Young Israeli settler boy forcibly evacuated by IDF from a settlement which was deemed illegal by Israeli government
I am a contrarian. I rebel against authority, question it, make fun of it. I look at the official propaganda meme in the US media and snicker. And add posts to my blog.
Reading over my blog, I realize that I have been too one sided. To make my points, especially about the Middle East, AIPAC's almost total control over US foreign policy, I have become what I despise most - a propaganda man, and ceased to be just an observer. I picked a side.
And so, it is time to use my contrarian nature on a new taget - my own blog.
The events in Gaza have again focused the world's attention again on that troubled area. The territory of 150 square kilometres, and population of about 409,000, has an inordinate amount of influence on the world.
And Gaza is now ruled by a terrorist organization.
In January 2006, an organization calling itself Hamas (really it is Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya or "Islamic Resistance Movement"), has won an democratic election. Since then, Gaza has been ruled by the Hamas government.
The Arab population of Gaza has viewed the al Fatah PLO (Yasser Arafat's Paletinian Liberation Organization) as ineffective and, worse, corrupt and venal. Just like happened in Afghanistan, people saw an alternative - the incorruptible, fair but fanatical religious fanatics. In Afghanistan, it was the Taliban - in Gaza, it is Hamas.
The Palestinians are proud people, proud of their resistance to Israel and proud in their suffering. They (rightly) saw Hamas as a more effective resistance force to Israel than the corrupt al Fatah. Therefore, they voted them into power in 2006.
The problem here is that, from Israeli and American view, Hamas is too hardcore. While al Fatah could be negotiated with, dealt with, or at least tolerated, Hamas is right there, making no compromises. Or at least being a much tougher negotiator than the old PLO.
Hamas' Charter (its own Constitution) implicitly calls for the destruction of Israel. Implicitly. It is very hard to negotiate with someone who openly advocates killing you. Someone whose Charter implicitly rules out peace negotiations with Israel.
Because compared to Israel Hamas is relatively weak - no air force, no tanks, no artillery - Hamas uses unorthodox tactics to fight against its more powerful foe.
One tactic is the use of suicide bombers.
A specially designed so called "explosive belt" is strapped to a person, a man or a woman. This human bomb is then assigned one task: to walk into a crowd of Israeli soldiers OR civilians, the bigger the crowd the better, and blow himself (herself) up.
Killing as many of the Israelis as they can.
The second unorthodox tactic that Hamas uses is the bombardment of Israeli territory with Kassam rockets. These are relatively simple, unguided (of course) rockets fired willy nilly into Israel, with the hope that they will hit a populated area.
These two tactics can be explained in two ways.
First, they are more of a nuisance pinprick attacks than an action that will decide the conflict between Hamas and Israel. They are more a scream of "We're still here!", an act of defiance that both shows the world and Israel that Hamas does have some capability to strike at Israel, and gives a good feeling to the Gazans, living currently in an Israeli imposed economic blockade.
Second, they are war crimes. They are deliberately targeting civilians. Any Hamas apologist cannot dispute that fact.
And they do the job well - they keep the Israelis in a state of high anxiety, they make the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) spend its time, resources, manhours on missions to ferret out suicide bombers and missile launchers, they make the Israeli afraid.
The current Israeli economic blockade is a response to the Kassam rocket attacks on Israel. Lest we forget, the IDF unilaterally withdrew from Gaza. The illegal Jewish settlements in Gaza, which were condemned by the UN, European Union, and even the United States (yes, its true) were dismantled by the IDF in August 2005.
One can see the Israeli despair - it has withdrawn from Gaza (but keeping control of Gaza's air, sea and land border), took out its soldiers, dismantled its settlements and forcibly herded the Jewish settlers back to Israel or other settlements. Pictures of the Israeli soldiers herding the settlers made all the newspaper front pages in the world.
Israel was ready to negotiate with al Fatah, and wheel and deal for settlements, territories, peace - and then Hamas came out of nowhere into the political arena and that plan was over.
While I personally (this is my personal viewpoint from now on) do not condone Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, its economic blockade of Gaza, its Air Force leveling large sections of Lebanon in a recent Israel-Lebanon (or rather Hesbollah) war, you can see where they are coming from. They want to hold on to as much territory as they can, withdrawing grudgingly only if they must, but ready to deal with the Arabs for a cast iron guarantee of peace.
I am not arguing that Israel is inherently evil- I am arguing that its treatment of Palestinians is beyond the pale. Abhorrent. I am arguing that its terrible treatment of Arabs, its economic blockade, its street checkpoints of IDF soldiers who decide who can pass and who can go in the West Bank, are making the Arabs militant. Angry. Fanatical. Resigned. Hence - Hamas victory in 2006.
And the suicide bombings and the threat of them, the Kassam rocket bombardments both targeting Israeli civilians make the Israelis militant. Angry. Fanatical. Resigned. Hence - the IDF checkpoints, the Gaza economic blockade, the use of settlements to de facto make the West Bank Israeli territory - after all, even if Israel withdraws from a territory, like Gaza, the Arabs still continue to shoot rockets and send suicide bombers into Israel. So there can be no negotiation, especially with Hamas as it is now, with its Charter still calling for Israel's destruction.
To have peace - both sides must be willing to negotiate in good faith and genuinely want peace. Neither is true here.
Do not mistake me for an Arab apologist. I am not a cheerleader for either side. I will try to be as much as I can a detached observer. While I condemn Israel in my previous blog posts, I have the same contempt for Hamas' tactics of using suicide bombers and firing Kassam rockets with the deliberate intent to kill civilians. A war crime is a war crime, no matter who does it - whether Hamas, the IDF or American soldiers.
I do not want to become a counter weight to the American cable news, the pundits, AIPAC, the sacred beliefs of Americans. I am a detached observer, I look at the world, at a particular issue, analyze it and break it down for you. I do believe that a counter weight to the TV "news" is needed, but do not believe now that it needs to be a mirror opposite propaganda and partisan organ, like the Air America radio station or DailyKos.
A partisan organization like the ones above preclude discussion, discourage true analysis of an issue, discourage opposing views even if they have merit for a discussion on hand and become (pardon my language here but fuck it anyway) a circle jerk.
Report the facts as they stand, differentiate the facts from your opinions (make it clear to your viewer) and off you go - there is your counterweight. Otherwise you get a left wing FOX "news".
I saw that the blog started to dangerously resemble an anti-CNN, or a bizaro world American media. In a conflict, such as the one between Israel, AIPAC and America on one side and Palestinian Arabs, Iran and the worldwide Moslem population on the other (the worldwide ummah), both sides need to be represented. And really, that is true in every issue I tackle. State the facts, explain them, give my opinion.
"Since the Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in mid-June 2007 until the end of December 2007, 475 missiles and 631 mortar bombs have been fired at Israeli cities": Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
While al Fatah condemns a suicide Tel Aviv bombing, Hamas calls it justified, and earning the Human Rights Watch condemnation
The Hamas Charter
The Israeli dilemma - as Kassam rockets rain down and kill civilians, Israel ponders what to do
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Posted by AmericanGoy at 10:19 PM