Weekend Reading: Cosma Shalizi (2009): On the Certainty of the Bayesian Fortune-Teller
Liveblogging World War II: August 2, 1944: The Warsaw Uprising

Weekend Reading: Michael Koplow on the Conflict In Gaza

NewImageMichael Koplow: "I mean it when I call these friends and acquaintances well-intentioned; the first group is genuinely and legitimately concerned...

...with Israel’s safety and survival and is terrified by the anti-Semitic outbursts and attacks around the world under the cover of the Palestinian cause and sees no other rational response to the nihilistic and eliminationist rhetoric from Hamas but the current IDF operations in Gaza. The second group genuinely cannot abide seeing hundreds of Palestinian civilians killed and images of dead children on Gazan beaches and blames the Israelis for bringing a tank to a knife fight and using it in ways that seem to cause indiscriminate death while Israeli civilians are relatively safe from Hamas rocket fire. Neither group is going to ever come over the other side or change its views, but that is to be expected. The despair comes from the fact that neither group even empathizes with the other side or remotely understands how someone can possibly arrive at a position different from its own....

So I have kept my mouth shut and hoped that the fighting will end and everyone can go back to posting pictures of their kids and videos of baby animals....

One example of wishing for a reality that doesn’t exist is the hope of many of Israel’s supporters that the world will all of a sudden wake up to the fact that Hamas hides behind hospitals and schools and thus forgive Israel for a billowing Palestinian civilian casualty count.... The Israeli government keeps repeating the same talking points about civilian shields ad infinitum as if it expects to convince anyone who isn't convinced already.... And the longer the fighting goes on, the worse off Israel is going to be.... What the world sees in Gaza... is dead women and children and UN schools being shelled rather than command bunkers under hospitals and UN schools being used as rocket storage depots.

Another... is this meme that Hamas’s problem is solely with the occupation, and that if Israel were to end the blockade, then Hamas would leave the Israelis alone. Hamas does not like Jews.... Hamas built a huge network of tunnels into Israel for the purpose of kidnapping and killing civilians while it was respecting the ceasefire with regard to rockets. So one has to be willfully blind or colossally stupid to argue that its intentions were benign until Israel provoked it. I don’t doubt that Hamas is capable of holding actual ceasefire, and I think that under certain circumstances it could abide by a longterm truce. But nothing that Hamas has said or done points to it quietly going away if Israel and the Palestinian Authority were to sign a final status agreement ending the occupation.

A third example of not accepting the world as it is can be seen in the debate on the role of Turkey and Qatar.... Qatar shouldn’t be rewarded for funneling money to Hamas and providing a home for Hamas’s leadership in Doha, and Turkey shouldn’t be rewarded for harboring the Hamas leader behind the kidnapping strategy or constantly undermining Mahmoud Abbas.... Schanzer and Weinberg/// write... 'A cease-fire is obviously desirable, but not if the cost is honoring terror sponsors. There must be others who can mediate.' I’m not sure in fact that there are others who can mediate.... Any deal will have to involve the U.S. and Egypt, but also Turkey or Qatar as well, and that’s just the reality of things. I wish it weren’t so, but it is, and ignoring the basic structure of the players involved won’t get Israel and Gaza any closer to a ceasefire....

Finally, and perhaps most damagingly, there is the idea taking hold on the right that if given just enough time to keep fighting, Israel can end Hamas rule in Gaza.... Israel made this mistake before in 1982 when it went into Lebanon based on the fantasy of destroying the PLO once and for all.... The quicker that everyone realizes that a political solution is the only long-term one, the better everyone will be. Let’s deal with the world as it is, not the world as we want it.

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