From 11/18/12

The guns between Israel and Hamas are roaring yet again in Gaza.

The media, as always, does a shoddy job of reporting the facts—partially due to a bias against Israel; mostly due to total incompetence and laziness. Which is worse? I never know.

If you are part of the 99% who is not really too involved and get your information only from the main reports in the media, the picture is as follows:

  • Israel assassinated a major Hamas leader. The more charitable outlets say it was a “targeted killing.”
  • Hamas, in response, announced that “Israel had opened the gates of hell” (That is an accurate quote of what they said. What kind of statesmanship is that? Can you see Hillary Clinton use this kind of language?) and supposedly started, ostensibly in response, a barrage of rockets against the civilian population in Israel.

Let me use an illustration to show how misleading this reportage is. Consider the following sentence: “the dog owned by the president has died.” Sad but not major news. Now cut off the first part of the sentence: “…the president has died.” Wow! Major news, right? That is what the media is doing in this case.

The facts are that Hamas was launching rockets and mortar shells into civilian population in Israel for months. Over the last ten days, they have escalated the attacks quite significantly both in terms of numbers of rockets and by firing an anti-tank missile on a military jeep on the Israeli side of the border seriously wounding four soldiers. At least this time they attacked a military target and not their normal civilian targets. All that unfortunately goes unreported by the media, as it is not news. Because it happens every day or two, it is not news. At least 15% of the Israeli population lives in terror of rockets on a daily basis, but that is not news. Just imagine what would happened if 40,000,000 Americans would routinely, for six years now, have to run to bomb shelters every few days in fear of otherwise being hit by a rocket?

I pose two questions:

  • What would the U.S. media do with such a story if every few days, the emergency alarm system sounds and sends about 40,000,000 U.S. citizens running and seeking shelters?
  • What would the U.S. government do to the perpetrators of these attacks?
  • I think the answer to both questions is clear.

Israel waited for the opportunity to retaliate and when they identified two senior Hamas military leaders, they attacked them from the air and killed them. The U.S. does that all the time against its enemies, right? It’s called the “drone program.”

Some will try and tell you that this is part of the very complicated conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis because Israel is occupying Gaza. Let me set the facts straight and provide a short history lesson here:

1. When Israel was formed in 1948, Gaza was part of Egypt. The Egyptians, for nineteen years, kept it under martial law. Yes, they kept the Palestinian refugees under martial law and in refugee camps for NINETEEN YEARS! There was no effort whatsoever to rehabilitate them in any way shape or form.

2. In 1967, during the “six-day war” that was forced on Israel by Egypt, breaching numerous UN resolutions and putting Israel under siege—the Israeli military concurred Gaza as part of it, taking over the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt.

3. In 1979, as part of the Camp David Accords, Israel returned the whole of the Sinai Peninsula to Egyptian rule and sovereignty. In the negotiations, Israel begged, repeatedly, of Sadat, the Egyptian president, to take Gaza back too. He refused steadfastly. I repeat—the Egyptian president refused the request to take sovereignty back on Gaza. He knew what a can of worms this area is.

4. Since 1967 until 1989, Gaza under Israeli rule has had its best economic performance ever, the most freedom ever, etc. The Israelis treated the Palestinian refugees much better than their Egyptian brethren.

5. From 1989 to 2005, Gaza was part of the ongoing Intifada and the terror war against Israel but was generally less active than the terror cells in the West bank. A problem, but not the most urgent one.

6. In 2005, to the relief of most Israelis, the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in a bold and unprecedented move, decided and acted to totally vacate Gaza from ANY Israeli presence—military or civilian—and handed it over to the Palestinian Authority (PA). This was a heart-wrenching decision. Vacating 20,000 Israeli residents who created a little paradise of agriculture and tourism on the beach areas of Gaza was simply unprecedented. Show me ONE, one other country in this world of ours that actually forcefully vacated its OWN citizens from an area that they lived in for thirty-eight years, developed it, took a deserted area and made it a thriving one. Some of these people were born there. Never mind—they were all uprooted from their homes and brought back to Israel.

7. Following the evacuation from Gaza, the hope was that with this total liberty and the huge financial support from the world, the PA would create a little paradise on the shores of the Mediterranean. As a percent of its overall land, Gaza has more beach areas that any other country in the world (other than small islands). It could have become a tourism paradise. The aid that Gaza received following 2005 from the EU and others was larger, on a per capita basis, than the Marshal plan, which rehabilitated Europe after WWII. With this EU investment, US support, Arab countries’ backing, and even Israel was routing for it—everyone was on the ready to revitalized Gaza and make it the dream that everyone thought it could be.

8. The reality was different. From the beginning of 2006, even before they took full control of Gaza by violently removing the PA, Hamas started a campaign of firing rockets into civilian population centers in Israel. The rockets are generally not very accurate so they do not cause many casualties but the fear of casualties is enough to cause an area of about 15% of Israel to freeze and live like hell under the threat of these rockets.

9. Let me be clear here. There was absolutely ZERO “provocation” from Israel (I do not like this term, but given that there was nothing it does not matter). No attacks, no “targeted killings,” the border was open, no maritime blockage, nothing. But that did not stop the rockets. Israel did not react at the beginning. It threatened, it deployed diplomats, but it tried to be patient.

10. The rockets did not stop and indeed intensified so Israel started responding by air attacks on rocket launchers and military leaders of Hamas. The rocket firing intensified.

11. After three years of this game and about 10,000 rockets—I repeat TEN THOUSAND rockets in just over 1,100 days—Israel could not take it any longer and launched a military campaign to stop the rockets. I will not get into the details here, but suffice it to say that after an invasion of Gaza and a lot of diplomatic promises from many sides, Israel withdrew and since early 2009 “peace in our times” was declared.

12. Like the first time that this infamous and hollow statement was made, the “peace” lasted only a few weeks. Again the rocket attacks started. Initially they were very, very few and Israel made the same mistake again of not responding other than by diplomatic action. Every now and again Israel would take a bit more forceful action, but the result was more rockets.

13. A sort of pattern has emerged—a shocking pattern: Hamas terrorists fire rockets on Israel every few days. Israel generally does not respond and once in a while it does respond, which causes more rockets, a flurry of diplomatic activity, and then a slowdown in rocket firing, and then the cycle starts again.

14. Over the last few months, there was a clear escalation of rocket firing. It is assumed by all that it is a result of the pressure that Iran is putting on Hamas to heat up the border with Israel to defray attention from both Syria, its protégé, and its own nuclear activities. The change of regime in Egypt with its increasing support for Hamas has added coal to the fire.

These are the facts and they are undisputed.

Any serious student of history or objective person using Google can verify those.

The conclusions are as follows:

  • Twice, in 2006 and in 2009, Israel gave Gaza a 100 percent opportunity to live in peace and prosper as long as it left Israel to do the same. On BOTH occasions it was Hamas and its cohorts that started the cycle of violence. It is very rare that these things are that clear, but they are here for anyone to see if they only bother to look. The media, of course, does not.
  • The experiment of giving Palestinian complete freedom and liberty and removing any barriers and restrictions imposed by Israel has failed miserably. The opportunity to develop Gaza into a paradise on the Mediterranean was squandered by the religious fanatics of Hamas who felt that it is more important to keep harassing Israel on the way to its destruction—their officially stated aim—than to develop Gaza economically.
  • The Lesson learned from the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, which was completely voluntary and the one from Lebanon in 2001, is that one should NEVER show Arabs weakness—they will ALWAYS exploit it. Furthermore, they will ALWAYS assume that ANY good faith move IS weakness. They only respect one thing and one thing only: brute force, killing, murder, beheadings. That, they respect.
  • Any sign of weakness, any gesture of good will, is always interpreted by them as opportunity to gain ground.
  • The U.S. policy in the Middle East stinks (to the Arabs) from weakness. They are exploiting it without a shred of concern.
  • Iran is the head of the snake and unless and until it is put in its place in the most decisive fashion, nothing good will occur in the Middle East.

The combination of the lack of accurate coverage by the media and lack of care from this U.S. president is toxic and will cause the Middle East to erupt into a war that may possibly lead into a huge world conflict.