Israel Must Finish off Hamas


It is always illuminating to follow the machinations of the media, as it stumbles through its coverage of the latest chapter of the Arab/Islamic war against Israel, raising one tired shibboleth after another.  One would come away thinking that Hamas and the Palestinians in Gaza were perfect angels with no culpability for their current quandary, their ongoing intransigence, their insistence on lobbing missiles over its border, their hatred of Jews, their rage and self-pity, and now the incursion into Gaza by Israel, which has decided that daily rockets and mortar fire against civilian targets within its nation is no longer tolerable. 

And yet there they are again, as reported ad nauseam in the media, the same tallying up of relative casualties between the two sides as if that were an accurate measure of morality, the same stale accusations of "disproportionate" force by Israel (but terrorists don't wear uniforms and mingle with civilians), the same mindless but inevitable calls for a "ceasefire," by "enlightened" leaders everywhere (as if they have led to lasting peace in the past), the same customary, stock-in-trade commentary from Palestinian and other Arab leaders decrying the humanitarian crisis created by Israel's actions (never the provocations of the Palestinians), the ever reliable Palestinian "man on the street" interviews pointing out the destroyed buildings accompanied by emotional accounts of civilian fatalities, oblivious, it seems, to the role his fellow countrymen have played in all this.  Why, we will even hear that timeless fixture of the region, the o-word for "occupation" being bandied about as if Israel hadn't withdrawn from the Gaza strip more than three years ago, a forced evacuation mind you of some 8000 settlers, living and dead, to achieve the Hitleresque vision of a Jew-free ("Judenrein") Gaza. 

And then, there is the ultimate Orwellian farce (and with obvious outrageous irony), in which the democratic, freedom loving Israelis who have made numerous significant and costly concessions in the pursuit of peace and who take great pains to minimize civilian casualties when forced to go to war, are accused of "Nazi" like tactics against Islamic fundamentalists who know nothing of democracy, human rights, or civil liberties and who deliberately target Israeli civilians while using their own innocents as human shields, each act a war crime.  This all but turns the moral universe upside down, staining the Israeli record in the most abhorrent manner while ignoring the true Goose-steppers.

Then, we will hear the unending repetition about Israel's  "blockade" of Gaza, the control by Israel of Gaza's borders, airspace, and coast, which, in the Palestinian narrative, justifies the missile attacks (that Israel simply exists, however small and shrunken it may ultimately be, justifies missile attacks).  That humanitarian aid passes through is not mentioned.  That the reason for the Israeli blockade is to prevent Hamas from smuggling weapons and upgrading its arsenal (with the help of Iran) including missiles and rockets to be used against Israeli citizens.  And no where is the inconvenient truth mentioned that if Gazans dedicated themselves to developing their economic infrastructure instead of terrorist infrastructure, life just might get better for everyone. 

Also put forth is the ruse that since Israel does indeed continue to occupy the West Bank that armed resistance is therefore still necessary notwithstanding the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza three years ago.  Forgotten in this ploy is that Israel had already offered the Palestinians their own state including the West Bank, Gaza and eastern Jerusalem, which they rejected, opting instead for war in the form of the suicide bombing campaign that killed more than a thousand innocent Israelis.  This then prompted the building of the security barrier, the checkpoints, and the retaking of the West Bank.  Israel, of course, based on its experience after its "disengagement" from Gaza is unlikely to ever relinquish the West Bank under current conditions given its proximity to densely populated regions within Israel proper where it would be infinitely easier for terrorist mice to create chaos and misery by using the very same missiles and rockets employed by Hamas in the south.

The obvious lesson here is that there really is no winning with Palestinian apologists, at least not through reasoned debate (but militarily, yes).  They will concede nothing, give credit to no one, refuse to take advantage of opportunities freely given, alter their world view or view of themselves, stop feeling sorry for themselves, recognize the hardship of others in the world far more oppressed and impoverished than they (who never behave as they do), contemplate their own not insignificant role in their suffering and perhaps the role of their Arab "brethren," consider more gainful preoccupations other than martyrdom and killing Jews, no, they will have none of it for truly they seek only one thing, the destruction of the Jewish state.

Yes, it is a tiresome but necessary exercise to  repeatedly point out the deficiencies in the media today, its politicized nature, its untoward allegiances and loyalties and biases, its inaccuracies and misguided agenda, its sneering self regard, and most of all, its overwhelming incompetence. 

It is also equally necessary to repeatedly counter the misinformation of the Palestinians and their many supporters who continue to ignore the pathologic mindset of a Palestinian community that is arguably the most radicalized in the world. 

Indeed, if ever there was a people that deserved to be left to their own devices, to suffer the consequences of their ill-advised actions, to reap what they have sown, it is them, if for no other reason than to simply get them to cease, so they may finally come to recognize their unhinged and violent tendencies, alter them and, who knows, hopefully improve their circumstances some day. 

It is precisely that for whatever perverse reasons the Palestinians have somehow become the darlings of the world, their highly questionable "cause" so fashionable within various left wing salons and media outlets, that the suffering of innocent Palestinians is prolonged.  Their every miscalculation and misjudgment is excused, their obvious involvement and endorsement of violent terrorist activity is overlooked, their endless, anti-Semitic calls for the killing of Jews never questioned.  They are after all, the poor oppressed Palestinians suffering at the hands of the "evil" Israelis (allies with equally evil America, little and great Satan together) who cannot be expected to acquit themselves properly and therefore have nothing to explain or atone for.  Such is the perverse (and rather bigoted and condescending) worldview of the liberal media and the international community, which has chosen to endlessly disregard and "understand" Palestinian malfeasance, thereby enabling, endorsing, and encouraging it.  It is this as much as anything that perpetuates Palestinian extremism - and the ongoing suffering of ordinary Palestinians.  Never having to account for themselves by any reasonable standard, they never do.  But then they must bear the consequences that inevitably follow.

But let us indeed begin the chore of countering the misinformation and deceptions of the Palestinians and their many defenders. 

First, there is no "occupation" in Gaza, Israel having vacated that whimsical paradise in the summer of 2005 (at a cost of billions to the Israeli government), a forced evacuation of more than 8000 Israeli settlers, living and dead mind you, achieving the Hitleresque dream of a Jew-free ("Judenrein") Gaza.  During the so called "disengagement," the settlers left behind beautiful homes and neighborhoods and a vast greenhouse infrastructure, the basis of a multimillion dollar agricultural industry - all of which Hamas promptly destroyed.  Nothing, by the way, surprising here, all quite consistent with the standard Jew-hating fanaticism of militant Jihadists who would not want to touch or be associated with anything left behind by the Jews.  All, of course, dismissed by the press and Palestinian apologists who no doubt "understand" it.

It is also important to recall the civil war that took place in Gaza in June of 2007 when Hamas decided that not only did it want Gaza to be Jew-free but Fatah-free as well.  And so, the world was privy to the sight of secular terrorists (Fatah) being rounded up and summarily executed (dragged out in the streets, tortured, garroted, shot in front of their families, thrown off roofs, etc) by religious terrorists.  Several hundred Fatah loyalists were killed in that amicable little Palestinian intra-family dust up, Moslems killing Moslems and not a Jew in sight to blame, a pity.  This  inconvenient bit of trivia has of course been long forgotten by the media and the world (there was no Jewish involvement to get indignant over) but it was after all less than two short years ago.

Let us also spend a moment on the whole "disproportionate" issue that is raised every time Israel flexes its muscles as surely as the sun rises in the east.  The flawed logic here is that since far more Palestinian deaths occur than Israeli that Israel therefore must be the aggressor.  Well, that's easy.  Simply count up the number of dead on each side and the one with more deaths is the good guy.  Now one doesn't have to reach very far to demonstrate the utter vacuity of such notions, but for the sake of completeness, let us mention that by such reckoning, the US was the aggressor against the Nazis during WW II since there were many more German casualties.  How about the Confederacy over the Union during the Civil War?  The Taliban over NATO forces in Afghanistan (the left here would probably argue this as many of them seem to favor the Taliban over their own country)?  And countless other such examples that render such a moral accounting system patently absurd.  

What is also forgotten is the back story.  Hamas has launched thousands of rockets against civilian targets since Israel's withdrawal from Gaza, a condition that would never be tolerated by any sovereign nation worth its name.  And no nation should tolerate such behavior, nor should Israel.  Israel is engaged in a just war, they are justified in their actions based on the provocation and threat.  They are entitled to protect themselves from such unprovoked attacks as any nation would be.  It is "just" because of the good that would come from toppling Hamas and the evil it would eliminate.  If the Palestinians and their apologists are concerned with casualties than the choice is simple, stop firing missiles.  And get rid of Hamas who, after all, is essentially al-Qaeda in Gaza.  Would anyone weep if OBL and al-Qaeda were eliminated from human history?  

Another consideration: if the world is so upset by Palestinian civilian casualties, it should demand that Hamas militants fight like a regular army instead of terrorist mice: they should wear uniforms and segregate themselves in bases away from civilian centers, rather than donning civilian clothing and mingling with ordinary citizens, using them as human shields and propaganda tools (the more civilians killed the greater the international recoil).  Or stop hiding themselves (and their arsenals) in mosques, hospitals, schools, and ambulances as they commonly do, again for the dual purpose of saving their skins (and saving their ammo) or, if Israel attacks anyway, maximizing civilian casualties for political gain, the cruel arithmetic of death at which Palestinians excel.  Fighting like regular soldiers would make it much easier for Israel to kill Hamas terrorists and avoid civilians, a win-win situation.  The Palestinians avoid civilian deaths and get rid of the religious extremists who keep them from improving their economy, Hamas terrorists can become martyrs, and Israel gets rid of the missiles.  There's something for everyone here.

It is also important to mention that a people get the leadership it deserves, although I wouldn't stretch that aphorism too far.  In truth though, Hamas enjoys widespread support for its actions among the general population in both Gaza and the West Bank, and, of course, were voted in over Fatah in January 06.  Indeed, it appears that the Palestinian people themselves, not just a small militant clique, endorse terror and targeting of innocent Jewish civilians as a political tool.  While, admittedly, it would be difficult for true opposition to either Fatah or Hamas to emerge because of the threat of intimidation, torture, imprisonment, and death (all standard Palestinian approaches to dissent), I wonder if after all these years of being force fed a regular diet of hate, resentment, fanaticism, and self pity, whether it is even possible for Palestinians to live peacefully with Israel - with or without Hamas.  

It is also worth noting that there is little difference between Fatah (Yasser Arafat's group now run by Mahmoud Abbas, and still in charge in the West Bank, thanks only to the presence of the IDF) and Hamas, other than that Fatah pays lip service to wanting to live in "peace" with Israel (in English before the Western media) while Hamas makes no pretense of its ambition to kill Jews and destroy Israel.  Both, basically, want the same thing - the destruction of the Jewish state.  One is more slippery, the other more direct.  Between the two, I would prefer Hamas since their intentions are clear while Fatah's are veiled behind skillful manipulation of the political class and media.

Are there true peace loving democrats and free market capitalists left in the territories?  Or have they all been crushed, silenced, or converted to the cause?  Is there any who truly care about religious and political freedom, civil rights, liberty, the rule of law, and justice as we understand it in the West?  Or have they all been hopelessly corrupted and radicalized to the point of no return.  I believe there are some, but in general I no longer distinguish between Hamas, Fatah, and Palestinian society in general.  I unfortunately believe that many (most?) Palestinians would be content to see the five or six million Jews living in Israel driven into the sea, if only it were possible.   Perhaps if there were true democracy within the Palestinian territories including not just elections but all the institutions of a free society such as the rule of law, a free press, an independent judicial system, transparency and accountability in government, a free market, and basic human rights such as the right to free speech, religious freedom, freedom of assembly, the right to petition and oppose the government (a loyal opposition), etc, then perhaps we would see more enlightened, intelligent leadership emerging from the Palestinians who could indeed make peace with Israel and build a better life for their people.  Until then, we are stuck with the secular or religious terrorists (Fatah and Hamas), neither of which can be trusted and must go - if real "peace" is ever to be achieved.

What about another "ceasefire."  This word and concept is tossed around with the same fevered intensity as any of the other ridiculous cliches that emanate from that region.  A "ceasefire," as properly understood by Hamas (and anyone with any understanding of the realities of the region), is an interlude in the fighting that enables the terrorists to restock and refit their war making capacity in time for the next go around.  Why are there so many "ceasefires" in the Middle East?  Because Hamas and Hezbollah and others look upon ceasefires as a time to rebuild before the next battle.  It does not reflect a change in attitude. Further, when Israel finally decides enough is enough and goes to war, it is beset by endless calls from the international community for a ceasefire, and ultimately they capitulate.  And so the terrorist mice get to fight another day.  Are ceasefires a good thing? No, they perpetuate the conflict and the suffering. Should the US have had a ceasefire with the Nazis? Would it have made sense to have made peace with the Japanese before they had been crushed?  To ask it is to know the answer.  An enemy that is determined to destroy you cannot be negotiated with or wished away.  They can only be destroyed before they destroy you.

Israel deludes itself if it believes it can live in peace with any Palestinian polity as currently comprised for another generation or more.  Peace will come around only when the Arab/Islamic world, including the Palestinians, accepts a Jewish sovereign presence in its midst, is willing to have open diplomatic relations, and engage in trade, commerce and cultural exchange.  And when it stops speaking and writing in its state run media, in its mosques, radio and TV broadcasts, at public rallies and in the internet of its hatred of Jews and its desire to destroy the "Zionist entity."  Short of that it is an illusion.  It makes more sense now for Israel to build and maintain an unchallengeable military deterrence.  Peace will come when Arabs sincerely want peace and not before and no amount of arm twisting, coaxing, concessions, platitudes, or gilded language will change that. 

The truth is that peace is actually quite easy, not hard.  It is war that is hard.  Peace would flow naturally if attitudes changed.  With all the inherent benefits and opportunities that would accrue to such an area so rich in history and culture and resources, peace would indeed by far easier than the status quo.  There is really nothing preventing Arab nations from opening embassies in Israel, inviting Jews over (over some mint tea, hummus and falafel, of course), talking business, developing a massive tourist industry, building hotels and resorts, creating jobs, expanding economies, improving standards of living, education, and health care, doing joint projects (restore the Dead Sea, for example), allowing Israel to share its drip agricultural technology that has made its deserts bloom, creating desalination techniques and alternative fuels, engaging in cultural, scientific, archeological exchange, forming a free trade alliance in the Middle East, harnessing Israel's high tech know how to move the entire region forward, etc.  What's not easy about this?  It really is much easier than war.  Accept a sovereign Jewish presence.  Change attitudes.  The details can be worked out.  Anyway, forget it.  It's not happening now.

In the end, Hamas must be dealt with no differently than a malignant tumor in a patient.  It must be cut out to save the patient.  Like any major cancer surgery, it will be painful, vital structures may have to be sacrificed to remove the tumor, complications may occur, and the recovery may be difficult.  But the patient can then live.  So it is with the Palestinians and Israel.  Much of the world including many Sunni Arab states in the region actually recognize this and secretly hope Israel will finish the operation.  Many Palestinians, I believe, probably hope for this as well. 

After all, what would you rather have in Gaza, Singapore on the Mediterranean or the Taliban? 

I still maintain the belief (illusion?) that most Palestinians, however radicalized they have become, would still prefer to live in peace and be free to further careers, get an education, and take care of their children rather then fight an endless conflict with Israel.  Under Hamas, such aspirations will never materialize.

Final notes and asides:

Hamas and Hezbollah are proxies of Iran.  This current round of the same sixty year Arab/Islamic war against Israel is indirectly a conflict with Iran who sponsors and supplies the two terrorist groups.  Hamas would not have ended the ceasefire without clearance and support from Iran.  The larger question is what is Iran up to?  Is it to create a distraction so that it may pursue unhindered its quest for nuclear weapons.  Is it a way to sidetrack Israel and/or the US from taking out Iranian nuclear facilities in the waning days of the Bush administration before the more malleable, dreamy, and unrealistic Obama gets in and begins "talking" with our enemies as they plot our destruction?  In the end, it is Iran that must be dealt with.

The lessons of Gaza and the last sixty years of Arab/Islamic warfare against the Jewish state are simple.  Evil cannot be appeased.  Hamas must be defeated.  As must Hezbollah.  As must, ultimately, their sponsors in Iran.  Then, perhaps, a real "peace process" can begin.






  • James Rickenbach

    January 17, 2009

    Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh! Yaw. This is what I have thought all along. Wish you could get this into a column in the NYTimes or Washington Post. Liberalism sure does smother the most basic elements of human logic. Those who harbor and foster hatred lose out royally in terms of progress and development of the very things they envy in their neighbors. Sin leaves whole regions of humanity wallowing in the filth of self-pity instead of basking in the luscious paradise selfless giving.

  • finn

    January 19, 2009

    I don't have to read the blog to be in total agreement with the title. Saw a great quote somewhere recently that said: "if Hamas lays down its guns, we have peace. If Israel lays down its guns, we have no Israel."

    Sez it all. And I'm a liberal.


    January 19, 2009

    Its really strange that the Arab world never seems to vent its rage when 300,000 africans are slaughtered by militants. But kill one arab terrorist and there are parades in the street, throughout the worlds capitals, impassioned speeches in the UN and the accompanying threats of revenge broadcast in Al Jazeera.

    When Assad of Syria, buried 10,000 people ( some of them alive ) in the city of Hamra by using bulldozers there was not one protest by the arab nations.
    Assad was a dictator telling the religious zealots that they had better watch out.

    It seems that it worked very well for him. Same for Marshall Tito of Yugoslavia, Stalin of Russia, Mao of China.

    Amazing you say? No -- When enough power is used people are too fearful of going against you. Last example Saddam Hussein. How many protests were there against him when he ruled ?

    If you raise a rattle snake and feed it for 5 years and then attempt to pet it.
    What do you think will happen to you?
    Maybe you should negotiate with it???

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