Gazing at Gaza

Gazing at Gaza
Posted on August 5, 2014 | Bob Barrigar | Written on August 5, 2014
Comments
Letter type:
Blog Post

I am having difficulty understanding much of the media and public response to the Gaza war.

Much of the attention is directed to a comparison of Israeli and Palestinian deaths consequent upon the conflict.  But those figures largely reflect the disparity between the values attributed to civilian human life by the two sides, and the disparity between the two sides’ ability and willingness to defend themselves. 

As of a few days ago, Hamas had fired more than 2850 rockets into Israel since the conflict began, intending to destroy Israeli civilians and their homes, and has equally shown no regard for Palestinian lives, as evident from its use of its civilian population as human shields and its location of rocket launch sites and tunnel openings in heavily populated and sensitively populated areas (schools, hospitals, etc.).  Israel values the human life of civilians on both sides of the border, as evident from its “Iron Dome” defences in Israel, and from giving advance notice to Palestinians of military target areas in Gaza that also contain civilians, and has urged the civilian populace to abandon such areas.  Hamas has prevented civilians from leaving such areas. 

It is of interest that Hamas military leader Ahmed Jabari was quoted in the Saudi Arabian newspaper Al-Hayat as confirming that more than 1000 Palestinian prisoners, released as part of an exchange deal in which a single Israeli soldier was released by Hamas, were collectively responsible for the killing of at least 569 Israelis.

Per George Jonas in the 26 July National Post at fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/07/26/george-jonas-the-moral-illiteracy-of-israels-critics/:

“It seems to require a form of moral hypertrophy to find equivalence between Israel that uses its weapons to protect children, and Hamas that uses children to protect its weapons.”

Hamas has a long record of provocative violence, including sending rockets into Israel, and kidnapping, and attempted kidnapping.  Israeli security forces have foiled at least 48 kidnapping attempts since January 2013.  Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is known to have encouraged kidnapping.  A short time after the recent kidnapping of the three Israelis, Hamas encouraged Palestinian youth to embrace its ideology of hatred and terrorism.  See www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.599648 and www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Hamas-leader-Ismail-Haniyeh-encourages-abduction-of-Israeli-soldiers-348596 and www.idfblog.com/blog/2014/06/22/hamas-indoctrinates-palestinian-youth-kidnapping/.

A good objective review of the overall situation is that of Margaret Wente in the Globe and Mail at www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/human-shields-are-hamass-pr/article19602451/.
 
One can be critical of the tactics and actions of almost any party to any serious conflict, and the Gaza war is no exception.  But it is important not to lose sight of the fundamentals. 

Fundamentally, Hamas, like all Islamist jihadists, seeks the destruction of Israel as a nation and encourages its people to kill Israelis, and in some cases, Jews in other countries as well. For many years Hamas has continuously built military installations (tunnels, rocket launchers, etc.) intended for destruction of Israel and Israelis. On the other hand, Israel has occupied or constrained Gaza for many years, and prevented Palestinians from acting as a nation, although it does not seek to destroy an existing nation nor an adverse populace.

Hamas, like all Islamist jihadists, sees Western values as incompatible with Islamist values and objectives. To most if not all jihadists, America is the Great Satan, to be fought by any and every means possible. America and Israel are allies. On the other hand, by and large, Israeli values are compatible with those of the West. Israel and Israelis pose no threat to Western nations nor their citizens.

Islamists everywhere seek to undermine Western nations and governments. Islamists constitute the most serious present threat to Western civilization, and the indications are that the situation will get much worse before it gets better, if ever.  The warnings given six years ago by Geert Wilders (see, for example, http://www.thefirstorlast.com/AMERICA-THE-LAST-MAN-STANDING.html) are even more valid and pressing now than they were when first delivered.
 
I don’t care much for the present Canadian Government, but I do support its middle-east policy.
 
In the 27 July issue of the Atlantic, in an article entitled Why Is Israel Losing a War It's Winning? viewable at http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/07/why-is-israel-losing-a-war-its-winning/375116/, the author states “Hamas’s strategy is to bait Israel into killing Palestinian civilians, and Israel usually takes the bait.”  Commenting on this point, the Washington Post observed  at www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-us-should-push-for-the-disarming-of-hamas-in-gaza-israel-cease-fire/2014/07/23/7c2d1d9e-1284-11e4-8936-26932bcfd6ed_story.html

“The depravity of Hamas’s strategy seems lost on much of the outside world, which — following the terrorists’ script — blames Israel for the civilian casualties it inflicts while attempting to destroy the tunnels.  While children die in strikes against the military infrastructure that Hamas’s leaders deliberately placed in and among homes, those leaders remain safe in their own tunnels. There they continue to reject cease-fire proposals, instead outlining a long list of unacceptable demands.”

The Atlantic article concludes:

“...the cause of a two-state solution would be helped, and Israel's standing would be raised, if the secretary of state, John Kerry, realized that such a solution will be impossible to achieve so long as an aggressive and armed Hamas remains in place in Gaza.”

Planet Earth, are you awake?  The Islamist threat is much more urgent, acute, evil and serious than global warming or anything else that troubles us.
 
– Bob Barrigar

About The Author

retired patent attorney

Comments

Keith Porteous

"Planet Earth, are you awake? The Islamist threat is much more urgent, acute, evil and serious than global warming or anything else that troubles us."

Mr. Barrigar's statement is steeped in Islamophobic bigotry, which undermines his entire thesis (sic). If he had read more deeply about the history of this conflict, which i am sure he is not interested in doing, he would not have the facts so completely inverted from reality.

http://www.democracynow.org/2014/8/7/a_hideous_atrocity_noam_chomsky_on?...

Keith Simmonds

Thanks for this comment. I agree totally. He should read Jimmy Carter too. Maybe Rabbi Michael Lerner as well.

Joe Wallach

Keith, you have things inverted, completely inverted! Moreover, you are relying on Noam Chomsky, himself Jewish, but very much anti-Jewish and anti-Israel. Following is a quote from Wikipedia:"Chomsky continues to be well known as a political activist, and a leading critic of U.S. foreign policy, state capitalism, and the mainstream news media. Ideologically, he aligns himself with anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism.

How can you not see the difference between Israeli and Hamas behavior, as brought forth by Bob Barrigar, HOW? What armies ever warn the citizens to get out because they, the armies, are going to attack? Israel does that regularly. Hamas has been using the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as hostages; Hamas fires rockets at Israel from mosques, schools and the UNRWA buildings, then when Israel responds, which it must, innocents and terrorists are killed. Ask yourself what you would do if you were being threatened with physical violence, or at least what would you try to do. What if the choices did not include leaving the area, as Israelis cannot leave. Israelis live there and must protect themselves. They are not the instigators, nor have they been. What about the death tolls, the 1800+ Palestinians? Yes, innocent Palestinian civilians, men, women and children have been killed, and that is TRAGIC! But what is not reported here how many in that number killed are terrorists.

Your accusing Bob Barrigar of being steeped in Islamophobic bigotry reads to me as you looking in the mirror and seeing yourself as bigoted against Israel, and perhaps all Jews. Take the advice that you direct at Mr. Barrigar, and apply it to yourself.

Happylada

Keith - you are proof of the truth in this op ed - you are drowning in Palestinian propaganda and Israeli derangement symptoms - without ANY concept of the reality on the ground.

One simple question - why does ISRAEL NOT have the right to live in peace? Why does HAMAS have the right to violate EVERY treaty with impunity? How is Israel better capable of defending itself after 60 years of attacks and subversion?

Happylada

Unfortunately, you have chosen to remain ignorant of many of the issues in this terrorism by HAMAS.

TRUE, there have been horrific casualties among the Palestinians, but what was the cause?

Israeli aggression? Not a chance.

Response by Israel to 3000 terrorist rockets in two weeks? Partly.

But among the most vicious killer of Palestinians are misfired HAMAS rockets - perhaps as many as 500 - either by intent of incompetency - that landed in highly populated areas of GAZA - in areas where IDF was NOT active - and with unbelievable casualties.

Now I would NOT deny the strong possibility that these rockets were DELIBERATELY fired to land in populated areas - after all - they HAMAS leadership stated that their second intent, apart from killing every Jew on earth and annihilating their country - is to embarrass them - and morons who lack the intelligence to actually follow their game plan would miss the intentional nature of their deliberate attacks on their own people - to embarrass Israel

I cannot conceive of any leadership doing that, but I cannot conceive of any leadership repeatedly leading their people into a war they cannot win, and with such disastrous results.

Then again. HAMAS are little better than rabid animals - and care nothing for human decency, their own children or international law.

BA

@happylada, Israel has been illegally occupying, terrorizing and murdering Palestinians in their own land since before 1948. To use your myopic memory to justify the genocide of Palestinians in Gaza and the on-going daily killing, arrest and displacement of Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank is sufficient example of your terse propaganda.

It is not Hamas that is causing this genocide of Palestinians in Gaza. Israel has been ethnically cleansing Palestinians even before Hamas even existed. Hamas was the creation of the Palestinians who after 60 years of brutal occupation reject the US and Israeli tactics of perpetually displacing Palestinians from their land and homes and building more illegal settlements in Palestinian land, and continuing the illegal military occupation of Palestine. To anticipate your scripted propaganda text from your Habara 101 training book, even after Israel withdrew from Gaza, they remain the occupying force of Gaza by the fact that Israel uses its military to control all air, sea and land access to/from Gaza. Controls its inhabitants registry and all resources in and out of Gaza. Under International law, this constitutes an illegal occupation.

One thing is clear, Palestine will live on forever. Palestine will prosper even under the illegal and demonizing Israeli military occupation, and Palestinians will rise to defeat the illegal military occupation of Palestine. Jews know very well, that from the silence of the world triumphs the righteous victors, and so too will Palestine and the Palestinians from this Zionist barbaric 70 year genocide.

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