Wednesday, January 14, 2009

GAZA: Whose fault is it really? Statistics show!

The original report is published here.
Study conducted by: Nancy Kanwisher (MIT, professor), Johannes Haushofer, & Anat Biletzki (Tel Aviv University, professor)

"The mainstream media in the US and Israel places the blame squarely on Hamas. Indeed, a massive barrage of Palestinian rockets were fired into Israel in November and December, and ending this rocket fire is the stated goal of the current Israeli invasion of Gaza. However, this account leaves out crucial facts."

Methods and Materials
The authors asked two questions:
1) How did the current ceasefire broke into the current violence?
Studied # of Palestinian rockets fired in 2008, and looked for the time point at which the rocket attack began.

2) What are the historical precedences for disruption of ceasefire?
Tallied the data from September 2000 to October 2008 and analyzed the entire timeline of killings of Palestinians by Israelis, and killings of Israelis by Palestinians, in the Second Intifada, based on the data from the widely-respected Israeli Human Rights group B'Tselem.
Results and Discussion

1) Who started the current war?
This figure shows the number of palestinian rockets fired in each month of 2008. This figure shows an escalation of rockets fired from Palestine in November. On November 4th, Israel killed a Palestinian, an event that was followed by a volley of mortars fired from Gaza. Immediately after that, an Israeli air strike killed six more Palestinians. Then a massive barrage of rockets was unleashed, leading to the end of the ceasefire.

2) Which side kills first after conflict pauses of different durations?
In the above figure, "conflict pauses" is defined as periods of one or more days when no one is killed on either side. Horizontal axis: durations of conflict pause.Vertical axis: the percentage of times from the Second Intifada. Black: when Israelis ended the period of nonviolence by killing one or more Palestinians; Gray: the percentage of times that Palestinians ended the period of nonviolence by killing Israelis; White: the percentage of times that both sides killed on the same day. Virtually all periods of nonviolence lasting more than a week were ended when the Israelis killed Palestinians first. We include here the data from all pause durations that actually occurred.

Their analysis shows:

79% of all conflict pauses were interrupted when Israel killed a Palestinian,
8% were interrupted by Palestinian attacks
13% were interrupted by both sides on the same day.
This means that Israel is overwhelmingly in charge of escalating violence.

In addition:
Israel unilaterally interrupted 24/25 (96%) periods of peace lasting more than a week.
Israel unilaterally interrupted 100% of the 14 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than 9 days.
This means that Israel's been more likely to interrupt longer peace periods, without provocation.

A systematic pattern does exist: it is overwhelmingly Israel, not Palestine, that kills first following a lull. Indeed, it is virtually always Israel that kills first after a lull lasting more than a week.

The lessons from these data are clear:

First, Hamas can indeed control the rockets, when it is in their interest. The data shows that ceasefires can work, reducing the violence to nearly zero for months at a time. (Thus nulling the myth that Hamas is under Syrian and Iranian influence.)

Second, if Israel wants to reduce rocket fire from Gaza, it should cherish and preserve the peace when it starts to break out, not be the first to kill.



Thank you for publishing the terrible "statistics."

thepoetryman said...

Hello, Hill...

Terrifying statistics is what they are, literally and figuratively.

Parke Burgess said...

So we now know, "Israel started it." But where does that leave us?

Violence is always very expensive, prohibitively so. But violence used by the powerful to eviscerate the weak is especially vile. To redeem themselves, Israel must take the lead toward peace here, eventually transforming the "Holy Land" into a place remotely deserving of the name. But given the suffering Israel has unleashed in this and many earlier conflicts, they have made their work much, much more difficult.

Naj said...

Hi HILLIBLOGGER and Parke, welcome to Neo-Resistance.

Violence is expensive, but not if it is spent on foreign budget. Israel received hand out money to be violent!
I am a believer of the power of the people; and i am a believer of Israel's democracy. The violence we are seeing is the collective will of a majority of blood thirsty population who are "phobic" about Arabs. Just as i kill spiders because i am spidero-phobic, Israelis kill arabs because they hate them, and genuinely fear them.

When you are wealthy, and when you are given the opportunity to kill your adversary without consequence (legal or financial) you would care little about the "ecosystem" that you disrupt by killing (humans or spiders).

What needs to change, fundamentally, is the heart of the majority of Israilites. When i hear a young Jewish boy, whom I have seen grow up from cradle, is now saying things like: "My mommy says we are special because we are jewish. Jewish people 'sense' t things" I shudder with disgust. Israelis need to question themselves if they want peace; and need to question the premise of "this is our ancestral land."

Would some generation of American-Indians backed by China be one day justified to kill and mime us out of our New Jersey homes??

choclosteve said...

Interesting analysis, but as the saying goes, it takes two to tango, and I am unhappy with both sides. In my younger years I hitch hiked around Syria and Jordan back when the West Bank and part of Jerusalem were still Jordanian (1964). I was shocked and dismayed at the level of hatred I
saw. Now, some 45 years later, things have only gotten worse, and the barriers to peace have gotten higher. I do not see a Bishop Tutu, Mahatma
Gandhi, or Martin Luther King getting any influence on either side. Clearly a win/lose would end up a lose/lose- we need to see a win/win that can only come from peace and forgiving, and not through the continued violence that is the enemy of us all.

Naj said...


YEs I have also witnessed this unrelenting visceral hatred between Arabs and Israelis as well.

However, unfortunately, Israelis have worked very hard in the past 40 years to EARN the hatred that is directed at them.

A part of the problem, in my opinion is the cultural AND religious similarity between the two groups. To me, they seem like brothers who hate themselves, but take their hatred out on the "other".

What is disturbing, however, is that a small group, Palestinians are paying the price. It was the Egyptians who stirred the shit to begin with; and it was they who made peace first. Palestinians are victimized by a WORLD of opportunism, instrumental to political gains of crooks and criminals, from washington, to tel aviv to Moscos to Paris, to Bonn, to London all across arabian peninsula and all the way to Tehran