Talk:Gaza War/Archive 4

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Arabic interwiki

I'm afraid the Arabic article about the events in Gaza does not qualify as an inter-wiki. It simply doesn't describe the events in a way that we can consider more-or-less equivalent to the English article. It is called "The Gaza massacre" and has a very one-sided and incomplete account of what happens in Gaza and southern Israel. Any attempt to edit the article and add information encountered reversions, and personal attacks about racism and supporting genocide. The least we can do is avoid misleading the English speaking users to think that the Arabic article is equivalent to this article. DrorK (talk) 11:27, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

It is the Arab perspective. If you want to work on that article, please do. Also, if English-only readers can't read arabic then there is no issue with including it here because it won't mislead them (since they can't read Arabic.) And those that can read Arabic can help improve its accuracy. Remember that Wikipedia is a work in progress and there will always be regional biases. --John Bahrain (talk) 12:46, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Well, in the current atmosphere there no changes are accepted, and in its current state, it is simply not equivalent. Actually there will never be an equivalent because the English Wikipedia don't have such article. BTW, the NPOV approach and the pursue of "cold" restrained and balanced description of facts is not limited to a certain Wikipedia. It is a good idea to have more information relevant to English speakers on the English Wikipedia or to Arabic speakers on the Arabic Wikipedia, but it doesn't mean the English Wikipedia should be written from an "Anglo-Saxon perspective" or the Arabic Wikipedia from an "Arab perspective". DrorK (talk) 13:05, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
It sounds like the article just needs a move. There were earlier proposals that this article be moved to "Gaza massacre" or something similar and they were not accepted. Thus it does sound like it is the same general article just with different contributions who bring a different perspective and are probably very emotional right now (the Arab world is overwhelmingly angry about this.) I am sure that the Hebrew Wikipedia article is much more supportive of the Israeli perspective than the English Wikipedia article too -- it is just how it goes. It is undeniable that each Wikipedia will reflect the core perspectives of those contributing to it -- it is inescapable because Wikipedia is really a reflection of the interests and perspectives of its contributors, not a reflection of reality as it is. --John Bahrain (talk) 14:01, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Well, the Israeli entry is about the military operation itself. Pretty straightforward, in the same manner other military operations are described; What forces, when, where, what targets, reported success rates, etc. --Boris "Nomæd" Aranovič (talk) 14:27, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
That's right--calling this article "The Gaza Massacre" or any equivalent was quickly dismissed. That means it is, by consensus, not the title, or subject matter, of this article, and if that IS the title or subject of an Arabic-language article that's been interwiki'd with this one, then the wrong article has clearly been interwiki'd. If the Arabic-language Wiki community chooses to change the title and subject matter to something that translates to this one (or create a new article to that end), or conversely the consensus here is to shape the article to concern a "Gaza Massacre", then the interwiki would be valid. As of now it should certainly be removed. --Hiddekel (talk) 18:46, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
This is hardly a secret. Of course the Arabic Wikipedia writes from a non-neutral perspective on Israel/Palestine articles. -- tariqabjotu 14:20, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
And so does the English Wikipedia and the Hebrew Wikipedia. All the I-P and A-I conflict articles and anything tangentially related are always very bad, sometimes I wonder why I even bother, but then I realize that if we fail our readers by letting this slip, we are failing the whole project. If this project goes down, it will be over these types of articles: I want to know I did the best I could to ensure it didn't go down that way.--Cerejota (talk) 15:37, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
I suggest you read the Arabic article in question before suggesting the the en or he Wikipedias have such articles. As a past/current contributor to all three Wikipedias I can assure you that ar-wp has some very good articles, but not the one we are talking about, and there's a limit to what you can call "an equivalent article". Sure it's not a translation nor a 1:1 mirror-version, and yet some resemblance is required. DrorK (talk) 17:10, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Agree with Drork on this. If you think articles on this subject on the English Wikipedia are "very bad", those on the Arabic Wikipedia, and this one in particular, are appalling. -- tariqabjotu 17:27, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Disagree on this, but anybody can look for themselves, here is the arabic wiki entry translated: Nableezy (talk) 21:41, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
It is quite appalling they refer to Hamas militants as 'martyrs.' I wonder if this is the POV of Hamas or the Arab world in general (as the previous discussion suggests it's the Arabic POV). If this is rated a good article, I wonder if there are any entries there that deserve to be inter-wiki'd. Can someone please provide a link to a translation of the Hebrew wiki entry for comparison purposes? Wikieditorpro (talk) 22:12, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Would you rather they be called terrorists as the hebrew wiki does (translated page: )? I don't think any of the 3 (en, he, or ar) are totally npov, but to say one is worse then the other I dont entirely agree with. And the term martyr is generally used in the Arab world for such casualties, including the major satellite channels (al-arabiyya, Al Arabiya does not. MassimoAr (talk) 13:01, 2 January 2009 (UTC) al-jazeerra, dubai tv, . . . ) Nableezy (talk) 22:24, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
WP:BIAS links to documentation about the known systemic bias in the en.wikipedia essentially (but not only) because of the non-random demographic selection of en.wikipedia editors and suggests ways to try to overcome that bias. It would be reasonable to expect somewhat similar types of biases in the ar.wikipedia and he.wikipedia with the obvious differences. Which bias is closer to the truth? Is the en.wikipedia bias least biased because it's least biased? That's a non-argument. As long as the subject is essentially the same, i don't see any valid basis to not put in the interwiki links. Poor quality of articles is not an argument to not interlink IMHO. Some bilingual speakers of ar or he may start at en and only help NPOV the ar or he articles if they know that they exist. And vice versa. Probably there's a guideline page somewhere about when to interwikilink or not. My guess would be the only case when not to would be the risk of forks - not the risk of differing NPOVs. Boud (talk) 00:37, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

until know i have only user drork's judgement about the arab article and will not rely upon that. and, if we start this way, of course also the hebrew article would have to be examined (by a neutral user).--Severino (talk) 12:48, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Or, you could look at the article through the Google translation links provided. It's not a perfect translation, but even without any knowledge of Arabic you can use the interwiki links (or an Arabic-English dictionary) to confirm that the keywords (like the use of "Zionist" over "Israeli" and the title "Gaza massacre") are accurate. The Hebrew article seems less obvious in its biased stance, and, in fact, it seems they borrowed a lot of elements from this article. -- tariqabjotu 13:11, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

who borrowed elements of the hebrew article? the editors of the arab article? how so, if the one is so biased and the other so balanced. or did you mean the hebrew editors copied from the english article? even if, who says the english article is the neutral one?--Severino (talk) 13:23, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

I didn't stutter. I said what I meant and meant what I said. Whether the English article is the neutral one is irrelevant (although I would say it is most neutral of the three, and generally is among the most neutral, due to the diversity of speakers of the English language). The Hebrew article is more similar to this article than the Arabic article is. -- tariqabjotu 13:44, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

so, which relevance does it have for you then, that -according to you- elements in the hebrew article are "borrowed" from here and at large is more similar to the english one? for me it doesn't have any relevance.--Severino (talk) 14:01, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

The relevance is that Drork said he doesn't believe the Arabic article is similar enough to the English article to warrant an interwiki link. However, I believe the level of dissimilarity needs to be much higher for the interwiki link to be inappropriate. That is, it has to be on a different topic. Despite the Arabic article's overt bias, the article is clearly about this event. -- tariqabjotu 14:30, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
Let me put it straight and simple: The Arabic article is nothing more than anti-Israeli propaganda. While the articles in English, Hebrew and other languages are informative despite some biases, the Arabic article is written as propaganda. In fact, it violates most rules to which all Wikipedias adhere. The editors in ar-wp refuse to change the nature of this article. So be it, it is not a proper time to discuss problems on the Arabic Wikipedia. However, the English article cannot direct to such propaganda as if it were an equivalent article. This is simply improper and misleading. DrorK (talk) 18:19, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
BTW, I do not read Persian as well as I can read Arabic, and yet the Persian article seems to be informative and well written. It is hardly a secret that Israel's relations with Iran are not very good to say the least, and yet the Persian speaking Wikipedians seem to produce good articles even about sensitive political matters. DrorK (talk) 18:29, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

a user from the belligerent country claims to know arabic and (not so good) persian and accuses the users from "the other side" to have authored propaganda while the article in his language (and others) "are informative despite some biases". very convincing.--Severino (talk) 20:49, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Severino, if you have a translation that says differently, please present it. Otherwise, you have nothing to say. Being Israeli (or Arab or any other nationality) does not make one unqualified to speak on this issue. Editing is based on facts, not personal attacks. -- tariqabjotu 21:16, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
Lol @ Arab translated article. Seriously guys, if that article was in the English wikipedia, it would be a candidate for deletion. :D It screams bias, if not propaganda, and doesn't even attempt to be remotely neutral. LOLOLOL. Everyone is up their @ss in b.s that they can't see what's right in front of them. Wake up! Wikifan12345 (talk) 09:01, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Severino, your accusations against me are despicable. You are suggesting that my claims are false because I'm Israeli. You are really taking this discussion to a very low level. DrorK (talk) 12:04, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
I didn't read Severino as saying you are making "false claims" on account of being Israeli per se. They were just making a point about apparent bias, and how no one is going to immune be from it (by contrast I might add, I do see several editors on this talk page - in this section and elsewhere - mocking perspectives and news/information sources simply because they happen to be Arab or Palestinian). As for the inter-wiki link, I scanned through the Google translation of the Arabic WP page. Leaving aside any questions about what might be lost in Google translations, and the fact that the page will change over time (as this one does) - yes it is written from a strong Arab perspective and comes across a little scrappy (in translation), but I don't see where there is such a serious problem that the link has to be removed. For example -
  • The reference to "martyrs"? As has been pointed out, this is how people killed in conflict, whoever they are, are often referred to.
  • The "Zionist Entity" reference? Not the best thing in there perhaps, but it is a term that - like it or not - is sometimes used in the Arab world. It also only appears to be there once or twice (and may well be removed of course at some point). Most of the references are to "Israel" or "Israeli".
  • The "massacre" references? Well if that's what standard Arabic sources are calling these events, then it's perfectly reasonable for the Arabic WP to refer to that, even in the title. You know, it is a little arrogant and illogical to demand that the Arabic WP use the same, translated title as the English WP, or that the page there should be "equivalent" in terms of content to the English page. And someone may care to spend 20 seconds scouting around here for articles here which are named "XXX massacre", where far fewer people have been killed.
Biased? Yes it is, of course. But let's not fool ourselves that there isn't bias the other way as well, even if we can't see it, or refuse to. --Nickhh (talk) 12:47, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Hi guys, I am one of the main editors of the article in the Ar-Wi, just want to tell u one thing, the name of the article is Gaza Massacre and the article states it clearly that this is the name of the operation as ADOPTED by the arabic media, on the other hand, the artilce states the other names of the opertion. Now on the other hand, at certain points those who are killed are called martyrs but they are called terrorists in He-Wi!
Another thing, He-Wi is taking what's been said by the Israeli government as a state of fact (i.e. reasons for the assault) while the Ar-Wi takes what's been said by Hamas as a state of fact (more or less). For us, arabic wiki editors, we look at the english version of the article as a complete bias towards the Israel side, and at the Hebrew version of the article as if it was taken from Tzipi Livni diary.
While I was reading the English/Hebrew article I felt that I am reading an article consisting of one word: POV POV POV POV POV POV POV.... Hamas says the assault has nothing to do -directly- with the rockets launched, why isn't that mentioned in your NEUTRAL articles? Hamas says that the assault is MAINLY targeting civilians, why isn't that mentioned in your neutral articles? Hamas says that the assault is designed to terrorise the Palestanian people why ins't that mentioned in your Neutral article?? and by mentioned here I mean to be included as a fact, not as a claim, the same way you are dealing with Israeli claims.
I was the one who added the phrase, Israeli Officials says that the reasons for the attack is ..... and I supported it with sources. One thing to Drork, how many times did I tell u, if you want to make your edits do so, no one can stop u, but please cite your sources, I mean we all know that around 400 were killed up until now, but there is sources to support this number, what drork want to do in Arabi wiki is to add and add and add without sources. NO ONE CAN STOP ANY EDITS in one condidtion CITE YOUR SOURCES. Don't let Drork mislead you, you are ALL welcomed to provide me with whatever you want to be added to the Arabic Wiki article (along with the sources) and I'll be more than happy to add the edit. Wiki Arabic is one of the most Neutral wiki I've visited. Thanks all. Yamanam (talk) 13:23, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Some background about Yamanam - He doesn't speak a single word in Hebrew, so he cannot read the he-wp's article. He has a map of Israel on his Arabic talk page saying it is "occupied Palestine which will soon be freed". He is responsible for articles in Arabic such as "The Gaza Holocaust" Israel's plan to destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque and other propaganda articles. He came here to import this propaganda to the English Wikipedia. If he's not a troll, I don't know what is. DrorK (talk) 13:34, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Calm down Drork, I don't read a word in hebrew but I can use concerning the article Israel's plan to destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque: I admit that I created this article, then after a second thought I decided to change it to: Excavations of Al-Aqsa Mosque since I felt that the first article is not necessarily a fact (Although I am 100% convinced that it is a fact but I can't prove it). And come on Drork, who of us doesn't have his own political views, we all do, the trick is how can u edit without allowing your views to influence whatever u r writting/editing, which, I am afraid, is a skill that you need to work on. Yamanam (talk) 13:47, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Oh no, you're not going to drag me into this. I could write a book about the way you introduce political propaganda as if it were sourced facts. Luckily it is quite easy to trace these fallacies, as I did more than once on ar-wp. You have many supporters on ar-wp who'd buy any crazy argument from you. Luckily this is not the way we do things here. DrorK (talk) 13:54, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
This is aside of the point. Inform me guys if u need any help in the Ar-Wi. Yamanam (talk) 14:33, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Please do not feed this troll, even when he asks for food so nicely. DrorK (talk) 14:48, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
DrorK, getting back to the point, with respect I don't think your arguments for removing the link are at all convincing.
- "does not qualify as an inter-wiki."
...based on what criteria ?
- "the English article cannot direct to such propaganda as if it were an equivalent article. This is simply improper and misleading."
...the role of the interwiki link is to link to "nearly equivalent or exactly equivalent pages". That's it. Nothing more or less complicated than that and nothing about protecting people from propaganda, bad words, bad hairstyles etc etc. It doesn't seem unreasonable to consider the Arabic page as nearly equivalent whatever it's shortcomings at the moment. Furthermore, would it not be better to have the Arabic interwiki link there (as it is for all of the other non-English pages on this event) simply to increase the exposure of the page to potential editors ? I don't really see how removing the link helps. Just a thought. Sean.hoyland - talk 15:35, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

While I do agree that the Arabic article is lacking in terms of NPOV, and if anyone who understands Arabic takes a look at the talk page there he will find people actively discussing this, so it is not like mass NPOV disregard, I see removing interwiki in protest of NPOV violation is unprecedented and uncalled for. Simply claiming the articles are not talking about the same topic because of some bias dispute and using interwiki as a vehicle to bolster such opinions is not the right thing to do IMHO. --Shipmaster (talk) 00:52, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Propaganda is all about the SUPPRESSION of information and censorship. A void is created which can then be filled with dehumanizing stereotypes. By this standard, we in the Anglosphere are the most propagandized people on the planet. The rest of the world knows us, because the whole world has access to "our" corporate media, but we, for the most part, do not have access to the world. Thus, we know almost nothing about the people Israel is now busy slaughtering.
Wikipedia, unfortunately, is not exempt from this systemic bias, since WP:RS, essentially, means "corporate media", and every attempt to present the perspective of the victims is vehemently and ferociously opposed. The attempt to block the Arab interwiki is part of this process, whereby we who pay Israel's bills are kept in the dark. In the end, we are all harmed by this enforced blindness, even the Israelis. We Americans are led by the nose, right over a cliff, and we are unable to help the Israelis to restrain their violence and recover their humanity. NonZionist (talk) 05:01, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
What you did by bringing back that interwiki is totally unexceptable. Most people agree here that the ar-wp article does not qualify for an interwiki, and your opinion, as much as it is respected, cannot override other respected judgements. We are not talking about a regular expected bias here. We are talking about an intended effort by many editors in the ar-wp to turn their "equivalent" article (so to speak) into anti-Israeli propaganda. This is very evident from reading the talk page of that article. The Arabic article is based exclusively on Arab sources, many of which are unreliable or are delibaretly misinterpreted. When en-wp directs to a foreign language article through interwiki it asserts that the article is equivalent and well written. An article titled "The Gaza Massacre" cannot be said to be equivalent to this article. The very naming proves otherwise. Furthermore, once English speaking Wikipedians know the Arabic article is not only badly written but actually intended to be used as propoganda, it cannot cooperate with this trend. Sorry, the interwiki to ar-wp is off the table unless they rewrite it. DrorK (talk) 12:45, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Just to give you a hint about the nature of discussion about that Arabic article, let me translate "Yamanam"'s response to me, when I tried to balance the article a bit: "Listen Drork, if you want to add your racist opinions which comes from the entity of your occupying terroristic Zionist racist state, do it based on reliable sources and not upon your caprices..." This was his reaction for changing "massacre" into "Israeli attack" and deleting a statement saying it was the greatest Israeli massacre against Palestinians since 1967, a statement which was introduced on the first day of the attack when the number of casualties wasn't even known for sure. Any other attempt (by other users) to introduce changes to the ar-wp article were replied in a more polite manner, but with a refusal saying that the article is good enough and neutral enough, and "we have plenty of sources". They do have plenty of sources but they use them quite strangely - Pro-Hamas sources are used to attest for the terminology they use ("massacre", "Israeli occupation forces" etc.), while the Arabic versions of CNN and BBC are there to attest for pure data. Just as an illustration: "30 people were killed in the barabarian attack by the Israeli occupation forces" ("30 people" as the Arabic BBC says, "barbarian attack", "occupation forces" as Al-Jazeera says). There are also plenty of unreliable sources in the list there. DrorK (talk) 13:04, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Drork, En/HE-Articles include alot of POV, y don't u try to remove those POV, simply becuase those POV are pro-israeli and anti-Palestine - at the other end of the interwiki, at the Ar-Article, you are always trying your best to eliminate any fact that is considered as a POV from your perspective, and usually those "POV" happen to be anti-israel and pro-Palestine. This means u r not after neutrality and NPOV, u r only after removing any anti-israeli and pro-Palestine statments even if they were facts (mainly from Ar-Wi). Before anyone jump to conclusion, I delcare that I am against any/all POV.
BTW even the En-Article mentions that this was the bloodies one-day toll in 60 days, this questions your intentions when u tried to remove the very same paragraph from the Ar-Article.
One last thing I was under a lot of emotional pressure when Drork came and started falsifying facts, my family in Gaza are under fire and this guy comes and tries to change facts supported by sources just because he is trying to remove any anti-israeli fact. This is my point of view concerning our conflict. Yamanam (talk) 13:49, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for your reply. I have not brought back the interwiki: I would not act without consensus. You, apparently, DID act without consensus when you deleted the link. To me, deleting access to other information and perspective is censorship. It hurts us all. It even hurts the aggressor, because it allows the aggressor to inhabit a world of dangerous self-delusion. We NEED that information. We NEED to know what our victims are thinking and saying!
As I learned when I first became an editor, WP strives for verifiability, not for truth. There IS NO perfect truth: biased opinion is ALL we have. Once you take off the blinders imposed by your own propaganda system, you will see that the en. and he. wikipedias are hugely biased. Here, almost all criticism of a certain Nazi-like regime is suppressed, because the corporate WP:RS sources we rely on do not want to offend that regime. We who live in a glass house should not throw stones.
Finally, it is not the job of the aggressor to judge and criticize the writing quality of the victim. You and I do not sit in judgment for the rest of the world. Nobody appointed us to serve as gods. Arrogance is probably what Yamanam means by "racism" -- our arrogant denial of the very existence of others as human beings. If we had a little more humility and more willingness to LISTEN to others and accept their EXISTENCE, we would need far fewer bombs and wars. As others here have said, a COLLABORATION would then develop, in which ALL wikis would benefit. NonZionist (talk) 18:06, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Re "Most people agree here that the ar-wp article does not qualify for an interwiki". Well actually a quick count suggests that it's 10-5 in favour of including it, for what it's worth. The fact that you believe it to be "propaganda" or incorrectly titled is kind of neither here nor there (and as noted, if most Arabic sources do use the term "massacre", why on earth should English sources override that? It's the Arabic WP. As also noted there are plenty of articles titled "XX massacre" on the English WP). I'm not sure what the rules or guidelines are here, but surely there need to be exceptional reasons for removing an interwiki like this, beyond one or two editors saying they don't like the way the article is put together, even if they were to have good reasons for taking that view.--Nickhh (talk) 13:49, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Nickhh - I'm not sure you understand the concept of Wikipedia. Wikipedia, in any language, is supposed to convey information in as neutral way as possible. I think I proved in a detailed and honest way that ar-wp doesn't align with this principle, at least as far as the article in question is concerned. I do not understand what kind of exceptional reasons you need. These exceptional reasons are all here. It is not a matter of like or dislike, and it is not a matter of belief. It is clear, simple and documented. Calling an event a "massacre" just because many Arabic sources call it that way, is not in line with the principles of Wikipedia, even when we talk about the Arabic language Wikipedia. Preventing users from editing articles claiming their are "Zionist racist" is certainly not in line with Wikipedia's policies for any language. There are way too many reasons here to refrain from linking this article to its Arabic "equivalent". As for Yamanam - he is a troll who successfully destoyed the Arabic Wikipedia and he will be happy to do the same here if we let him. I suggest taking anything he says very cauciously. Needless to say, he doesn't speak Hebrew, so he cannot judge the value of the he-wp articles. I can cite a lot of problematic statements and edits he made in ar-wp over a long period of time. I'm not sure he is the person we would like to trust here, even under the principle of assuming good faith. DrorK (talk) 14:48, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, I understand the concept very well. As for the massacre point, please read this page and have a look at some of the pages on English Wikipedia which call things massacres, because that's the standard way of referring to them in the English language record; or equally sometimes because editors with an agenda here want to stress the description for effect. Neutrality doesn't mean blandness, nor does it mean we should ignore the main viewpoint of relevant sources. I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with the characterisation "massacre" in this case, I'm just remarking that it would not appear to be against WP principles as such, and surely cannot be a reason to exclude the interwiki. Nor can the fact that one editor involved on Arabic wikipedia was allegedly rude to you. There are page titles and page content on the English WP that make my eyes pop out - some of them get removed quickly, others get to stay for a long time. It doesn't follow that these should be excluded as inter-wikis - again, would we not need an exceptional reason to exclude the link to the Arabic article here? --Nickhh (talk) 15:01, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
The killing of civilians in Israel by Palestinians are often referred to a 'massacres' in the media and here in WP. It's hardly surprising that the Arabic article would use that term for this event given the number of civilians killed so far. It's emotive in this context but hardly a stretch from most dictionary definitions. Drork, can I again try to appeal to you to consider that increasing the exposure of the page to potential editors might be a better approach. Sean.hoyland - talk 14:56, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
What you are doing here is an argument for the sake of arguing, while ignoring most of the points I mentioned above. A "massacre" is a term that can be used in the right context. This is not the right context as example all Wikipedias but ar-wp. There is not a single Wikipedia save ar-wp that uses this term in the title for such an article. Furthermore, the ar-wp editors block any attempt to introduce information, sources or terminology which contradict their political views. Yamanam is the main figure in introducing this approach, and unfortunately he gains a lot of support from people who think Wikipedia is just another political forum. If you read the citation I brought earlier, you'll understand what I'm talking about. I think I brought all the evidence in the world why this interwiki is inappropriate, and I think there is no need to continue this debate. You are right - excluding an interwiki is an exceptional measure, but this is an exceptional case, where the article in question deals with the same subject but by no mean can be said to be equivalent, let alone written in the standards of Wikipedia. DrorK (talk) 16:01, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
No Drork, what is happening is that you have removed a link and people are giving you the opportunity to justify that move rather than simply restoring the link. If it turns out that you have failed to convinced enough people the link will get restored. It's a wiki. Sean.hoyland - talk 16:32, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Some people here are convinced. Some don't want to be convinced. There are serious and just arguments for my move all over this discussion, and yet I am still discredited. I am not sure this is the way things should be conducted here. DrorK (talk) 17:06, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
The arguments against censorship are more convincing than the arguments for it, and that will always be so. This is, to some extent, a democracy, and in a democracy, the views of others matter as much as your own views: You are no more discredited than others here are discredited. We are EQUALS, ar., he., and en. all on the same level. It's not perfect, but it's the only way society can work. NonZionist (talk) 18:06, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
That you do not mention the people that -are- not convinced is telling. Anyway, interwiki links to articles that cover the same subject. Quality is no criteria for inclusion of an interwiki. Even more so, since each different Wikipedia also has differing guidelines. If you think otherwise, provide us with a link to the corresponding policy. Otherwise, just stop. Lunus (talk) 17:14, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, but we're not all wrong and simply blindly refusing to be convinced by the brilliance of your argument. If I may, can I summarise the position - Drork you say that, in your view, the Arab WP article is extremely POV from the title onwards and therefore should not be linked; most other editors here are saying it may or equally may not be seriously biased (as may this article seem to outside readers - I've certainly seen some very odd material being dumped in here occasionally, and perfectly good material blocked) but we need a better reason than that to exclude the interwiki anyway. That is, you have two hurdles to jump here, and you haven't gotten over either yet. Your simply asserting that it's not a good enough article in your eyes, well, just doesn't cut it. Why not look at it this way if it helps - people will be better able to see quite how biased the Arabic WP must be if the link remains. --Nickhh (talk) 17:49, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Dror, I am very sorry the discussion between you and Yamanam reached that point, I am also sorry about your decision to stop contributing to ar.wp, I understand the heated stance both of you come from. however, you keep going back to whatever you exchanged with him as an example to the quality of discussions on ar.wp, The talk page contains contributions from more than ten other people, neither of which is even involved in your exchange with Yamanam, topics there range from toning down NPOV , renaming the article, increasing the number of non-arab sources and other corrective measures. I don't see how this is not a normal wikipedia article -albeit a controversial one- in the process of formulation. And I see the number of people here agreeing with adding back the interwiki more than the ones not agreeing (in fact, I see the most opposition is mostly from you based more or less on your exchange with Yamanam). Moreover, as Lunus said, if you can produce a different criteria for including interwiki we would like to see it, in the meantime, I am adding it back. --Shipmaster (talk) 17:57, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Drork, you aren't "discredited". You read English, Arabic and Hebrew and therefore can contribute a lot more than most people. I'm sure many people appreciate that and understand why you are uncomfortable with the interwiki link. If the Arabic article needed sentences like 'The car is red. My sister opened the big door. This is a book" I would fix it myself with my fantastic Arabic language skills. WP needs people with language skills like you. Sean.hoyland - talk 18:13, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
I strongly support including the link. Lapsed Pacifist (talk) 18:34, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
As long as ar-wp talks about "Gaza massacre" this interwiki is out. End of story. DrorK (talk) 18:59, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Sorry Dror, but it is not up to only you to say, I see a near-consensus here, and only you right now is arguing against --Shipmaster (talk) 19:07, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
I am not gonna participate in any argument with Drork. And to cut long story short, I am the one who first created the article in Ar-Wp, and I named it Gaza Operation any one can review it so if Drork is claiming that I had a hand in naming it Gaza Masscare then I think we need to double check his claims. Now after I created this article other users came and changed the name and this guy, Drork, came in and started dumping info to the article without proper resources so I didn't allow him to do so since his edits are without any reliable nor verifiable sources, and this is not the first time he did that, he always does the same in Ar-Wp and expect us to accept his edits. One question to u Drork, how many times did I delete your edits that are supported with relaible and verifiable sources? ZERO. Don't insert me in as a reason for deleting the interwiki, cuz I have no hand in naming the article Gaza Masscare and u can see the talk page of the article I said, I'll never reject any name for this article as long as there is a consensus on it.Yamanam (talk) 20:19, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Re Drork's comment above - WP:IDONTLIKEIT and WP:OWN, encapsulated in one line. Sorry but interwiki links are standard practice as far as I know, and - for the 10th time - without a compelling reason to exclude one in this case, and given the apparent consensus here, it's in. End of story. --Nickhh (talk) 22:27, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
The question of NPOV is one for the editors of the Arabic Wikipedia, not us. If you look at the List of Israeli civilian casualties in the Second Intifada, many of the attacks are referred to as massacres - where is the discusssion about the neutrality of that? It seems fair to me to call a conflict in which almost 500 people have died in the span of a week, and thousands injured, a massacre, especially when other articles on the English wikipedia refer to the events were as few as 4 Israelis have died as massacres. The fact remains that the Arabic article is the Arabic equivalant of this one, regardless of its content, and as such it should be linked to. In either case, the title has been changed to الهجوم الإسرائيلي على غزة, which translates to "The Israeli Offensive on Gaza". -Amjra 14:59, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Infobox: Strength

The infobox states that Israel has "176,500 troops (total)". Surely we should only list the amount of troops involved in this operation? (I am not sure how many we would then show on the Hamas side.) Also, as Israel has said it has destroyed 2/3 of Hamas rockets, maybe we can get some numbers on Hamas' rocket arsenal. Chesdovi (talk) 00:34, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Have added that Hamas accumulated about "10,000 missiles and rockets". Chesdovi (talk) 00:44, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
Any source saying that 6,600 or so of those have been destroyed? I know they are equivalent, but I don't want to sound WP:SYNTHy, and we shouldn't report they have 10,000 missiles if 2.3 of them are destroyed. Thanks!--Cerejota (talk) 02:35, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
The WT (questionable source) story on 10,000 rockets does not name any source for the figure. We also don't know if all 20,000 Hamas members are combatants. One side is Hamas, the other is the IDF, if we mention total Hamas strength then we have to mention total IDF strength to be balanced. The word "total" is included in a note to both the IDF and Hamas figures. RomaC (talk) 04:11, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
This is not quite accurate. The reason that total Hamas strength is mentioned is that a overwhelming majority of Hamas combatants are located in the Gaza Strip. This does not apply to the IDF, which, even assuming there will be a ground incursion, will use only a small fraction of its total strength. 176,500 is also an incorrect figure because it is simply the amount of regular soldiers. Obviously rear-front corps like the Adjutant Corps are not actively participating; the 20,000 for Hamas refers only to combatants. On the other hand, so far about 9,000 reservists have been called up.
Having said all that, I would just remove both figures, as I think this is an immediate problem and don't wish to drag out this dispute. The situation in the infobox is getting worse by the edit, and now it has a weird figure of '6,500 reserve troops (total)' for Israel, which is not only incorrect, but also misleading because the IDF clearly said that this would be a regular army operation.
-- Ynhockey (Talk) 23:31, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
Agreed that we cannot be as accurate as we would like to. Wiki convention in conflict infoboxes is to list involved parties, their commanders, troop strength and casualties. As this is a controversial article for many some editors, we should stick to Wiki conventions. Yes Hamas members are in Gaza but clearly the IDF is involved in this conflict even though few if any IDF members are physically in Gaza. I don't see the point of physical location when we are talking about modern warfare. Removing the reserves number for the time being as regular troops strength is verifiable and reserves are a new development. RomaC (talk) 02:54, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
I disagree with this move. The convention is to have fighting strengths listed for each battle, not the total troop strength of a given army. For example, in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, it would be sort of weird to put 1,447,076 soldiers for the US strength. The fact is, there are IDF units participating in this operation, and there are those that are not. Since so far there have only been airstrikes and some artillery strikes, we can write 'Air force<br />Gaza Division'. No one said that exact troop strength needs to be given.
The situation with Hamas is totally different, of course. All Hamas combat units are presumed to be active in either preparations or firing rockets, and the IDF estimates their strength at 15,000 at this point. On the other hand, they too have a structure and there is no fighting on the ground at this point, so it would be misleading to the unfamiliar reader to give the current Hamas strength as 15,000 (or 20,000).
Therefore, in my opinion, both strength numbers should be removed, with an emphasis on the Israeli number which is completely misleading and incorrect. In addition, while my personal experience has no bearing on the article, having been in combat support in the last war, I will tell you that the IDF is a giant body which does not commit all its forces and it's completely wrong to suggest that all forces are involved in some way. In fact, in the 2006 war (which was much larger than this operation, so far), the vast majority of the IDF (both regular and reserves) was about as involved in the conflict as the farmers of China. Speaking of Lebanon, the article on that war says in the infobox: Up to 30,000 soldiers in the last few days (+ IAF & ISC)[5][6]. This is how it should be, really.
-- Ynhockey (Talk) 04:44, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Exactly, for the infobox ideally we will find out the number of participating IDF and Hamas combatants, but for the time being we only know total strength, and so we note "total" beside the two parties' figures. Like the Hamas fighters you mention, I would guess IDF troops are also active in "preparations" as they currently in a war zone. But my guesses about military matters, just like you personal experiences with the IDF, are not relevant to our Wiki project. RomaC (talk) 07:18, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

RomaC has removed Hamas strength: 20,000 rockets, from the infobox stating that it's "not a reliable source, also if we are going to list total Hamas firepower we should list total IDF firepower". In that case we should also removed helicopters and aircraft involved, b/c it is therefore unbalanced. Or should we add how many rocktes have been fired so far? Chesdovi (talk) 12:43, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Sorry I forgot about that. Yes, the source for "20,000 rockets" was from a questionable publication that named no source for its guess-timate. The Qassam attacks article shows about 150 rockets fired in the first two days of the conflict, that could balance the estimate of what weaponry the IDF have deployed so far in the strikes. News reports range from 20-100 Katyusha and Qassam rockets fired per day since the strikes began. How about: "Several hundred rockets (used from December 27 onwards)"? RomaC (talk) 13:56, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

What is the rationale for removing all weapons and munitions strength figures from the infobox? RomaC (talk) 11:48, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Ask Flayer: [1]. Chesdovi (talk) 13:41, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

The 'Strength' for Israel should be returned to 176000 as this is their total potential strength. 20000 is the total number of militants, we have no way of knowing how many of them are prepared to fight.

Jandrews23jandrews23 (talk) 11:13, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Legality of the conflict

There should be a discussion of what is legal under international law. I'm no expert but this should include:

  • right to resist occupation
  • right to defend citizens
  • illegality of collective punishment
  • obligation for an occupying force to protect those in the territory
  • terrorism
We don't want this article to get bogged down in legal issues which belong on the main article of the general conflict rather than the current round of attacks. The only place the legal issue should come in is as quotes by major governments about Israel actions, although ive yet to hear it described as an illegal response except by the usual suspects. BritishWatcher (talk) 14:42, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
First, please sign your comments using four tildes (
). Second, I don't think this has much of a place in this article. These are recurring issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and I think they are better discussed extensively on different articles about human rights, briefly on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict article, and only very briefly on specific articles like this one (i.e. by just linking to articles with more detail). -- tariqabjotu 14:44, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
The legality of the present conflict is a very interesting and relevant aspect of the topic. However, the question is what do we "know" in the WP:NPOV + WP:RS + WP:NOR sense about the legal aspects? Can you find any quotes by the Gaza Strip de facto government (Gaza Strip), by the Israeli government or by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) about legal actions (e.g. through the International Court of Justice) that they will take? Or statements by notable lawyers or similar? The problem with using our (wikipedians') common sense and describing what aspects of international law are relevant here is that applying common sense in this domain is highly controversial and unlikely to lead to any easy consensus. There would immediately be concerns that we are adding Original Research to the article.
An example of what could be included, if and only if it were specifically for this conflict of the past week, which it is not, would be something like the situation for the conflict as a whole, e.g. On December 13, 1997, Prof. Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law, recommended that "Palestine Should Sue Israel for Genocide before the International Court of Justice". He outlined the legal procedure that he recommends. with the reference properly formatted. That particular notable information is only relevant here in the background section, but the background here should be a summary from other in-depth articles, where NPOV decisions on NPOV summaries should be made, not here.
An obvious point is that whether or not the present actions by either side count as war crimes, violation of international law by an occupying power, or worse, depends on things like intent and the degree to which one of the actions was a necessary action in self-defence avoiding any actions that could risk civilian casualties, the question of "who started first?" vs "who responded disproportionately?". Should wikipedians decide these? Obviously not. Many socio-political groups and organisations have interests in pushing their preferred POVs on these. We have to either wait until a court case occurs at the International Court of Justice or the Gaza Strip or Israel (or the PNA) state that they will take legal action, or at least have some reliable sources publishing legal opinions.
So i tend to agree with tariqabjotu here - unless a specific legal action is taken regarding this intensive conflict phase, legal issues are general and so have their place in the more general Israeli-Palestinian conflict article. Boud (talk) 19:18, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
What legal issues could there be? Hamas has been bombarding Israel for months with rockets and mortar shells. This is a completely legitimate act of war on the IDF's part. Jtrainor (talk) 22:55, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
There are a lot more aspects to the conflict than just that. See Israeli-Palestinian conflict for details. As for your specific opinion, do you have any court opinions or other reliable sources for issues of public international law supporting this legal opinion? For example, did Israel submit a request for the indication of provisional measures of protection? Did Gaza Strip violate the "indication of provisional measures of protection" (equivalent of a temporary restraining order)? Boud (talk) 02:05, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree. This is beyond the scope of the discussion unless it becomes a RS/V issue, which it hasn't for the current actions. In fact, Israel is not a signatory of the ICC, and has repeatedly not accepted UN resolutions (in particular those around the partition and the Six-Day War) so issues of legality are POV (i.e. international legality is based on the acceptance of jurisdiction by sovereign nations).--Cerejota (talk) 02:32, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Events change quickly! Now it seems that we do have a very solid WP:RS. i have to sleep now so if someone wishes to think about where this should go in the text, feel free to go ahead without waiting. "Statement by Prof. Richard Falk, United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories", By Richard Falk, Source: United Nations Human Rights Council, "The Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip represent severe and massive violations of international humanitarian law as defined in the Geneva Conventions, both in regard to the obligations of an Occupying Power and in the requirements of the laws of war. ..." (emphasis and wikilinks added just for the purpose of this discussion, i haven't checked the links). Boud (talk) 04:35, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Done. Boud (talk) 23:25, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but that guy is clearly biased. The way he says it, one would think that Israel is indiscriminately carpet bombing the Gaza Strip, when in fact they have no option but to attack civilian areas-- their enemies are, after all, purposely concealing their facilities therein. Furthermore, that organization was specifically created ONLY to investigate alleged violations by Israel, and as such, it is not a reliable source for anything other than what that organization says. This article from UN Watch my prove pertinent: Jtrainor (talk) 02:34, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Same here. Falk is clearly not an objective speaker (hardly can he be, comparing Israel to the Nazi Germany). I believe that the section should be removed entirely due to the arguments made above. But if it stays, we must have more reliable sources than Flak, and we can certainly not feel comfortable with the entire section relying ONLY on Falk's propositions.--Omrim (talk) 03:40, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Haha, year Falk's always been a heavy criticizer of Israel regardless of what they do. By wikipedia policy, he should not be considered a legal expert or even a professional expert on the subject. He is not a lawyer or judge, his opinion is less notable than Jimmy Carters. Plus, he got his facts wrong. It remains to be seen if "hundreds of civilians" have been killed, currently the figure is less than 90, if that. Until more information is published, which I'm sure in the next week there will be plenty of b.s questioning the legality of the war, this has to go or the section should be renamed to something that emphasizes his opinion. Maybe move the topic to "Reactions of Academics", I don't know...Wikifan12345 (talk) 04:15, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Jtrainor: if you are a professor of international law or similar and have published a statement on legally acceptable military strategy under the Geneva Conventions and other aspects of international law, especially in this particular set of events discussed in this article, then please give us a link to your externally published opinion. Our own wikipedians' opinions on what Israel's "options" are are only marginally relevant. Boud (talk) 12:34, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Omrim: of course you are welcome to add other reliable sources, e.g. from professors of international law from other recognised universities. Whether or not Falk is biased is not for us to judge: we are not claiming that what he says is a fact. The facts that he is an emeritus professor of international law at Princeton University and that he has been chosen by a process which is by construction much less biased than the selection process of en.wikipedian editors are arguments strongly suggesting that his POV is less biased than ours, but they are not sufficient to quote his POV as fact. With this, i agree. That's why his statements are NPOVed. Boud (talk) 12:34, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Wikifan, you seem to claim that "By wikipedia policy, [Falk] should not be considered a legal expert or even a professional expert on [international law because he's] always been a heavy criticizer of Israel regardless of what they do." Could you please point us to a wikipedia policy that says that notable people who consistently criticise Israel (regardless of Israel's actions) should not be considered as legal or professional experts? i have to admit being sceptical regarding the existence of this policy. Boud (talk) 12:34, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Boud, we would all appreciate it if you would please stop using bolded words to emphasise your point. It's rude in netiquette, similar to using all caps. We can still read perfectly without the bolded letters, thanks. -- (talk) 09:00, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Jtrainor: The same argument you use against Palestinians could be used against the Israelis ten times over. Jonathan Cook demonstrates that Israel sites its own military facilities next to Arab civilian areas, using Arab towns as human shields. See Evidence of Israeli 'Cowardly Blending' Comes to Light, Jonathan Cook, 05 Jan 2008. You would then be forced to conclude, by your own logic, that Palestinians "have no choice but to attack Israeli civilian areas" -- the more so since Israel continues the occupation and the blockade and the checkpoints and the terror from the air. If you could move beyond the "Omniscient" corporate media and look at things from the perspective of the VICTIMS of our genocidal policies, you might come to a very different conclusion about what is legal and what isn't. NonZionist (talk) 05:24, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

The Legal Status section is turnning ridiculous, which is what I was exactly afarid of. Now Falk's so-called balancing statement (about the illegality of firing Qassamas) has been removed, and on the other hand people are starting to cite law school textbooks in order to show that the Israeli actions do have legal justifications. I sugget we lose it altogether.--Omrim (talk) 12:30, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Israel vs Gaza Strip claimed violations

Someone removed Falk's statement that Gaza Strip is violating international law. Please provide a reason why. Falk is an emeritus professor of international law at Princeton University and has been appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council as United Nations Special Rapporteur on "the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967". Surely he is well qualified to describe human rights violations by Gaza Strip. If someone can find other reliable sources on opinions of international law, then please do so. Boud (talk) 12:49, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

I was the one who removed the source (though not the text). I don't object to Falk's background, but I do object to the fact that it comes from a webblog, which is not a reliable source. Particularly troubling is that this is a blog that is devoted to "the resistance." Saepe Fidelis (talk) 22:31, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Must an expert be neutral to be valid as a reference (question honest more than rhetorical)? I have strong opinions on most of the things I know a lot about, though Middle East policy isn't one of them.Calmofthestorm7 (talk) 02:41, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
No, a source doesn't have to be neutral, because there is no such thing as a neutral source. So I think Falk is just fine as a source. The problem is that's we're quoting him off of a blog, not out of anything resembling an official publication. Saepe Fidelis (talk) 15:32, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Arbitrary selection of elements of international law

There are many, many elements of international law, not just wikisource:Fourth Geneva Convention, so i don't see any point in us wikipedians choosing which elements of international law are most relevant. That's why i removed the paragraph quoting Art. 28 of the 4th Geneva Convention and the uncited Oppenheimer POV. Boud (talk) 12:49, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Boud, please try to see my point: I have no doubts that Falk is an expert in Int'l Law. However, Law is not about facts. Law is about fitting facts to legal definitions. Every definition has sub-definitions, exceptions and exceptions to the exceptions. In sum, law (and specifically Int'l law) is an interpretative field. Bringing one opinion of one prof. which is known to "take sides" in this specific conflict does not serve objectivity. Of course, his propositions are NPOV, but it is also stated that he is an emeritus prof. from a known university (which gives hime credibility). Why not mention that he is both a professor and a that he previously compared Israel to Nazi Germany (for the sake of NPOV). Bringing other views is also not productive here becasue all views are INTERPRETATIVE. For every argument we can find counter-argument. For example, why deleting the textbook citation? So what if Int'l law has many aspects? art. 28 is most certainly one of them. Instead of deleting it, why don't you bring another aspect to counter argue it? See where I'm getting? there is no end to it. This should be deleted, and re-started (if we wish to do so) as a separate article (only that way we may present many - not even most - relevant arguments). Please consider it --Omrim (talk) 13:05, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
For example: Did Israel Use "Disproportionate Force" in Gaza?. There is no end to it (mind the fact that the article is of course not from an impartial writer, just goes to show that for every argument we can find counter-argument when legal issues are at hand).--Omrim (talk) 13:19, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Boud, you need to cut the appeals to authority. Your rhetoric seems to claim that just because this Falk guy might know more about international law than we do (something which is questionable), we should accept what he says as the truth without reservation. I'm sorry, but that's not how we do things around here. I suggest you examine WP:RS more closely. Jtrainor (talk) 14:04, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Omrim: You point out that the Law is about fitting facts to legal definitions, or rather facts and claims of facts. i agree. Why we mention that is an emeritus professor rather than his discussion of Israel and Nazi Germany is that a process of selection by the academic community of lawyers consensed on judging Falk as sufficiently reliable, neutral and objective to give him his professorship status, while opinions on whether or not he made a valid link between Israel and Nazi Germany have not gone through such a process.
Your argument about getting into an endless cycle of argument and counterargument would be valid if we did not have WP:NPOV. But we do have the WP:NPOV process. Wikipedians do not judge the individual opinions, instead we try to go to a meta-level where we judge the selection processes. We do not choose which articles of the Geneva Conventions are most relevant, we let the professionally recognised professors of international law choose them. There are many less of them than us, so there is a better chance of converging on a limited set of interpretative opinions. Boud (talk) 01:40, 3 January 2009 (UTC) (ambiguous wording corrected Boud (talk) 02:54, 3 January 2009 (UTC))
Jtrainor: appeals to authority are what WP:RS is all about, though it's a bit more subtle. We don't have access to internal decision-making mechanisms in CNN, NYT, BBC, we don't know much of how they negotiate with their respective governments and advertisers on sensitive issues. But we consider them more reliable than essentially-anonymous wikipedians.
Secondly, of course we do not accept what Falk or Weiner/Bell say as fact without reservation. We NPOV what they say. Falk/Weiner/Bell say/state/claim that such-and-such. Boud (talk) 01:40, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Suggestion to delete the legal section altogether

As per my arguments above (i.e. that legal issues are interpretative of facts, rather the being facts; that this section is likely to become a bashing arena, with no productive results (there is going to be nothing there but "we said, they said"); and that every source mentioned so far is clearly not objective) I sugget to delete this section. We may want to start a completly new article about it. I see no point in bringing together a bunch of non-objective speakers, put them in the article, and note they are not objective. If none is objective, can't we just ignore them?--Omrim (talk) 19:03, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

I disagree. However, I think it should be brought in porportion with the rest of the article. As long as the material in the section is notable and reliably sourced it should stay, but it should not give undue weight.VR talk 19:19, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
I disagree, also. Deleting references to legality simply advantages the criminals. Law exists for a reason. Without it, we descend even further into totalitarianism. Is that what we want? If we were living in the 1930s and discussing Germany, would it not be appropriate to include a section on the legality of Kristallnacht, say? If legality was important then, why is it not important now? NonZionist (talk) 05:38, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Where did everybody go?--Omrim (talk) 22:32, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

i also disagree, in case it isn't obvious. Both Israel and Gaza Strip have to accept that the legality or illegality is discussed by lawyers and will possibly be judged in an appropriate court. We cannot hide this information. Boud (talk) 01:40, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Agree. This has not been taken to any world court. But if you insist on putting it in, than equal weight must be given to Israel's view, which many here are doing their best to completely silence. Tundrabuggy (talk) 02:42, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
    • Regarding equal weight for Israel: In the present revision, the Israel section has approximately equal length paragraphs with one paragraph saying that the Israeli actions (which had occurred) are illegal (929 characters in the rendered version) and the second paragraph predicting that Israeli actions (which had not yet happened) would be legal (867 characters). The Gaza Strip section has a section saying that the Gaza Strip actions are illegal (806 characters), and a section saying that the Gaza Strip actions are legal is missing (0 characters). So equal weight probably also applies to Gaza Strip, unless some are more equal than others. You could help get to an equal weight status by finding an international lawyer's opinion stating that the Gaza Strip's actions are legal under international law. Boud (talk) 03:10, 3 January 2009 (UTC) (minor correction Boud (talk) 03:16, 3 January 2009 (UTC))
  • Boud: why shouldn't we wait until - as you stated - it is "judged in an appropriate court" just as in the case of the West Bank Barrier. There, the legal section is considerably shorter and makes more sense since IT HAS BEEN JUDGED. Lets not place ourselves instead of the plaintiffs, defendants ot judges. Lets report facts, not opinions of the facts' implications --Omrim (talk) 03:12, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
    • Also according to the West Bank Barrier precedent, we shoud at least re-title the section as "opinions of the operation" instead of "legal status". We can add a "legal status" section when the legal status is made clear. --Omrim (talk) 03:16, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
      • In that case it would also make sense to delete weiner and bell as their opinion is not "of the operation".--Omrim (talk) 03:18, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
        • Probably "Legal opinions" would be better than "Legal status" - you're right about that. "Opinions of the operation" omits the word "legal", which defeats the whole point of having a section on legal aspects, and "of the operation" would lead to the section being globally POV, since we would have no legal opinions on Gaza Strip rocket attacks against Israel, just opinions saying that the Israeli attacks are legal or illegal. Boud (talk) 04:36, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
        • The legal opinions are reliable facts in the sense that prominent international law lawyers have declared them publicly. When/if the attacks by both sides have been judged in court, then the opinions will become less relevant. Until then, they are relevant IMHO. Boud (talk) 04:36, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
          • So how about changing it to "Opinions of the legality of the operation"--Omrim (talk) 04:34, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
            • i don't see the point of including the word "operation". By having just "Legal opinions", it's implicit that these are "Legal opinions on whatever this whole article is about". The article is mostly about the Israeli attack on Gaza Strip, but to some degree it's also about Gaza Strip attacks on Israel which preceded that and which are continuing to occur. Boud (talk) 04:39, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

OK. Agreed.--Omrim (talk) 04:48, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Done--Omrim (talk) 04:58, 3 January 2009 (UTC)


The Weiner/Bell document was last modified on 25 December (see the pdf file at the source website or the archived version) - two days before the attack. So it's not a statement about this particular event. Strictly speaking, it should only be used in the Gaza Strip subsection to describe what Weiner/Bell see as human rights violations by Gaza Strip, not as a description of Israel's actions since 27 December, since Weiner/Bell did not know what has taken place since then, though they must have known that the planned attack was being discussed in the media (AFAIK, it was discussed publicly). However, in the interests of balancing POVs, it seems to me that the Weiner/Bell pre-dated justification of the Israeli airstrikes should at least stay there until/unless we get a similar POV after the initial attack took place.

Also, i agree that we don't want to make the section too long. Let's try to keep the key points claimed by international law professors from both sides, without entering into too much details. Boud (talk) 01:40, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

I don't understand: how do you know it's from December 25? I can't find a date in the article. Saepe Fidelis (talk) 22:36, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Hamas Covenant

Thinking aloud: wikisource:Hamas Covenant was deleted for copyright reasons, so we can't just wikilink it. Adding an external source in the text is not a good idea. Probably just an internal link from the Hamas page would be best... Boud (talk) 01:49, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Done: Hamas#Hamas_founding_charter. "Intent" (what people aim to do) is AFAIK very important in any legal case. The translations which seem to come via Israeli authorities or pro-Israel sources don't put Hamas' intentions in a good light. If the translations are wrong, though i don't have any evidence that they are, then Hamas supporters had better provide their own English translation somewhere on the web. In any case, we can presume that the wikipedia entry Hamas has been reasonably NPOVed, or else will be some time in the future. Boud (talk) 02:00, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
"Hamas" means "Resistance", and the Hamas Charter calls explicitly for resistance to "Nazi-like" behavior. E.g., Article Twenty condemns "Nazism" that "does not skip women and children, it scares everyone." These "Nazis":

make war against people's livelihood, plunder their moneys and threaten their honor. In their horrible actions they mistreat people like the most horrendous war criminals. Exiling people from their country is another way of killing them. As we face this misconduct, we have no escape from establishing social solidarity among the people, from confronting the enemy as one solid body, so that if one organ is hurt the rest of the body will respond with alertness and fervor.

As soon as the Nazis go away, the need for Hamas (resistance) goes away.
If we Americans were on the right side of the moral fence, we would support this opposition to Nazi-like behavior and stand in solidarity with the victims of this monstrous tyranny. That we do just the opposite is proof of our own moral bankruptcy and our betrayal of our own founding principles. I used to wonder how the Germans managed to be so blind to their own evil. Now I see the dynamics that keep us Americans imprisoned in the same system of dehumanizing and ultimately genocidal evil. NonZionist (talk) 08:33, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
I would like to remind NonZionist that wiki talk pages are not forums and to ask him to step off his soapbox. Thank you. Tundrabuggy (talk) 03:12, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the reminder, Tundrabuggy. My point is that our stereotypes prevent us from making common cause with people who share many of our beliefs: We are throwing away opportunities, and the current debacle is the result. You're probably right: I need to be less vocal. On the other hand, if our uninhibited dialogue here helps us to move beyond imprisoning stereotypes, then the article that results may help us to avoid future assaults and invasions. NonZionist (talk) 05:36, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Brevity and undue weight

Please keep the legal section brief. Yes legal issues are important, but they are a very minor part of the conflict (given they are only theories, no legal proceedings have taken place). Also, please ensure that both sides are given due weight for the sake of NPOV. Cheers, VR talk 18:08, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

They are neither theories (scientific sense) nor hypotheses. They are legal opinions by people well-qualified to make such statements. Regarding due weight, this requires respect for due weight from everyone editing here (including me, and i've tried my best). As for the importance of legal opinions, the fact that some of us seem to be unwilling to accept that legal opinions by professors of international law should be cited, because we judge those opinions to be absurd, is probably a sign that this part of human knowledge is in fact important and notable for this moment of this particular conflict. People don't often get so sensitive about trivial information, especially in this sort of subject. Boud (talk) 18:45, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Actually i see that someone just restored the section to at least a workable state. It could probably still do with some improvement, but at least people could work on specific details of the sentence structures etc. and discuss what is most NPOV and neutral. Boud (talk) 19:07, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
I have worked to cut down a lot of the material, and keeping only the basic arguments in place. I hope its acceptable now.VR talk 13:11, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Creation/edit dates of Weiner/Bell

Since some people seem to keep removing the date of the Weiner/Bell document, here is what grep -a Date puzzle1.pdf gives:

<</CreationDate(D:20081225150452+02'00')/Creator(Adobe InDesign CS3 \(5.0\))/Producer(Adobe PDF Library 8.0)/ModDate(D:20081225150505+02'00')/Tr0000000000 65535 f

Boud (talk) 19:15, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Legal opinions - one not-too-bad version in case a revert is needed

This version is far from perfect but i think it's decent enough that most people should be willing to work on it and make improvements rather than make radical changes without discussion. This version:

  • has Falk and Weiner/Bell legal opinions in both directions,
  • probably does not have many weasel words left in it,
  • correctly notes the date of the Weiner/Bell opinion without trying to discredit it,
  • includes the claims that Israel did and that Israel did not violate international law
  • includes the claim that Gaza Strip did violate international law - a claim by an international lawyer that Gaza Strip's rocket attacks were legal is missing (maybe no international law lawyer has claimed that, in that case it will necessarily remain missing; i would expect that search for international law lawyers from Palestinian Territories or other Arab countries might yield such a claim)
  • doesn't try to make a huge number of subsections on the different aspects of international law alleged to have been violated
  • is not too long IMHO.

There are certainly improvements that could be made.

  • Replacing Weiner/Bell by international lawyers who already have wikipedia entries which give some "wikipedia process evidence" that they are notable would be good.
  • Replacing Weiner/Bell by a statement after the first few days of the Israeli attack (instead of the actual document which was last edited 25 December 2008, before the Israeli attack), either by them or by others, would also improve the section.

In any case, if at the moment you are reading this, you see the "Legal opinions" section in the article, possibly under another name, and it looks hopelessly POV to you, then you might want to merge whatever is present in the version that you're reading into a copy of the section in this version. At least, please do not think that other people have not achieved some moderate level of NPOV/RS/NOR status for the section. (The authors are multiple, certainly not just me - but i'm not going to try to trace who contributed.) Boud (talk) 20:02, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Clarifying the difference between Palestinians and Civilians

Throughout the article there is subtle comparisons between Palestinians and civilian casualties. I'm slightly concerned about these kinds of statements, because it doesn't reflect the news coverage of the actual war. I mean, when casualties are ordinarily published in war, there is a heavy emphasis on what separates soldier from citizen. So, for example, if civilian casualties were mentioned, soldier/police/civil servant casualties would be mentioned as well. I know Palestinian supporters like to merge militants with civilians as one (often embellishing casualties and wounded, see Pallywood, but for a controversial article such as this, I strongly suggest we clarify the difference for the sake of factual accuracy. Thus, when citing casualties in regards to both civilians and "Palestinians", it must be stated what the occupation of the Palestinians are in contrast with the civilians. When soldiers die in war along with civilians, both types of people are almost always compared in their individual position (i.e, soldier and civilian). What makes this war any different? Wikifan12345 (talk) 09:58, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree it should be very clear the difference between a Palestinian civilian and HAMAS security forces / militants but thats only possible if theres accurate sources and its far harder to get the full details of the casualties from Gaza compared to Israel where huge detail is available within hours. Where possible it should say "Palestinian civilians" or "Women and Children" and "Security forces" or "HAMAS security forces" etc. Or like it does in part of the opening pararaphs say 350 Palestinians, including 60+ women and children. BritishWatcher (talk) 10:52, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
I think it is tragically simple. If a person was killed in a military uniform (i.e. Hamas military wing) or if he or she was bearing a weapon or explosive; or if they were otherwise directly operating or supporting an offensive military activity - e.g. a Palestinian Chemistry professor in the Islamic university in Gaza, killed in an 'academic' lab used to make Kassams when it was attacked by the Israelis (purely a hypothetical example)- they are all combatants. Not civilians. A civilian universally means 'innocent passer by'. And the above are anything but. The terror organizations know this so they constantly try to swallow more and more chunks of civilian Arab populace into their war effort and by not clarifying the terms, we are helping them oppress their population. Honestreporting2 (talk) 11:23, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Nobody is interested in your personal definition of the word "civilian." In this article we should use that word exactly in the same way as our sources do. Offliner (talk) 11:45, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Actually, his description is quite correct. The problem is that there is no way of getting exact (or even approximate) numbers. -Nomæd (Boris A.) (user, talk, contribs) 12:12, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
From civilian: "A civilian under international humanitarian law is a person who is not a member of his or her country's armed forces. The term is also often used colloquially to refer to people who are not members of a particular profession or occupation, especially by law enforcement agencies, which often use rank structures similar to those of military units."
I'm not aware of any definition which says that people involved in weapons production (arms industry) would not be civilians. Offliner (talk) 12:26, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

if we would exclude palestinians involved in weapons production from civilian casulties (we would need very reliable sources here), we would have to do the same on the other side, means, israelis who are part of the countrie's military machinery are no civilians then.--Severino (talk) 13:19, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

So, if you don't mind be being a bit sarcastic, since in Israel military service is mandatory, lets mark all Israelis as part of the Israeli "military machinery". Wow, that makes it very simple: All Israelis are legitimate targets (in uniform or not), and infact the rockets hitting schools and kindergartens are hitting "military targets" since all students and toddlers will join to the IDF at 18, which makes them TOO a part of the Israeli war machine.--Omrim (talk) 17:50, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

actually i didn't mean that. but you do not seem to have a problem with the suggestion here, to re-define (to BROADEN) the term "civilian" when it's coming about the palestinians...--Severino (talk) 20:48, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Omrim, your comparison is weak. Just because all Israeli citizens are required to serve in the military, doesn't mean all citizens are legitimate military targets. If I was 19 year old male who planned on joining the military and for some strange reason I was killed in a war, should I be considered a civilian casualty or soldier casualty? What matters is the present occupation, not the future or the past. So if an ex-Hamas gunfighter was killed while tending to his gardens, he would be considered a civilian casualty. Get it? This subject needs attention seriously...Wikifan12345 (talk) 21:11, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree then. --Omrim (talk) 21:40, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
And Severino- no I don't. I only had a problem with your specific implication.--Omrim (talk) 21:44, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

sorry my mistake. it should not read: to broaden but "to NARROW" the term civilian. that's of course whats proposed here.--Severino (talk) 22:11, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Really, I lost you. What do you want? I'll just make a statemant on this issue to make my stand clear: I agree that the definition of civilian Palestinian casualites should, maybe, be broadened (ex: police officers are civilians, I think). I also disagree with your implication that all Israelis are legitimate targets. But you said you didn't mean it. Well, your "War Machine" argument fooled me.--Omrim (talk) 22:22, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

it was a misunderstanding. it was proposed here to narrow the term civilian on the palestinian side. my comment was that if people involved in weapons production (or whatever is then defined) on the pal. side are no longer civilians (in this article), similar credit must be applied on the isr. side then. in the meantime i also have the answer from you to my question i posed invalid originally.--Severino (talk) 22:40, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Israeli government and Hamas government cannot be compared by the same standards. Hamas runs like a terrorist organization, in the sense that support comes from many locales, homes, libraries, things that we consider ordinary is often used there to conceal weapons/soldiers/etc (hence, bombing of university). but at the same time, it also functions as a civil government, in the way that hamas operates with official buildings and headquarters where things "supposedly" get done. Israel, on the other hand, is far more organized and less secretive in terms of general government, while the military does not infringe on society or ordinary things. you wont find a group of israeli soldiers hiding amongst "innocent" civilians, and use them as shields.  :D Wikifan12345 (talk) 06:36, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
As far as where they get their support, see Taxes. As far as not being secretive, see Mossad. Yes, Hamas has been labeled as a terrorist organization by many countries, but many more see them as something else (resistance movement, political organiztion, whatever). But they are indeed the de facto govt of the West Bank, and they do provide the services of government. And police officers are most certainly civilians, unless they actually take up arms against other combatants. See [[2]]: Any Person not belonging to the armed forces (see Chapter III, Section I) is considered as a civilian. Nableezy (talk) 06:53, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Lol. Hamas barely has an economy. They get 99% of their financial support from Iran, Syria, Israel, and terrorism fronts. Your comparison of Mossad is unfair because it is an intelligence gathering unit and does not even remotely address my points. In response to your classification of civilians, we cannot rely on what Hamas considers civilians and soldiers. Gaza is chaos, citizens are not policed, there is virtually no judicial process, and odds are, any "police" officer killed in the conflict is most likely a militant or soldier. Israel doesn't just drop bombs and hope, and they don't target civilian centers for the sake of killing civilians, unlike Hamas. It is beyond ignorant to even consider Hamas as a legitimate and civil government. They discriminate, kill anyone who questions them, and most importantly, not only support, but knowingly provide resources to kill Israeli (and if necessary) Palestinian civilians. Stop white-washing. Wikifan12345 (talk) 07:13, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
The Gaza economy is not the issue here, if it were the 18-month Israeli blockade of all exports might be discussed. Cops are civilians, as are government employees such as receptionists and file clerks. RomaC (talk) 00:47, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Cops are civilians as long as they do not have their guns pointed to the "enemy." People that work for the military are military. Within every legitimate military there are branches with varying responsibilities. In a legitimate military, covered by Geneva convention rules (laws), all active military wears a uniform. In a guerrilla war, none do. Instead of having branches, the militants have footsoldiers that make and buy weapons as well as shoot and launch them. Those footsoldiers are not civilians, like those they serve, they are un-uniformed militants. Tundrabuggy (talk) 02:57, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Almost ALL Palestinians are civilians. If my home is invaded and I attempt to defend my family, do I lose my civilian status? International law recognizes the right of people under occupation to RESIST, and victims of aggression have a right of self-defense. Thus, the distinction between civilian and combatant is legally meaningless. The important distinction is that between the aggressor and the victim of aggression, and that is the distinction the artificial "civilian" debate obfuscates. NonZionist (talk) 08:58, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
You forget that Israel left Gaza some years ago and that the homes that have been invaded by rockets and mortars have been Israeli ones, not vice versa. Thus it is Israel that is resisting and is acting in self defense. You can't seriously be suggesting that the "civilian" concept is unnecessary because everyone on one side is a civilian and everyone on the other side is not? Tundrabuggy (talk) 03:20, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm saying:
  1. that the civilian concept should not be used to whitewash or obfuscate aggression. This is just common sense. If someone breaks into my house, the moral high-ground rests with me, whether or not I attempt to fight back. Only in the Kafkesque world of the ideologue is the defender condemned as a "combatant".
  2. Israeli colonists have departed from an indefensible position in Gaza, but Gaza remains under Israeli occupation and control, inasmuch as Israel controls the borders and the airspace and the water, and bombs, shells, and raids the territory at will.
  3. I would extend civilian status to Israelis who are not directly involved in aggression.
  4. I would then simply count the number of dead and treat ALL of the dead as civilians. NonZionist (talk) 08:00, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Are you guys this naive? Hamas is not a civil democratic government. You don't apply for a job by submitting a resume and possibly and interview. Hamas is a radical, terrorist-sponsored/sponsoring religious fundamentalist group which doesn't deserve the kind of legitimacy and merit you guys are giving it. I mean for god's sakes, one of the most honored and celebrated leaders of Hamas sent his own kid to be a suicide bomber. LOL. Wikifan12345 (talk) 20:25, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Murder of 8 Sariya inmates

Should these 8 palestinian men be included in casualties of the conflict?

At least eight people were murdered in Gaza on Sunday after escaping prison. The eight were killed for allegedly helping Israel fight terrorism by providing information on local terrorist groups. The incident was reported by one of Yedioth Ahronoth's Arab correspondents. The incident began when Gaza's main prison, located near the village of Sariya, was destroyed in an IAF strike. Several prisoners managed to escape the damaged building, among them many who had been accused of cooperating with Israel or convicted and sentenced to death for “collaboration”. Upon hearing of the airstrike, terrorists and relatives of terrorists killed by the IDF rushed to the prison and caught several of the escaping inmates. Those caught were immediately killed. One of the victims was identified as Jamal Randour, who was convicted of giving Israel information leading to the assassination of Abed Abu-Yusuf el-Kuku, head of the Salah el-Din brigades. Source: Gaza 'Collaborators' Murdered Chesdovi (talk) 13:45, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Very credible: arutz sheva and yediot a.'s "arab correspondent"--Severino (talk) 13:51, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Well, the correspondent, working for an Israeli newspaper, probably wishes to remain anonymous. See Palestinians settle old scores in Gaza, from Reuters. Chesdovi (talk) 14:28, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
I am missing something I think. Isn't Reuters a credible source?--Omrim (talk) 15:22, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
The Reuters source mentions two collaborators killed (one from a guy on a motorbike, and another by family members of a slain militant). --Al Ameer son (talk) 15:34, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
I am wondering if their murder should be included in the article. Although they were not killed in the airstrike, (as others were), it was due to the Israeli strike that it was possible that they could be subsequently murdered by vengeful palestinains. Chesdovi (talk) 17:16, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Where should include them then? Palestinian casualties? it may create an impression they were killed by Israel. Israeli casualties? I guess would make a bit more sense, but I am also not sure. How about including them with the Egyptian border guard? --Omrim (talk) 17:39, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Maybe we can mention this horrific incident under the casualties section, but not necessarily in the infobox? Chesdovi (talk) 18:49, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Good idea. But lets skip the term "horrific" though (even though the incident is for sure horrific).--Omrim (talk) 19:12, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

yo, when palestinians are (allegedly) killed by palestinians, THEN it's horrific...--Severino (talk) 20:50, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Palestinians are constantly killed by Palestinians. Why do you think all the non-muslims had to flee? Because the government was literally sanctioning a complete and total Pogrom of theremaining Christians and non-muslims. 10% of all Palestinian casualties in the Second Intifada was Palestinians killing Palestinians. I doubt this war will be any different..Wikifan12345 (talk) 21:17, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Ask the Christians and they will tell you the opposite -- that they leave because life under Israeli occupation is intolerable. Christians, Muslims, and Jews have lived together peacefully for centuries. Israeli propaganda falsely depicts these people as barbarians because Israel needs dehumanization to justify its war-making. NonZionist (talk) 09:15, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Severino, I agree it is horrific, the same way I agree that the deaths of all Palestinian civilians is horrific. Yet, I am being consistent not to include unnecessary adjectives in the article (unlike you). --Omrim (talk) 21:32, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

do you have a problem with THIS hypocritical, "quasi-racist", "POV-smell", "nothing to do with facts" comment above, omrim, which is only to demonstrate the "barbaric nature" of the palestinians (all your terms used in another context), hm?--Severino (talk) 21:42, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Really, I lost you. What do you want? I'll just make a statemant on this issue to make my stand clear: I agree that the definition of civilian Palestinian casualites should, maybe, be broadened (ex: police officers are civilians, I think). I also disagree with your implication that all Israelis are legitimate targets. But you said you didn't mean it. Well, your "War Machine" argument fooled me.--Omrim (talk) 22:10, 1 January 2009 (UTC) OOPS wrong section...

Again, you lost me. What do you want? which "THIS" comment do you mean? maybe if you relax, we can discuss it--Omrim (talk) 22:15, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

ok, not so important. you are not to blame for it. --Severino (talk) 22:45, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Peace and love man (or woman).--Omrim (talk) 22:49, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Demonstrations sub-section in Reactions section?

There have been hundreds of demonstrations around the world protesting the offensive on Gaza since the 27 December. I'd like to create a sub-section on this topic in the section on Reactions. Any objections? Tiamuttalk 15:11, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

I have added them to their respective countries in the related article International reaction to the December 2008 Gaza Strip airstrikes. I still think their should be a subsection in this article summarizing them however. --Al Ameer son (talk) 15:29, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
I realy think there's no reason for this whole long list of cities. Especialy since there is another page for this,, so if no serious protest turn up, I'll move it there in another few hours.Debresser (talk) 16:44, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Well, somebody already did that, and rightfully so.Debresser (talk) 20:19, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

New Title for Article

We need a new title for this article as the conflict has carried beyond December 2008.

Some of my suggestions are:

  • 1 - Operation Cast Lead
  • 2 - Israel-Hamas War
  • 3 - 2008/2009 Israel-Hamas Conflict
  • 4 - Gaza War
  • 5 - Hanukkah War

I would suggest for Israel-Gaza war citizentimes —Preceding undated comment was added at 18:44, 1 January 2009 (UTC).

Mercenary2k (talk) 18:30, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Consider also:

"Gaza conflict" gets many more g-hits in the news (well over 200) than any of the other options listed above. Tiamuttalk 18:56, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Another option with 8 times as many g-hits in the news (well over 1,400) is "Assault on Gaza". So we might consider:

Folks - there's a discussion going on above you (#Requested move). Please join in over there. okedem (talk) 19:04, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Some coherence when namimg the actions of the IDF... all named under the english translation of their hebrew names... Gumuhua (talk) 19:10, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Many of those operations of the IDF violate MILMOS. Some are actually POV forks (ie, the article about the actual topic doesn't have the operation name, so instead of adding the info in that article, there is redundant articles to ensure the Operation name). A couple even fail notability, hardly being noted by major news sources outside of Israel. In due time, this will be fixed by vigorous community discussion, so thank you for pointing them out.
But appealing to a non-existent "convention" imported from Hebrew Wikipedia (and its built-in editor bias -and I do not mean neutrality, you can be neutral and have bias, I mean bias inherent in the lack of RS/V that is not written in Hebrew: while there are non-Israelis that speak Hebrew, their proportion is much less, and all the Hebrew speaking media is either Israeli or targeted at Israelis abroad) is not a convincing argument. Furthermore, unless there systemic approaches to naming and content, widely discussed across all relevant wikiprojects and the community at large, using the example of another article to influence a desicion on another is much weaker than what you would think: if the previous article violates style guidelines, POV fork guidelines, neutrality policy, etc, we shouldn't do those things simply because it was successfuly done before. Consensus can change.
Now, you can argue for it not changing, maybe even successfully, but so far, for this article, it has changed.
Of course, if people want to be productive with how they want renames to happen, they are advised to follow the procedures at WP:RM, you know, do in it in a productive fashion that promotes useful discussion and doesn't ignore previous input. Thanks!--Cerejota (talk) 02:12, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Lol. Cerejota is once again throwing the rule book at everyone. What, 2 days ago he unilaterally renamed the article without even considering the discussion that had occurred in talk hours before. From the get-go rules have been violated! Wikifan12345 (talk) 08:26, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
i agree with what Cerejota has said here. The systemic bias in the english language wikipedia is well-documented and counter-measures have been discussed and recommended (see WP:BIAS), and it would be reasonable to expect that other language wikipedias are systematically biased for similar type of reasons - possibly the esperanto language wikipedia might be able to claim the least demographic bias, though i'm just speculating here. Boud (talk) 13:05, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Wikifan, stop beating the poor old dead horse already. Its already a stinking, unsightly, amorphous jelly of crushed bones and flesh. :D --Cerejota (talk) 05:55, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Military planning

Some parts of the article and discussion would seem to insinuate or just outright say that Israel has intended to do this for the last six months. I'd like to make the point that planning out all possible conflicts in advance is standard procedure for military forces. Battle plans are regularly drawn up by militaries all over the world to consider potential conflicts, both likely and unlikely, that ultimately never happen. The fact that Operation Cast Lead was planned long before Israel decided to actually implement it is pretty much irrelevant in terms of judging Israel's intention to attack the Gaza strip. If anything, it suggests that Israel sat on the idea for a while hoping alternatives would materialize. (talk) 19:51, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. Any other thoughts?--Omrim (talk) 21:24, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
The fact that those planning actions were reported by most of the news agencies says that it's important to deliver those information. It's not Wikipedia editors call to judge the inclusion of a fact hugely reported by other agencies. Otherwise each side will start a debate about the inclusion of some facts that put bad light on them. --Darwish07 (talk) 23:14, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree to that assertion as well. Yet, the way it is phrased currently implies that the operation was premeditated, which is also not Wiki's call. I am still battling myself, if there is a better way to present this (important) piece of information. I think it still demands a discussion. --Omrim (talk) 03:04, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree that all militaries have contingency plans. I like to think the US has a few and isn't just sitting on its thumbs. But the way it is written in the lede of this article, anyone would think that Israel was just salivating to brutalize innocent Palestinians for no reason whatsoever-- since after all, we all know that there is no Hamas history prior to the 6 month truce, which, of course, it studiously kept. Therefore there is no reason whatsoever for Israel to have pre-planned this brutal invasion and genocide of innocent civilians under a horrible occupation by Israel. --- Well, that's how it reads now, and every effort to try to balance the POV is rejected and reverted. Tundrabuggy (talk) 03:11, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Hamas deaths vs civilian deaths

i'm a bit concerned about this sentence "Most of the deaths have been members of the Hamas' security forces,[17][18]".

  • The yahoo/AP article = [18] has "Palestinian health officials put the three-day death toll in Gaza at 364; the U.N. said the total included at least 62 civilians." ... "Most of those killed in three days of airstrikes were Hamas members. A Hamas police spokesman, Ehab Ghussen, said 180 members of Hamas security forces were among the dead." The word "most" here is wrong: 180 is a slight minority. "Half" would be accurate.
  • IHT = [17] has: "Israel's three-day aerial bombardment of the Gaza Strip has killed dozens of civilians, along with Hamas fighters, ... Israel has stressed that most of the deaths and injuries were Hamas fighters ..."

So from these two sources alone, an NPOV version would be something like Between about half (according to Hamas[18]) and "most" (according to Israel[17]) of the deaths were members of Hamas' security forces.

Any objections? i expect that other sources may give other figures, but at least by these two sources alone, we can better NPOV this. Boud (talk) 22:55, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Haven't read the sources and don't want to get drawn into this page, but a good thing to remember is this: If a reliable source says, for instance, "Livni said X," that is not the same as "Reliable source said x." In as much as you can, you should be seeking the consensus version of what the most reliable sources are saying on this in their own voices (in my view, Haaretz and the major US and European papers and wire services with people on the ground, MAYBE with Al Sharq al-Awsat thrown in). Now, where does this leave us on this one? It's quite likely no one is certain (no matter what they claim) about the past employer and duties of every body in a morgue at this point, and there are ambiguities even then. I.e. is it really helpful to lable a gaza city traffic cop a "member of the Hamas security forces?" The only thing to do is to provide a range from within what reliable sources are reporting the politically involved are saying. For instance, "Israel says most of the dead are Hamas fighters says tkttktk, but AP quotes PALESTINIAN SO AND SO saying that fewer than half are." I suspect nothing i've written has been helpful. But i've tried. I surfed Gaza once, in peaceful times it's a cool place.Bali ultimate (talk) 23:07, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
I think it's very important that we differentiate between civilian and those bankrolled by Hamas milita. According to Israel, they made it a goal of theirs to target military compounds/facilities/support places etc and minimize civilian casualties (contrary to Hamas, where they bomb the @#*@(#* out of civilian areas intentionally). As far as media is concerned, the overall consensus is the majority of casualty and infrastructure damage is military/government based. The article should reflect that sentiment and not give undeserved merit to sensationalized media. :D (talk) 00:20, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
I disagree completely. What we need to do, in every war, is differentiate between the aggressor and the victim. The political views, party affiliation and employer of the victim are all irrelevant. International law gives the victim the right of self-defense and the right to resist occupation. The victim who exercises these moral rights is still a victim: He fights or resists ONLY because the aggressor or occupier gives him no choice. In the Nuremberg Trials, AGGRESSION was declared the cardinal sin, not self-defense, not militancy! If Palestine were invading Israel, Palestine would be the aggressor and Israelis who defend themselves would not lose their civilian status by doing so. By the same standard, Palestinians do not lose their civilian status when they try to defend against Israeli aggression. NonZionist (talk) 18:49, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
In 2005 every Israeli was out of Gaza, and it is now Jew-free. Hamas has been attacking Israel ever since. Thus to claim some kind of moral high road (ie the "right to resist occupation") is more than a little disingenuous . I would ask NonZionist to concentrate hard on WP:NPOV and to get off his soapbox, as it does nothing to further this article. -- Tundrabuggy (talk) 03:36, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
It is not at all "disingenuous" to seek to phrase this article in a way that leaves intact the rights of the victims of aggression. This said, the distinction between civilian and combatant is a meaningless one, while the distinction between aggressor and victim is not. Debates over artificial "civilian" status should not be used to whitewash or obfuscate aggression. I would treat everyone as a civilian when listing the casualties. I believe that there may be some non-Zionist Jews still living in Gaza. Making Gaza "Jew-free" may be the Israeli aim, but it is not the Palestinian aim. Israel has been attacking Gaza ever since 2005, and Hamas has offered a token response. Hamas has repeatedly attempted to negotiate an end to this violence, but Israel has shown no interest. This suggests that the Israeli aim is ethnic cleansing, "transfer", or worse. NonZionist (talk) 09:12, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
No need to rip out the international law card in an attempt to reduce every Israeli action as unjustified "aggression" and "illegal." Let's keep this argument focused and avoid preachiness/propaganda/b.s. Wikifan12345 (talk) 20:31, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

What source is more reliable? Hamas itself or the United Nations? I think we can trust the numbers of the UN more! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:30, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

International reaction sub-article

I have moved this sub-article (and its accompanying talk page) to keep the title consistent with the title of this article, which is currently 2008-2009 Israel-Gaza conflict (see: International reaction to the 2008-2009 Israel-Gaza conflict). If the name of that article changes again, could whoever does it please move that one as well? Thanks in advance. Terraxos (talk) 23:52, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

The summary left at the beginning of the Reactions section is grossly inaccurate. Currently, it reads

Most members of the Arab League including Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Qatar, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Turkey, Yemen, Russia, France, and the United Kingdom have condemned both sides.

When I go to the sub-article -- International_reaction_to_the_2008-2009_Israel-Gaza_conflict -- I find that most of these countries do NOT "condemn both sides". Only the Anglosphere deludes itself into thinking that the occupier and the occupied are equally responsible.
I propose changing the offending text to:

Most members of the Arab League including Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Yemen have called for an end to the Israeli "attack" and/or "aggression". Libya appealed to the U.N. and sent aid to Gaza. Russia called Israel's use of force "disproportionate" and "unjustified". France condemned the Hamas "provocations" while calling Israel's action "disproportionate"; the United Kingdom called for "maximum restraint" and a Hamas ceasefire.

NonZionist (talk) 22:01, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Massacre of the Black Saturday

Is this term really widely used enough to justify it being bold and mentioned in the opening paragraph? "Massacre of the Black Saturday" only gets 67 results on google. Seems too POV in my opinion. BritishWatcher (talk) 00:40, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Well, it is attributed to what the Palestinians use to describe the events, and the Palestinians are one of the involved parties. --Al Ameer son (talk) 00:50, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Im sure the attacks have been described as many things by different Palestinians. As i said "Massacre of the Black Saturday" only gets 67 other hits on google so its not got much international recognition. There should be a counter to the operation name given by Israel, but it has to be widely used or described by HAMAS or another major party involved. It shouldnt just be "some Palestinians".... Im sure more Palestinians have just refered to it as a "Massacre". This article is also about an ongoing conflict and not the incident on Saturday. BritishWatcher (talk) 01:01, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
I could have sworn I saw on the BBC that prime minister Haniya referred to it as the "massacre of Black Saturday", but my memory is hazy about it. He might have said something on a "massacre", but nothing on Black Saturday. Nonetheless, I did not take account of the "Saturday" part, so we're just gonna have to wait to see what term the Palestinians are generally using for the entire conflict. --Al Ameer son (talk) 01:14, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
No. It's not even mentioned anywhere in the article on the Arabic Wikipedia. That being said, both Operation Cast Lead and Massacre of the Black Saturday should be unbolded because this article is about the [two-way] conflict, not just the Israeli offensive. The first sentence of the article is inaccurate. -- tariqabjotu 01:09, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Actually, Operation Cast Lead redirects here so, as per MoS, it should be bolded as it is one of the names this topic is given. The "massacre" (without the "Black Saturday" is from a quote from the de facto Prime Minister of the Gaza Strip. As per the formulation that was part of the name change discussion. I agree to resotre the quote as a counterpoint to the Israeli operation name, but the operation name is the only one that should be bolded, as per MoS. As to "Black Saturday" lets wait to see what the media does with it, as what happened to the Black September. Makes sense? --Cerejota (talk) 01:55, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
BTW, lets not get ahead of ourselves. That in one point of the future a formulation like that would be needed is always possible. Just not now. But what we are discussing in this thread is information for the article as it stands today: just as we know this will be called a "war" if a ground invasion happens, but don't name it as such, we don't get ahead of ourselves and use arguments that are not yet in force, to further our points. --Cerejota (talk) 04:34, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Regarding the bolding... that's not how it works. WP:BOLDTITLE says "If the subject of the page has a common abbreviation or more than one name...", not simply that the title redirects. "Operation Cast Lead" refers to just the Israeli offensive; this article (and its title) refers to the two-way conflict. They're not the same. -- tariqabjotu 02:10, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
I disagree, Operation Cast Lead is definitely a large part of what this page is about. It doesn't make it good enough as the article name, per MoS and neutrality issues, but it is definitely a term that I expect readers to use in searching for what this article is about. I am weary of POV forks, and this is how they start, when people say an article is about somethign it isn't... I know it is not your intention to generate one, but I am trying to shed some light on it based on experience with controversial articles, in particular those with controversial titles. --Cerejota (talk) 02:56, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Not a POV-fork. Operation Cast Lead as a separate article would be mainly about the military op. It is definitely a "part" and even a "large part" of this article. But this is about 2008 -(2009) conflict. That means that a "part" and indeed a "large part" of this article must include Hamas' provocation and background. Tundrabuggy (talk) 04:08, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. And I'm not sure why we need to explain this point again, considering Cerejota seemed to agree to it under #December 2008-January 2009 Israel-Gaza Strip conflict. -- tariqabjotu 04:18, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
In an unrelated discussion in this talk page I was using the Invasion of Grenada as an example for the use of the word "invasion" by RS. Thing is it also applies to this article. Operation Urgent Fury redirects to it, and in the intro "Operation Urgent Fury" is bolded. In fact, the article was renamed because of RS issues (ie readers woudl google search "Invasion of Grenada" and learn it was "Operation Urgent Fury" not the other way around), not really neutrality or bias (although it is a bit biased to the USA's perspective), and goes into deep operational detail, like the "order of battle" etc for the USA. I think it is a beautiful example for this article at many levels--Cerejota (talk) 03:11, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
They're not comparable because the Invasion of Grenada and Operation Urgent Fury are the same thing. The "2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict" and Operation Cast Lead are, as I said previously, not the same thing; the former refers to Israeli and Gazan actions, while the latter refers to just the Israeli actions. -- tariqabjotu 04:14, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Nope, "Invasion of Grenada" is about all the actions from both sides: due to overwhelming force of the invasion force (which outnumbered the defenders nearly 10 to 1), it is mostly about the USA's actions, as is this article. Right now, as the article stands, there is no need for a separate article on only on the Israeli actions, so this article is about everything. Please re-read WP:POVFORK, what you are suggesting is precisely a POV fork. I think this unintended, that is why I call it to your attention. --Cerejota (talk) 04:29, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
The article is about the invasion, and it's written entirely from the point-of-view that there was an invasion (oh... and a little resistance). That's not the case here -- or at least it shouldn't be. We had a lengthy move discussion -- which you did not appear to miss out on -- where several people said this was about a two-way conflict (hence, why we have the current name). Need I remind you of that? Maybe we don't need to make an Operation Cast Lead daughter article -- we're not talking about that -- but at this point in time, people do not believe this is just about the Israeli actions. Please don't rub WP:POVFORK in my face; I know what one is. At the very least, a POV fork entails creating a new article, something no one but you seems to be discussing. -- tariqabjotu 04:48, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Let's see it used in a RS before we use it. Source please. I intend to flag it. Tundrabuggy (talk) 02:25, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

One problem with making this an article about a "2-way conflict" is that arguments will be made for "balanced" ("50%") coverage of the Qassams and the damage they have caused. Imagine the Invasion of Grenada article if half of it was about injuries suffered by US Forces. This article came into existence because a military superpower dropped hundreds of tons of bombs -- that's the focus, let's not shift it. But that does not mean it has to be called "Operation Cast Lead," that can be determined. RomaC (talk) 05:40, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Just because some people could argue that doesn't mean we have a problem. People could conceivably use the title of Invasion of Grenada to argue that information about the actions of the opposition should not be included at all. But, of course, that would be silly. And, again, I am not inventing this two-way conflict position; this was raised several times during the move discussion, and was a major reason behind several of the supports (including mine). If the scope of the article is basically just Israel's actions, the current name is wrong. But enforcing that change through content, without heeding the previous discussion, is improper. -- tariqabjotu 05:46, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Respectfully, tariqabjotu, the Grenada-US articles are not under general sanctions, Israeli-Palestinian articles are, because editors have repeatedly gamed the system. In your opinion do the Dec/Jan Israeli airstrikes on Gaza deserve their own article? Because this is not that article. RomaC (talk) 07:25, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Exactly, RomaC. That's why the discussion on the title is so intense. When we transform an "assault" into a "conflict", we suddenly put the aggressor and the victim on the same footing. We then feel compelled to "balance" things, by deprecating the sins of the aggressor and aggrandizing the sins of the victim.
There is no symmetry in occupation. Israeli sources indicate that Israel, in recent years, has been killing Palestinians at a ratio of forty to one. Is it really appropriate to characterize this slaughter as a "conflict"? Israel, like it or not, is the dominant party, by a huge margin. Palestinian resistance -- in the form of ineffectual rockets -- is a response to Israeli occupation. No people will EVER be ABSOLUTELY passive under violent occupation: The "conflict" is between Israel and the limitations of reality. NonZionist (talk) 19:24, 3 January 2009 (UTC)


Besides the horrible intro (see above for my comment), I see there are structural issues with this article. Before I go into proposing changes I wanted to hear opinions on this.

  1. Timeline as a disruptive format that belongs in a separate "Timeline of". We should use paragraphs as much as possible.
  2. Lack of operational details - this article is part of the Military history project, but the narrative of such aspects is lost in all the political and casualty things. Anywhere we can find more info on operational details?
  3. We should prepare this article to become WP:SUMMARY main article with different parts as it grows, but I am seeing that people instead of concentrating in developing the different sections are adding things to the intro. Perhaps it's recentism, but we really need to understand that not everything goes in the intro, and that the different section intros are as important as the lede.

Comments? Thanks!--Cerejota (talk) 03:21, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

The structural problems result from lack of consensus on scope. Initially this was an article about specific airstrikes, but it now merely documents a time slice within a larger, ongoing conflict. The IDF airstrikes definitely satisfy all Wiki criteria for an article of their own. This is the way to do it -- (the article on the bombing of Dresden does not mention concentration camps or Hitler) -- let's have an article about the airstrikes: who struck who, when and where, what aircraft were used, what bombs were dropped and what damage was done. If people want to find out about the larger conflict, they can do so by clicking on one of the links that leads to information on the larger conflict. RomaC (talk) 09:57, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
The name, as per the discussion, is a temporary Salomonic, because there have been other events that are not airstrikes, and we are waiting for the ground invasion (I honestly expected it today!). If after a week or so there is no movement I think we can revisit the issues. But this article is still narrowly construed: it is about the IDF attacks, and the Hamas counter attacks, and while the current title doesn't cover that tightly, it isn't out-of-scope as "airstrikes" where. Thanks!--Cerejota (talk) 13:31, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

A GROSS imbalance in sourcing

Relying entirely on Israeli sources is a bit like using only Indonesian refs for the conflict in East Timor, or German sources for the invasion of Poland. Extreme bias is very obviously inevitable.

There should be warnings to this effect throughout the article. Trachys (talk) 03:24, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Add them. RomaC (talk) 03:26, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Better yet, look at what the sources are saying, if there are other RS that dispute what 'Israeli sources' say, then add that. But we cannot just reject a source because it is Israeli. Nableezy (talk) 03:35, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
I added (pro)Palestinian sources (all with Wikipedia entries) to External Links but someone removed them, no reason offered? Trachys (talk) 04:33, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
There are plenty of non-Israeli sources. Read the article. Wikifan12345 (talk) 04:41, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Respectfully, most U.S. and British sources rely very heavily on Israeli government and IDF sources. Read their articles. Trachys (talk) 04:51, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
What? There is plenty of anti-Israeli bias in media, in fact, there's probably more bias against than for. This article proves that case, so stop making an issue that doesn't exist. Plugging in advocacy sites (like Palestine News Network) or "news" organizations that follow less journalistic rules than a blog just to even out pro-Israeli sources is not going to fly and will be removed. Wikifan12345 (talk) 04:55, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Just as we cannot summarily dismiss a source because it is Israeli, we also cannot dismiss one because it is Arab or Palestinian. We cannot arbitrarily say that because a news organization is Palestinian then they "follow less journalistic rules than a blog." That said, having a wikipedia entry does nothing to prove whether or not a source is reliable, I propose we list them here and examine each. Nableezy (talk) 06:17, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
I didn't say just because a source is of Palestinian or Arab origin inherently means overt bias, but come'on man. Arab and Palestinian media is a sham at best, and I'm being generous here. Just because something is Arab doesn't mean we should be blind and automatically respect it. Go ahead, list a Palestinian source, and I will gladly tear it apart and prove its unbearable bias. Wikifan12345 (talk) 09:10, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
There are plenty of Arab media that gets high praise, such as Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiyya. I could say the same about some of the American media, Israeli media. We should be looking for 3 things I think, what the Israelis are saying is happening, what the Palestinians are saying is happening, and what the rest of the world is saying actually happened. How else do you expect to get an idea for what the Palestinian people feel if you completely disregard their media? And just because something is Arab does not mean we should be blind and refuse to respect it. I don't know what sources were being used here, I didn't add any to this article except bbc, reuters, cnn, and iht. But just saying that the entire Arab and Muslim world do not have any media that is any higher on the totem pole than a blog (of which many pro-Israeli ones are used in sources across wikipedia) is just plain wrong. Like I said, if there is a problem with a particular source, it really should be discussed before being removed. Nableezy (talk) 15:37, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm in full agreement that there's an imbalance in sourcing. The US, UK and Israel are allies in the middle east. The US contributes billions of dollars of military aid to Israel. The populations of the US, UK and Europe have been engaged, whether in perception or reality, whether due to propaganda and mass manipulation or not, in a "war on terror" in which Muslims and Arabs have been the prime enemy. Therefore in the absence of empirical evidence, it is absolutely valid to assume that Western and Israeli sources may be biased against the Gazans and particularly Hamas. To assume anything else would be adopt a de facto pro-Israeli bias. In addition, dismissing all Arab media as "non-reliable" without evidence or comparison with what we do regard as reliable, is thinly veiled racism and cultural imperialism. It simply relies on the chauvanistic and racist assumption that Muslim and Arab societies are culturally backward (and in fact, the Israeli propagandists know this is their best method of justifying the IDF's atrocities). Maybe Arab-Muslim sources are less reliable than Western media, but it is not Wikipedia's right to make that value based judgment without critical balance. No source is perfect. Presumed and normative ideas of "reliability" must be sacrificed if it is the only way to provide any political balance. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:18, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Well the muslims ARE both culturally and economically backwards. Only a fool would deny that. Please don't abuse the word racism, it's completely irrelevant here. This is about culture and religion. Compare any relevant factors such as illiteracy, honour killings, treatment of women and you will see that muslims are hundreds of years behind the west. Naturally the War On Terror is against muslims since 99% of all terrorists are muslims. It's the most violent religion on Earth. Whereever there are muslims there is war, this is the nature of this religion. You cannot deny that. Can you name one peaceful democratic islamic country(and no, Turkey doesn't count, it's ruled by the secular military)? This is one of the main reasons that we cannot find reliable medias in the middle east. There is no democratic tradition. So we have to use what we can find. Since the IDF has such a colossal media apparatus, lots of the sources we use will be from there. Until the muslim world starts producing some serious news reporting, we have to rely on that. It won't make things better if we include some of the typical "The IsrAelis are evil zIoNists funded by tHe great sAtan!!" arab reporting. This will just mess up the article. At least the Israeli reporting is serious and relativily neutral. T.R. (talk) 21:22, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Please don't be an abusive and ignorant racist on talk pages, thanks.--G-Dett (talk) 22:22, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Fuck the please, only a fool would make those retarded comments. A whole bunch of people would say wherever the white man has gone he has brought with him death, destruction, and enslavement, to extract both physical and natural resources from the natives. But only a fool would make that generalization. I wonder if there is another fool out there? Nableezy (talk) 09:00, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
If, as the title now suggests, we must speak of "conflict", then here it is: On the one side, there are those who see only ethnic GROUPS -- muslims and their allies, seen as bad, backwards, barbarians, unreliable, and all alike; zionists and their allies, seen as good, wise, civilized, innocent, perfect, and all alike. On the other side, there are those who regard human beings as INDIVIDUALS, some good, some bad, most a mixture. The former, the ethnic collectivists, try to eliminate entire groups, through war, occupation, siege. The latter, the defenders of the individual, try to build upon the good, wherever it can be found. It is not the rockets that the collectivists fear: It is the ideas of the supposedly "backwards folk". The "conflict" in Gaza is part of this larger GLOBAL war of IDEAS. NonZionist (talk) 19:57, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the philosophical lesson. Where would we be if NonZionist couldn't break everything down into simple, ignorant, generalizations? Without his awesome twist of logical fallacies and keen ability to regurgitate the opinion's of Jimmy Carter, Noam Chomsky, and every other mindless Israel hater, where would we be? Oh yeah, trapped tolerating religious fundamentalism and forced to respect the disrespectful. See, how do you like preachiness now? I can do it too. Hippee! Wikifan12345 (talk) 20:37, 3 January 2009 (UTC)b
My recommendation is that we avoid generalizations, especially ignorant ethnic generalizations of the type seen above. My point, however, is that the aggression against Gaza, if it must be seen as a "conflict", should be seen as part of a larger global conflict of IDEAS, with those who give primacy to the individual on one side and those who give primacy to tribe or state on the other.
There is much to like about Israel -- the Israeli peace movement, for example, and the free press. It is not what you call "mindless Israel hate" that motivates our criticism of the regime: It is mindful opposition to fascist ideology. Fascism claimed tens of millions of lives seventy years ago, and we do not want to see a replay. That decent Israelis are imprisoned in this violent self-defeating ideology makes the situation all the more tragic. NonZionist (talk) 23:05, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
I think that you should stop complaining about there being an unbalance in media sources. We're doing the best that we can with the media sources we have. Yes, here and there, there are people editing who have personal opinions interfering with the content they put on this article but at the same time, the only media that is allowed in Gaza up to a number of hours ago was Israel. Israel had earlier banned all media from entering Gaza. Now they have let 12 other media crews in (or so they were required). Coreywalters06 (talk) 16:02, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

The lead

Let's review the WP:Lead section again for what is expected of us: The lead serves both as an introduction to the article below and as a short, independent summary of the important aspects of the article's topic.... The lead should be able to stand alone as a concise overview of the article. It should establish context, explain why the subject is interesting or notable, and summarize the most important points—including any notable controversies that may exist.

This is why I moved material about the planning, as well as the casualties, to their respective sections, ie to maintain the concise as opposed to verbose aspect of the lead. The lead must establish context, which is why it is necessary to include Israel's perspective/justification. Both perspectives must also be included under the umbrella of "notable controversies." Feel free to add any lead concerns to this section. TALK page is getting rather long. Tundrabuggy (talk) 04:37, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Talk page is getting long. You said: "it is necessary to include Israel's perspective/justification" in the lead. I disagree, it is important to introduce the article with the W5 - who did what, where and why? As it is we do mention the Israeli motivation. Any more and it becomes POV-pushing. Already, in an article about a military superpower dropping hundreds of tons of bombs, the first weapon mentioned is the Qassam. RomaC (talk) 05:04, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
IF the article were only about Operation Cast Lead without any perspective or context, then you might have an argument. Since it is about a conflict (ie 2 sides), then you do not. Leaving out the perspective of one side is POV-pushing. Read the section above again. Tundrabuggy (talk) 05:14, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

The first sentence in the lead is misleading and just plain wrong:

  •  :"The 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict refers to an ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas which began when the Israeli Defense Forces launched a series of airstrikes, known as Operation Cast Lead (Hebrew: מבצע עופרת יצוקה‎, Mivtza Oferet Yitzokeh), against targets in the Gaza Strip."

The conflict did not begin when Israel launched airstrikes! It was well before that. Tundrabuggy (talk) 05:14, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

But wouldn't that be the more general Gaza–Israel conflict? Tim Q. Wells (talk) 05:21, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
We have to draw a line somewhere. -- tariqabjotu 05:24, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
The article was not about a "conflict" until the title was changed a few hours ago. Before that it was about Israel's most audacious concentrated airstrikes against Gaza in decades. That should be the focus, if a few unguided homemade fertilizer bombs are to be given 50% of the ink here, then we need a fork to a new article. Or to find a more specific title for this article. RomaC (talk) 05:27, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree. This article should be moved to Operation Cast Lead. Tim Q. Wells (talk) 05:32, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
It seemed people felt the scope of this article should be a two-way conflict. But, if it's now just a one-way event, then this needs to be moved somewhere else (e.g. "Operation Cast Lead") because "conflict" is not an appropriate word. But I'm not touching that with a ten-foot pole; everyone appeared on the same page twenty-four hours ago. -- tariqabjotu 05:36, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Please indent correctly. To whom are you responding? -- tariqabjotu 05:36, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Are you responding to me? You have indented the same way I have. Tim Q. Wells (talk) 05:45, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
I see it now: I'll say it again, when the events warrant, due to their volume, a WP:SUMMARIZE breakdown might happen, and then an article named "Operation Cast Lead" might make sense. I re-read my original explanation and see no grounds for confusion on this point, its pretty much verbatim what I just said (well I also said something about a ground offensive that hasn't happened yet). I thought you agree with what I had said, but I see this is unfortunately not the case.
However, clearly POV motivated forking (I hardly think those on the recieving end call the strike "audacious") , like what RomanC just called for, is out of bounds. There is no deadline, and these events are unfolding. Could we have more patience and more productive conversations with more clarity and less soapboxing? Or do we want a POV War just because we can have it and its our hobby?--Cerejota (talk) 05:50, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Tim, I am not going to answer that question. Honestly. -- tariqabjotu 05:59, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Okay, I honestly didn't know because I don't know what the hell you are talking about. Tim Q. Wells (talk) 06:02, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

The new lead is not acceptable -- edits have removed type of aircraft, removed casualty count, and now describe the most aggressive airstrikes against Gaza in decades as a "flareup." This is what happens when we allow the specific airstrike campaign to be dragged into the context of a sprawling "two-sided conflict." The airstrikes warrant their own article, this is not that article anymore. RomaC (talk) 06:41, 2 January 2009 (UTC) Tundrabuggy you have been warned for disruptive editing, please don't change the entire lead. RomaC (talk) 07:02, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

RomaC, explain to me again why the military hardware used on a conflict is important to the lead? In fact, to the article? We have an article that details the military hardware of the IDF, both now and in history. And I tell you this as someone with a lot of interest in military hardware and history. Readers of this article who ar einterested in such matters will find it easily in the "See Also".
Casualty counts? Why do we have an infobox? Cause its pretty?
"Flareup" is a journo term that borders on the peacock side of euphemism, but you just change it , no need for getting all upset.
Lastly, this is hardly disruptive editing, and stop the chest humping. If you think someone is doing disruption, as here. If not, go into Dispute Resolution. But I find continous posturing and ill-will more disruptive than the contentious editing. This is a wiki, this is a controversial topic, and this is a current event. Shit will change. Deal with it. --scope (talk) 09:36, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Cerejota, I believe wikified specific information is better than general information -- the first graph has a link to info on Qassam rocket attacks, I linked to info on F-16s. Also, if you look back you'll see that Tundrabuggy had blanked the entire lead and replaced it with his own rewritten version, without getting any consensus on Talk. "Chest-humping"? ;-) RomaC (talk) 10:13, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Then revert him, and argue for that. I agree on wikilinked information is great, but this is the lead/intro/lede, not the article. There is no reason why the intro needs to be made even bigger by the inclusion of information that might belong elsewhere in the article. It is as simple as that. "Chest-humping" is "you have been warned for disruptive editing". Why? because unless he does it three times in 24 hours, its not disruptive, and besides, how disruptive it is to revert if you feel it was against consensus? Lastly, the version you support has not been discussed as final, either. --Cerejota (talk) 10:23, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Cerejota, I agree with much of what you've done and said on this page, but I don't want to be another of the people here you are arguing with, so maybe it's best if I handle things my way and you handle things your way. One thing: this article needs a proper title, to set the focus. Right now its scope is much too wide. Another thing, this is "chest-humping". Did you mean "chest-thumping"? RomaC (talk) 11:17, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
RomaC, I did NOT "blank the lead" I re-wrote the first sentence and included the provocation as well. Please do not go warning other editors when you are clearly an involved editor yourself. Indeed you blanked sourced material. Tundrabuggy (talk) 15:37, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
It seems that hyphens dropped on densely populated talk pages sometimes miss their targets. Although by coincidence Operation Chest-humping was one of the names originally considered by the Israeli government (along with Operation Fluffy Bunny, Operation Happy Puppies and Operation by Milton Bradley, the skill game where you're the doctor) it was apparently rejected because the rather salacious term might upset people. Sean.hoyland - talk 11:50, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
In fact, if RomaC had checked my contributions [3], he could easily have seen it was not I who blanked the page and "warned" the correct person. My last contribution to the lead was this one:
  • >The 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict refers to a flareup in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas which began when the Israel launched a series of airstrikes, known as Operation Cast Lead (Hebrew:  ???? ????? ?????‎‎, Mivtza Oferet Yitzokeh), against targets in the Gaza Strip in response to an increase of rockets and mortars directed at Israeli communities. 2008 saw 1800 such attacks from Gaza. [4]
which keeps getting reverted (by RomaC and others) to give the impression that this conflict started on December 27th and apparently for no reason whatsoever. Tundrabuggy (talk) 15:54, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
In fact, the lead is now thoroughly POV, implying that IDF (not Israel) launched airstrikes after 6 months of planning for no reason whatsoever. In fact, all mention of provocation has been completely cleansed from the lead paragraph!:
  • The 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict refers to an ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, which began when the Israel Defense Forces launched a series of airstrikes, known as Operation Cast Lead (Hebrew: מבצע עופרת יצוקה‎, Mivtza Oferet Yetzukah), against targets in the Gaza Strip after planning for over six months.[8] Tundrabuggy (talk) 16:03, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
That is one huge sentence. How is this for a more readable version?
  • The 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict refers to an ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, which intensified following the expiration of a 6-months truce.[8] The Israel Defense Forces launched a series of airstrikes, known as Operation Cast Lead (Hebrew: מבצע עופרת יצוקה‎, Mivtza Oferet Yetzukah), against targets in the Gaza Strip following an increase in rocket attacks from Gaza and Hamas. MakeBelieveMonster (talk) 21:38, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
I do like it MBM. Although there is plenty of "conflict" around the idea that there was ever really a "truce" at all. Tundrabuggy (talk) 02:32, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Do the reliable sources refer to this as "conflict which intensified" in late December? The ones I'm reading (New York Times, Washington Post, etc.) seem to be framing this as an "air assault," a "bombing campaign," sometimes a "battle," etc.--G-Dett (talk) 22:27, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
If you want to talk about the "air assault," "bombing campaign" etc then it should be renamed Operation Cast Lead and not 2008-2009 Israel-Gaza Conflict. A lot happened in 2008 between the two sides. The conflict did not start on Dec. 27 as the lead claims. It is wrong, ie mistaken, inaccurate etcTundrabuggy (talk) 02:32, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
How about "conflict which reignited"? I know the conflict is mainly a bombing campaign, but there are also rockets and likely a ground invasion, so "conflict" or "battle" would be a broad enough term. (talk) 01:15, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Anon IP, the "conflict" is mainly about two bombing campaigns, not just Israel's against Hamas. Hamas launched 1800 rockets and mortars against Israel in 2008, killing civilians and hitting a school, and forcing some Israeli children to have to go to school in bomb shelters. This "conflict" is a 2-way street, not a bombing campaign that Israel has been planning for six months against the poor civilians in Gaza. The whole article as well as the lede is hopelessly POV. Tundrabuggy (talk) 02:32, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

i see both sides of this argument. the main problem with citing the invasions as a response to hamas rockets is that then there is an argument for saying "which was in response to the gaza blockade which was in response to suicide bombers..." ad infinitum. This article should probably be renamed "dec 2008 israel attack on gaza" or something to that effect and then describe events on both sides that occur from the date of the airstrike onward. there should definitely be links to articles dealing with hamas rocket fire, the gaza blockade and the 6 month truce. Untwirl (talk) 08:04, 4 January 2009 (UTC)