Posts Tagged ‘Hamas’

Jimmy Carter Should Stick to Building Houses

August 7, 2014

James Earl (Jimmy) Carter was without question the most inept president of my lifetime, at least until the present occupant of the White House was elected. One might think that after a four year tenure of abject failure both in domestic and foreign policy, such a man would slink away back to Georgia and never make any public statements about subjects he obviously knows very little about. We are not that lucky. Ever since the American people decided to pass on another four years of having this grinning idiot in the White House, Jimmy Carter has insisted on butting in and speaking his piece where he is not wanted and not needed. Just now he has taken it upon himself to present his resolution to the crisis in Gaza with a column in Foreign Policy which he co-wrote with Ireland’s former president and current left-wing whack job, Mary Robinson.

Jimmy Carter, former President of the United S...

Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States and current jackass (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A quick summary of this column would read, it is all Israel’s fault. Israel has committed war crimes by not allowing Hamas to continue to attack its citizens and should withdraw, end the blockade on Gaza and allow Hamas to continue to try to kill the Israelis. Then we will have peace in the region. Here is the column. You decide if my summary is fair.

Israelis and Palestinians are still burying their loved ones as Gaza’s third war in six years continues. Since July 8, when this war began, more than 1,600 Palestinian and 65 Israeli lives have been sacrificed. Many in the world are heartbroken in the powerless certainty that more will die, that more are being killed every hour.

Who has started these wars? If Hamas would stop trying to kill the Israelis, the fighting would stop. Israel is not dedicated to the destruction of the Palestinians either on the West Bank or Gaza. Hamas is openly dedicated to the destruction of the Jews. Fatah is just as dedicated to the destruction of Israel but they have the good sense not to say so, at least not in English. What they say in Arabic may be quite different.

This tragedy results from the deliberate obstruction of a promising move toward peace in the region, when a reconciliation agreement among the Palestinian factions was announced in April. This was a major concession by Hamas, in opening Gaza to joint control under a technocratic government that did not include any Hamas members. The new government also pledged to adopt the three basic principles demanded by the Middle East Quartet comprised of the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia: nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and adherence to past agreements. Tragically, Israel rejected this opportunity for peace and has succeeded in preventing the new government’s deployment in Gaza.

It is all Israel’s fault for somehow not trusting the good intentions and good faith of the people who have sworn to destroy them. Has Hamas recognized Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state? Has Hamas adhered to past agreements? When Israel withdrew from Gaza and handed over control to the Palestinians, they promptly elected Hamas as their leaders and began to attack Israel.

Two factors are necessary to make Palestinian unity possible. First, there must be at least a partial lifting of the 7-year-old sanctions and blockade that isolate the 1.8 million people in Gaza. There must also be an opportunity for the teachers, police, and welfare and health workers on the Hamas payroll to be paid. These necessary requirements for a human standard of living continue to be denied. Instead, Israel blocked Qatar’s offer to provide funds to pay civil servants’ salaries, and access to and from Gaza has been further tightened by Egypt and Israel.

Israel must end the blockade so that Hamas will have a chance to import more rockets to attack Israel. Why does Carter think Israel imposed the blockade? Does he really think the Israelis want to starve the Palestinians? They do allow humanitarian aid into Gaza. They do not allow any weapons or any item that could be made into a weapon. They do not allow construction materials since those materials are used to build tunnels for evading the blockade.Israel imposed this blockade after Hamas began to fire rockets into Israel. Israel would probably lift the blockade if Hamas stopped trying to kill Israelis.

This next section is the best (worst) part of the column.

There is no humane or legal justification for the way the Israeli Defense Forces are conducting this war. Israeli bombs, missiles, and artillery have pulverized large parts of Gaza, including thousands of homes, schools, and hospitals. More than 250,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Gaza. Hundreds of Palestinian noncombatants have been killed. Much of Gaza has lost access to water and electricity completely. This is a humanitarian catastrophe.

There is never an excuse for deliberate attacks on civilians in conflict. These are war crimes. This is true for both sides. Hamas’s indiscriminate targeting of Israeli civilians is equally unacceptable. However, three Israeli civilians have been killed by Palestinian rockets, while an overwhelming majority of the 1,600 Palestinians killed have been civilians, including more than 330 children. The need for international judicial proceedings to investigate and end these violations of international law should be taken very seriously.

The reason so many Palestinian civilians have been killed is because Hamas wants them to be killed. Israel protects its civilians. Hamas uses its civilians as human shields.

There is a larger issue here and I am afraid that what I am about to say will seem to be very ugly. Well, war is ugly. For a person who has lived through World War II and served in the United States Navy, Jimmy Carter is astonishingly obtuse about the nature of war. If we had fought the Second World War as he expects Israel to fight, we would have responded to the attack on Pearl Harbor by bombing one Japanese base. Anything more would have been disproportionate. We would not have bombed the Japanese home islands or sunk Japanese cargo ships. That would have been an unacceptable attack on civilians. We certainly would not have dropped incendiary bombs  on the residential quarters of Tokyo, knowing that their wooden houses would burn readily nor would we have dropped the atomic bombs. The war might have been conducted more humanely as a result. We would probably still be fighting the Japanese.

The way to end a war and bring about peace is the utterly destroy the enemy’s will and capacity to fight. This might mean bombing the factories that produce the weapons the soldiers use. This might mean killing civilians to break the enemy’s will to fight. War is hell. General William T. Sherman said this out of personal experience. During the Civil War, his soldiers burned down plantations and destroyed railways in order to destroy the Confederates’ ability to wage war. Jimmy Carter might have considered these actions to be war crimes, but they ensured that the South would not rise again. It is a cruel irony that the most likely chance for peace in the Middle East would be if Israel really were the villain people like Jimmy Carter think it is. Because Israel is a decent nation, the fighting will go on.

Jimmy Carter probably thinks he is on the side of peace. He is not. By his statements, he is giving hope to Hamas that they need only hold out until Israel is pressured to withdraw without finishing the job of destroying Hamas’s ability to fight. He is not promoting peace in the region. He is paving the way for continual war.

Carter goes on.

The U.N. Security Council should focus on what can be done to limit the potential use of force by both sides. It should vote for a resolution recognizing the inhumane conditions in Gaza and mandate an end to the siege. That resolution could also acknowledge the need for international monitors who can report on movements into and out of Gaza as well as cease-fire violations. It should then enshrine strict measures to prevent the smuggling of weapons into Gaza. Early discussions have already taken place. The Elders, an international group of elder statesmen of which we are a part, hope these discussions will continue and reach fruition.

At the Palestinians’ request, the Swiss government is considering convening an international conference of the signatory states of the Geneva Conventions, which enshrine the humanitarian laws of warfare. This could pressure Israel and Hamas into observing their duties under international law to protect civilian populations. We sincerely hope all states — especially those in the West, with the greatest power — attend and live up to their obligations to uphold the Fourth Geneva Convention, which governs the treatment of populations in occupied territory.

I am sure that any action by the UN will be completely impartial and will only serve the interests of peace. That was sarcasm.

Unity between Fatah and Hamas is currently stronger than it has been for many years. As Elders, we believe this is one of the most encouraging developments in recent years and welcome it warmly. This presents an opportunity for the Palestinian Authority to reassume control over Gaza — an essential first step towards Israel and Egypt lifting the blockade.

Why is unity between these two factions desirable? What has been drawing them closer? Has Hamas given up its goal of destroying the Jews?

The Palestinian Authority cannot manage the task of administering Gaza on its own. It will need the prompt return of the EU Border Assistance Mission, an international effort to help monitor border crossings that was launched in 2005 and suspended in 2007. EU High Representative Catherine Ashton has already offered to reinstate the program, covering not only Rafah but all of Gaza’s crossings. Egypt and Israel would, in turn, cooperate with international monitors to be deployed in Gaza and along its borders, backed by a U.N. Security Council mandate to protect civilian populations. A valuable precedent for trust-building between Egypt and Israel is the international peacekeeping force operating in the Sinai, mandated by the peace treaty signed by the two countries in 1979.

The international community’s initial goal should be the full restoration of the free movement of people and goods to and from Gaza through Israel, Egypt, and the sea. Concurrently, the United States and EU should recognize that Hamas is not just a military but also a political force. Hamas cannot be wished away, nor will it cooperate in its own demise. Only by recognizing its legitimacy as a political actor — one that represents a substantial portion of the Palestinian people — can the West begin to provide the right incentives for Hamas to lay down its weapons. Ever since the internationally monitored 2006 elections that brought Hamas to power in Palestine, the West’s approach has manifestly contributed to the opposite result.

We could have said something similar about the Nazis and the Japanese military government. Both the Nazis and the militarists represented a substantial portion of their respective countries. Ultimately we brought about their demise. Why don’t we give Israel the chance to bring about the demise of Hamas. We ought not to recognize the legitimacy of a political actor as movement that has genocide as its goal.

Ultimately, however, lasting peace depends on the creation of a Palestinian state next to Israel.

Leaders in Israel, Palestine, and the world’s major powers should believe that policy changes are within reach that would move Israelis and Palestinians closer to a day when the skies over the Holy Land can forever fall silent.

A lasting peace will only occur when the Palestinians realize that they cannot defeat or destroy Israel and that Israel is here to stay. They must come to understand that they have more to gain by making peace than waging war. This is why Egypt made peace with Israel. Anwar Sadat  realized that Egypt could not defeat Israel and that the continuing hostility with Israel was wrecking his country. Unfortunately the antics of people like Carter make this realization, and peace, unlikely. Jimmy Carter should stick to what he knows, building houses for Habitat for Humanity.

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Black and White

July 24, 2014

There are some conflicts in which neither side is clearly in the right or wrong, in which there is not really a black or white but shades of gray. World War I might serve as an example. Despite propaganda by both the Allies and the Central Powers, neither side could be unambiguously seen as in the right or wrong and neither side was clearly the aggressor. World War II was quite different. The Germans and the Japanese had both begun wars of aggression against neighboring countries without legitimate cause. The Axis powers were ruled by abominable governments that committed atrocities against the people they conquered. The presence of the Soviet Union on the side of the allies might have complicated matters since the Communists were every bit as evil as the Nazis and had, in fact, been aggressors earlier in that war, before Hitler double-crossed them. All the same, the Germans invaded the Soviet Union and the efforts of the Russian people helped to end at least one great evil.

There are many who would like to believe that the current fighting in the Gaza Strip is one of the conflicts with no clear good or bad sides. If they cannot get away with blaming the whole affair on Israel and the Jews this time, they can at least adopt a position of moral equivalency. Both sides have committed wrongs. There is no black or white here. Such is the attitude of an article in the Christian Science Monitor I have just read.

There are two broad narratives about the current conflict between Hamasand Israel.

The first, presented by Israel and its allies, is that rocket-fire from the Gaza Strip by Hamas and other militants is an intolerable threat to the country, and that Israel is simply responding in self-defense. The second, presented by Hamas and its allies, is that the economic blockade of Gaza, the arrest of hundreds of Hamas members over the past month, and the heavy ordnance that has pounded the tiny enclave is intolerable, and they’re responding in self-defense.

Both sides are right. And both sides are wrong. They are right in that they are pursuing their interests with the tools that they’ve decided are best suited to the purpose – rockets and bombs. And that both sides would like the attacks from the other side to stop.

The article goes on at some length on the history of the conflict between Israel and Hamas and actually does do a good job of presenting the points of view of both sides fairly. The writer is wrong, all the same. There are  clear right and wrong sides in this conflict. Israel is in the right and Hamas is in the wrong.

I need not go into the entire history of how Israel’s neighbors have tried again and again to destroy the Jewish state or how Israel has been under siege since the day it was founded, nor do I need to to state how the Jews have taken a depopulated wasteland and turned it into a flourishing modern state while the Palestinians remain mired in poverty because their leaders care only for war against Israel. The simple fact of the matter is that if Hamas and the Fatah faction that controls the West Bank were to disarm and ask for peace, Israel would leave them alone. If they would grant that Israel has a right to exist and end their campaign to destroy Israel, Israel would make peace. On the other hand, if the Israelis were to disarm and ask only to live in peace, Israel would be quickly destroyed. One side wants peace. The other side wants genocide. There is no moral equivalence here and only the morally corrupt would suppose that there is.

What Hawking is Supporting

May 9, 2013

By participating in an academic boycott of Israel in support of the Palestinians, Stephen Hawking is sending an implied message of support to the Palestinian leadership, which in the Gaza Strip is composed of the terrorist group Hamas. It might be worthwhile for Professor Hawking to learn more about what sort of people he is siding with. First up is a report from Israel National News.

Hamas is lobbying for a stricter enforcement of Islamic law in Gaza – including provisions to cut off the hands of thieves, and execution of individuals who cheat on their spouses. A report in the Al-Hayat daily newspaper said that Hamas expects the new regulations to take effect in the coming months, after introduction of the legislation in the PA parliament.

Existing laws mete out the death penalty to individuals convicted of murder, spying, homosexuality, or selling land to Jews. The new legislation will expand the crimes for which individuals can be executed to include disloyalty to a spouse – having sexual relations outside the context of marriage. Other provisions of the law include chopping off the right hand of a thief (along with at least a seven year jail sentence), and lashes for a large number of “crimes,” including drinking alcoholic beverages and gambling. All the punishments are derived from sharia, Islamic law.

In addition, girls age 15 will be able to decide to marry on their own, without requiring permission from their parents. Individuals age ten and over are considered adults under the new legislation, and are subject to the full force of the law for offenses.

Hamas has a large majority in the PA parliament, with 74 of the 134 parliamentarians belonging to the Islamist party. Many of them belong to the fundamentalist Salafist movement, and they are behind the push for the new laws. While there is opposition in Hamas to the passage of the legislation at this point, it is expected to easily pass. Once it does, the laws will be extant in both Gaza and Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria, but it is not clear if they will be enforced there.

Selling land to Jews merits the death penalty. Who is the violator of human rights here? Next up is a report from ABC News.

A prominent Islamic scholar making a landmark visit to the Gaza Strip declared Thursday that Israel has no right to exist and voiced his support for rocket fire on Israel, giving a boost of legitimacy to the militant Islamist Hamas rulers of the Palestinian territory.

Yusuf al-Qaradawi is the latest of a few high profile figures visit Gaza, boosting the Hamas effort to break its international isolation. The U.S., EU and Israel brand Hamas a terror group, while the rival Fatah, which rules in the West Bank, enjoys Western backing.

Al-Qaradawi issued the strongest anti-Israel declarations of any of the visitors to date.

“This land has never once been a Jewish land. Palestine is for the Arab Islamic nation,” said al-Qaradawi, a Qatar-based cleric made famous by his popular TV show and widely respected in the Muslim world.

“The rockets made in Gaza are more powerful than the (Israeli) occupation’s rockets,” he added.

Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007 following several days of fighting against the rival Palestinian faction Fatah. Since then, Hamas militants have launched thousands of rockets into Israeli towns. Israel carried out two punishing military offensives, one in the winter of 2008-2009 and another late last year which killed the chief of the Hamas military wing.

Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005, but imposes a maritime blockade and controls the flow of goods coming from Israel into the territory. Gaza’s Hamas rulers and their backers still refer to Israel as “the occupation,” referring to Israel’s control of the West Bank and reflecting a belief that the presence of a Jewish state in the Middle East is an illegitimate occupation.

The Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, which governs in the West Bank, condemned al-Qaradawi’s visit, saying his presence is cementing the rift between the two Palestinian factions.

Fatah and Hamas have tried to reconcile their differences in recent years but failed. Western leaders have demanded that a unified Fatah-Hamas government must recognize Israel and agree to enter peace negotiations. Hamas has refused.

How do you make peace with people who will not concede you have a right to exist? Please note that while the Fatah faction is not so openly calling for the destruction of Israel, that is their goal too. The difference between the two factions is that the leadership of Fatah has enough sense to downplay their genocidal ambitions, at least before Western audiences.

And finally here is a report from Palestinian Media Watch.

wo senior Palestinian Authority officials praised the use of violence against Israel last week.

Senior PA official Sultan Abu Al-Einein expressed his open support for the murderer who killed Evyatar Borovsky, an Israeli who was stabbed to death by Palestinian terrorist Salam Al-Zaghal while he was waiting for a ride.

Abu Al-Einein, who was until recently an advisor holding the rank of minister to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and who was subsequently appointed Head of the Palestinian Council for NGO Affairs by Abbas, honored the murderer:

“We salute the heroic fighter, the self-sacrificing Salam Al-Zaghal.”

Abu Al-Einein also praised the murderer and his killing with the words:

“He insisted on defending his honor, so he went against the settler and killed him. Blessings to the breast that nursed Salam Al-Zaghal.”

The audience applauded and whistled at this statement.

Last week, Palestinian Media Watch reported that only hours after the murder, the administrator of Fatah’s official Facebook page glorified Al-Zaghal as a “hero.”

Another senior PA official, Jibril Rajoub, also praised the use of violence against Israel. During an interview on a Lebanese TV channel, the host referred to “the negotiations game” with Israel, and Rajoub expressed the view that negotiations are held because the Palestinians lack military strength:

“I swear that if we had a nuke, we’d have used it this very morning.”

Jibril Rajoub is the Deputy Secretary of the Fatah Central Committee and Chairman of the PA Olympic Committee. The interview was broadcast on the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen TV channel and also published on Rajoub’s Facebook page on May 2, 2013.

Senior PA officials often state that avoiding violent confrontation or war with Israel is only temporarily, due to the PA’s inability to take on such a conflict. They claim that negotiations with Israel are the right course of action for now, because conditions are not right for violence.

Mahmoud Abbas himself has also said on several occasions that if the Arab nations would begin a war against Israel, “Palestine” would join them.

The following is an excerpt of senior PA official Sultan Abu Al-Einein’s interview, in which he praises a murderer as a “heroic fighter”:

“Praise Allah who honored us and designated us to be in Ribat (religious war defending or liberating “Islamic” land) until Judgment Day, until the dawn of freedom and national independence will shine [on us]… On behalf of all those who fell as Martyrs or were wounded, we salute the heroic fighter, the self-sacrificing Salam Al-Zaghal from the Tulkarem District, whose honor and pride would not let him remain silent, consenting to the settlers’ aggression against him in his vehicle. He insisted on defending his honor, so he went against the settler and killed him. Blessings to the breast that nursed Salam Al-Zaghal.”
[Palestine Live TV, May 2, 2013]

The following is the translation of senior PA official Jibril Rajoub’s interview, in which he swears that the PA would use nuclear weapons against Israel, if it possessed them:

Lebanese TV host: “The American [John Kerry] came to the PA. They are talking about reviving negotiations, about getting back to the table with the Israelis… Will you go back to the negotiations game?”
Jibril Rajoub: “There is no going back to negotiations unless the source of authority is the international resolutions, with a time frame and with the freezing of all unilateral Israeli steps: Jerusalem, the fence, settlements and prisoners.”
Host: “You’ve heard Israel’s refusal.”
Jibril Rajoub: “That doesn’t matter. Listen. We as yet don’t have a nuke, but I swear that if we had a nuke, we’d have used it this very morning.”
It surely must be obvious to any disinterested observer that the Palestinians do not want peace with Israel. The only way that they will agree to peace with Israel is if they are convinced that they cannot win by violent means. When well meaning but idiotic Westerners support them and condemn Israel, the Palestinians are encouraged to believe that they will prevail. The Palestinians will never bargain in good faith if they think they can destroy Israel. By supporting an academic boycott of Israel, Stephen Hawking is encouraging terrorists to keep up their campaign of terror and is costing the lives of people on both sides of the struggle.
All of the above links came courtesy of Jihad Watch, a website Stephen Hawking ought to read. There is a lot more there.

 

Egyptian Protesters

November 19, 2012

There have been protests all over Egypt over the recent Israeli acts of aggression against the peaceful Palestinians in Gaza. I read about it in Yahoo News.

Thousands of people protested in Egyptian cities on Friday against Israeli air strikes on Gaza and Egypt’s president pledged to support the Palestinian enclave’s population in the face of “blatant aggression”.

Western governments are watching Egypt’s response to the Gaza conflagration for signs of a more assertive stance towards Israel since an Islamist came to power in the Arab world’s most populous nation.

President Mohamed Mursi is mindful of anti-Israeli sentiment among Egyptians emboldened by last year’s Arab Spring uprising but needs to show Western allies his new government is no threat to Middle East peace.

His prime minister, Hisham Kandil, visited Gaza on Friday in a demonstration of solidarity after two days of strikes by Israeli warplanes targeting Gaza militants, who had stepped up rocket fire into Israel in recent weeks.

Gaza officials said 28 Palestinians, 16 of them civilians, had been killed in the enclave since Israel began the air offensive against the tiny, densely populated enclave ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement.

Three Israelis were killed by a rocket on Thursday.

“We see what is happening in Gaza as blatant aggression against humanity,” Mursi said in comments carried by Egypt’s state news agency. “I warn and repeat my warning to the aggressors that they will never rule over the people of Gaza.

“I tell them in the name of all the Egyptian people that Egypt today is not the Egypt of yesterday, and Arabs today are not the Arabs of yesterday.”

The Egyptian foreign minister also spoke to his counterparts in the United States, Jordan, Brazil and Italy on Friday to discuss the situation in Gaza, a ministry statement said.

Mohamed Kamel Amr spoke to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the necessity of cooperation between the United States and Egypt to end the military confrontations. Amr stressed the necessity of Israel ending attacks on Gaza and a truce being rebuilt between the two sides, the statement said.

Israeli ministers were asked to endorse the call-up of up to 75,000 reservists after Gaza militants nearly hit Jerusalem with a rocket for the first time in decades and fired at Tel Aviv for a second day. Such a call-up could be the precursor of a ground invasion into Gaza, or just psychological warfare.

COLD PEACE

Mursi’s toppled predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, was a staunch U.S. ally who upheld a cold but stable peace with Israel.

The new president has vowed to respect the 1979 peace treaty with the Jewish state. But relations have been strained by protests that forced the evacuation of Israel’s ambassador to Cairo last year and cross-border attacks by Islamist militants.

More than 1,000 people gathered near Cairo’s al-Azhar mosque after Friday prayers, many waving Egyptian and Palestinian flags.

“Gaza Gaza, symbol of pride”, they chanted, and “generation after generation, we declare our enmity towards you, Israel”.

“I cannot, as an Egyptian, an Arab and a Muslim, just sit back and watch the massacres in Gaza,” said protester Abdel Aziz Nagy, 25, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Protesters were marching from other areas of Cairo towards Tahrir Square, the main rallying point for last year’s uprising that toppled Mubarak.

In Alexandria, around 2,000 protesters gathered in front of a mosque, some holding posters demanding Egypt’s border crossing to Gaza be opened to allow aid into the impoverished enclave.

Hundreds also gathered in the cities of Ismailia, Suez and al-Arish to denounce Israel’s attacks.

Al-Azhar, Egypt’s influential seat of Islamic learning, called on all Arabs and Muslims to unite in support of their brothers in Gaza, the state news agency MENA said.

“The Zionists are seeking to eliminate all (Palestinians) in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” Ahmed al-Tayyib, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, said in comments carried by MENA.

Al-Tayyib denounced the position of world powers on the Gaza crisis, describing them as having “forgotten their humanitarian duties … and standing on the side of the aggressors,” according to MENA.’

I completely agree with these protesters. It is absolutely unconscionable that the Israelis should respond to the peaceful rocket attacks on their territory with air strikes and a possible ground invasion. Doesn’t the Israeli government know that the state of Israel, alone of all the nations of the world, does not have a right to defend its territory and citizens.

Seriously though, if they do not want “massacres” in Gaza, perhaps they should tell Hamas to stop attacking Israel. I put massacres in quotes because I know perfectly well that the IDF is going out of its way to avoid civilian casualties.

It does seem beyond belief to me that the attackers in this incident are labeled the victims and the defenders are labeled aggressors, but this is an increasingly Orwellian world we live in.


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