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January 07, 2009

There is a Time for War and a Time for War

By: Bernard Chazelle

Between land and peace, Israel has always privileged the former. The doubling of the settlement population since Oslo is only the latest illustration of this preference. Regarding Gaza, I blogged earlier about Israel's unilateral decision to violate the truce with Hamas on Nov 4th. Kanwisher at al go back to the 2nd Intifada to show how this incident fits a general pattern.

We defined "conflict pauses" as periods of one or more days when no one is killed on either side, and we asked which side kills first after conflict pauses of different durations. [It] is overwhelmingly Israel that kills first after a pause in the conflict: 79% of all conflict pauses were interrupted when Israel killed a Palestinian, while only 8% were interrupted by Palestinian attacks (the remaining 13% were interrupted by both sides on the same day). In addition, we found that this pattern -- in which Israel is more likely than Palestine to kill first after a conflict pause -- becomes more pronounced for longer conflict pauses. Indeed, of the 25 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than a week, Israel unilaterally interrupted 24, or 96%, and it unilaterally interrupted 100% of the 14 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than 9 days.

— Bernard Chazelle

Posted at January 7, 2009 03:28 PM

It is credulous and fatuous to ignore the fact that Israel, as with every other "national" State, harbors territorial ambitions. Gaza is desirable ground, with all those great beaches, and whatnot. What Israel is doing is not in any particularly relevant way different from what the Serbs did to Muslims in Bosnia/Herzogovina in the '90s.

Posted by: woody at January 7, 2009 04:56 PM

I wonder if this latest chapter in Israeli colonialism will put to rest forever the view of poor innocent little Israel shivering in fear of annihilation at the hands of the unreasonable Arab world. The funny thing is (funny as in odd) that the Palestinians just might be people! What a concept. The next logical step would be for Americans to recognize that the U.S. is not just sitting on the sidelines but has been actively involved in the slaughter of Palestinians. In fact we have all been paying for it with our tax dollars. The U.S. is evidently the only nation who can influence the Israeli government to halt the ongoing massacre. We already know Bush isn’t interested in doing so as witness the recent block by the U.S. for a call for ceasefire by the U.N. The nagging question remains – what will Obama do?

Posted by: Rob Payne at January 7, 2009 05:29 PM

Thank you, Bernard. This is very useful -- I'll include it in my next round of letters and phone calls to my congresspeople.

Posted by: Aunt Deb at January 7, 2009 06:10 PM

IN THE BIBLE TIMES that land belong to the Philistines and never did belong to Israel. They may occupy it but I just don't think they will own it.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at January 7, 2009 08:38 PM

Kanwisher et al.? She's not writing on computational complexity, Professor! :)

Thanks for the article; it is indeed useful.

Posted by: erik at January 7, 2009 08:39 PM

erik: She's a neuroscientist. Close enough.

Posted by: Bernard Chazelle at January 7, 2009 09:16 PM

I know, but most people don't toss of et als when referencing articles in the Huffington Post.

Sorry - I find it hard to compete with you & Schwartz in the funny business. I do my best.

Posted by: erik at January 7, 2009 10:07 PM

You know why I hate thinking about the whole mess in Israel? Sphere of influence. I can never hope or want to take part in that BS, but somehow my fate is tied up with it. Fuck that shit.

And the non-interventionist crowd is considered the crazy one. No lets give the damn government more money and more power so they can do more dumb shit that benefits who knows who. HA No no let's just wait and see what Obama does. As if it wasn't obvious to anyone watching that he is an Imperialist ever since the days of the PATRIOT Act.

The problem with Obama and the Demoncrats is they don't disagree that we should be entagled in other countries BS like this, just that they can do it better than the Repugnantcrats.

And you know what? Screw this, here's the solution to this stupid crisis. Israel is on land that was stolen for them. Talk to a lawyer if you need to know what the law thinks about possesion of stolen proprty. Israel is in an indefensible moral and legal position. Their strong physical defense does not change that. ISRAEL IS IN THE WRONG. Read it and weep Jews. Hell, the rational ones amoung you know it anyway.

So bottom line, all concessions must be Israeli.
That is the judgement of an impartial bystander.
Suck. on. that.

Posted by: tim at January 7, 2009 10:49 PM

Tim: You're not an impartial bystander, because you have basic reasoning skills. People who don't are impartial bystanders, people who do are "unhinged". Please get your facts straight!

Posted by: Salty at January 8, 2009 12:49 AM

hv, despite all your bloviating I don't see a single word telling me how it isn't as simple as I said.

Posted by: tim at January 8, 2009 02:35 PM

As I said very clearly, read the damn the article by Gary Kamiya on, "The Israel Rules", that I referred to above, which will tell you exactly why it isn't as simple as you said.

Posted by: hv at January 8, 2009 06:49 PM

By the way, when I say it isn't as simple as you said, I am no way defending Israel for anything. I am simply saying if you're going to make a case against Israel, it has to consist of something much more than "they stole the land"... because almost every state in existence is born in sin and violence, ethnic cleansing, and terrorism.

I have my own arguments for the case against Israel that go beyond just "they stole land", but since you think I'm just "bloviating", I don't see any point in wasting time making that case here. So again, read the article by Gary Kamiya on I don't think he goes far enough, but he makes a pretty good case against Israel's recent actions at the very least.

Posted by: hv at January 8, 2009 07:41 PM