Naiman leads off with, as all great Palestinian supporters do, with a strawman argument. He writes that Harris claimed that because Hamas is a terrorist organization, everything Israel does to Gaza is justified. Naiman writes, "The overall thrust of David's piece appears to be that Hamas is a monster, and therefore whatever the Israeli government does -- including the blockade of Gaza -- which is claimed to be "in defense against Hamas," is justified." If you read Harris' article, you can see no such statement is made (indeed, Naiman seems to be aware of that as he uses the weasel word "appears," giving him plausible deniability). Once this strawman is constructed, Naiman launches into a diatribe of how all men are created equal, etc., etc. He demands that the Palestinians of Gaza be granted their human rights:
"The 1.6 million Palestinian residents of Gaza did not forfeit their human rights when Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections; nor did the 1.6 million Palestinian residents of Gaza forfeit their human rights when Hamas took control of Gaza. They did not forfeit their human rights, because they could not forfeit their human rights: their human rights are "unalienable," and are not contingent on whether Hamas wins a legislative election; neither are they contingent on whether Gaza is ruled by Hamas."This statement is an example of how the Palestinians feel their actions should never have consequences. It's quite fascinating. Countries have been fighting wars for centuries, and yet the Palestinians and Mr. Naiman think they are the first people in history to be able to both fight a war and not suffer at all while at war. When countries go to war, they accept, for better or for worse, that they are forfeiting their human rights (to a certain extent) while they go off to violate someone else's human rights. I use the analogy of a prisoner in jail whenever someone tries to make this argument. People have the right to freedom of movement, to travel where they want. However, when a criminal violates someone else's human rights, he or she is placed in jail. Is the criminal's human rights being violated? Clearly, yes. Should anyone care, since the criminal violated someone else's human rights? Clearly, no.
You can also see here the representation two-step at work. The voters in Gaza voted Hamas to lead them. But once Hamas starts committing crimes, Mr. Naiman demands that the people of Gaza had nothing to do with them, and if the people suffer at all, that's collective punishment. Too bad this logic doesn't apply to the people of Israel, where far left peaceniks are just as targeted by terrorists as far right hawks.
In a first for him, Mr. Naiman bothers to mention the suffering of someone besides the Palestinians, the Israelis within rocket range of Gaza. But he doesn't care about them, as you can see:
"In particular, the residents of Sderot have the right not to have rockets from Gaza fall on them; and more generally, Israelis have the right not to be attacked from Gaza. And therefore, it is obviously legitimate for the Israeli government to take just, legal and necessary measures to protect Israelis from rocket fire or other attacks from Gaza. But it is not legitimate for the Israeli government to take measures that are unjust or violate international law, simply because Israeli government officials claim that they are necessary. If we had to accept unquestioningly the say-so of Israeli government officials that any measure that they take in the name of "security" is just, legal, and necessary, then on what basis would we question such assertions from US officials, or Bahraini officials, or the officials of any other government?"Mr. Naiman essentially says, "Yeah, the Israelis have the right not to be attacked, but who cares about them? Let's criticize the Israeli government for protecting them!" Of course, the blockade and Israel's method to enforce it are completely legal, and Mr. Naiman doesn't try to make that legal argument, he just accepts the blockade's illegality as fact and moves on.
Mr. Naiman then performs some hand wringing about the collective punishment of the people of Gaza and how a couple Palestinians weren't allowed into Israel for medical treatment. He concludes,
"The issue with the blockade is not the Israeli right of self-defense against armed attack. This right is not in serious international dispute. The issue in dispute is the deliberate punishment of civilians, and denial of their freedom. If the policy in 2010 had changed to that advocated by President Obama, "focusing narrowly on arms shipments," there would be no dispute worth noticing today regarding the blockade."If only Mr. Naiman cared a tiny little bit about Israeli civilians as he does about Palestinian civilians, I might actually believe him. Naturally, Naiman has no interest in the plethora of evidence that shows life in Gaza is just fine, because that would violate his worldview. If he ever makes it to Gaza and sees for himself, his opinion might change. But I won't hold my breath for that one.