02 December 2012

The phantoms of ceasefire, proportionality and other Middle East myths - Part I

As usual, every flare-up of local conflict causes the usual buzzwords applied to it to be taken out of the drawer, dusted and presented via the helpful media to the bored audience. The manner of presentation differs somewhat, depending on the level of sympathy/disdain each specific media channel has toward the warring sides, but the motif remains by and large untouched.

To start with, the ceasefire, the truce, the taadiya, the Hudna. CNN, doing their best to be fair and balanced, presented the issue via the prism of one Nadia Hijab*. To be fair, Ms Hijab's affiliation was disclosed up front by CNN editor:

Nadia Hijab is Director of Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network, and a frequent public speaker and media commentator. She also serves as senior fellow at the Institute for Palestine Studies.
The main motif of the article was also presented fair and square by its headline:

Israel's mission in Gaza is not about security -- so what is it about?

The article is quite long, but its gist, and the main lie is conveniently placed in its first paragraph:
Let's be clear: Israel's latest operation in Gaza is not about security. Cease-fires between Hamas-ruled Gaza and Israel have brought security for months on end and there is ample evidence to show that Israel is largely responsible for truce breakdowns.
Let's be clear: there never was a ceasefire "between Hamas-ruled Gaza and Israel". For two reasons: formally Israel never signed any ceasefire "agreement", a half-hearted commitment to a ceasefire being usually given by Hamas to their Egyptian contacts. Israel is steadfastly refusing to negotiate with Hamas directly, for several good reasons I shall leave out of this post. The second and more important reason is that every single time the promise given by Hamas appeared to be another lie.

Some diligent soul(s) keeps a recorded history of Qassam attacks, and a quick browse through this Wiki link for year 2012 will show you that not a single month passes without Qassam "precipitation". Sometimes dripping, sometimes raining, sometimes pouring... Even if you exclude the 1500 or so rockets launched from Gaza during the Pillar of Cloud operation, it still leaves about 800 Qassams launched during the first ten moths of 2012, a respectable average of 80 per month.

I consider the above to be sufficient to dismiss the rest of the BS concocted by Ms Hijab. However, there are still some points that demand a response, their stupidity being irresistible. First of all - the reference to the "ample evidence to show that Israel is largely responsible for truce breakdowns" in the first paragraph. I have left the link intact, so you can check it for yourself. It includes 15 or so cases of alleged Israeli breaks of the ceasefire... from year 1949. I will not be deconstructing each "case", irresistible as they are, suffice to say that Ms Hijab, in her wisdom, doesn't mention the main cause of ceasefire breach, which is creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Well, the other 15 cases are more or less similar to that one, so it's not a big loss.

Another pearl of Ms Hijab's wisdom follows that bombastic first paragraph immediately:
Israel decided to escalate the conflict last Wednesday with its assassination of Hamas leader Ahmed al-Ja'abari despite a truce that had been observed by all Palestinian factions during the previous two days. And even though they knew that al-Ja'abari had just received a proposal for a permanent truce agreement with Israel, as revealed in Haaretz.
I shall refrain from discussing the wisdom of offing Mr al-Ja'abari** at the precise timing it was done and then making a sudden about-turn re the ground operation, this subject being mulled upon here in sufficient length. But what about that mysterious mention of al-Ja'abari receiving a proposal for a permanent truce and the link to Haaretz? Of course, the key word for a summary dismissal of this part of the story could have been "received", judiciously kept in place by Ms Hijab. Is it necessary to point out the difference between "received" and "accepted"? And when you go to the original Haaretz article (behind a $$wall), it appears that the so called "proposal" is not issued by some branch of our government, but is a fruit of imagination of one Gershon Baskin, peace activist, undoubtedly a good man, full of well-wishing, but hardly representing any official of any standing.

So much for ceasefire. Knowing the traditional Muslim view of Hudna (historically used as a tactic aimed at allowing the party declaring the hudna to regroup while tricking an enemy into lowering its guard.), one should make up one's mind on the subject. One should ask oneself: how many Qassam rockets or mortar grenades or anti-tank rockets constitute one single breach of ceasefire?

It is not an idle question. The main problem with most Western media lately (as far as so called "ceasefire" between Gaza and Israel is concerned) became the readiness of its pundits to accept the totally false premise of the Gaza/Israel situation as a mostly permanent ceasefire occasionally interrupted by flare-ups of violence of the kind we had recently with Pillar of Cloud.

Which premise is as far from the truth as it can possibly be. Further discussion of the issue of the so called "ceasefire", its effect on Israeli population and Israeli "disproportional" response - in the next part.

(*) Hijab is also "a headscarf worn by Muslim women; conceals the hair and neck and usually has a face veil that covers the face". I bet it's a coincidence, after all Nadia is also a fighter for women rights.

(**) Not directly related to the subject of this post, but the persona of al-Ja'abari, dead as he thankfully is, is worth of a short study.


Dick Stanley said...

Ms. Hijab's nearsightedness in regards to rocket precipitation is matched only by her historical understanding that all the Jews came from Europe, except for King David who stopped by long enough to build the Dome of the Rock which has been there ever since.

KatieNorcross said...

There is no such idea as proportionality in war. It is a idea the Arabs and their allies can hit Israel over the head with.

Hit them back with this:

World War 2 the United States bombed the Japanese relentlessly. In one
raid over Tokyo alone almost 1 million Japanese died.

During the same time the Japanese send High Altitude Fire Balloons over the Pacific to the United States.

While not very effective they did kill 6 people. Where was the proportionality in that?

OK you can call me a racist for that!

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Well, yes, she is definitely a researcher of highest caliber.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

The whole idea of proportionality (to be taken up in the next post) is another phantom invented and used specially for Israel.