Hezbollah fired the vast majority of its rockets from pre-prepared positions outside villages.
In fact, only Israeli soldiers have systematically used Palestinians as human shields. Since Israel’s incursion into the West Bank in 2002, it has used Palestinians as human shields by tying young Palestinians onto the hoods of their cars or forcing them to go into a home where a potential militant may be hiding.
To deny that Hamas uses homes, mosques, schools to store weapons is crazy there are multiple documented photos and video of homes, schools and mosques being used systematically to store weapons. The UN acknowledged that weapons were stored in two of it's schools one of which was vacant. Hamas does store many rockets in bunkers and encourages its civilian population to act as human shields. In early July 2014 Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri appeared on Al-Aqsa TV and encouraged Gaza residents to act as human shields. There are multiple videos online. There were some allegations of isolated cases of Israel using Human shields in previous operations, as far as I am aware no allegations have been made in the current operation and to claim this illegal and abhorrent practice is systematic is completely false.

As promised I have shown all five points made by Noura Erakat to be wrong. She is a scholar and Attorney and has the resources and knowledge to do a far better analysis than I have, I do it in my time I should be relaxing or sleeping.  Luckily for me I have the far easier side of the argument since I have the truth on my side.