The Dim-Post

December 29, 2008

Eyeless in Gaza

Filed under: general news — danylmc @ 7:41 am

Marty Peretz has a column in the New Republic praising the Israeli bombing of Gaza:

So at 11:30 on Saturday morning, according to both the Jerusalem Post and Ha’aretz, as well as the New York Times,
50 fighter jets and attack helicopters demolished some 40 to 50 sites
in just about three minutes, maybe five. Message: do not fuck with the
Jews. At roughly noon, another 60 air-attack vehicles went after other
Hamas strategic positions. Israeli intelligence reported 225 people
dead, mostly Hamas military leaders with some functionaries, besides,
and perhaps 400 wounded.  The Palestinians announced 300 dead, probably
as a reflex in order to begin their whining about disproportionate
Israeli acts of war. And 600 wounded.

I don’t think the message here is ‘don’t fuck with the Jews’ – I think the message is that the coalition government is beset by allegations of corruption and are afraid they’re going to get rolled by Likud in the February elections; they think that bombing the most densely populated city in the world is a good way to look tough on national security.

Certainly none of the Hamas leaders are going to be harmed in the attacks – they’ll have fled to Egypt long before the bombing started. Since they seem to be utterly indifferent to the lives of their people they can, indeed, fuck with the Jews and will cheefully continue to do so no matter how dire the consequences. The bombing has failed to stop the rocket attacks into Israel.

The Israeli’s look set to invade, which will be grimly fascinating. The IDF has a reputation for deploying highly trained soldiers supported by first-class intelligence, a reputation that took a beating when they went into South Lebanon in 2006 – the IDF and even the celebrated Golani regiments were easily outmatched by the entrenched Hizbollah fighters. Military leaders blamed politicians, who blamed incompetent intelligence reports for the defeat.

Hamas appears to relish the prospect of a ground invasion suggesting that they are dug in and well prepared. Someone is underestimating their enemy here; the leaders of Hamas are smart and competent but they are also prone to delusional mistakes of the ‘Allah will grant us victory’ variety. The leaders of Israel are neither smart nor competant, but they are a lot more rational than their Palestinian counterparts and they do have an overwhelming military advantage.


  1. Is Israel a bully or a victim..?? The world seems divided.

    Make your voice heard…

    Comment by jamesad2012 — December 29, 2008 @ 8:40 am

  2. There is no such thing as a “military solution” to guerillas/terrorists (as the US have come to realise in Iraq). Israel’s military might may suppress the problem of Hamas for a while, but only at enormous cost. The only long-term solution will be for both sides to stop kicking each other and start listening. This is currently as likely as Klaatu coming down and telling us all to live in peace or he’ll kick our asses.

    Like you, I predict Israel will invade Gaza and Hamas will evaporate, leaving the civilians to take the hit. When Israel pull back in a few weeks, both sides will claim victory. Both sides will actually have lost, but not as much as the civilians in Gaza.

    Is Israel a bully or a victim? Neither – Israel is STUPID.

    Comment by macdoctor01 — December 29, 2008 @ 10:44 am

  3. “……the most densely populated city in the world……..”

    Not wishing to draft you into the book of “useful Levantinian idiots” who, devoid of any journalistic rigor, contribute and perpetuate ongoing myths, but Danyl, an idiot you certainly are not, the title of your posting – Eyeless in Gaza – reflects the erroneous and ubiquitous held belief that Gaza is the most densely populated city in the world.

    By far and away, the city leading the world as the most densely populated (people/square Km) is the Indian city of Mumbia at 29,650/Km2 and as a perspective to the ranking, further down the list, is Cairo at 9400/Km2 while London has 5100/Km2 with NZ’s Auckland having 2000/Km2.

    According to , Gaza City has a population of 400,000 people and an area of 45 Km2 giving a population density of 8,888/Km2 pitching it just below Sao Paulo in Brazil, which is No.25 on the list.

    Further, according to the Gaza strip has a population of 1,500,202 and an area of 360Km2 resulting in a population density of 4167/Km2 indicating the claim that the Gaza Strip is the most densely populated place on earth is demonstrably false.

    The relentless and widespread intellectual pursuit of misinformation propagated from that part of the world, such as the population statement regarding Gaza, are designed to garner sympathetic support while the real agenda for the ruling Hamas elite is revealed in their Hamas Covenant ( , which should be fully read in order to understand the racist and genocidal philosophy underpinning their agenda of pure undiluted religious fanaticism.

    Comment by Serum — December 30, 2008 @ 9:33 am

  4. i think it’s more straight forward than a wag-the-dog situation. The ceasefire was up for renewal and Hamas thought that inceasing the rocket attacks would be a great opening gambit and Israel countered that with a massive retaiation that no doubt owes something to the perception they didn’t do too well in Lebanon. A perception I think was wrong.

    But Change is just around the corner. I don’t believe that things were made any worse by the Bush admin, the peace process was pretty much over by the time he came to office, but it will be interesting to see what Obama and his foreign policy team have in mind.

    Removing a large part of the West bank setllements will be a necessary part of any solution but I doubt there’s any democratic government in the world that would risk a major civil war that such a confrontation with the settlers would entail.

    I think the only way an Israeli govt would do that is to have a very large carrot – and that could only be the acceptance by the Arab states of Israel’s right to exist. perhaps team Obama can achieve that.

    But Land For Peace didn’t exactly work too well with Hezbollah. Which I think is behind this sort of massive response – the exchahnge of land has to bring peace. Not more claims for land like what we see with Hamas and Hezbollah.

    Comment by Neil — December 31, 2008 @ 8:57 am

  5. Gaza City is not “the most densely populated city in the world”. Far from it.

    According to Wikipedia Gaza City in 2006 had a population of 409680 and covers 151 square km. It therefore has a population density of 2713 people per square km.

    By comparison (also from Wikipedia, 2008 figures) Tel Aviv has 390100 people in 51.788 square km, giving a population density of 7532 people per square km. Even allowing for some population growth in Gaza City since the 2006 figures were released, Tel Aviv’s population denisty is at least double that of Gaza City.

    Bombing either city will not solve any problems however.

    Comment by Slade — December 31, 2008 @ 10:24 am

  6. And Macau (while admittedly not a city) has a population density of more than 18,000 per square kilometre.

    Comment by LisaS — December 31, 2008 @ 10:32 am

  7. Slade – As an independent avenue for confirming the area of Gaza City, try using the wonderful attributes of Google Map with its scale feature to check out the area covered by Gaza City. You will soon discover that the Wikipedia figure of 151 Km2 has been overstated and thus placing unbridled reliance on Wikipedia as a source is unreliable and should not be left unchecked.

    Comment by Serum — December 31, 2008 @ 12:18 pm

  8. Serum, thank you for pointing that out. Out of interest, what population density does google map report for Gaza City ?

    Comment by Slade — December 31, 2008 @ 12:52 pm

  9. Slade, as far as I am aware Google Map does not reveal the population density of Gaza City but from a reference there, the following details are indicated:

    “Gaza (Arabic: غزة‎ transliteration: Ġazza, Hebrew: עַזָּה‎, ʕazzā) is the largest city in the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Territories. It has a population of approximately 410,000 in the inner city and 1.4 million people in the metropolitan area.[1] The word “Gaza” is often used to refer to the entire Gaza Strip, so the city is frequently termed “Gaza City” for clarity.”

    This agrees fairly well with your figure for the population of Gaza City but the use of the term – metropolitan area – confuses the overall question here of population density and because of the 1.4 million associated with this area it can only mean the total Gaza Strip.

    But there again thinking outside the square, or in this case the strip, perhaps the use of the term “metropolitan area” is being used as a cunning strategic term to confuse those of us who are unaware of the miraculous additional population brought about by the return of the prophesied Mahdi, the Ultimate Saviour of whom Shiites have no doubt that he is with us. With Ahmadinejad acting as the main backer of Hamas and his deep personal attachment to “mahdism”,having as mayor of Teheran, built a spectacular boulevard through which the mahdi would enter into the capital, he has now brought about those ultimate weapons that Hamas has now threatened to use – the all encompassing suicide bombers – perhaps this is why Ahmadinejad is currently silent and Hamas is so vocal and confident.

    Comment by Serum — December 31, 2008 @ 4:15 pm

  10. Gaza City had the worlds greatest population density when I was there about nine years ago – maybe some other place is now. Tel Aviv doesn’t even come close; the two cities are like different worlds.

    Comment by Danyl Mclauchlan — December 31, 2008 @ 4:17 pm

  11. Regarding the “most densely populated” question: What is correct is that Jabalia refugee camp in North Gaza is the most densely populated place on earth, where over 110,000 Palestinian refugees live in an area 1.5 square kilometres. They lost their homes in Southern Palestine (now Southern Israel) in 1948.

    Comment by Yusra — January 17, 2009 @ 10:00 am

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