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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hamas – Godless Killers / For Israel—With Love And Squalor

Source: The Times of Israel
By David Horovitz

In firing at Jerusalem, the Islamists underlined that they have no compunction about murdering absolutely anybody


Who are these people?

They are, as they showed on Friday, people with no compunction about killing absolutely anybody. In firing missiles toward Jerusalem – firing indiscriminately, pushing themselves to the very limits of their deadly capabilities – they showed utter indifference to the lives of their own brothers, sisters, parents.

Those rockets could have gone anywhere. They could have killed anyone. They were aimed at areas filled with Israelis and Palestinians, with Jews, Christians and Muslims.

So what.

Those rockets could have slammed into places holy to Jews, to Christians, and to Muslims.

So what.

Their own people. Their own most venerated places. For Hamas, all targets are fair game. For in their malevolence, they have persuaded themselves that they are fighting a holy war in whose cause the most reprehensible actions are rendered laudable.

None of this should surprise anyone. Hamas’s despicable conception of religion holds that the finest act one can do to honor the divine creator is to kill off his creations – Jews, Christians, Muslims, themselves. In Hamas’s perverted doctrine, this is the path to paradise. Its operatives lust for death. They have deluded themselves that this is God’s will.

This is difficult for most of us to internalize. Our instinctive sense is that surely, ultimately, everybody just wants to live and let live. And by extension, therefore, in our particular conflict, that surely, ultimately, we could work things out if only we all sat down together.

Actually, no. Actually, we are grappling here with people who have lost “tzelem elohim” (the image of God), who have spurned the divine gift of life, rejected the sheer joy of drawing breath on this planet. The terrorists of Hamas and others like them – inspired, armed, funded and trained by the ideologically and territorially rapacious rulers of Iran – do not ultimately seek to live and let live. They strain to kill and be killed.

It may be difficult to accept, but the evidence is everywhere. It was clear when Hamas killed its own people while seizing power in Gaza in 2007. It is clear in a terrible history of suicide bombings against Jewish, Christian and, again, Muslim targets. It is clear in Hamas’s ruthless deployment in Gaza – its savage readiness to open fire from right next to mosques and schools, and to take children out with its rocket crews in the cynical appreciation that its decent, humane enemies might then hold their fire and thus enable it to continue to wreak destruction.

For all that Hamas’s trampling on the natural desire to live and breathe is counter-intuitive, then, it should have long since been recognized. Those who insistently misrepresent the parameters and context of Israel’s struggle against the Islamists, those who defend them and rush to their aid, empower and unforgivably sustain them. Those who seek to break Israel’s desperate efforts to prevent more of the very weaponry fired at Jews, Christians and Muslims these last few days from reaching the arsenals of Hamas, for instance, may wish to consider themselves human rights activists; actually, they are potential accessories to murder.

For anybody who genuinely seeks to preserve innocent lives, everybody‘s innocent lives, should long since have faced the fact that doing so requires marginalizing and ultimately defeating Hamas and its ilk.

Israel has no quarrel with Gaza. It has no military presence in Gaza. It ripped out the settlement enterprise it had constructed in Gaza. Had a peaceful Gaza flourished after 2005, Israel – even though our country is tiny and embattled – would have been tempted, in its burning quest for a quiet place among the nations, to relinquish much or all of biblical Judea and Samaria to the Palestinians as well. None of this is of interest to Hamas; it should all be remembered, however, by those who seek to avoid the unpalatable reality of Hamas’s kill-and-be-killed motivation and look instead for ostensible reasons for Hamas-led “resistance.”

To those who wonder why Israel resorted to force now, why in the words of some critics it goaded Hamas into action, there are several answers, all compelling: Hamas seeks relentlessly to tunnel under the Israeli border to kill and kidnap Israelis in infiltration attempts, and the IDF’s discovery and destruction of one such tunnel prompted a pinpoint missile attack by Gaza gunmen on a jeep inside Israel last week in which four soldiers were injured, precipitating this particular escalation; Hamas has been firing rockets indiscriminately into residential Israel for years or allowing others to do so, an outrageous and intolerable situation; Hamas works continuously to improve its missile capacity, with Hezbollah as its role model, and must be thwarted, otherwise the next generation of missiles most assuredly will hit Jerusalem population centers; and Hamas like Hezbollah is poised to weigh in militarily should Israel find itself in confrontation with Iran, and needs to be defanged before that danger can become a reality.

An election ploy by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu? He was safely on course to reelection. That smooth path could be deeply complicated if Operation Pillar of Defense goes horribly wrong.

We can argue about Israel’s role in the rise of Hamas. Was the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza a predictable mistake that vindicated Hamas’s heartless terrorism, and weakened purportedly more moderate Palestinian forces? Or should we have stayed put in Gaza, however draining and dangerous in so many ways? Should we be doing more to promote reconciliation and harmony, however unpromising the circumstances, and in so doing reduce the sense of grievance on which the Islamist recruiters thrive?

On those questions, and so many more like them, there is no consensus in Israel. On the imperative to defeat Hamas there can be no argument.

It will not be easy – as Operation Cast Lead underlined four years ago, and Operation Pillar of Defense is confirming again now. Military force, however wisely applied, has its limits when confronting an ideology, the more so in this case when that vile ideology is furthered via an abandonment of all decency and the exploitation of Israel’s insistent morality. The task of weakening Hamas’s capacity to do harm would be helped, though, if a watching world displayed a greater intellectual honesty when looking at Hamas, and at Israel’s efforts to deny Hamas the capacity to kill. Perhaps those rockets fired at Jerusalem will promote a greater clarity of thought and thence of judgment.

Who are these people? They are people who glory in death. Since we delight in life, we had better prevail.
_________________________________


Family members shout in grief as they carry the body of two-year-old Palestinian Walid Abadleh, killed in the latest Israeli airstrikes, during his funeral in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis on November 15, 2012. 
(Said Khatib / AFP / Getty Images)

For Israel—With Love And Squalor


Some valid points in this article. However, I would like Emily Hauser to name a single war in the entire history of mankind that did not take the lives of innocent civilians. - Michelle

By Emily L. Hauser

The sudden roar of violence in Gaza and southern Israel divides the world in many ways, not least between those who are willing (sometimes quite eager) to criticize Israel, and those for whom love of Israel means a rejection of any and all criticism, ever. Death rains from the sky and the rhetorical fury resumes even as walls shatter and blood spills, and no one listens to anyone.

Or so it can seem. But is that really the only choice? Is it really impossible to both love a place deeply, and criticize it honestly?

I believe the answer is no, that the answer has to be no, because otherwise what we’re talking about isn’t love, but idolatry.

The Israel I love is a real place. It’s not the land of milk and honey, it’s not a place of exceptionally holy people, it’s not the “monumentally fictional” place (as HaAretz columnist Bradley Burston put it) described by Leon Uris and embroidered by decades of Diaspora dreams.

It’s a place where you can smell the guava ripening on the trees every fall, and labor strikes are a dime a dozen. A place where an expansive Hebrew culture combines Biblical cadences with space-age hip-hop, and fans of the Beitar Yerushalyim soccer club are as likely to chant “Death to Arabs!” as they are to chant “Yalla, Beitar!” It’s a place where, in a single year, I was invited to no fewer than eleven Seders, a place where I was not infrequently called an “Arab f**ker” for supporting the two-state solution.

It’s a place of erudition and ineptitude, a place of glory and folly. It’s a human place.

And even as all humans perform acts of kindness and beauty, so also do all humans do foolish things, self-destructive things. And no human or human enterprise is ever so perfect that it may not be criticized.

This most recent return of hostilities has, as they say, many fathers. We’re right to say that Israelis shouldn’t have to duck and run, hold their children in fear, shape their lives around the terrifying sounds of sirens and falling rockets. We’re right to say that any Israeli casualties, such as the three innocent civilians killed in Kiryat Malachi today, are too many, and that Israel has a duty to defend its citizens from violent actions. Those who fire rockets into Israel’s south, those who wink and nod and let it happen, those who fund it—they all share responsibility for the violence and the deaths.

Baby injured in Kiryat Malachi (Photo: Gideon Rahamim) I wonder why this photo was not included in this opinion piece? 



But they’re not alone, and it’s not an act of betrayal to say it.  


The cycle of violence between Israel and Gaza goes back, and back, and back, to 1967. There’s always a reason to seek revenge, always an event that can justify retaliation. The constant argument over who started “the latest round” is pointless and frankly cruel, because it presumes that one side’s suffering is more meaningful than the other’s: It’s okay that I fired deadly projectiles into your residential streets, because your guys killed some of mine, and I deserve the last word. The last kill. That’s the way war is everywhere—why would it be any different when the humans conducting it are Israelis and Palestinians?

And so yes, when Israel decides that now’s the time to assassinate the head of Hamas’s military wing (a man who, until this weekend, served as something of a “subcontractor, in charge of maintaining Israel's security in Gaza,” according to Israeli journalist Aluf Benn)—Israel is also responsible.

When the IDF’s “surgical strikes” kill not only their targets but also civilians, including a 19 year old pregnant woman, a 7 year old girl, and an 11 month old baby, it’s also responsible. 

If the husband or the brothers and sisters are filled with rage and want to strike a blow for their people and their grief—can we not understand? Can we not say that we would feel the same? That we do feel the same? And would we really care who had started “the latest round”?

The single biggest difference between the two sides of the current Israeli-Gazan hostilities comes down to one word: Power.

Gazan militants (not all of them Hamas—indeed, most of them not) launch rockets from within a tiny strip of land that is physically penned in on all sides by Israel (save for one small crossing with Egypt)—when Israel retaliates, 1.7 million Gazans literally cannot even run away. On the other hand, Israel is a military super power, with battleships off the coast of Gaza, jet fighters in her airspace, and the unstinting support of the world’s most powerful nation.

I love Israel. It’s my home in a way that no other place—including the suburban American idyll in which I write these words—can ever be. I miss it with an ache every day of my life, and I fear for the family I have in the Negev, where Palestinian rockets land.

But I refuse to let that love, that longing, or that fear blind me to Israel’s essential humanity.

Israel is a party to this madness. Israel is one of its authors. And the power that Israel wields is almost incalculably greater than that of the Palestinians it fights. We can say that, we can call Israel to account for its actions, even as we love it, even as we fear for our loved ones.

As Israeli columnist Larry Derfner wrote on Tuesday: “There is a proven road to security for the people of the Negev—a total end to Israeli rule over the people who are shooting at them.”

And saying so out loud is not an act of disloyalty. It’s an act of love.

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Emily L. Hauser is an American-Israeli writer who has studied and written about the contemporary Middle East since the early 1990s. She blogs about Israel/Palestine and everything from domestic politics to her kids to loud music at Emily L. Hauser In My Head, and can be followed on Twitter.

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