Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Matt 24 watch, 179h: What should Israel (and the wider world) do about Gaza -- and the West Bank, Southern Lebanon, Syria and Iran?

We must continue to think seriously about the Middle East situation, and not be played like noisy out of tune pianos by manipulative media presentations and declarations, or by the social pressure of the ill-informed who -- largely because our teaching of history is so parochial and so badly done*  -- can only imagine that colonialistic ambition, aggression and cruel domination only come from the West.
* F/N: Cf. outlines here and here as well as an online amateur-produced textbook here, which are a start though of course are from a secular humanistic perspective. We should take such as a challenge to produce our own, perhaps building on the US College Board's outline here. Similarly, this Bible chronology outline and this old overview of Bible history may be helpful.

Now, as we speak, there is yet another Palestinian thrust before the UN; this time, to gain recognition as an Observer Member. (Which would of course kill the Oslo Peace Process, and would in many minds legitimise terrorism as the way to success.)

Meanwhile, for years -- precisely because the Israeli occupying troops were withdrawn 100% from Gaza under International pressure in 2005 (as a gesture towards "land for peace"), thousands of rockets have been raining down on Israeli civilians in their homes, fields, schools and workplaces. 

Somehow, the repeated failure to properly connect dots as obvious as this, typically does not embarrass us. 

It should.

Let us highlight a basic fact or two: (a) right now, no rockets are raining down from the West Bank (where Israel still maintains a troop presence on the ground) and -- thanks in no small part to the fence that was so loudly denounced by the usual pro-Palestinian "humanitarian" or "progressive" voices -- (b) the former campaign of almost daily suicide bombings on streets, on buses, in shops, in hotels and even in teen-filled Pizzerias has stopped.

We need to ponder this, especially given the global conquest IslamIST supremacism -- cf. captured documents here and here if you are still inclined to doubt -- that so uncomfortably reminds us of the course of history in the 1930's and 40's. 

For, plainly, we are facing yet another aggressive, politically messianistic world conquest totalitarian ideology, this time driven by a religious apocalyptic vision based on the IslamISTs' interpretation of their prophet's teachings and history. 

Lest the very unwelcome-ness of the cold facts cause our memories to slip, let us remind ourselves with that map I first saw after 9-11, again:

The IslamIST global conquest vision across this century


Let us notice, this Hindu majority country is within the line of the imagined caliphate to be reborn anytime now. 

What does that mean?

The crowded Mumbai Railway Station where
about 60 people died at the hands of
Pakistani-coordinated IslamIST terrorists
As a first answer, the news of the morning (HT: Geller) is that, today, India carried out its death sentence against and hanged the last surviving member of the Islamist terror squad that murdered 164 people, wounded over 300, and created chaos in Mumbai (aka Bombay) four years ago. 

We are ever so prone to forget, so let us remind ourselves, from Geller, on what happened in Mumbai, just four years ago:

On November 26, 2008, jihadists staged 11 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across Mumbai, killing 164 people and wounding at least 308. The carnage was unimaginable, the torture unspeakable. Ajmal Kasab, the only attacker who was captured alive, confessed upon interrogation that the attacks were conducted with the support of Pakistan's ISI. Eight of the attacks occurred in South Mumbai: at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Oberoi Trident, the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital (a women and children's hospital), the Nariman House Jewish community centre, the Metro Cinema, and a lane behind the Times of India building and St. Xavier's College.
The Jews were targeted first (Islamic antisemitism is a basic tenet in Islam). According to radio transmissions picked up by Indian intelligence, the attackers "would be told by their handlers in Pakistan that the lives of Jews were worth 50 times those of non-Jews."
In my extensive coverage of the savage . . . attacks on the West in Mumbai, India, the obsession with targeting the small little Jewish Chabad house from the inception of the planning was shocking. The Jewish Chabad house was part of a larger attack on hotels and public buildings across Mumbai that resulted in the deaths of at least 166 people. But for the Muslim terrorists themselves, Nariman House was different. It was the only Jewish target, and the Muslim terrorists were told by their central command in Pakistan that the lives of Jews were worth 50 times those of non-Jews. The organizers had sought it out with care. Their handlers would emphasize to them the importance of killing Jews.
What have ordinary people in Bombay to do with any disputes over Kashmir, the alleged excuse? 

And why do terrorists on a killing spree in Bombay make it a priority to sexually assault, genitally mutilate and murder Jewish missionaries -- yes, they didn't tell you about that, just as they didn't tell you about the sexual assault on US Amb Stevens in Benghazi, other than maybe a hint or two --  in a small Chabad centre in Bombay that was hurting no-one? 

(Ironically, two of the victims who perished in the recent rocketing in Israel, were a pregnant mother from that same centre, now rebuilt, and her unborn child. Of course, the child is not being counted in the death statistics.)

In short, it is not just Jews, but it is especially Jews.

Let us note,  courtesy Powerline, what just happened to Gazans simply accused of collaboration -- there was of course no trial, not even a show trial (as Stalin was notorious for) -- with Israel yesterday. Pardon if this picture of a murdered man's body being dragged behind a motorcycle by Islamist terrorists is an ugly image, but we need to understand the ugly behaviour we are dealing with:

Gazan terrorists drag the body of a man accused of collaboration with Israel behind a motorcycle
Powerline's Hinderaker (a lawyer) notes:
Earlier today, Hamas terrorists seized six Gaza residents whom they accused of being “spies” for Israel. The accusation was likely false, but we will never know. Be that as it may, the Hamas sadists pulled six men out of a van on a busy Gaza street, forced them to lie down on the street, and shot them dead. The mob of Palestinians that had gathered then stomped and spit on the pile of bodies. The Hamas men tied one of the six bodies to the back of a motorcycle and dragged it through the streets of Gaza City, in a scene reminiscent of The Wild Bunch . . . . So this is what Israel is up against.
And so, we must ask: do we really want murderous ideologues like those who backed such terrorists to become globally dominant -- as they aim to become?

I must assk ordinary, decent Muslims, who are often the majority of victims of such terrorists and tyrants, do you really want to fall under the control of such men and their overlords?  (Should we not be finding an alternative to such madness?)

Now, too, the rocketing campaign against Israeli civilians is often presented as almost harmless because it does not commonly produce such scenes of gore as are pictured above. This is highly misleading, as the blog Israel Matzav clips from the Jerusalem Post's Evelyn Gordon:
If, like most of the world, you look only at casualty figures, rocket fire may not seem so terrible: Rocket attacks killed eight people in 2010 and 2011 combined; a single suicide bombing often kills double or triple that number.

But normal life doesn’t begin and end with not being killed. Rockets that cause no casualties can still destroy a house, shattering a family’s life. They still cause repeated school closures, disrupting children’s education. And worst of all is the constant fear.

In Sderot, the town nearest Gaza, an incredible 45% of children under six suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, along with 41% of mothers and 33% of fathers. As more communities come within the rockets’ ever-expanding range, these horrifying statistics are presumably being replicated elsewhere.

The debilitating effects of such fear are hard to explain to someone who has never experienced it. How, for instance, do you quantify the degraded functioning that comes from never getting a proper night’s sleep, because night after night, you lie awake tensely awaiting the siren that warns you have only seconds to reach shelter? Or the developmental impact of children afraid to go out to play, afraid even to leave their parents’ sides? Yet these effects are shatteringly real. 
 That is what it means for people to have to live under harassing artillery fire for years on end. (Which, if you knew about "shell shock" from your history lessons, you would immediately realise.)

So, it is entirely in order for Israel to do something about it permanently. Where, going in in 2006 and 2009 shows beyond dispute that short term operations only lead to a pause and the ongoing ramping up. 

This time, 50-mile range rockets are in play. Next time, who knows? 

Worse, every time Israel intervenes in the face of such genocidally motivated attacks, they are the ones held up to opprobrium in the global media. (That is incredibly revealing about how morally bankrupt our world is today, especially the media culture.)

That is not a sustainable situation and it indicates a different answer. 

Gordon therefore suggests:
 The danger . . .  is that [the present intervention] might repeat its predecessor’s mistake in [the 2008-9] Cast Lead: settling for half-measures that allow Hamas to continue the rocket fire with impunity as long as it lowers the volume to a level the government deems “tolerable” – whether or not residents of the south agree.

Killing Jabari, the head of Hamas’s military wing, was a good first step; it’s the first time Hamas’s leadership has paid a personal price for the rocket fire. But it clearly wasn’t sufficient, as the hundreds of rockets launched at Israel since amply prove.

Nor is there any point in another “in-and-out” operation like Cast Lead, which would produce no more than another temporary reduction in the fire: Hamas would just rebuild its forces and its arsenal once again. And it certainly doesn’t care about the suffering such an operation would cause Gaza’s civilian population.

Therefore, pace several leading opposition politicians, Israel should seriously consider permanently reoccupying a stretch of Gaza near the Israeli border. As its experience in the West Bank shows, a permanent IDF presence can reduce terror from a given territory to near-zero levels over time. It’s no accident that not one rocket was ever launched at Israel from the West Bank, even during the height of the intifada, while more than 12,700 rockets and mortars have been fired from Gaza since 2001: The IDF didn’t control most of Gaza even before the 2005 pullout, since it never returned to areas it quit under the 1994 Gaza-Jericho agreement. The West Bank, in contrast, was completely reoccupied in 2002.

Permanently reoccupying territory along the Gaza-Israel border would accomplish two things. First, it would push short-range rockets and mortars out of range of Israel. These weapons not only account for most of the fire, but are also the hardest to stop: Medium- and long-range rocket launchers are easier to detect and destroy, while Iron Dome, though ineffective against short-range missiles, has proven fairly successful at intercepting longer-range ones.

Second, this would create a powerful deterrent: Hamas cares greatly about maintaining control of its Gaza fiefdom, and once it knows Israel won’t hesitate to deprive it of territory, it will think twice about risking further territorial losses by continued rocket fire. Again, the model is the West Bank, where Palestinians have been deterred from launching another intifada in part by the loss of territorial control they suffered during the last one . . .
In short, per international law, territories taken in defensive battles in the teeth of aggression, can properly be held under occupation pending resolution of the wider conflict. And in this case,  anyone who argues that firing a thousand rockets a year against civilians is not terrorism, aggression and piracy is morally bankrupt.

Which needs to be said, loud, clear and again and again until the message gets through.

Sadly, however, there is no shortage of the morally bankrupt in today's world.

We are going to have to learn to name, expose, shame and tune them out as so much noise, while we get on with serious and responsible solutions.

Next, we have to confront radical IslamISM on the field of ideas and decisively expose and defeat it.

That means, exposing -- using some of the all too abundant examples -- its fascistic global conquest ambitions and its genocidal hatred and tendency to oppression and terrorism. 

Never mind how it may try to make bloody chaos and confusion in the streets to drown out exposure and criticism. 

Yes there was an irresponsible video a few months back, but as Fr Boutros pointed out 17 of 18 claims in the amateurish video, actually -- sadly -- have historical warrant. (No surprise, it was created by a Copt, who is descended from 1400 years of existence under Islamist supremacism and oppression.)

Let  us watch and listen, to refresh our memories:

Once the IslmISTS are shamed into silence and exposed for their murderous irresponsibility, we can then look to reasonable people on the other side of the conflicts to make a reasonable settlement, whether in Israel  -- the Palestinian Arabs and the Jordanians -- or in India -- Kashmir. 

We can also look to promoting reasonable outcomes and marginalising extremists in the so-called Arab Spring uprising that is trending to become an IslamIST winter. 

For instance, in Egypt, since it is so dependent on external aid for survival and to feed its people, there should be a very clear requirement of moderation as a premise for support. And, the nonsense being spewed forth about imposing IslamISM constitutionally and the destruction of the Pyramids and the Sphinx -- the key to Egypt's vital tourist industry -- must stop. So must attacks on tourists.

In Syria, "none nuh betta dan none," so a settlement must be based on marginalising the extremists on all sides and driving out the mad Mullahs from Iran and their terror operatives. No to mention, Al Qaeda. (No, killing Bin Laden did not put paid to Al Qaeda, never mind silly political talking points used to promote US Democratic Party candidates recently.)

Which brings us back to the central problem: Iran.

The red line: high enrichment of Uranium
The Red Line must be drawn, and enforced. If Iran refuses to heed it, the nuke weapons programme must be decisively and swiftly destroyed, preferably by an International coalition. Once Iran crosses that line, its intent will be patent, and there will be no time for silly debates with those who will never be persuaded in any case.

In case we are so prone to forget, let us remind ourselves yet again about the Red Line:

With nukes in play, millions of lives are at stake and there must be no compromise and no delay. In short, we have to deal with these matters within the next few months. Failing that, there will be rivers of blood, again. And so many of those who imagine themselves to be (and congratulate themselves on being) advocates of peace, justice and the cause of oppressed peoples will yet again -- this happened in the 1930's and 40's -- bear part of the responsibility for the flaring up of war into utterly horrific destruction. 

As history has told us over and over again -- which obviously many have never learned or taken seriously -- bullies on the global stage are no more prone to pleas of reason and peace than are those in the schoolyard or neighbourhood. But bullies on the global stage can do a lot more damage. END

F/N: During the course of the day, a ceasefire was declared. If it holds on both sides [read that, no return to a lower rate of rocket attacks . . . and already Jerusalem Online News this evening reported rocketing continuing after the ceasefire was supposed to be in effect . . . ], it will of course be better than ongoing bloodletting. However, we need to very soberly assess the pattern from 2006 and 2008 -- only a temporary reduction in attacks leading to a fresh, more dangerous round. And, on the "who benefits" principle, we need to ensure that we do not forget that we are steadily nearing the red line with Iran.