26 1 min 10 yrs

“Hey Abdul, what’s that whooshing sound?”

Israel sent Ahmaed Jaabari, the Hamas chief warlord/terrorist/gangster/freedom fighter, off to meet his virgins with a missile strike on his motor in Gaza.

I know, it’s a tit-for-tat act which doesn’t bring peace any closer. Then again, Hamas has attacked Israel many times with rockets in the last few weeks, including 100 on 11th November. If that happened against my country I’d expect HM Armed Forces to have a say in the matter. Sky News has just quoted the Israeli government as saying that this is “just the beginning” of continued action against Hamas. Time will tell if this is so and if it’s a precursor to action against Iran. If things get hot with Tehran then Israel really doesn’t want Hamas (and Hezbollah to the north) joining in the fun.

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26 thoughts on “IT’S BACK ON IN GAZA

  1. Well incinerating someone who is caught up in launching missles at your nation and civilian population seems to be a fairly necessary response. I don’t agree with all of Isreal’s policies but this one seems to be a fairly obvious matter of self-defense.

  2. //If that happened against my country I’d expect HM Armed Forces to have a say in the matter.//

    Then again, if some neighbour routinely sent helicoptor gunships over the Channel killing British citizens it didn’t like, I’d expect HM Armed Forces to have a say in that matter too.

    Israel has been doing that for months now and nobody says a word. But of course, those Israeli attacks are …well, justified retroactively by the reaction to them, aren’t they?

  3. //It’s the English Channel //

    Not according to …er.. HM Armed Forces, who regularly say “the Channel”.

    By the way, Pete, do you object to people being killed on suspicion only if their own state does it, not if it’s some other one?

    In any case, it’s interesting that nobody tries to find out who started this latest round of killing-rocket-killing…..
    They obediently swallow the Israeli line whatever it is, as Israel knows they will.

  4. I don’t know, mahons, to tell you the truth. ‘Fraid I can’t help you there.

    My advice in such situations (I presume you don’t know either) is to keep an open mind and believe no interested party, especially when they have been shown to be inveterate liars, and of course both sides here have been shown to be exactly that.

    Mind you, until early last month, if I remember correctly, there’d been no incidents for some time. Then Israel sent over a plane that killed – they said – some Hamas bigwig, for what – they also said – he’d been doing in Sinai or something.
    Hamas fired a few rockets in return, then Israel killed a few more, Hamas fired a few more etc.

    Now I’m not saying this was the start of this latest round. Just an example of how these things begin. I’ve no doubt both sides said the other started it, and the line was echoed wherever these things are always echoed.

  5. Noel Cunningham –

    “Not according to …er.. HM Armed Forces, who regularly say “the Channel”.”

    We have no need to remind ourselves whose Channel it is.

    As for whoever started “the latest round of rocket killings”, I described it as a tit-for-tat thing. You’re free to line up your tits and your tats whatever way you like.

  6. I am unsure of who started it (a chicken v. egg discussion will ensue) but there has been over a hundred rockets recently fired from Gaza into Israel, and Israel had warned it would respond if that didn’t cease. Seems evident to me on this go round that the limited strike on the Hamas leader is pretty much what any nation would do.

    I don’t think it helps the Palestinian cause to be firing these rockets into Israel, but the Hamas sponsors probably are pushing for it to distract from other issues.

  7. //I don’t think it helps the Palestinian cause to be firing these rockets into Israel, //

    I don’t know. It helps Hamas at least. And also, their ability to fire rockets into Israel has on a few occasions brought the Israelis to a tacit agreement to stop assassinating Gazeans (sp?)

    Generally Israel reserves for itself the right to kill members of Hamas in Gaza at its discretion. I don’t think anyone doubts that Israel killed such people aplenty even in times when there had been no rockets flying into Israel and without even trying the “responding to rockets” excuse. (The excuse in such situations is usually that they “knew” the victim was preparing some attack)

    Hamas of course doesn’t like its men being killed and fires rockets as a sign of its displeasure.

    Similarly, there are many groups in Gaza that reserve the right to fire rockets into Israel at any time, not just as retaliation but in general because of the blockade.

    You will find – anyone interested in finding out about these things – that the escalations usually start with either Israel unilateral killings in Gaza or one of these maverick Palli groups firing rockets, which Israel then blames on Hamas etc.
    (If some pro-Israeli people here find it hard to imagine Israel blaming someone in the wrong, just think of NI and how people there will do any kind of acrobatic turns to blame the group they want to blame)

    This has happened many times before, and I’ll bet it was the cause of this latest round too.

    BTW. I said above that Israel (and Hamas) are known for their lies, and I just found this beauty:

    Ever ready to dicky up someone they just killed, Israel has just said that this latest target was responsible for “all terrorist activities against Israel from Gaza” in the last decade! Good one, isn’t it? And that was from Shin Bet, which I believe is responsible for intelligence. 🙂

  8. Mahons,

    In that kind of – asymetrical – conflict, a military defeat is a political victory and sustaining enemy attack strengthens you. It’s very similar to NI, where the IRA was greatly strengthened by Internment, Bloody Sunday, hunger strike deaths etc.

    I don’t know if Israel is aware of this yet, but Tony Blair is in the region and perhaps he could tell them. They can’t defeat Hamas militarily.

  9. Noel

    Regardless of the legitimacy of Palestinians rights to use violence against Israel , what purpose does it serve for Hamas to fire these militarily pathetic random rockets which are not sophisticated enough to be able to target and are just lobbed mostly onto random land and which are no serious threat to Israel at all but give Israel the perfect excuse to launch their infinitely superior military forces in response ?

  10. //what purpose does it serve for Hamas to fire these militarily pathetic random rockets which are not sophisticated enough to be able to target //

    Colm, I thought I’d just answered that. The purpose is to help consolidate Hamas power in Gaza by showing it is the only power between the people and the Israelis, and one that isn’t afraid to face the big foe.

    For the past 6 years, a wide coalition of countries with practically unlimited power and resources have been trying to weaken Hamas. However, because at the same time Israel has been killing its members and it has been firing rockets into Israel in retaliation, and as a result it is now as strong as it ever was.
    Again as in NI, the IRA’s main objective was not to neutralise British power or Orange rule, but to take over from the SDLP. Hamas wants, if not to take over from the PA, at least to be accepted as an equal partner in a coalition, and at the moment it looks like it will succeed in this short-term aim.
    Remember, the last year has seen many setbacks for Hamas that REALLY damaged it – unlike the Israeli airstrikes: it lost its base in Damascus and with it the backing of its patron Iran, which was its main source of weapons, cash and training etc.
    Now with the arrival of the MB in Egypt, it sees an opportunity for entering the Arab and Sunni Muslim mainstream, and eventually be in coalition with the PA.

    The MB is now very close to Hamas. I see that Egypt has just recalled its ambassador to Israel. In this latest exchange of military hardware, Israel has more to lose than to gain. It could afford to carry out these attacks when Mubarak and Assad other goons were holding their people back, but it can’t afford to continue with them when the Arab world is no longer divided by petty local tyrants. Sooner or later, Israel will have to do a deal, esp. as – I hope – it’s going to get some sharp prodding from Washington over the next few years. It may refuse to do a deal with Gerry Fitt only to find it later has to do one with a totally different type of Gerry.

  11. Noel – The IRA was ultimately weakened by its various outrageous terrorist assaults, as was the Real IRA with Omagh.

  12. Noel

    Thanks for the answer. You make a very good case for the power politics of it all but I still don’t agree that these rocket attacks are a good move for Hamas. Apart from being morally wrong as they cannot but target civilians plus the consequent collateral killing of innocent Palestinians in Gaza by Israelis simply piles on the misery and suffering and I don’t think it pushes Israel into doing deals or compromising one iota.

  13. //The IRA was ultimately weakened by its various outrageous terrorist assaults//

    Exactly, part of my point. It was weakened by what in other conflicts would be termed “successes” and strengthend by what would elsewhere be failures.
    e.g. Hamas really got hammered in the last Israeli invasion of Gaza, yet emerged stronger than before.

    That’s the nature of things in these asymmetric conflicts, where media and PR and international opinion play a huge role.
    Hamas needs the support of the people of Gaza and the “Arab Street” – nothing else. All those billions of dollars in US weapons also won’t help Israel defeat it, short of another invasion and total massacre of the Gaza population. And those days are gone.

    Ultimately it comes down to the fact that most of the world sees Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories – and its embargoes and colonisation etc – as wrong. Despite what many would like to think, Israel wants to be part of that world and it can’t live in conflict forever. Time to make peace, and to do that you have to recognise your opponents instead of killing them.

    BTW – there may be an element of Israeli post-US-election blues here, and frustration at not being able to hit Iran etc. Watching BiBi eat humble pie when the results came in was a rare joy from that part of the world.

  14. “We have no need to remind ourselves whose Channel it is.”

    Perhaps “we” do. It depends on whose map you’re reading. Anglophone maps and charts call it the English Channel; to the French it’s La Manche.

    Whose water is it? It’s shared by the two nations, who conveniently divvy it up along the halfway mark.

    It’s always an interesting exercise to look at maps drawn by foreign cartographers. We tend to assume that the nomenclature will be reasonably consistent with our own. In fact, it seldom is. Greek and Turkish maps of the Med, for example, throw up some real gems.

  15. Petr – That was great. I have newsreels of Mao’s people denying the great famine in the late 50’s that are as balanced.

  16. Seriously, throughout. Every claim in his “timeline”, which morphs from 11/8/12 to “decades”.

    He’s a known advocate of terrorism and a laughable one trick pony. Try to get someone with actual credibility.

  17. Noel, Bibi will probably still hit Iran. He’s just waiting for the most opportune moment to do so (which will probably be a week or 2 before the Israeli elections in January).

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