30 December 2008

Israel and Hamas

"If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I would do everything to stop that, and would expect Israel to do the same thing."

Glad to know that someone else sees things in Israel more or less the way I do. If someone shoots rockets at civilians, then the answer is to attack those people until you force them do your will-namely, stop shooting rockets at a bare minimum.

Israel's Defense Minister calls this a "war to the bitter end" although you can take that a few different ways. Certainly Israel will be at war with Islamic nitwits until the end of time unless they nuke all their neighbors, but one wonders if this sort of thing is grandstanding for the press, or if Israel seriously intends to go in and clean out the rat's nest that is the Gaza Strip.

Among other things, Hamas's ability to take control of the Gaza Strip and use it as a base for strikes against Israel bodes poorly for a real forward movement in terms of the creation of the eventual state of Palestine. As the Wall Street Journal observes, Israel cannot afford to allow the West Bank to be used in this manner, and cannot trust the Palestinians to NOT permit loons like Hamas to use an truly sovereign Palestine as a base for terrorist operations against Israel. Hence it is truly in the interests of the Palestinian people to repudiate Hamas and to allow Israel to crush it and permit a more representative and rational organization to assume control.

After all, what is Hamas's purpose? To "raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine, for under the wing of Islam followers of all religions can coexist in security and safety where their lives, possessions and rights are concerned."

"The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. Neither a single Arab country nor all Arab countries, neither any king or president, nor all the kings and presidents, neither any organization nor all of them, be they Palestinian or Arab, possess the right to do that. Palestine is an Islamic Waqf land consecrated for Moslem generations until Judgement Day. This being so, who could claim to have the right to represent Moslem generations till Judgement Day?

"This is the law governing the land of Palestine in the Islamic Sharia (law) and the same goes for any land the Moslems have conquered by force, because during the times of (Islamic) conquests, the Moslems consecrated these lands to Moslem generations till the Day of Judgement."

"Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. Abusing any part of Palestine is abuse directed against part of religion. Nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its religion. Its members have been fed on that. For the sake of hoisting the banner of Allah over their homeland they fight. "Allah will be prominent, but most people do not know."

"Now and then the call goes out for the convening of an international conference to look for ways of solving the (Palestinian) question. Some accept, others reject the idea, for this or other reason, with one stipulation or more for consent to convening the conference and participating in it. Knowing the parties constituting the conference, their past and present attitudes towards Moslem problems, the Islamic Resistance Movement does not consider these conferences capable of realising the demands, restoring the rights or doing justice to the oppressed."

"There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors."

Who would want a neighbor like that? Is it any surprise that Israel is done playing games? There's a summarized timeline of the current spate of fighting here, and another here. What's amusing is the number of stories that have figures for Palestinian casualties, freely provided by Hamas (without independant verification) but you have to scrounge to find numbers of rockets fired into Israel or number of casualties inflicted. This story gives some numbers, but I can't find the answer to some of the basic questions of this conflict. After all, if some idiots in the press and world leaders are criticizing Israel for "disproportionate" response, then what are the numbers? Or are we supposed to just take their word that it's "disproprtionate"? At least some outlets are recognizing that Hamas is shooting at Israel, but carefully limit reports of Israeli casualties to "since December 24th" or "since the truce expired". How many rockets and mortars were fired during the "truce" and to what effect? How many before the "truce"? After some Goggle-fu, I found a partial answer in a Canadian news story, all the way down at the bottom where there is an acknowledgement that "according to Israel's Foreign Ministry, 17 people have been killed in attacks from Gaza in 2008, including nine civilians and eight soldiers. Six of the dead were killed by rockets." Yet another instance of media bias, which is so unsuprising it hardly bears remarking on.

The Israelis are of the opinion that this hubbub is sponsored by Iran for Iran's purposes. While everyone operating in reality is keenly away that Hizbollah is Iamnutjob's sock puppet, the case is less clear-cut with Hamas. Hamas is a Sunni organization intending to set up a Sunni Muslim Brotherhood-inspired shari-governed state to replace Israel after they kill all the Israelis. (Don't believe me, I linked to their founding and governing document above). Iran wants to see Shia Islamic revolution engulf the Middle East. But don't be fooled by a simplistic analysis of sectarian loyalties in this game. Enemy of my enemy is a time-honored principle in the Middle East (for precisely as long as is convenient). It would be hard to pin down proof short of the Israelis capturing intact rockets with shipping documents pointing to Iran, as has been done by US forces in Iraq. However, it's plausible and in line with Iran's usual methods.

Oh, and the quote at the top of this entry?

Barrack Hussein Obama, Prez-Elect. It's a funny world, isn't it, when we are agreeing on something.


Blogger Tim Covington said...

1. I love the fact that Angela Merkel (Chancellor of Germany) is supporting Israel in this.
2. I would really love to see when the upsurge in attacks from (and support for) Hamas started. Could it have been after it became apparent that the OPEC production cuts would have no affect on oil prices?

The Palestinians are the Middle Easts gullible rubes. No country will actually take them in, except Israel. Yet, these countries that reject them will happily give them money to attack Israel.

7:32 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

I've stated my view of this situation several times. IMHO: Israel should invade Gaza, arrest and hang these rocketeers. A full-scale invasion--with tanks and whatever else--is called for.

However, Israel should learn from us in Iraq and even after WWII....they need their own version of the Marshall Plan, or Petraeus Plan or whatever you want to call it. Israel made the mistake in 1967 of believing that once an enemy is defeated, he is always defeated. This is wrong. He is only truly defeated when he becomes your friend. All that happened in 67 was that the children of the defeated have come back to avenge their fathers humiliation.

What Israel needs is some effective ass kicking followed by an effective COIN program. Then in another generation, maybe there will be peace in that part of the world.

10:51 PM  
Blogger cmad said...

"If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I would do everything to stop that, and would expect Israel to do the same thing." -- Barrack [sic] Hussein Obama, Prez-Elect. It's a funny world, isn't it, when we are agreeing on something.

You have two daughters? Apparently that's a part of your love life that you haven't commented on in your LJ blog.


8:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

IDF video of current strikes on You Tube!


5:28 AM  
Anonymous Bill McD said...

Just remember that the media's bias isn't really 'in favor' of the Palestinians or Hamas in this. It's in favor of attention and manipulation of emotional responses.

Israel getting attacked? Doesn't stir much outrage, really. Part of it is a perception of 'ok, it's a whole country being attacked by some ragtag nutjobs'*, and part of it is that we've heard it... a lot. So the media goes for the angle they feel will be more likely to grab attention.

The lack of competing viewpoints is one of the big arguments against media consolidation. More competition would mean it'd be more likely you'd see someone pushing the other angle, just to stand out.

As far as a proportionate response to Hamas goes... I think if Israel really wants to rip out the snake's fangs, they need to go in as an active occupying force again, and demonstrate both the ability and the will to improve the quality of life of the people they want to influence... or be prepared for a long, bloody continuation of the status quo for probably another two to three generations at least. :/

* - I'm not saying this is a fair viewpoint, but a lot of Americans have a hard time wrapping their heads around the idea that a 'country' can be the size of Connecticut, or that groups like Hamas and Hezbollah can represent trained, disciplined combatants, and not just a nutjob on a camel lobbing LAWs whichever way he's facing at the time.

9:21 PM  
Blogger Lux Mentis said...

Demographics is against Israel in the long run. Palestinian birth rates outpace theirs, even accounting for casualties.

So, what's the long term choice? An Israeli genocide? A Palestinian one? That's one of the world's classic solutions.

The Romans understood that when you take an area, you need to provide security, justice, and control needs to be firm and ,frankly, as brutal as required. They'd take an area, setup friends in the government. Reward their friends. Provide justice (or at least law and stability) and they would ruthlessly kill (and quite publicly) anyone that was a threat to their rule.

The West isn't prepared to stand by for Israel to do this nor to do this themselves. A fair number of Israelis, including a fair few younger folks, think this isn't the way to go.

So if you aren't going to win this the classic way (and make no mistake, this *is* what the Allies did in WWII), then the Israelis and the moderate Palestinians had better find some way to reach an accommodation.

Otherwise, I'm just waiting for the first and maybe simultaneous second (retributive) deployment of weapons of mass destruction in the region. That will be a tragedy the entire world can own and live with.

It does matter that a rocket attack against civilians is not the same as very precise military strikes with great emphasis in collateral damage reduction. But in the end, what really matters is how you get beyond the cycle of 'rockets and reprisals'.

You can't kill an insurgency militarily or from the outside - you have to wipe out its civilian support in one of the two available ways: convincing the civilians to give up supporting or tolerating it (and to give up the few who persist) or by eliminating those civilians. These are the only two ways you ever 'win' this fight.

10:44 AM  
Blogger gaypedia said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:23 PM  
Blogger Kate said...


I’m writing to you because I read your blog (which I found through Milblogging.com) and want to include some of what you wrote in a book I’m writing.

The book overall is about the urge we humans have to make heroes and/or monsters out of other humans. Part of it is about what it’s like to be in the military, whose members -- as you yourself have written, and very powerfully, on this blog -- are often idolized AND demonized—sometimes by the same people at different times, and often by the people in whose name they’re fighting. I want this part of the book to mostly consist of quotes from current or former servicemembers on how they see themselves and what they do. No one person’s voice will dominate, and a number of views and positions will, I hope, come through.

I am asking about 15 military bloggers if they will let me include parts of their old blog entries in this project, which is sort of like an epic poem, sort of like a play. What I hope to do is create a voice that doesn’t belong to any particular person, but includes thoughts, attitudes, feelings, and experiences from many people in the military, including some that contradict each other. This is partly in response to civilians’ tendency to talk about “the military” as if everyone thought and felt exactly the same, and often this includes idolizing or demonizing what you guys do. But you also wrote about things that were genuinely wonderful or horrible (as well as boring, mildly fun, and frustrating) to live through and to do. My goal is to let these moments and thoughts speak for themselves, with a few lines that show my own opinion as well.

If you agree to let me include your writing in this project, you can be as anonymous as you’d like, including not at all—in my source list, I can identify you by your full name, just your first name, your blog name, your rank (or former rank, if you have left the military), or just as an anonymous blogger. Whichever you choose, I will also make sure that you retain full rights to your own words if I should find a publisher for this project . Because it’s poetry, it’s unlikely that it will ever make any money, but if it does, I plan to donate my share to the Wounded Warrior Project (http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org).

The other thing that is up to you is how much of the project you want to see before agreeing. I will be happy to show you all the sections that contain quotes from you, if you want to see what they look like before giving me permission to include them. If you want to see the whole thing (it’s about 30 pages long), that’s fine too.

Please let me know if you’re willing to consider letting me include what you’ve written, and what, if anything, you would like me to send you before you agree. If you want to say yes, say no, see a sample, or ask questions, you can reach me at heroes.monsters@gmail.com.

I hope you are doing well.

Kate Schapira

I hope you are doing well.


Kate Schapira

2:59 AM  
Blogger Just A Decurion said...


I agree--it sounds like an interesting project. And it's a topic I find to be very relevant right now.

My personal email is myfullname at google mail.

Put my middle initial in between the first and last name, then run it together, all lower case and without the period.

As for attribution, would have to see the quotes before I decide whether or not to use my name with them.

John M. Atkinson

4:32 PM  

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