# The price of democracy: The Palestinian 'diet' begins

• News
Bilal
By an Israeli journalist:
Gideon Levy
Haartz

[[The team, headed by the prime minister’s advisor Dov Weissglas and including the Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, the director of the Shin Bet and senior generals and officials, convened for a discussion with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on ways to respond to the Hamas election victory. Everyone agreed on the need to impose an economic siege on the Palestinian Authority, and Weissglas, as usual, provided the punch line: “It’s like an appointment with a dietician. The Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but won’t die,” the advisor joked, and the participants reportedly rolled with laughter. And, indeed, why not break into laughter and relax when hearing such a successful joke? If Weissglas tells the joke to his friend Condoleezza Rice, she would surely laugh too.]]
Since three months around 150000 Palestinian could not get their salaries because Hamas won the election!!

I could understand why the American and EU people do not want their tax money to be sent to a ‘’unwanted government” (although the American are willing to pay hundreds of billions dollars to invade Iraq and to support the Israeli occupation)…. But:

- Why USA using all its power to prevent the rest of the Arab countries from supporting the Palestinian? Even they expressed their anger from Qatari leaders because they gave 50 M dollars to fund the salaries of 150000 Palestinian employees (teachers, engineers …etc)?

- The Palestinian government already had enough money to pay for the employees (thanks to Iran, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Qatar , Norway ..), but the Palestinian Banks can not receive or give this money to employees because USA will consider that as support of terrorism, and then will take the money of these Banks!!

Could anybody claim that letting 150000 Plaestianin families without salaries is justified because they want to force our elected government to change its strategy? Is it a terrorism to starve such a large number of people (around 30% of the people of WB and Gaza) for political purposes?

Last edited by a moderator:

Related General Discussion News on Phys.org
this made me remember when BILL O'REILLY called to starve the afghan civilians:

O'Reilly said, those populations will have two choices: starve, or overthrow their governments.

"Knock their food supply out and their water supply out and those people will have to overthrow the Taliban. It's either that or they die."

"The population must be made to endure another round of intense pain" O'Reilly said of Iraqi civilians.

Regarding Libya, Bill O'Reilly says, "Let them eat sand."
That is 100% terrorism

Curious3141
Homework Helper
Yes, I agree that putting undue pressure on a duly elected government is uncalled for.

Just let them govern and if they step out of line and throw their weight around, attack them militarily. That's the tried and true way.

Hurkyl
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Bilal said:
Why USA ...
Surely you know why. :tongue: Presumably, it would be for the very same reasons the USA will not fund Hamas, né?

Have you just suppressed the other side of the issue for the sake of discussion, or do you really not consider it at all? To cast it in a fairly negative tone:

Hamas is holding the Palestinian people hostage in an attempt to gain legitimacy for its organization without giving up the ideals that cause the world to reject it. And it would like the funding.

On another note, months ago, I read in the various newspapers that people had started investigating ways that the Western world could aid the Palestinian people directly, since it can't be done through Hamas. Are you aware of this?

Bilal said:
(although the American are willing to pay hundreds of billions dollars to invade Iraq and to support the Israeli occupation)
I thought you wanted to talk about Palestine? Why start derailing your very own thread in the opening post? (Or are you simply standing on a soapbox?)

Bilal
Hurkyl said:
Surely you know why. :tongue: Presumably, it would be for the very same reasons the USA will not fund Hamas, né?
I said that they have the right not to support the elected Palestinian goverment, but they have no rights to force other governments to stop supporting the Palestinian!

Hurkyl said:
[Have you just suppressed the other side of the issue for the sake of discussion, or do you really not consider it at all? To cast it in a fairly negative tone:

Hamas is holding the Palestinian people hostage in an attempt to gain legitimacy for its organization without giving up the ideals that cause the world to reject it. And it would like the funding.
I am affected directly by this problem … USA asked for democracy … people voted for change … and then the American impose sanction on the elected government and on the nation!! They also put all their pressure on the rich-Arab countries to stop supporting the Palestinian people, and they warned the Banks from transferring any money belong to the governmental employees!!

If we do not have a democracy, they want to bomb us to the stony ages to impose it by force!! And if we have democracy they will impose global sanction against the entire nation!!

Hurkyl said:
On another note, months ago, I read in the various newspapers that people had started investigating ways that the Western world could aid the Palestinian people directly, since it can't be done through Hamas. Are you aware of this?
EU and the Arab rich countries wanted to transfer the money directly through the UN, but USA rejects that until ‘’our people pay for their wrong choice in the eyes of the Zionist-neoconservatives!"

Last edited by a moderator:
This also remind me of kisinger quote on the overtrowing of the democraticaly elected presiden salvador allende:

kissinger said:
"I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves."
-- Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under Richard Nixon, about Chile
prior to the CIA overthrow of the democratically elected government of
socialist President Salvadore Allende in 1973

russ_watters
Mentor
Bilal said:
Why USA using all its power to prevent the rest of the Arab countries from supporting the Palestinian? Even they expressed their anger from Qatari leaders because they gave 50 M dollars to fund the salaries of 150000 Palestinian employees (teachers, engineers …etc)?
The reason is contained in your previous paragraph and I too wonder if you don't already know the answers to your own questions. They are obvious.

If the US thinks that Hamas shouldn't be supported, then the US will endeavour to convince everyone - not just themselves - to stop supporting it.
Could anybody claim that letting 150000 Plaestianin families without salaries is justified because they want to force our elected government to change its strategy?
When a government relies soley on the support of others, then it should be nice to those who support it. If it doesn't want to be nice to those who support it, it should find another way to support itself. That's life.
Is it a terrorism to starve such a large number of people (around 30% of the people of WB and Gaza) for political purposes?
No. We've had that conversation before. It cannot be terrorism to deny a gift.

Last edited:
russ_watters
Mentor
Burnsys said:
this made me remember when BILL O'REILLY called to starve the afghan civilians:
O'Reilly said, those populations will have two choices: starve, or overthrow their governments.

"Knock their food supply out and their water supply out and those people will have to overthrow the Taliban. It's either that or they die."
That is 100% terrorism
That has nothing at all to do with the situation in the occupied territories. No one is destroying food supplies, they are simply stopping the giving of gifts.

russ_watters
Mentor
Bilal said:
I said that they have the right not to support the elected Palestinian goverment, but they have no rights to force other governments to stop supporting the Palestinian!
I don't know about "force", but influence (or "pressure").... Why not? Flip it over: what gives you the right to say what we can and can't do with our money? That's what you are doing! This "pressure" we can wield on other arab countries is the same economic pressure we are putting on Hamas.

It is absurd to suggest that we should be forced to give money to our enemies and it is absurd to suggest that we shouldn't try to use our influence to get other people to stop giving money to our enemies.
I am affected directly by this problem … USA asked for democracy … people voted for change … and then the American impose sanction on the elected government and on the nation!!
Like you said in your title: "the price of democracy." The price of democracy is responsibility. Now the people are responsible for the negative actions of their government and will be held accountable. It is time for the people to start acting responsibley.

The people who elected Hamas knew ahead of time that this would happen. Israel and the US (and others) were quite specific about it. They made the choice and now must accept and deal with the consequences of that choice.

The Palestinian people are new to the concept of democracy. It is easy to blame others when you aren't in control. They will learn to be responsible for their decisions.
If we do not have a democracy, they want to bomb us to the stony ages to impose it by force!! And if we have democracy they will impose global sanction against the entire nation!!
Life's tough. Take responsibility for it.

Last edited:
Bilal
russ_watters said:
That has nothing at all to do with the situation in the occupied territories. No one is destroying food supplies, they are simply stopping the giving of gifts.

Israel is stealing our monthly tax (50 million Dollars). These tax are enough to support 70% of the annual budget. Also USA warned the Palestinian Banks from giving any money to the employees because they will consider it as supporting of a ''terrorist goverment". Accordingly, they can take their money under their legal system to compensate the Israeli families who lost their individuals during the conflict.

Israel should give back our monthly tax and USA should not “steal” the money of the Banks in Palestine if they give salaries for the employees.

Last edited by a moderator:
Bilal
russ_watters

If you think that we will sell our lovely homeland “PALESTINE” for lifting this siege , you are completely wrong.

These inhuman decisions increases the popularity of the resistance and they just show the fake claims related to democracy and human rights. Is it justified to punish 3 millions civilians by stealing their tax money and preventing the Banks from giving them their salaries? Also the Zionist doing jokes about that? I did not vote , so why I have to be punsihed?

I do not know why your last reply reminded me by OBL and Alqaeda terrorists who justified their attacks against American civilians by claiming that they are responsible about voting for their leaders!!

Last edited by a moderator:
russ_watters
Mentor
Bilal said:

Israel is stealing our monthly tax (50 million Dollars).
Who'se monthly tax? I was under the impression that the money Israel is witholding was grant money. Do you have a source for that?
Also USA warned the Palestinian Banks from giving any money to the employees because they will consider it as supporting of a ''terrorist goverment". Accordingly, they can take their money under their legal system to compensate the Israeli families who lost their individuals during the conflict.
Yes, I know. That's economic pressure.
...and USA should not “steal” the money of the Banks in Palestine if they give salaries for the employees.
It is well established international policy that governments can force their banks to freeze the assets of criminals.
If you think that we will sell our lovely homeland “PALESTINE” for lifting this siege , you are completely wrong.
[shrug] Like you said, the price of democracy. Your choice, and up to you to live with the consequences of that choice. But may I point out that up until very recently, you didn't have a homeland, and your actions will determine if the consolidation of a Palestinian homeland continues.
These inhuman decisions increases the popularity of the resistance and they just show the fake claims related to democracy and human rights. [/qoute] Wow, I was thinking the exact same thing: about the election of Hamas.
I did not vote , so why I have to be punsihed?
Were you eligible to vote? If you weren't, then I do feel for you - you are punished for the mistakes of those who did vote.
I do not know why your last reply reminded me by OBL and Alqaeda terrorists who justified their attacks against American civilians by claiming that they are responsible about voting for their leaders!!
That is a rational justification (it is actually about the only think Bin Laden ever says that's rational). Trouble is, Al Qaeda's response is not equivalent to the one in this issue. Bin Laden actively intends to kill civilians. Here, the choice is yours as to whether or not you will allow us to help save them.

russ_watters
Mentor
russ_watters said:
Who'se monthly tax? I was under the impression that the money Israel is witholding was grant money. Do you have a source for that?
Ok, I checked into that. Most articles I read in the past were vague on it. That's tax money collected by Israel for the PA. What Israel is doing is freezing it - the same as what I said above about freezing assets of criminals in banks by the government. Hamas is a world-recognized criminal organization and as such, its assets are subject to freezing or siezure.

Most of the rest of the money is actual grants. And this isn't the first time they have been cut or witheld:
About $60 million in direct aid, two-thirds of it European, was frozen by donor countries last December in response to the Palestinian Authority's violation of a pledge of fiscal responsibility when it raised salaries by nearly 50 percent last summer. Even before the Hamas victory, that decision led to a projected Palestinian budget deficit for 2006 of$600 million to $700 million, with foreign aid expected to cover only about$320 million of the deficit.
http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/01/31/news/policy.php

If you weren't, then I do feel for you - you are punished for the mistakes of those who did vote.
And what about the children of Palestine? They certainly didn't vote, and they are the most susceptible to starvation and disease.

Amp1
Russ, Hurkl,

Funny thing on the way to the forum today, I began reading Gore Vidal. "The American Presidents - The Real Story Series."(Odonian Press:Dist. Common Courage Press/LPC Group). Funny because so far in some of the replies I've read which somewhat disdainfully and callously expressed a policy which is likely repugnant to the global population with an interest, those replies demonstrated the coldhearted mindset of the policy makers in this countries admin, some what similar to some of the presidents examined in the book(bolded). From what I gathered reading the thread the US isn't just putting preasure on the giftgivers who aid Bilial's country, it is more properly coercion. The practices of Hamas isn't much different than the US as it provoked attacks and committed atrocities against the native americans of this country. Hamas did not arise out of a vacuum. It formed because the people started getting feed up with being terrorized (US definition) by Israel. MNJMO.

Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
russ_watters said:
That is a rational justification (it is actually about the only think Bin Laden ever says that's rational). Trouble is, Al Qaeda's response is not equivalent to the one in this issue. Bin Laden actively intends to kill civilians. Here, the choice is yours as to whether or not you will allow us to help save them.
Russ, this last bit doesn't sound like a strong argument. One could as well say that bin Laden gave America a choice too...but they refuse(d) to pull out of the middle east.

Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Bilal said:
EU and the Arab rich countries wanted to transfer the money directly through the UN, but USA rejects that until ‘’our people pay for their wrong choice in the eyes of the Zionist-neoconservatives!"
Who are you quoting in that last bit ? It sounds all too much like rhetoric to me.

Hurkyl
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Bilal in post #5 said:
Hurkyl said:
Have you just suppressed the other side of the issue for the sake of discussion, or do you really not consider it at all? ...
I am affected directly by this problem ... the American impose sanction on the elected government and on the nation!! ... If we do not have a democracy, they want to bomb us to the stony ages to impose it by force!! And if we have democracy they will impose global sanction against the entire nation!!
So I should take that as a negative answer to my question? You, in fact, do not consider any other side of the issue?

Why should anyone listen to you when all you do is make over-the-top emotional appeals and steadfastly ignore issues that others find important?

russ_watters
Mentor
Gokul43201 said:
Russ, this last bit doesn't sound like a strong argument. One could as well say that bin Laden gave America a choice too...but they refuse(d) to pull out of the middle east.
You're right. Perhaps it could have been worded better - and everyone always has choices. The difference is in the nature of the choices. In the "or else" part: the "or else" here is not shooting people or crashing planes into buildings, it is stopping the flow of aid and siezing money of criminal organizations. Bin Laden's is a positive action intended to kill people, the other is a negative action (stopping something you were previously doing), leaving the consequences to the people left to fend for themselves.

In addition, the options given by the US to the PA lead to a Palestinian homeland and peace. The options given by Bin Laden lead to the destruction of the western world. For the US in dealing with Bin Laden, he gives us the choice of two VERY negatives. For the US in dealing with the PA, the choices are a positive (get a homeland and peace) and a zero (stop getting aid and maintaining the status quo).

In either case, that makes the giving of the choice morally right in one case and morally wrong in the other.

Last edited:
Art
Hurkyl said:
So I should take that as a negative answer to my question? You, in fact, do not consider any other side of the issue?

Why should anyone listen to you when all you do is make over-the-top emotional appeals and steadfastly ignore issues that others find important?
I don't think it is incumbent on Bilal to offer counter arguments to his own supposition.

Art
russ_watters said:
You're right. Perhaps it could have been worded better - and everyone always has choices. The difference is in the nature of the choices. In the "or else" part: the "or else" here is not shooting people or crashing planes into buildings, it is stopping the flow of aid and siezing money of criminal organizations.
and if this leads to starvation?? What then??
russ_watters said:
Bin Laden's is a positive action intended to kill people, the other is a negative action (stopping something you were previously doing), leaving the consequences to the people left to fend for themselves.
If you follow this argument through to it's conclusion then you could argue that the denial of the 'gift' of food to concentration camp inmates was okay, which is patently nonsensical.

russ_watters said:
In addition, the options given by the US to the PA lead to a Palestinian homeland and peace.
And who will determine the borders of this homeland? Will Israel return all of the land it illegally stole? It seems strange to me that Hamas and the palestinian people are being punished for refusing to recognise Israel whilst nobody seems to have a problem with the fact Israel does not recognise Palestine. In fact you have the rather peculiar position were Israel is demanding recognition from a state they do not themselves recognise.
russ_watters said:
The options given by Bin Laden lead to the destruction of the western world. For the US in dealing with Bin Laden, he gives us the choice of two VERY negatives. For the US in dealing with the PA, the choices are a positive (get a homeland and peace) and a zero (stop getting aid and maintaining the status quo).

In either case, that makes the giving of the choice morally right in one case and morally wrong in the other.
Personally I find both sides actions in this scenario morally deficient.

russ_watters
Mentor
Art said:
and if this leads to starvation?? What then??
People starve to death every day in a hundred countries, and foreign aid could be saving them. Does the fact that we aren't giving them aid mean we are murdering them?
If you follow this argument through to it's conclusion then you could argue that the denial of the 'gift' of food to concentration camp inmates was okay, which is patently nonsensical.
Uh, no. Prisoners in a concentration camp are prisoners. They don't have a choice to leave and they have no means of even trying to feed themselves. That's why international law specifies that the captors are completely responsible for the condition of the captives.

That has nothing at all to do with the situation here.
And who will determine the borders of this homeland? Will Israel return all of the land it illegally stole?
Those are different issues and I won't be dragged into a random Israel-bashing argument.
It seems strange to me that Hamas and the palestinian people are being punished for refusing to recognise Israel whilst nobody seems to have a problem with the fact Israel does not recognise Palestine.
Until Israel started giving land to the PA last year, there was never a country called "Palestine". But Israel does recognize the right of the Palestinian people to have a country and is willing to negotiate to give them one (and even to give them parts of it unilaterally). So no, there is no double-standard there.
In fact you have the rather peculiar position were Israel is demanding recognition from a state they do not themselves recognise.
No, that simply isn't correct. Israel does recognize the right of Palestine to exist. Heck, Israel is trying to create it!

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/07/20030729-2.html" [Broken]

For contrast, http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/03/28/mideast.conflict/index.html" [Broken], here is a speech from 2 years ago by the leader of Hamas:
"America declared war against God. Sharon declared war against God and God declared war against America, Bush and Sharon," Rantisi said. "The war of God continues against them and I can see the victory coming up from the land of Palestine by the hand of Hamas."
The difference could not be any clearer: one side is calling for peace, the other side is calling for war.

Last edited by a moderator:
russ_watters
Mentor
Art said:
I don't think it is incumbent on Bilal to offer counter arguments to his own supposition.
No, but it is important that Bilal make it clear he understands what the opposite side is and form coherent arguments that directly address that opposite side.

It makes me wonder too: are you even trying to understand both sides of the issue? It is fine if you want to form a reasoned opinion that is different from mine, but the comparisons you are making make it seem like you don't have even the most basic understanding of the point you are trying to argue against. The differences between the situation here and the scenarios you are painting are huge and clear. When you draw comparisons that aren't even close to what is going on, it makes having a reasonable discussion pointless. It is a stretch to even call those analogies "strawmen", they are so far off.

russ_watters
Mentor
Amp1 said:
Russ, Hurkl....
Just so you know I'm not ignoring you...

I will not respond to your posts - both of them are off-topic, random USA-bashing thread hijack attempts. They don't have anything at all to do with this issue.

Art
russ_watters said:
No, but it is important that Bilal make it clear he understands what the opposite side is and form coherent arguments that directly address that opposite side.

It makes me wonder too: are you even trying to understand both sides of the issue? It is fine if you want to form a reasoned opinion that is different from mine, but the comparisons you are making make it seem like you don't have even the most basic understanding of the point you are trying to argue against. The differences between the situation here and the scenarios you are painting are huge and clear. When you draw comparisons that aren't even close to what is going on, it makes having a reasonable discussion pointless. It is a stretch to even call those analogies "strawmen", they are so far off.
Huh!! I joined this discussion because Bilal was being beat up on by every other poster. None of which it seems made the slightest attempt to see his POV. I think it is fair to say that it is you Russ who fails utterly to see both points of view. Here's a few questions to test your knowledge and perhaps make you think a little deeper on the subject -

1) How many UN resoultions is Israel in breach of?
2) How many UN resolutions are the Palestinians in breach of.
3) How many Israeli civilians have been killed by palestinians and how many palestinian civilians have been killed by Israelis?
4) What sanctions were imposed on Israel when the rightwing lunatic Benjamin Netanyahu was elected prime minister of Israel?
5) How much Israeli land have the palestinians seized?
6) How do palestinians get in and out of the Gaza strip?
7) In what Israeli towns do the palestinians insist the residents carry permits to live there which can be revoked at any time such as the Israelis do to the palestinians in Jerusalem?
8) How many settlements have the palestinians built on Israeli land?

My approach is simple. I denounce acts of barbarity by both sides and I also denounce the duplicity of western countries lining up to condemn the elected government of Palestine whilst giving a free pass to Israel. Extremism breeds extremism and so if Israel were reined in a little by the world community perhaps there wouldn't be the popular support for groups such as Hamas that currently exists. In fact with sufficient pressure applied equally to both sides I'm sure the whole issue could be solved once and for all.

The current pressure being applied by the US is typical of the 'simple solution to complex problems' attitude (also known as 'the might is right' philosophy) that has been proven time and again not to work. Iraq being but the latest example in a long line of foreign misadventures.

Edit - Hmmm well what do you know - Seems the EU agrees with Bilal and me that ordinary palestinians should not be punished. But once again the Bush admin is out of step or marching to a different tune perhaps. BTW Just how much do israeli lobbyists spend in Washington??

US 'blocks' Palestinian aid plan

European diplomats say the US is blocking a plan to resume direct financial aid to the Palestinians.
The European Commission is considering plans to send funds to the office of the president, bypassing the Hamas-led Palestinian government.

Under the proposal, money for basic services such as health and education, could go to Mahmoud Abbas' office.

The commission's report said the plan might "avert or delay" a collapse of the Palestinian Authority (PA).
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4976368.stm

A cynic might think the US and Israel are deliberately trying to goad the palestinian people into some form of mass violent protest to provide Israel with an excuse for a massive military action.

And in answer to my own question about Israeli lobbying I found this
AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] is widely regarded as the most powerful foreign-policy lobby in Washington. Its 60,000 members shower millions of dollars on hundreds of members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. It also maintains a network of wealthy and influential citizens around the country, whom it can regularly mobilize to support its main goal, which is making sure there is "no daylight" between the policies of Israel and of the United States.
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20020610/massing [Broken]

Last edited by a moderator: