All the news outlets are reporting that Israel is poised to invade Gaza now that the “truce” officially lapsed on Friday — the big, bad bully ready to strike again.
According to one Associated Press story, “Gaza’s ruling Hamas ordered militants to hold their fire for 24 hours and said a truce with Israel could be restored, but as rockets continued to fall, Israel signaled it was preparing for a possible offensive.”
The emphasis is mine.
OK, so what this seems to so blithely say — as though this were perfectly normal — is that one can have a truce that includes continued fire from one side.
What kind of truce is that?
In an interview with Israeli TV, a Hamas leader “demanded regular food and electricity supplies from Israel…”
Why is Israel required to supply her enemies with anything? In what other conflict has that ever been the case? Why isn’t Hamas demanding these things from the organization’s ethnic and ideological “brothers” across their other border?
On top of the fact that rocket fire from Gaza has never completely stopped, factions other than Hamas, like Islamic Jihad, are saying they’ve received no cease-fire order, which, if the radical Palestinians stay true to form, leaves them a way to continue doing whatever violence that strikes their fancy while supplying a weird sort of deniability.
No two factions are seemingly on the same page, so a deal struck with one is a deal struck only with that one. Pointless, as illustrated by the fact that a high level Hamas official threatened a renewal of suicide bombings in Israel even as others called for a truce, according to the AP story.
That Palestinians keep firing deadly rockets at civilian population centers during cease-fires and truces, is, inexplicably, not made a big issue of in most reports from the region, and I can think of no logical explanation for that. I can’t imagine it happening under any other circumstance.
Any truce or cease-fire worth the designation, must work both ways or it’s not a truce or a cease-fire. At least that’s how I’ve always believed the thing is supposed to work.
See, my dictionary says a cease-fire is “a temporary suspension of fighting, typically one during which peace talks take place; a truce.”
A suspension of fighting by all parties involved. Period.
So, I’m not sure why they keep referring to what’s been going in between Israel and Gaza a cease-fire. The only party that seems to have ceased firing is Israel.
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was in Cairo to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Thursday to discuss a new truce, but she let him know she’s annoyed by the hundreds of rockets and mortars that have been fired at Israel over the past month (during the “cease-fire,”) another story said. With the truce over, rocket fire has increased and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has told the Palestinian population they should consider the fact that Israel is stronger than they are and even nice guys have their limits.
I hope they listen and get their so-called “militants” under control before Israel is forced to do it.
Meanwhile, Israeli diplomats are apparently trying to drum up sympathy for the Jews living with the constant threat of rocket fire, but I think they’re wasting their time. They’re operating under the belief that “people abroad perhaps do not understand the real distress of Israelis in the south who live with the rocket threat. Then you wake up in the morning with an Israeli response, and you don’t understand where it came from.” But, I’m not convinced they’d care, even if the media reported the attacks that prompt the reactions, which they rarely do.
It’s the negative, anti-Israel/anti-Semitic vitriol that consumes the mainstream media after a retaliatory strike which helps explain why the radical Islamic Hamas intentionally puts its own people in harm’s way, according to commentator Barry Rubin.
Hamas knows it can’t defeat Israel militarily and Israeli counterattacks will cause both injuries and material damage. But that, Rubin suggests, is precisely the point.
He says that rather than trying to improve the Palestinians’ lot, Hamas seeks to make it worse.
First, he says, Hamas (and other radical Muslims) really believes its own propaganda, expecting eventual victory, because Allah is on their side.
At the same time, Rubin says, Hamas actually seeks to inflict suffering on its own people as a political strategy, thinking “the worse off Palestinians are… the more likely they will fight and die.”
And, besides that, Hamas can blame Palestinian suffering on Israel.
“Western pragmatists reason that obviously the Palestinians must prefer peace, prosperity and statehood,” Rubin notes. “Rejectionism must then be due to desperation and the lack of a good offer or faith in the West.”
So, as it is in so many ways a kind of through-the-looking-glass upside-down and backward way of thinking, radical Islam figures the best way to put pressure on Israel and gain Western help is to be more radical, not more moderate, Rubin suggests.
And they do it for the propaganda value. We saw this during the latest war in Lebanon against Hezbollah, during which radical Islamists fired rockets from apartment buildings so the retaliatory strike could lead the evening news.
Hamas and other radical Islamists have also not failed to notice that this approach seems to “draw peacekeepers like hardworking ants, giving press conferences in which they… insist that ’something must be done to defuse the crisis,’” Rubin notes. That “something” usually seems to be unilateral Israeli concessions, he writes, adding that, “in short, the international community (tends to) rush in to save Hamas or the Palestinians in spite of themselves.”
Rubin notes, too, that Hamas’ intransigence and aggression often increases support in the Arab and Muslim worlds, as it portrays its actions as victories despite the facts. Producing martyrs, in other words, brings in more money than producing higher living standards, he notes.
Curiouser and curiouser.
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