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Comment Re: Dozens! (Score 1) 109

As I documented in those articles I posted, the ratio of Palestinians killed to Israelis killed is about ten to one. Most of those thousands of rockets fall harmlessly without injuring anyone. A few of them injured Israelis, and even fewer killed Israelis. The Israelis respond with massive retaliation, killing dozens, hundreds or thousands of Palestinians.

As I also documented, the Palestinians have made many proposals to stop the fighting, and Israel has responded by killing the Palestinians who made peace offers and escalating the fighting. Israel's Shortsighted Assassination By Gershon Baskin.

I've been following the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the 1970s. At one time I was raising money for technology development and medical research in Israel. In the 1970s, it made me very uncomfortable to see that the Israelis were killing many Palestinians, and it was rare for a Palestinian to kill an Israeli. What disturbed me most of all was the cases of Israelis killing innocent children -- not teenagers in demonstrations but young children, even 4-year-olds.

I used to wonder why the Palestinians didn't respond to these killings with violence of their own, and finally they did, although the suicide bombings and bus attacks were more horrific than I had ever expected.

The Israelis responded with what their generals and politicians actually called "disproportionate force" (until their laywers told them to shut up because it was a violation of international law). A Palestinian faction (often opposed to Hamas) would fire a rocket which landed harmlessly in a field, and the IDF would respond with a massive response that would kill Palestinians (who sometimes had nothing to do with the original attack).

An MIT professor once prepared a report which showed that the Palestinians would fire a rocket, and the Israelis would fire back with a massive response. Sometimes there would be a long pause in the Palestinian rocket attacks -- and the Israelis would launch another attack to provoke them.

And the IDF would shoot and kill non-violent demonstrators, and innocent bystanders, in incidents reminiscent of Kent State.

There were Palestinian teenagers who had gone to George Soros' "Peace Camp" in New England, who sat around the campfire singing songs with Israeli teenagers, who returned to Israel and were killed by the IDF for doing nothing.

I've read the Amnesty International reports, and the responses from CAMERA and MEMRI, and I've spoken to many Israeli government officials. After investigating and listening to all sides, it was clear to me that the Israelis started the killings, and weren't trying to break the cycle of violence.

The Amnesty International reports were horribly similar to the stories my own relatives told me about the pogroms in Europe.

They taught me, "Wir schweigen nicht." I recommend that lesson to you.

Comment Re:War crimes or simply war. (Score 1) 109

We are taking the word of B'Tselem, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, The New York Times, BBC, Washington Post, Haaretz, and the Goldstone Report, all of whom sent investigators to the scene to interview witnesses and examine the scene for physical evidence.

For example,

We're taking their word agains the word of the Israeli government, which hasn't responded to the charges except to say that Palestinians generically are lying.

The BBC said, "We have put the family's allegations to the Israelis. So far they have told us that they can not comment on specific cases."

Comment Re:War crimes or simply war. (Score 1) 109

The situation between Israel and Palestine is war, but how is anything a war crime?

773. At about 12.50 p.m., Khalid Abd Rabbo, his wife Kawthar, their three daughters, Souad (aged 9), Samar (aged 5) and Amal (aged 3), and his mother, Hajja Souad Abd Rabbo, stepped out of the house, all of them carrying white flags. Less than 10 metres from the door was a tank, turned towards their house. Two soldiers were sitting on top of it having a snack (one was eating chips, the other chocolate, according to one of the witnesses). The family stood still, waiting for orders from the soldiers as to what they should do, but none was given. Without warning, a third soldier emerged from inside the tank and started shooting at the three girls and then also at their grandmother. Several bullets hit Souad in the chest, Amal in the stomach and Samar in the back. Hajja Souad was hit in the lower back and in the left arm.

[The IDF refused to let an ambulance bring them to the hospital, so they walked. Amal and Souad died. Samar had a spinal injury and was left paraplegic for life. The Israeli government never investigated this event or prosecuted the soldier responsible.]

Comment Re: Dozens! (Score 1) 109
Op-Ed Contributor
America's Failed Palestinian Policy
November 23, 2012

Israel's U.S.-supported policies send the message that the only time the Palestinians will make gains is through arms. The policies penalize peaceful efforts by Fatah, and reward violence by Hamas. Fatah, in 1991, recognized Israel's existence, renounced violence, and agreed to negotiations leading to a Palestinian state. Instead, Israel tripled the number of settlers and Fatah is no closer to a state. Hamas, in 2006, won the election, and refused to recognize Israel's existence or renouce violence. Having seen what happened to Fatah, Hamas refused, and was put under siege. Israeli settlers left Gaza, and Israel returned thousands of prisoners in return for an Israeli captive, which showed Hamas that they could acchieve results from violence. The latest cease-fire rewards Hamas for violence again, by getting Israel to ease collective punishment and extajudicial assassinations (which are against international law anyway). But Israel always ignores the underlying causes -- the denial of human rights and dignity.

Comment Re: Dozens! (Score 1) 109
The Hateful Likud Charter Calls for Destruction of Any Palestinian
Aug. 4, 2014
By Jonathan Weiler

Since virtually every comment on Hamas in American media includes the assertion that the group's Charter rejects Israel's right to exist, it's worth noting the following from the Likud Platform of 1999:

a. "The Jordan river will be the permanent eastern border of the State of Israel."

b. "Jerusalem is the eternal, united capital of the State of Israel and only of Israel. The government will flatly reject Palestinian proposals to divide Jerusalem"

c. "The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river."

d. "The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.

There have been some updates to the platform more recently, reflecting Israel's withdrawal of settlements from Gaza in 2005. But the Likud Party has *never* in its statements of principles, accepted a Palestinian State. Its electoral partner, Yisrael Beitenu, has likewise categorically rejected the possibility of an independent Palestinian State, insisting that the idea is nothing more than a ploy to facilitate the destruction of Israel.

The Hamas charter, of course, does more than just reject Israel as a sovereign political entity. It's a vile document that echoes some of the worst anti-Semitic tropes of the modern era. But on the central question of one side denying the other's legitimacy - it's hard to ignore the symmetry between Likud - the party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - and Hamas.

Comment Re: Dozens! (Score 2) 109
Science 24 August 2007:
Vol. 317 no. 5841 pp. 1039-1040
DOI: 10.1126/science.1144241

Policy Forum
Sacred Barriers to Conflict Resolution
Scott Atran, Robert Axelrod, Richard Davis
Resolution of quarrels arising from conflicting sacred values, as in the Middle East, may require concessions that acknowledge the opposition's core concerns

We went to the Middle East in February 2007 to directly probe issues of material trade-offs and symbolic concessions with leaders of the major parties to the Israel-Palestine dispute. We asked 14 interviewees in Syria, Palestine, and Israel to verify statements for citation. No off-the-record statements contradicted these.

Responses were consistent with our previous findings (1), with one important difference. Previously, people with sacred values had responded "No" to the proposed trade-off; "No" accompanied by emotional outrage and increased support for violence to the trade-off coupled with a substantial and credible material incentive; and "Yes, perhaps" to trade-offs that also involve symbolic concessions (of no material benefit) from the other side. Leaders responded in the same way, except that the symbolic concession was not enough in itself, but only a necessary condition to opening serious negotiations involving material issues as well. For example, Musa Abu Marzouk (former chairman, and current deputy chairman, of Hamas) said "No" to a trade-off for peace without granting a right of return; a more emphatic "No, we do not sell ourselves for any amount," when given a trade-off with a substantial material incentive (credible offering of substantial U.S. aid for the rebuilding of Palestinian infrastructure); but "Yes, an apology is important, but only as a beginning. It's not enough, because our houses and land were taken away from us and something has to be done about that."

Similarly, Binyamin Netanyahu (former Israeli prime minister and current opposition leader in parliament) responded to our question, "Would you seriously consider accepting a two-state solution following the 1967 borders if all major Palestinian factions, including Hamas, were to recognize the right of the Jewish people to an independent state in the region?" with the answer: "Yes, but the Palestinians would have to show that they sincerely mean it, change their textbooks and anti-Semitic characterizations and then allow some border adjustments so that Ben Gurion [Airport] would be out of range of shoulder-fired missiles."
Who Wants to Be a Martyr?
By Scott Atran
May 5, 2003

One given in the war against terrorism seems to be that suicide attackers are evil, deluded or homicidal misfits who thrive in poverty, ignorance and anarchy.

(Actually they are well-adjusted, successful, and educated. Reviews the evidence based on interviews with terrorists.)

Comment Re: Dozens! (Score 1) 109
Who Started the Israel-Gaza Conflict?
By Robert Wright
Nov 16 2012,
A summary of events in the renewal of Israeli-Palestinian hostilities, Nov 8 - Nov 15
By Emily Hauser
There's a constant back and forth, and on both sides, there's always something or someone to avenge.
According to Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as of November 13, Palestinian militants had fired 797 rockets into Israel in the course of 2012 , and according to the Israeli human rights organization Btselem, between January 2009 (the conclusion of the last all-out Gaza war) and September of this year, 25 Israelis were killed by Palestinians, and 314 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces, with six more being killed by Israeli civilians.
Wednesday November 14
Reports emerged that Israel has targeted Ahmed Jabari, head of Hamas's military wing; Israel confirmed the assassination, citing his "decade-long terrorist activity," and said that killing was the part of an operation in which the military struck 20 different targets across Gaza. HaAretz [Note: Later reports indicate that Jabari was considering a permanent truce agreement at the time of his assassination]
Op-Ed Contributor
Israel's Shortsighted Assassination
Published: November 16, 2012
Passing messages between the two sides, I was able to learn firsthand that Mr. Jabari wasn't just interested in a long-term cease-fire; he was also the person responsible for enforcing previous cease-fire understandings brokered by the Egyptian intelligence agency. Mr. Jabari enforced those cease-fires only after confirming that Israel was prepared to stop its attacks on Gaza. On the morning that he was killed, Mr. Jabari received a draft proposal for an extended cease-fire with Israel, including mechanisms that would verify intentions and ensure compliance. This draft was agreed upon by me and Hamas's deputy foreign minister, Mr. Hamad, when we met last week in Egypt.
Gershon Baskin is a co-chairman of the Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information, a columnist for The Jerusalem Post and the initiator and negotiator of the secret back channel for the release of Gilad Shalit.

Comment Re: Dozens! (Score 1) 109

That's a pretty one-sided version of events. Israel denies Gazans airspace, access to their coastline, and blocks imports. Palestinian children are stunted growth because the Israeli government blocked even pasta from coming in.

And yes, Palestinians elected Hamas because they wanted to throw out the existing corrupt party, and since Israelis elected a right winger who said he'd force concessions from Palestinians they voted the same right back.

That's correct. Israel is blockading Gaza. A blockade is an act of war, under international law. A country that is being attacked has a right to defend itself.

I would like both sides to strictly follow international law and abide by humanitarian principles and human rights, but neither side is doing that. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are correct to condemn Hamas for targeting civilians, but they are also correct to condemn Israel for doing the same thing.

The main difference between Hamas and Israel is that Israel kills civilians and says, "We killed them by accident." Hamas kills civilians and says, "We did it deliberately."

Based on many Amnesty International reports, I think the Israelis are lying.

Comment Re: Solution (Score 4, Informative) 196

I liked this part near the bottom of the rules (12 f.)
"The Sponsor reserves the right to amend the terms and conditions of the official rules at any time, including the rights or obligations of the Contestants and the Sponsor.

So kids, Hurry and send in your multi-million dollar product in good working order and we'll give you a pittance and introduce you to the civil legal system!

Your legal analysis is correct.

I once heard a freelance writer give a talk on writing contracts, and she described the worst contract (for the writer) she had ever seen. It was the Redbook "Writing contest."

Redbook readers were invited to submit short story manuscripts, the winners would get a pittance (and the honor of being the winner), and Redbook would own all the rights.

I realized that Redbook was basically asking people to submit stories on spec, in the hope that they would be chosen out of thousands of entries. If they were chosen, Redbook would own the work, and give them a small fee to print it.

That's what contests are. They ask you to work for nothing, compete with thousands of people, and if they like yours better than all the others, they'll own the work and give you a modest payment.

Spending 6 months or a year (or even a month) for $25,000 -- if they feel like it -- isn't a great deal.

If the FTC wants to secure IOT devices, let them hire a staff to work on it. Or let them award competitive grants.

Comment Re:Translation (Score 1) 357

Their business is not an asset light setup. Their business is to cut out the middle man by any means possible and illegal if it is do required. Also to undercut prices by any means possible, illegal if it is required.
First let's ignore the laws concerning the taxi business...

And let's hire some $300 an hour lawyers to come up with reasons why the law is wrong.

And let's hire some lobbyists and pay off some legislators to rewrite the laws our way.

Comment Re:Translation (Score 1) 357

We want to make a PR stunt to show that regulation is killing innovation in the industry and that we're the hip and cool future while our legal team thinks we'll be able to backpedal in time to avoid major economic penalties.

Or, our legal team actually thinks we don't need such a permit and the CA DMV is incorrect in their conclusion.

Or, I'm not paying you $300 an hour to tell me what I can't do. I'm paying you $300 an hour to tell me how to do it.

Comment Re:Translation (Score 3, Informative) 357

relatively safe before they get on the road

No it doesn't. Besides, liability laws do that.

Have you ever sued anybody?

Lawsuits are expensive, the judgment doesn't pay your lawyer's fees if you win, and if a pedestrian or passenger with horrible damages sues a driver who doesn't have a lot of money, all he can collect is the limit of the insurance policy, which may be only a fraction of the damages.

New York City had this problem with taxi drivers, so they raised the insurance coverage, and they also changed the partition between the passenger compartment and the driver's compartment, which gave drivers some protection against robbery but also caused some severe facial injuries in minor accidents.

The other problem with your libertarian ideas is that your fellow-travellers, the Republican pro-business conservatives, are working on tort "reform" which makes it more difficult for people who are injured to collect damages commensurate with the injuries.

Workers Compensation is like that. Would you want to lose an arm, and be compensated for a 25% disability under the no-fault disability system with $175 a week? Most people would rather be working in a factory with government regulations that prevents them from losing the arm in the first place.

The other stunt that your corporate masters are pulling is to put "arbitration clauses" into the fine print of contracts that you can sign.

Any lawyer who handles personal injury cases can tell you that it's a lot easier and cheaper to prevent accidents in the first place than to go to court and try to compensate the victim afterwards. The drivers don't care. If they wind up with a million dollar judgment, they'll just go bankrupt or move back to the third-world country they came from.

Comment Re:N=1, no details (Score 1) 83

If he had a heart valve failure, then he wouldn't be able to walk up 5 flights of stairs.

My broader point is that the internet is a great additional resource for medical education (it won't replace textbooks and journals, much less lectures and labs).

But at the end, you need a doctor (sometimes more than one) to decide what the problem is.

There is a movement now to save money by eliminating doctors and delegating much of their job to nurse practitioners and even computers. They're trying to turn patients into "medical consumers" who are supposed to do their own shopping.

That's ridiculous. It's giving us second-class health care.

These triage nurses don't even save money. They have a tendency to tell people to go to the ER.

That's according to a recent study you can find on the internet.

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