After World War I, the Gaza Strip, which for centuries had been part of the Ottoman Empire, came under a British mandate. From 1949 to 1959, it was governed by Egypt, ostensibly under the authority of the Arab League. In 1959, the Strip was incorporated by Egypt, though the population was not granted Egyptian citizenship.
In 1967, the territory was occupied by Israel in the course of its defensive Six-Day War. Thousands of Israelis settled in the Strip and established industries there. But in 1993, by the tragically misconceived Oslo Accords, Gaza came under the administration of a “Palestine National Authority” (PNA). In its perpetual pursuit of peace with the Arabs, Israel agreed to remove the settlers. They resisted, and the Israeli government had them removed by force. They left acres of excellently functioning and highly lucrative greenhouses to the Arabs – who promptly destroyed them.
So it was that a Judenrein Gaza Strip became an autonomous “Palestinian” region, officially administered by the PNA.
In 2007, the terrorist organization Hamas, after an internecine struggle with the PNA, seized control of the Strip and proceeded to launch attacks on Israel with suicide bombers and rocket fire. Israel dealt with the suicide bombers by putting up a protective fence, and from time to time responds to the rocket fire with bombing raids. The world thinks Israel is not being fair to the Palestinians by taking these measures.
The world, chiefly the Western powers, has chosen to keep the population of Gaza as a perpetual beggar nation, dependent on aid. The children of Gaza are taught in schools run by UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) – created specially for the purpose of keeping generations of Palestinians as “refugees’ – and under its tutelage are raised to be Israel-haters and terrorists. The result is the perpetuation of intense hostility, which makes a mockery of the pretense of those same Western powers to be honest brokers of peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
Now the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) has infiltrated the Strip and is threatening to take over control of it from its fellow Sunni-Muslim terrorists, Hamas.
This is from an article by Khaled Abu Toameh at Gatestone:
It is always dreamlike to see one Islamist terror group accuse the other of being too “lenient” when it comes to enforcing sharia laws. But it is not dreamlike when a terrorist group starts threatening writers and women.
That is what is happening these days in the Gaza Strip, where supporters of the Islamic State are accusing Hamas of failing to impose strict Islamic laws on the Palestinian population — as if Hamas has thus far endorsed a liberal and open-minded approach toward those who violate sharia laws.
Now, however, almost everyone is talking about the Islamic State threats against poets, writers and women.Until this week, the only topic Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were talking about was how to rebuild homes and buildings that were destroyed during the last war between Hamas and Israel.
It is no secret that the Islamic State has a presence in the Gaza Strip. According to sources there, many disgruntled members of Hamas and other radical salafi-jihadi groups have already joined the Islamic State, with some fighting together with ISIS groups in Syria and Iraq.
Earlier this year, it was revealed here that Islamic State has already begun operating inside the Gaza Strip – much to the dismay of Hamas.
Hamas, nevertheless, continues to deny any presence of Islamic State inside the Gaza Strip. “There are no members of Islamic State in the Gaza Strip,” said Eyad al-Bazam, spokesman for the Hamas-run Interior Ministry.
Many Palestinians, however, do not seem to take Hamas’s denials seriously, and remain unconvinced.
Over the past few days, two separate leaflets signed by Islamic State threatened to target Palestinian poets and writers for their “wantonness” and “atheism.” The leaflets mention the poets and writers by name – a move that created panic among many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
The leaflets also included an ultimatum to Palestinian women to abide by Islamic attire or face the Islamic State style of punishment — presumably being stoned to death. The threat leaves one with the false impression that, under Hamas, women can wear swimming suits at the beach and walk around the streets of Gaza City in mini-skirts.
But this is what happens when one fundamentalist group believes that the other is not radical enough.
“We warn the writers and poets of their wanton sayings and atheist deeds,” one of the leaflets reads. “We give the apostates three days to retract their apostasy and wantonness and enter the religion of Islam anew.”
The threats issued by Islamic State have drawn strong condemnations from many Palestinians. This is the first time that such threats have been made against poets and writers or women.
Although Hamas has denied any connection to the threats, Fatah officials [aka the PNA] in the West Bank were quick to accuse the Islamist movement — which has been in control of the Gaza Strip since 2007 — of being behind the leaflets. …
Palestinians point out that the two leaflets were not the only sign of the presence of Islamic State inside the Gaza Strip. They say that Islamic State flags can be seen in many parts of the Gaza Strip, especially at football stadiums and public buildings. In addition, Islamic State stickers can be seen on the windshields of many vehicles.
More recently … families have begun attaching the Islamic State emblem to wedding invitations sent out to friends and relatives. Photos of Palestinians who were killed while fighting with Islamic State in Iraq and Syria appear in many places, especially mosques and educational centers.
Of course, all of this is taking place while Hamas continues to insist that the Islamic State is not operating in Gaza.
Those who are taking the threats seriously are the women and writers whose names appeared in the leaflets.
Amal Hamad, a member of the Palestinian Women’s Union, expressed deep concern about the threats made by Islamic State. “We are headed toward the worst in the Gaza Strip,” she complained. “We hold the Hamas security forces responsible for the leaflets of intimidation and terror.” She and a large group of women in the Gaza Strip held an emergency meeting to discuss the repercussions of the threats.
Judging from reactions, it is clear that many Palestinians – including Hamas – are extremely worried about Islamic State’s presence in the Gaza Strip. Even if the terror group still does not have many fighters in the Gaza Strip, it already has countless followers and admirers.
It is also clear that if and when the Hamas regime collapses, the Gaza Strip will not fall into the hands of less-radical Palestinians.
The Gaza Strip has already been turned into an “Islamist Emirate” that is run by Hamas and other radical groups such as Islamic Jihad.
While Islamic State may have succeeded in infiltrating the Gaza Strip, its chances of entering the West Bank are zero. This is thanks to the presence of the Israel Defense Forces [IDF] in the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority and its President Mahmoud Abbas are well aware that without the Israeli security presence in the West Bank, the area would easily fall into the hands of Hamas or Islamic State.
It is important to keep in mind that the countries in Europe now voting for a Palestinian state may effectively be paving the way for a takeover by Islamic State.
We wonder how many people living in Gaza secretly wish the alleged Israeli “occupation” were real, and are nostalgic for the days when it was. Their lives were better, and more secure, under Israel than under the PNA or Hamas.
Now they – especially writers, poets, and women it seems – must dread the prospect of life under the rule of the Islamic State.
But if the Islamic State does absorb Gaza, its population will be stateless no longer. As citizens of the Caliphate they may be miserable, but they will no longer be “refugees”.
No more UNWRA. No more exploitation of the Palestinians by the Arab States as “victims” of Israel.
Of course, the attacks on Israel will not stop. They will very likely intensify. Will the world object as much to Israel defending itself against the Islamic State as it does to Israel defending itself against Hamas?
Time may tell.
Meanwhile, the Islamic State is taking possession of the minds of millions of Muslims all over the world. If it is not growing territorially at this moment, it is certainly growing as an ideal.
An ideal of savage cruelty and enslavement! Islam triumphant.
The Egyptian Goddess Isis
(just for decoration)
We repeat here our Facebook summary of an article by Sultan Knish on the exploitation of children’s suffering for pro-Islam, and especially pro-Hamas, propaganda.
Our summaries largely use the author’s own words. Sometimes we add comment of our own, as we do here in an introductory paragraph.
Some of the Yezidis trapped on Sinjar mountain by the Islamic State (IS formerly ISIS) – who want to shoot, decapitate, or crucify them – have been throwing their children off the mountain for a quick death rather than let them die slowly of thirst – though that is what some dozens have already died of.
The dead Yezidi children won’t inspire any protests or much in the way of outrage. The hysterical rallies for Gaza won’t suddenly turn into anti-ISIS rallies. If any of the angry white hipsters with dead baby posters are asked about it, they will offer some variation on, “It’s Bush’s fault” or “It’s Tony Blair’s fault”. And they had been out there in the early part of the century denouncing any move to remove Saddam Hussein from power. The dead children gassed by Saddam, along with the children in his prisons, were unfortunately created less equal than the photogenic, oddly blonde children of Gaza’s Hamaswood. Anna, a two-year-old girl whose feet were crushed by Saddam’s torturers, never mattered to them. It isn’t the children that they care about, not the dying Yezidi children in Iraq, or the tortured children in Saddam Hussein’s prisons, or even the dead children of Gaza used as human shields by Hamas in life and then brandished at rallies after their deaths as cardboard propaganda shields by raging Marxists. When they thought that Israel had bombed a playground near the al-Shati refugee camp killing nine children, they went into murderous paroxysm of outrage. When it turned out that a misfired Hamas rocket was responsible, they fell silent. They have equally little interest in the 3-year-old Gazan girl killed by a Hamas rocket in the early days of the war. The same thing had happened in 2012 when a dead 11-month old baby, formerly an iconic front page photo, vanished into obscurity once the death turned out to have been caused by a Hamas rocket. The same thing happened to Hadil al-Haddad, a 2-year-old girl in Gaza, who went from iconic photo to yesterday’s news once it turned out that a Hamas rocket had been responsible for her death. However the photos of those dead and wounded children, along with the dead children of Syria and perhaps soon the dead children of the Yezidi, will go on showing up as victims of Israel at spitefully angry anti-Israel rallies. If it was the children that they cared about, then the death of an Israeli child or a Muslim child at the hands of Hamas would matter as much to them as the ones on the bloody placards they now brandish. But they don’t and they never did. For Hamas and its supporters screaming “Free Gaza” at the top of their lungs, children, dead or alive, are just another propaganda weapon in the arsenal of terrorist theocracy.
(Put “Yezidis” into our search slot to read about their religion.)
Why is Gaza blockaded? Here’s a reminder of the reason from Harry’s Place:
Hamas’s key demand – without which they will not agree to a ceasefire – is the lifting of the blockade of Gaza. The term “blockade” is used glibly, including by the media, and it is never really spelled out what it means. It means essentially that Israel open her borders with Gaza allowing free movement in and out of the strip. …
So much is in the media today outlining the awful effects of the blockade on the people of Gaza that no one remembers – or at least they don’t appear to care – what life was like before the imposition of economic sanctions and the blockade of Gaza in 2006/7. Not for Palestinians, but for Israelis.
Following the withdrawal of Israel from Gaza in 2005, Hamas took over running the strip. The Israeli withdrawal did not ease tensions – as the world naively always insisted it would – but rather gave Hamas and Islamic Jihad (sometime with the help of Fatah) the resources to continue mounting a catastrophic series of suicide bomb attacks against Israeli civilians including (some might say especially) women and children. …
In the first five years of the new millennium, there were more than 140 suicide and car bomb attacks in Israel killing more than 600 people. and injuring many more. That is in just five years.
The blockade has been very effective in reducing such attacks. Those who call on Israel to lift the blockade on Gaza are essentially asking it to return to life like this. This is what happens when Hamas and its supporters in Gaza can come and go freely.
This was life before the blockade:
Hamas will not accept a ceasefire unless this blockade is lifted and they’re free to come and go into Israel. It is perfectly obvious why they want this. People who support them in this demand are either too stupid to see the obvious, or unconcerned about the lives of Israeli citizens. There’s a third option of course: like Hamas, they like to see Jews die.
Whatever the case. the people of Gaza are behind Hamas and would like to see the scenes above revisited on Israel. As much sympathy as the images of suffering splashed on our TV and computer screens is likely to generate, the harsh truth is that Gazans are only suffering because they could not contain their desire to kill and injure the Jews across the border.
Is an even more radical, more terrifying terror group than Hamas now establishing itself in Gaza and “throwing Palestinians into a panic”?
It seems that ever more “extreme” groups emerge daily or even hourly into our purview out of the chaos of Islam’s internecine strife.
The death-dealing monsters in this picture, belonging to an al-Qaeda affiliate called DAESH, are jittering the master-terrorists of Hamas itself.
The Arabic acronym DAESH stands for the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”. They have produced a YouTube video in which they fiercely announce their plans to wage jihad against “infidels, traitors and Crusaders”.
The picture and our quotations come from a Gatestone Institute article by Khaled Abu Toameh:
The announcement is seen as a challenge to the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which has been in control of the Gaza Strip since July 2007.
Palestinian Authority security officials in Ramallah expressed fear that the Al-Qaeda-affiliated group would try to establish terrorist cells also in the West Bank.
[These] 10 heavily-armed masked terrorists declare allegiance to DAESH, whose men are responsible for most of the atrocities in Syria and Iraq over the past few years.
Most? Surely that’s impossible to know. But we can believe they have committed a great many atrocities.
In the video, a spokesman for the group announces that in addition to Syria and Iraq, DAESH now has “lions and armies in the environs of Jerusalem.”
Lions? We guess they mean human beasts of prey.
The spokesman says that the group’s goal is to restore the dignity of Muslims who have been “humiliated” by their enemies. He urges Muslims to rally behind his group and support its members in their jihad against the enemies of Islam and “Arab tyrants.”
Palestinians have reacted with panic to the emergence of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated group in the Gaza Strip.
According to reports from the Gaza Strip, Palestinians are worried that the DAESH terrorists will perpetrate atrocities against those who oppose their ideology and activities.
“This group is much more dangerous and radical than Hamas,” said a Palestinian journalist from Gaza City. “The presence of Al-Qaeda in the Gaza Strip is bad news not only for Hamas, but for all Palestinians. Palestinians see the crimes and massacres perpetrated by Al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria and fear that they could be repeated in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”
Hamas leaders, for their part, have reacted with skepticism to the announcement by DAESH, describing it as another attempt to “distort” Hamas’s image and “resistance”.
Salah Bardaweel, a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, said that the Gaza Strip was a “small area with no room for Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups”.
Hamas has not hesitated in the past to confront tiny jihadi groups whose members had openly challenged its rule. Like DAESH, these groups believe that Hamas is too “moderate” and is no longer committed to the “armed struggle” against Israel.
In one of the deadliest confrontations, Hamas security forces killed and arrested a number of jihadi terrorists who found shelter in a mosque in the town of Rafah in the Gaza Strip. At least 28 jihadi terrorists were killed and 120 wounded during the 2009 raid on members of a group called Jund Allah [Soldiers of God].
It now remains to be seen whether Hamas will be able to crush the new Al-Qaeda-affiliated group, whose members are also operating in the neighboring Sinai Peninsula.
The enemy of Islam is modernity itself. Until Muslims realize that, they will never recover from humiliation.
Ever since May 1, 1950, the Palestinian Arabs have been kept in a state of welfare dependency by the United Nations. On that day the UN created a special sub-organization called the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East, its acronym the unpronounceable UNRWA. It was established specially to provide for the Palestinians, not for any other of the millions of refugees scattered through the Third World. It gave them monthly food rations and schooling. By far the greater part of its funding came from Western nations, one third from the US.* The Soviet Union contributed nothing.
Israel contributed to UNRWA, though dispensing with its services, preferring to assume responsibility for the integration of all the Arabs who remained within its borders.
The UNRWA schools taught hatred of the United States, Israel and Jews in general. In 1968 these school were taken over in all but name by the Palestine Liberation Organization, the PLO. UNRWA accepted the stipulation of the PLO Covenant that it was a “national duty to bring up Palestinians in an Arab revolutionary manner”, and “all means of information and education” must be used to forge a national consciousness and prepare the young Palestinian to die in the armed struggle for his homeland.
Students could find themselves refused graduation certificates if they did not join a militant “fedayeen” group. For instance: an UNRWA vocational training school at Siblin, near Sidon in Lebanon, awarded qualifications only to members of Arafat’s own fedayeen group, Fatah. One room in the school was reserved as an office for Arafat. His portrait hung on the wall above a swastika. On the upper storey were the classrooms, and there teaching materials were stored; among them quantities of PLO propaganda, and – in 1982 – poems praising the assassins of Anwar Sadat – the Egyptian leader who had gone to Jerusalem to make a peace agreement with the Israelis.The lower story was used as an arms store. Katyusha rockets, rocket propelled grenades, hand grenades, mines, and Kalashnikov sub-machine guns were stacked – under the students. There were also stores of military uniforms and manuals. Most of the arms were made in the USSR, but some were from Sweden, and there was also some NATO equipment. Posters and maps on the walls of the classrooms showed the final solution of the Palestinian problem – the abolition of Israel.
For the most part, UNRWA education of the young was an education in active aggression. This was the case even in the ordinary UNRWA schools, where general school curricula were followed, but all subjects were used as vehicles of propaganda.
To sum up, the UNRWA schools have been raising generations of jihadis, dedicated to the destruction of Israel by terrorist means.
They have been teaching, urging, encouraging, assisting violence – until early this month, when their own headquarters in Gaza were attacked.
This is from the Independent, April 5, 2013 – a British newspaper plainly sympathetic to the Palestinians, and to Hamas, the terrorist organization that governs them in Gaza:
The United Nations has suspended significant operations in Gaza after demonstrators protesting against cuts to the agency’s programmes in the Palestinian enclave breached the organisation’s headquarters.
There have been several demonstrations against cuts to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)’s aid work – specifically cash hand outs to Gazans – in recent weeks but the protests escalated on Thursday when several people stormed its main compound in Gaza city.
In response, UNRWA said it would close its relief and distribution centres until it receives guarantees from Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza, of greater security.
Robert Turner, UNRWA’s director of operations in Gaza, said that the agency, “respect[ed] people’s right to peaceful demonstration but what happened today was completely unacceptable: the situation could very easily have resulted in serious injuries to UNRWA staff and to the demonstrators. This escalation, apparently pre-planned, was unwarranted and unprecedented. These demonstrations affect our ability to provide much needed service to the Palestine refugees in Gaza and – because they also targeted the Gaza headquarters building – our operations in the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.”
UNRWA’s work is vital in Gaza. The organisation provides assistance … to more than 800,000 people in the isolated territory, which is subject to tough controls imposed by both Israel and Egypt. However, UNRWA has also protested that it has a funding deficit of $67m and that without more money it will be forced to scale back its activities.
The agency receives money from a number of western donors, including the US and the European Union, and often there is a shortfall between what is pledged and what is subsequently paid. It is believed that there is a shortage in both UNRWA’s general fund, and its emergency project funding, which competes with other disaster appeals. …
Gaza’s population – between 1.5 and 1.7 million – is growing exponentially and is expected to top two million within seven years. More than a million people are classified as refugees.
The children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of the original refugees, and who knows how many generations still to come, must be supported as victims, their status as dependents preserved. Originally, the idea of keeping them in a state of beggary – as a reproach to the conscience of the Israelis and the West – came from the heads of the Arab states. The UN embraced it. And no nation questions it, not even the United States.
UNRWA has a difficult relationship with Hamas, despite providing a lifeline for as much as half the population in Gaza. There have been rows about what is taught in UNRWA-sponsored schools [!?], and last month UNRWA cancelled the running of the annual Gaza marathon after Hamas refused to allow women to compete.
UNRWA has apparently discovered, after 63 years of working with Muslims, that they discriminate against women.
UNRWA officials are in high dudgeon. Just think of it – their headquarters attacked quite violently, so that people may have been hurt!
Hamas is now sorry for offending them.
Hamas yesterday urged UNRWA to reconsider its decision to suspend its work. Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for Hamas, said the group condemned any violence against UNRWA but said the decision to close the food centres was “unjustified”.
“People have the right to protest against UNRWA’s cuts, but at the same time we condemn any violence against the organisation. When the administration of UNRWA asked the Palestinian security services to intervene, they stopped the chaos. We ask UNRWA to reconsider its decision and [reiterate] the importance of UNRWA’s role in helping Palestinian refugees,” he added.
Will UNRWA forgive Hamas? Will the teaching of terrorism resume – perhaps a little more militantly?
Our guess is, it will.
PS. The UN must be destroyed.
* From 1948 to 1950, the US donated half the money for the relief aid of the refugees. Thirty-one years later, in the year 1981 – a year which fairly indicates the proportion of the burden shared by some United Nations members through UNRWA – the US contributed $462 million, 32%; the European Union 13%. So nearly half came from America and Western Europe. Britain gave another $10 million in addition to its contribution through the EU. Sweden and Japan gave about the same. Western Germany gave an additional $5 million. The only Arab states that contributed sums in the millions were: Saudi Arabia, $6 million; Kuwait – the richest country in the world then, reckoned by per capita income – $1 million; Libya, 4.25 million; Iraq, $3.5 million. Proportionately, in comparison with these oil-rich countries, impecunious Israel was far more generous giving just under half a million. Turkey and Nigeria gave $200,000 each; Syria, $168, 000; the United Arab Emirates, $800,000; Yemen $2,000. The Holy See gave $12,500. The only Communist countries that donated anything at all were Rumania, $3,300; Yugoslavia, $25,000; China, $3,500. Now, another thirty-two years on, there is no end in sight to the dependency of the Palestinian “refugees”. Will they never be allowed – or compelled – to grow up?
Here is Bret Stephens delivering a captivating speech.
The video runs for over 40 minutes, and deserves to be watched for every moment of it.
Jillian Becker comments on just one point:
“It is a cruel misunderstanding of youth to imagine that the heart of man’s desire is to be free. The heart of man’s desire is to obey.”
Bret Stephens quotes this aperçu from Thomas Mann’s huge novel The Magic Mountain. It is spoken by one of the characters, and Stephens believes it to be true.
Yes, many people – even most perhaps – like to be told what to do. They seek leaders, authorities who can and will instruct and direct them, and take responsibility for what then happens; who will give them purposes and causes and reasons, a meaning for their existence.
But it is also true that there is in human nature a perpetual, irrepressible longing for freedom, for self-determination; an impulse to shake off shackles and restrictions, to spread wings and fly.
The contradictions within human nature contend with each other in The Magic Mountain. It is the great novel of the twentieth century, and I endorse what Stephens says about its relevance to our time. A monumental achievement, it is one of the rare works of fiction to which the word “profound” can be – must be – applied.
The story is set in and around a Swiss alpine sanatorium for the treatment of tuberculosis.
The most important themes Thomas Mann deals with are raised in a debate, carried on day after day through many seasons, between two men who have come to the mountain to be cured of the disease: an Italian rationalist named Settembrini and a Jewish Jesuit (sic) named Naphta. They argue in the presence of the protagonist of the novel, a young man who comes in good health to visit a cousin undergoing the cure at the sanatorium, but stays too long and becomes infected. Settembrini and Naphta vie with each other to win him over, each to his own vision. Their argument is a dialogue of reason with faith, of humanism with nihilism, of science with mysticism, of candor with dissimulation, of restraint with voluptuousness, of classical skepticism with romantic passion, of Life with Death. The statement Stephens quotes is made by Naphta. Youth “feels its deepest pleasure in obedience”, he opines. He means obedience not to the benign orders of a just elder, but to a sinister force: “The order for the day is terror.” Finally, their altercations and rivalry lead them to a duel with pistols. Settembrini, unwilling to kill, fires into the air, upon which Naphta is convulsed with fury and turns his gun on himself. It is the completely logical, only possible, denouement.
Naphta is not, of course, the author’s mouthpiece, though Mann provides him with powerful arguments. Settembrini’s case, though a far better one, is not allowed to be indisputably right in every respect – idealism and reality never being in perfect harmony.
The book ends with the outbreak of the First World War. The reader is brought to ponder the idea that that vast slaughter was an outcome of a deep Settembrini-Naphta conflict in the heart of European man. A failure of reason and an infection of incurable depravity prepared a feast for Death.
A final note: Thomas Mann based Naphta on Georg Lukács, the Hungarian Communist, literary critic, theatre director, and Commissar for Education and Culture in the short-lived red republic set up in Hungary in 1919. In my own slight satirical novel L: A Novel History, I based my anti-hero Louis Zander also on Georg Lukács. My fascination with him was aroused in the first place by the character of Naphta. This post is linked to the Facebook page of L: A Novel History, where much more about the book may be found.
If Israel were to destroy every weapon stored in Gaza, it would still be in danger from that tiny, horrid, pathetic strip of what should be prime Mediterranean beach estate. Because the people who live there are so dedicated to hatred of Israel that the passion overrules all other possible interests, such as prosperity. And because more weapons will pour into Gaza almost as fast as they can be destroyed. And the new weapons will be more lethal than the old. And in any case the Israelis will not be allowed to get anywhere near to destroying all existing stocks of weapons because some pretend-truce will be forced on them by world powers of historically perfect moral purity (such as Russia, China, France, Germany …).
This is from an article by Daniel Greenfield at Canada Free Press; bitter, maybe a trifle exaggerated in spots, yet essentially true:
The military, whether in the United States or Israel, does not exist to win wars. It exists to win over the people who don’t want it to win a war. …
In Israel, the last time the military was sent to win a war, was 1973. Since then the military has been used as a police force and to battle militias in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank. In the Territories, the ideal Israeli soldier was supposed to be able to dodge rocks thrown by teenagers hired by Time correspondents looking to score a great photo. Today the ideal Israeli soldier is capable of visiting an American college campus to dodge the overpriced textbooks hurled at him by the local branch of Students for Justice in Palestine or the International Socialist Organization, while explaining why the IDF is the most moral army in the world except for the Salvation Army.
The ideal Israeli soldier, like his American, British and Canadian, but not Russian or Chinese, counterparts, is supposed to avoid Incidents. That means operating under Rules of Engagement which make firing at an assailant almost as dangerous as not firing at an assailant.
The ideal American soldier is supposed to avoid the Taliban, or as one set of orders urged, patrol in places where the Taliban won’t be found. And that’s sensible advice, because if the goal is to avoid creating an Incident, then avoiding the enemy is the best way to avoid an Incident. Unfortunately the enemy has a bad habit of appearing where he isn’t supposed to be and creating his own Incidents, because Taliban and Hamas commanders … actually welcome Incidents. The bigger and bloodier the Incident, the more hashish and young boys get passed around the campfire that night.
American soldiers operate under the burden of winning over the hearts and minds of Afghans and New York Times readers.
Israeli soldiers are tasked with winning over New York Times readers and European politicians.
But some hearts and minds are just unwinnable. And most wars become unwinnable when the goal is to fight an insurgency that has no fear of the dreaded Incident, while your soldiers are taught to be more afraid of an Incident than of an enemy bullet.
Israeli leaders live in perpetual fear of “losing the sympathy of the world”, little aware that they never really had it. The “Sympathy of the World” is the strategic metric for conflicts. And so Israel does its best to minimize any collateral damage by using pinpoint strikes and developing technologies that can pluck a bee off a flower without harming a single petal. But invariably the technocratic genius of such schemes has its limits, an Incident happens, the Israeli leftist press denounces the Prime Minister for clumsily losing the sympathy of the world, and international politicians order Israel to retreat back behind whatever line it retreated to during the last appeasement gesture before the last peace negotiations. And its experts ponder how to fight the next one without losing the sympathy of the world.
American and Israeli generals live in fear of losing political support and so they never put any plans on the table that would finish a conflict. Instead they choose low intensity warfare with prolonged bleeding instead of short and brutal engagements that would finish the job. They talk tough, but their enemies know that they don’t mean it. Worse still, that they aren’t allowed to mean it because meaning it would be too mean.
Incidentism leads to armies tiptoeing around conflicts and losing them by default. Avoiding them becomes the objective and that also makes Incidents inevitable because the enemy understands that all it will take to win is a few dead children planted in the ruins of a building; in a region where parents kill their own children for petty infractions and frequently go unpunished for it.
The more an army commits to Incidentism, the sooner its war is lost. Prolonged low intensity conflicts are ripe with opportunities for Incidents, far more so that hot and rapid wars. And so the hearts and minds, those of the locals and those of New York Times readers, always end up being lost anyway.
War is no longer just politics by other means, it actually is politics with the goal of winning over hearts and minds, rather than achieving objectives. The objectives of a war, before, during and after, have become those of convincing your friends and your enemies, and various neutral parties, of your innate goodness and the justice of your cause. Propaganda then has become the whole of war and those who excel at propaganda, but aren’t any good at war, now win the wars. The actual fighting is just the awkward part that the people who make the propaganda wish we could dispense with so they can focus on what’s really important; distributing photos of our soldiers protecting the local children and playing with their puppies.
Take all that into account and the miserable track records of great armies are no longer surprising. Armies need to prove their morality to win a war, but are never allowed to win a war because it would interfere with proving their morality. …
The war of words, the conflict of images and videos, the clash of arguments, has become the sum of war. And that war is unwinnable because it must be fought on two fronts, against the cultural enemies within and the insurgents outside. An army cannot win a war and win over the New York Times at the same time.
And this picture and text comes from PowerLine:
According to the caption, the Yahoo! News photo of the day depicts Jihad Masharawi weeping while he holds the body of his 11-month old son Ahmad, at Shifa hospital following an Israeli air strike on their family house, in Gaza City, Wednesday, November 14, 2012. According to the The Daily Mail, which has published a virtual time series featuring Jihad from various news services, Masharawi is the BBC Arabic picture editor.
The Daily Mail reports that “the attack struck an apartment building injuring two other people…” What happened to the “family house”? According to the Daily Mail, the boy’s name was Omar. What happened to Ahmad? I guess it’s the fog of war.
The Gazans who raise their children to kill themselves as suicide bombers are in no position to demand sympathy from the world when a child of theirs is killed in the war they perpetuate.
From Honest Reporting:
While the boy was allegedly killed by an IDF airstrike, it occurred during the time that a ceasefire was in effect for the visit of the Egyptian PM. A ceasefire that Hamas broke, firing more rockets while even Israel refrained from launching airstrikes. The truth has now emerged. Credit to some journalists for admitting, for once, that Israel was not the responsible party. The Sunday Telegraph reports:
“The highly publicised death of four-year-old Mohammed Sadallah appeared to have been the result of a misfiring home-made rocket, not a bomb dropped by Israel.The child’s death on Friday figured prominently in media coverage after Hisham Kandil, the Egyptian prime minister, was filmed lifting his dead body out of an ambulance. ‘The boy, the martyr, whose blood is still on my hands and clothes, is something that we cannot keep silent about,’ he said, before promising to defend the Palestinian people. But experts from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights who visited the site on Saturday said they believed that the explosion was caused by a Palestinian rocket.”
There is only one party that not only deliberately targets innocent Israeli children but also has no qualms about putting the lives of Palestinian children at risk.
11/19/2012. From the Algemeiner:
Yet another fake ‘Gaza’ photo has incited a flurry of comments on Facebook against Israel during the fifth day of Israel’s Pillar of Defense operation in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. An Arab news site called Alarab Net released the photo, which shows a family who was allegedly ‘massacred’ in Gaza on its Facebook page on Sunday, November 18. The caption in Arabic roughly translates into English as “martyred massacred family in Gaza shortly before…”
Thanks to Tazpit News Agency’s investigative work, it was found that the photo had been originally published on a news site based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates called Moheet one month earlier on October 19. On the Moheet website, the photo was titled “Syria killed 122 Friday…Assad Used Cluster Bombs.” …
It is not the first time that photos from the Syria massacres have been recycled into Gaza tragedies during the recent rocket escalation. Last week, Hamas’s military wing, the Al Qassam Brigades uploaded a photo on their Twitter page of a dead child in his weeping father’s arms, which the terror group alleged had happened in Gaza during an IDF strike.
The American news syndicate Breitbart found that the photo was a month old and had originally appeared in a slideshow about the Syrian conflict back in October on the UK Guardian. The photo had in fact been taken in the Dar al Shifa Hospital in Aleppo, Syria.
An Italian journalist, Vittorio Arrigoni, has been murdered in Gaza.
Passionately pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel, he was a member if the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), and had been in Gaza since 2008 when he arrived there on a “Free Gaza” boat mission intended to “break the Israeli blockade”.
ISM supports Hamas, the terrorist organization that rules Gaza; and those terrorist friends of President Obama, Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, are involved with it.
Discover the Networks says about ISM:
Radical, anti-Israel organization that recruits westerners to travel to Israel to obstruct Israeli security operations.
Justifies Palestinian terrorism against Israeli civilians.
Though professing a commitment to nonviolence, ISM members openly advocate the “liberation” of Palestinians “by any means necessary,” including “legitimate armed struggle”.
But the members of ISM consider themselves to be “humanitarian”.
From the (anti-Israel) BBC:
Vittorio Arrigoni, 36, was seized on Thursday by a radical group that has been in conflict with Hamas and is seeking the release of its leader.
Police said he was found hanged in a Gaza City house after receiving a tip-off. Two people have been arrested. …
“He came from across the world, left his country and family and his entire life and came here to break the siege, and we kill him? Why?” asked one of his [Palestinian] friends. …
Vittorio Arrigoni was a fierce critic of Israel but it is Palestinians that killed him.
Two members of an al-Qaeda inspired Salafist group have been arrested. Salafists practise an ultra-conservative form of Islam and regard Hamas as too moderate. …
The Salafists had threatened to execute Mr Arrigoni by 1400 GMT on Friday unless several prisoners, including their leader [who was] arrested by Hamas police last month in Gaza City. …
It is not clear why Mr Arrigoni was killed before the given deadline, but the Hamas interior ministry said he had died soon after being abducted.
Ministry spokesman Ehab al-Ghussein said he was killed “in an awful way”. …
He described the killing as a “heinous crime which has nothing to do with our values, our religion, our customs and traditions.” …
Huwaida Arraf, a co-founder of the ISM, said he was very well known in the territory and had a “dynamic, humanitarian personality”.
“I even thought that whoever has him is going to see his humanity and just let him go, so when I heard what happened to him I was totally shocked.”
Nothing to do with Hamas’s “religion, customs and traditions”?
And a founder of ISM expects Salifists to “see his humanity and just let him go”?
The bitter delight of ironies like those makes the reading of thousands of lines of news and commentary worth while!
News for ISM: the Arab culture is dishonorable and cruel. In the culture of the West, to be honorable, to act honorably, is to do what you know to be right. It is not a matter of what other people expect of you, but of what you expect of yourself: living up to your own principles of decency. It is to do with your probity, not with how you appear to others. You are answerable to your own conscience. Not what you seem to be but what you are, not what you are reputed to do but what you actually do, makes you honorable or dishonorable.
In Arab culture it is what a man seems to be to his fellow Arabs that matters, so the right word for what Arabs call “honor” is “face”. So important is face that if the least breath of unsubstantiated gossip threatens a man with the loss of it, he’ll go to any lengths to recover it. If it touches on the chastity of his wife or daughter or sister, he’ll kill her to recover it. Such an act his fellow Arabs call “restoring his honor”, a man’s face being more important than a woman’s life. Even if she is innocent of any unchaste act or look or thought, if she is being maliciously maligned, or if she is the victim perhaps of violent sexual assault that she resisted by all means, if others say she is defiled his reputation is stained, and he can only cleanse the stain by killing her. Judged by Western standards of morality, such abuse of women is profoundly dishonorable.
As these so-called “honor killings” are carried out in Islamic societies generally, it may be that Islam is the source of the custom. But whatever the origin, this cruelty, this injustice, persists in Arab culture.
We are not speaking of ethnicity. Whatever can be said of a race or a nation, whatever characteristics it is perceived to have, cannot be ascribed to any individual member of it. But a culture is made of religion, custom and tradition. It is what the majority accept, enact, continue, and hand on. And a culture that subjugates women; that beats the Koran into children; that tortures prisoners as a matter of routine; that sends children walking over minefields (as was done in the Iran-Iraq war); that uses children, civilians, hospital patients as human shields, is vicious, uncivilized, and needs to be completely changed.
We do not condone the murder of Vittorio Arrigoni. We are distressed that he was tortured. He was wrong and foolish, he assisted terrorists, and failed to see that the regime he supported was cruel and unjust. Like all his fellow members of ISM, he was blind to the fact that America and Israel, among a minority of countries, genuinely strive for freedom and justice in a dangerous world. He and all those who have lived safely in Western countries and go to places like Gaza to prove their moral superiority, to serve a cause they little understand in societies where quite different ways prevail, seem to expect to be privileged, exempt from the practices they excuse. If they find they are not exempt, that their grand moral gestures are not appreciated, that they are not seen as heroes but as foreign interferers, and are treated in the customary way, they ought to blame themselves. But we don’t think they will.
Is ISM likely to draw the right conclusions from the death of Vittorio Arrigoni, and disband? Probably not. If experience is no cure for foolishness, nothing is.
Here are a pair of stories that reveal truths about Israel and the Palestinians more effectively than volumes of studies could do, and require no comment.
The first is told in full here. This is the nub of it:
A Jewish Israeli journalist, Shlomi Eldar, tried to raise money for surgery in an Israeli hospital that would save the life of a Gazan Palestinian baby. Many Israelis responded with offers of donations, including one Jewish father who had lost his son in battle with the Palestinians, and offered to pay the entire cost of $55,000 on condition that he remain anonymous.
Eldar got to know the mother of the sick baby well. He saw “how intensely she fought for her son’s life … standing for hours, caressing him, warming him up, kissing him…. The whole time I accompanied her, I saw a caring mother who was at her baby’s bedside night and day. She didn’t eat, she lost weight and she cried. I myself saw to it that she ate. I saw her faint when she was informed there was a small chance her son would get well. …”
The baby, Mohammed, did not survive, and his death deeply grieved the mother. But while he was still alive and there was still hope for him, she, Raida Abu Mustafa, “launched into a painful monologue about the culture of the shahids – the martyrs – and admitted, during the complex transplant process, that she would like to see her son perpetrate a suicide bombing attack in Jerusalem.”
Eldar has made a documentary film of the story called Precious Life. In it, Raida says: “For us, death is a natural thing. We are not frightened of death. From the smallest infant, even smaller than Mohammed, to the oldest person, we will all sacrifice ourselves for the sake of Jerusalem. We feel we have the right to it. You’re free to be angry, so be angry.”
“Then why are you fighting to save your son’s life, if you say that death is a usual thing for your people?” he demands to know.
“It is a regular thing,” she says, smiling. “Life is not precious. … For us, life is nothing, not worth a thing. That is why we have so many suicide bombers. They are not afraid of death. None of us, not even the children, are afraid of death. It is natural for us. After Mohammed gets well, I will certainly want him to be a shahid. If it’s for Jerusalem, then there’s no problem. For you it is hard, I know; with us, there are cries of rejoicing and happiness when someone falls as a shahid. For us a shahid is a tremendous thing.”
This is the second, told in full here:
Four Hamas political figures facing expulsion from Jerusalem have expressed their readiness to do almost anything to remain in the city under Israeli sovereignty, including renouncing their ties to the radical Islamist movement.
The Israeli Ministry of Interior had revoked the status of the four Hamas representatives as permanent residents of Jerusalem, paving the way for their expulsion from the city. These representatives who are fighting to retrieve their Israeli ID cards belong to the same organization whose leaders used to send young men and women to blow themselves up in Israel, killing hundreds of innocent civilians — including Arabs.
The four men – three legislators and a former minister — have good reason to put up a good fight to stay in Jerusalem. The last thing they would want is to be deported to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip or any Arab country.
To prevent their expulsion, they have even chosen to appeal to courts of the country that they do not recognize and would so much like to destroy: Israel. …
The Hamas men’s campaign is not about being allowed to stay with their families in Jerusalem — or even to spy, which the Israelis would find out — as much as fear of what awaits them under Fatah in the West Bank, Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and dictatorships in the Arab world, where there is no democracy, and rule of law is capricious at best.
Once they arrive in the Gaza Strip, they will discover that their government, the Hamas government, has imposed a reign of terror and intimidation on the local population and is even confiscating much of the humanitarian aid, including food and medicine, that is being dispatched to the area.
In the West Bank, they are likely to be chased by Palestinian Authority security forces loyal to Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad. These forces have long been waging a ruthless campaign against Hamas representatives and supporters in the West Bank.
Hundreds of Hamas followers are being held in Palestinian-run prisons without trial. Most are denied family visits and the right to consult with a lawyer. At least three Hamas detainees are believed to have died as a result of torture in the prisons controlled by Abbas and Fayyad. …
As permanent residents of Jerusalem, the four Hamas men enjoy the same rights as every Israeli citizen, with the exception of voting for the Knesset: freedom of movement; social welfare, and free education and healthcare. They can vote for the Jerusalem Municipality and travel around the country freely and without having to obtain special permission. …
They have unlimited access to Israeli hospitals and free education for their children; and are entitled to many social and economic benefits that many Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip do not have.
The Hamas representatives know that in most of the Arab countries they would be dealt with as a “security threat,” and would most probably find themselves under house arrest. That is, of course, if any of those countries agrees to host them in the first place.
Now, however, the Hamas men are willing to humiliate themselves by publicly disowning the Islamist movement. If the choice is between membership in an Islamist movement and life in Israel, to the Hamas leaders, the latter option seems more attractive.