02 January 2009

Mulling on Hamas, Gaza, Seth, matzav

It is quite difficult to mull on the developments in Gaza while people are dying. People will continue to die, more if the ground operation we are being warned about will come true. This (people dying) is so far the only clear outcome of the current events.

Anyhow, I cannot explain why this article by Seth Freedman triggered this (it will be a long one) post. Maybe because it is a rare case when Seth turned his scorching beams from the Zionists' atrocities and tried to see both sides of the conflict? Laudable attempt, albeit a reserved one, and Seth will get it in the neck from the horde of his groupies, in fact he already did - just take a look at the comments.

Or, maybe, because the article appears in The Guardian that will never ever publish a thing like this, and whys and hows of this wondrous decision will pursue us for some time yet. No matter, here we go.

The History.

People who, as it goes, belong to the large group of Jew Israel-haters, will talk and condemn us for the events that started with IAF raid three days ago, disregarding the long and bloody history that goes back via disengagement from Gaza and several years before that, to Second Intifada of 2001. I was one of the ardent supporters of disengagement (should I be sorry to confess to it now? - probably, at least because of the way it was carried out), naively hoping for a first success in creating a peaceful and prosperous statelet that will show the West Bank folks how to go about becoming a good neighbor. Far from being so, the popular will of Gazan population brought forth the Hamas government that, instead of striving for betterment of their folks' lives, prosperity and peace, declared annihilation of state of Israel as their primary goal and briskly started to do their best. We shall (should) never forget this:

"We have decided to make Sderot a ghost town," said a spokesman for Hamas who gave his name as Abu Ubeideh. "We are not going to stop launching our rockets until they leave."
The incessant launches of Qassams and mortar shells continued for more than seven years, with the frequency sharply increased after the disengagement and Hamas' victory. Tens of thousands of Israelis have their lives turned into one permanent Russian roulette, and this is not about soldiers - we are speaking about the women, the children, the elderly and the disabled that cannot run to the barely effective shelters in the 15 seconds they have from the siren wail to the next boom.

What other country in the world would wait for seven years without retaliation? Russians who destroyed the whole Chechnya, killing a hundred thousand? US of A who bombed the heck (deservedly) out of Taliban? Brits who send an armada across the ocean to teach Argentina a painful lesson because of a puny island with a hundred dwellers and two hundred sheep (both species not really giving a damn about who it is that is ruling the property)?

Imagine London** being under random attacks of Qassams for a day or two (right, I can agree with many a thinker that Qassams are not killing many people - but the despicable morons, who say this is a good reason why Israel should refrain from retaliation, should themselves spend a month or two, let alone seven years, in one of the towns or villages bordering Gaza). So imagine London... Imagine what the intrepid RAF will do to that overly frisky neighbor... imagine Dresden... oops.

So to all the Israel-bashers/haters, all the "disproportionate response" sloganeers, all the protesters and their uncounted demos: you can go and stick your collective heads where the sun doesn't shine. And a side question to all of you: have you ever demonstrated against Hamas' "liberation struggle", in other words against lobbing Qassams at Israeli citizens? Yeah, don't answer, just don't let me delay you on your way to that dark place.

The totally artificial term "disproportionate response", as it looks so far, was invented solely for one purpose: to pin Israel to the wall of shame. There is only one answer to this: any means to stop somebody who tries to kill or injure you are perfectly proportional in a war. Unless you intentionally try to kill as many innocent bystanders as possible (the habit Hamas is practicing for too long).


There are too many pundits that try to explain the motivation and the logic behind the Hamas' behavior. So the roots of Hamas' apparently suicidal behavior should be studied and published by these pundits and, even better, by psychiatrists that specialize in religious fanatics, mass psychosis and related forms of mental deviations.

So I will restrict myself to a few external manifestations of Hamas' mental aberration. As far as the recently "tahadiya" - the truce - is concerned, it is interesting and educational to notice that Hamas' have almost succeeded to persuade the world that it is quite all right to have a kind of truce where one side will keep to and will be judged by the letter of the agreement, and the other side will allow itself an occasional launch of a Qassam, a mortar or five (who really counts between friends and good neighbors?), an occasional attack on a border crossing (that provides vital supplies to the same Hamas-controlled territory), an attempt to attack a border patrol or to place an explosive charge under the border fence. When we (that other side) appeared to be recalcitrant in our determination to prevent these acts of terror (apologies for calling a spade a spade), Hamas decided that the rules of the game are unfair and must be changed.

In this regard I am compelled to quote the inimitable Seumas Milne, the author of one of the dirtiest pieces in British press on the subject:
Hamas is likewise blamed for last month's breakdown of the six-month tahdi'a, or lull. But, in a weary reprise of past ceasefires, it was in fact sunk by Israel's assassination of six Hamas fighters in Gaza on 5 November and its refusal to lift its siege of the embattled territory as expected under an Egyptian-brokered deal.
So our "assassination" of six Hamas "fighters" was the reason for the demise of tahadiya. Hmm... let's see:
Israel Air Force pilots struck two terrorist cells in southern Gaza that were preparing to launch mortar shells at Israel late Tuesday night. In the first strike, at least three Arab terrorists were killed and several others were wounded, according to local sources. Shortly after, a second cell was hit in a similar IAF strike.
So, according to Milne (or Hamas, it's rather difficult to distinguish lately), the IDF (IAF) murderers "assassinated" six "fighters" who were peacefully minding their daily harmless business. Well, that of launching mortars at a neighboring kibbutz, but this, according to Hamas/Milne, is just a part of the deal, so here you go...

In short - Hamas want the truce, but on their own peculiar terms, and the world seems to display a good measure of understanding of these terms, to our sorrow.

Hamas goals? It is even more difficult to understand. On one hand, their avowed goal of annihilating Israel is hardly realistic, and they are not so stupid as to miss this point. On the other hand, supported by Iran, Syria and a few other similar regimes, they do everything in their (thankfully limited) power to bring more and more arms and to make our life as miserable as possible. What do they expect as the outcome of this activity is difficult to understand, but one thing for sure - Hamas leaders don't give a damn about the population of Gaza. When even their Arab brethren say this publicly (today it was the Egyptian ex-ambassador to Israel, Muhammad Basyuni), it is impossible to ignore.

It is darkly ironic that the religious movement that made their ascent to power via charity work, food distribution, social services etc., displays the most brazen indifference to the lives of its subjects.

How big a role the religious fanaticism plays in their decision-making is also difficult to say, let's only mention that a day or two after operation Cast Lead has started, Ismail Haniye in his TV appearance asked the world to know that "if we die, we all do it for Allah". Who it is he meant by "we"? He didn't make it clear. What is clear that the last days he spent in a shelter in the already familiar manner of his spiritual partner Sheik Nasrallah.

Another notable point in Hamas' practice is their attention to the media. Hamas made a real effort to prepare to the clearly coming attacks. Professionals and volunteers with cameras literally swamped the world media by pictures and clips showing the Gazans' suffering, and the pictures of this kind familiar to all in the last years:

were promptly replaced by:

and, of course, not to forget, by images like this:

Whatever else, Hamas have learned very well the lessons of their many predecessors and existing partners in the line of crude but effective propaganda. And they succeed admiringly to convey their message to their eager and willing supporters in the East and in the West. It works.

As for the first three pictures of the "warriors": according to the latest news, Hamas "militants" have already accomplished a strategic move that was planned in advance: they have discarded their military uniforms which served them so well for photo-ops, intimidation of their internal rivals and other worthy pursuits. Now they all are just simple peaceful citizens, so in the Hamas' reports of dead and injured you will see more and more "innocent bystanders". After all, it takes a second to get the Kalashnikov and the spare magazines away from the corpse, the makeup of a perfect peaceful citizen is very simple.


I am not trying in any way to diminish or to ignore the suffering of the citizens of the Gaza strip. It is real and the situation is worsening, with the infrastructure being destroyed, with dwindling supplies (controlled by Hamas and other gangs anyway), with border crossings being opened only sporadically for transfer of the essential provisions.

Unfortunately for us, people squeezed between the hard rock of Hamas and the hard place of IDF cannot but blame Israel for their misfortunes. At a time like this, the eager support of the new rule during the early days of Hamas government with the demonstrations, the display of weaponry and the cries "Itbach Itbach El Yahud!" (Slaughter the Jews!) seems to be replaced by the grim determination to support Hamas no matter right or wrong - just because there is no one else to appeal to.

This is (methinks) where our main mistake/problem comes into play, a bit later about it.


Bleak. Whether the ground operation will come into being remains to be seen, there are clear signs of the government dithering about the final decision. The reasons are also all too clear. But with growing international pressure, the window for the operation is quickly closing.

Even if a full-scale ground assault comes about and the military goals are achieved - Hamas armory and its military organization destroyed or dispersed, what then? No one, even the more militant Likud leaders, wants IDF to remain as an occupying power. But with vacuous and powerless Fatah and their current chief Abu Mazen (who is supposed to relinquish his post soon anyway), the power vacuum in Gaza will be filled by Hamas immediately. And provided our policy of economic blockade continues, Gazans will (even unwillingly) return to the warm and murderous embrace of the same old...

Here I come to what seems to me the biggest dilemma our government faces and will face for a long time. As long as our economic blockade continues, it will be relatively easy for Hamas (or any other power that succeeds them) to blame us for all their misfortunes.

I realize that opening Gaza to free flow of goods has seemingly insurmountable security implications. How to ensure that open borders don't serve Hamas, Islamic Jihad and lesser gangs as a green light for bringing in more and more potent arms? How to control the potential influx of eager "volunteers" of Iran, Al Qaeda and similar from joining their martyr brethren in Gaza? The last but not the least: how to make sure that the distribution of goods is taken out of the hands of the terrorist gangs that were controlling the distribution until now?

However difficult is the challenge, solution to all these questions must be found. And it looks that the only way to resolve the problem, albeit temporary, until a strong civil power structure is created in Gaza, is for IDF to stay put. Which brings us back to where we have started - no one really wants this.

A conundrum indeed...

The World

The world will do as the world will do. Our supporters will support, our detractors will detract, as usual disregarding anything we do to minimize the civilian deaths and civilian suffering. Hardly anyone noticed that during the strife we keep the border crossings open for the food and other vital supplies coming into Gaza, but every news outlet carries the pictures of bombed out houses and victims' bodies on the first pages. Hardly anyone noticed that the Israeli hospitals are receiving sick and injured from Gaza (try to imaging the opposite, I dare you), but the skewed numbers of dead and wounded "civilians" (in most cases Hamas boys without that uniform), provided by Hamas spokesman, are swallowed without doubts.

The same networks that during seven long years of Qassams more or less ignored the Israelis living under the constant threat, now go out of their way to produce more and more imagery and heart-rending stories about Israeli atrocities.

Should we give a flying donut about the world? Probably not, but we'll have to be blind and deaf to ignore this media bacchanalia. There is more to it: only two or three days ago I laughed at this exceedingly stupid headline:

What Israel is doing is nothing to do with peace but its own selfish security concerns

Upon second thought, this is not that funny. In fact, it perfectly matches the attitude of a good part of the European and even American public and, especially, their respective left wing masterminds: them Jooz are too frisky and causing unneeded trouble in our own bailiwicks. Why cannot they just quietly absorb a few Qassams a day and be gracious about it? Cannot they understand that our fat backsides are being disturbed by some of our fellow Muslim citizens, not to speak about the implications on the oil price (oh that oil - where indeed is that solution to our incessant oil hunger - let some clever Joo find one already)?

And so it goes...


Since it was his article that triggered this torrent of words, it would be unfair to forget him. There is a small problem I have with the lede of that article:
Those who have condemned Israel for falling into a trap ought to be just as vocal in condemning Hamas for setting such a trap.
Let's imagine you go for a stroll with a gun, somebody jumps out from behind a corner and starts shooting at you. You (naturally, I would say, although it is not that clear today with all this modern intellectual enlightenment) shoot back and kill or maim the attacker. As Seth will describe the event, you have fallen into a trap set by the attacker (such is the power of that intellectual enlightenment). Well, in the olden times people would say that you have exercised your lawful right to self-defense, but what do I know?

Anyhow, in his next article, Seth has backpedaled a bit from that wondrous even-handed stance. The familiar notes of "I don't condone but I understand" are heard all too well in that one. Too bad.

But in any case, I can gladly sign under this:
Both sides are human, neither are angels – and if there is ever to be a way out of the impasse, it requires an end to viewing the conflict as simply a matter of black or white.

The Future

Yes, what indeed will be written in the history books in a thousand years? Here is an example from a footnote to a paragraph on what is called "The orange growing district" in year 3005 :
Israel/Palestine conflict: a two hundred years strife between two very small and closely related tribes that differed only by their adherence to two minor warring religions that disappeared with the Advent of a Great Striped Sock.
[Needless to mention, the above is a loose translation from the only language accepted in the XXXI century - Chindian].

(*) matzav - situation in Hebrew.
(**) I have chosen London on purpose - the most poisonous vitriol (not counting the Muslim countries, of course) is being directed at us from this bed of free thought lately.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com.


Anonymous said...

This is a world where power rules and there is nothing like a league of nations. The league of nations works under the order of the powerful nations but there is the Almighty who is just overlooking everything that we do and when he reacts it will be a real tough and our powers will not be able to face that. If the jews were victims of Nasizm, they are doing the same atrocities or worse today. The gas chambers of the nasi regime is analogous to the high walls that surround the towns and the resident will rot to famine. Is that fair?
I am sure, if the jews want peace they can achieve that easily with least compromises but the question is do they?
I guess not. Remember, whatever goes up will finally come down after it reaches its peak.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

"The gas chambers of the nasi regime is analogous to the high walls..."

Yeah, it's a great analogy, Guest. Like saying that your brain is analogous to that of a basic invertebrate. But then, invertebrates do not have an easy access to a keyboard.