Archive for the ‘War’ Category

Email from the Hamas

I heard that lots of people had got SMS messages from the Hamas during the Gaza war, promising them that a rocket was going to fall on them and kill them. I was feeling a bit out of things that they hadn’t bothered sending me one, so I was relieved to find an email from the Jihad in my inbox this evening.

In Arabic and broken English and Hebrew they tell me that Muslims love death and that they are all on their way to kill us and drink our blood. Personally I prefer coffee, but everyone to their own. I can’t be judgemental about their cultural preferences. They even embedded some photos of dead and injured people in the email in case I didn’t understand what they mean. Very thoughtful.

Finally they promise me “Rocket will fall on your head at any time. Finally, do you work with us spy on Israel and guarantee you a high return for financial”. Like hell… and that’s also where I recommend you to take a long trip. “Am HaNetzach Lo Mefahed MiDerech Aruka” – “The nation of eternity doesn’t fear a long road”.

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If you have followed the war in Gaza in any way you probably heard the story of the three daughters of Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish who were killed in the bambardment. Dr Abuelaish just happens to be a doctor who lives in Gaza but works in the Israeli Tel HaShomer hospital. Not only that his expertise is in fertility and he helps Jewish and Arab would-be parents alike to give birth.

Anyway, his house was hit presumably by an Israeli shell and his daughters killed. The story became very widely quoted and penetrated even into Israeli prime-time and the national consience.

Now it appears that Israel was rather too quick off the mark to accept responsibility [Note to see English subtitles, click on the triangle on bottom right of movie and select “CC”].

This all reminds me of the infamous story of Muhamed A-Dura which Israel jumped too quickly to take responsibility for, and then disowned the successful campaign by Philippe Karsenty to show that France 2 and their reporter Charles Enderlin and his Palestinian cameraman fabricated the story and published it knowingly that it was untrue. I imagine that the continuation of this story will be similar, with official Israel refusing to stand up and accept that we don’t always fire the killing shots.

However, and a big however, the question is does it matter? Certainly for the world media and public opinion it does not, for Turkey’s prime minister it definitely doesn’t and as “Isreality” blog suggests maybe even objectively it doesn’t.

 As I wrote at the end of the fighting, the feeling is, that everything is now back to normal. Many people have died and an incredible amount of physical damage has been done. However Hamas continues to smuggle weapons to replenish its stocks,  has started again to fire indiscriminately at Israeli civilians and Israel continues to hit back and even warn of another incursion as big as the last.

Dr Abuelaish’s daughters are in the heaven of the Shuhada (do girl Shuhada get 72 hunky guys to serve on them?), Hamas continues the Jihad, Israel continues to try to defend itself and miss-manage its public relations. Has anything changed, and if not then was it all really worth it?

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So the war is over. Strange how they managed to finish it just in time for Obama’s swearing-in. Our troops are supposed to complete their pull-back today and leave Gaza to the Gazans to start sorting out the mess and put things back together.

The Hamas leaders and military who all ran away leaving the civilians on the streets, have all come out of their hiding holes and seem to have got back to normal real quick. They are already claiming a “great victory”, promising to rearm with “holy weapons” to kill us and started rounding up Fatah members as suspected collaborators to torture and murder. Great. “What was is what will be and there is nothing new under the sun” (Kohelet (Ecclesiastes for the Greek) 1:9).

Schools in the south of Israel go back today in the hope or belief that they won’t be fired on and things will get back to normal.

Really we’re all hoping that things will become normal rather than just getting back to normal, because normal hasn’t been that normal in Sderot for the last eight years. Many Palestinians no doubt share this wish, but as long as they keep giving power to psychopathic leaders we will continue to be stuck where we are.

Hopefully a lot of Gazans will be wishing things had been normal before and will be happy to try and keep them normal now.

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Just to remember what this war was about.

Eight years of this was too much.

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Cease fire

Last night we called a unilateral cease fire and now Hamas have called theirs. We say our troops will pull out if the multilateral agreements are put in place and if they don’t shooting at us. Hamas say that they don’t agree to any agreements and that they give us a week to get out or they’ll start shooting again.

If we pull out, then they won because they chased us out. If we stay, then we become responsible for the continued fighting that will follow. If the multilateral agreements on the Rafiah border crossing don’t progress or become a farse, there still will be no way not to pull back. Hamas will regroup, rearm and start killing us again

They’ll fire the odd rocket into Israel, send suicide bombers. Nothing drastic enough to justify going to war again.

Maybe I’m wrong and we’ve got our deterance back. Maybe they’ll have learned a lesson and won’t dare to mess with us. However all the pointers seem to show otherwise. The global Jihad doesn’t speak that language. Their dead are holy martyrs. An ideology that sends suicide bombers to their deaths doesn’t care for a few more martyrs on the road to salvation.

Back to square one.

Some of our best young men and women and way over a thousand of the enemy have died. Thousands more have been injured and billions of dollars of damage inflicted. I have no problem that the enemy took heavy casualties. I also have no problem and have no reason to apologize that our casualties were so few.

However when so many people have died and suffered, I would have hoped that at the end that there would be something of tangible value to say that it was worth it.

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Unfortunately it sometimes takes for people to be killed for us to realize who are the people living around us.

Anyone living here in Israel we are familiar with the public ritual that follows the death of civilians in a terrorist attack or of soldiers in battle. The news flashes on the radio, the number of injured that rises from report to report and then the number of the dead. A few hours later come the names “the following names of the killed have been permitted for publication…”. We hear the names, listening closely to hear if it is someone we know, someone who lives somewhere that we are familiar with, and then come the stories of who those people were.

Why does it always seem that the most special people get killed? The idealists, the people with such human qualities? I have two answers.

Firstly I do believe that this is proof if we need it, that everyone is special. There is no other explanation that a random sample of the victims of terror could otherwise be so selctive. Hidden among us are thousands and millions of good people, special people, people with ideals, aspirations, myriads of good deeds, thoughts and wishes. It’s just a shame that they need to be killed for us to notice.

But secondly I do think that among the soldiers, we do have selection here. The group of soldiers killed in battle is not a random sample of society. It is our best. These are the highest quality young men that we have. The intelligent, the idealistic, the selfless, the motivated. These are the young men who risk their lives for their families, friends and country. This is the tragedy of our life here, that we need to train our best men to be warriors and send them to pay with their lives for our existence.

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I heard ex-high-court-judge Mishael Heshin speak this morning on the radio about the morality of war. He suggested that war is pathological and inherently immoral – “you get up in the morning, brush your teeth, have a cup of coffe and go out to kill people”. He said that this is countered by the doctrine of “if someone comes to kill you, get there first to kill him” (haKam leHorgacha hashkem leHorgo). He was asked specifically about the morality of firing on attackers who use human shields and he didn’t really have an answer except that I need to save my life first.

My answer is that it may be morally justifiable but not be wise to allow yourself to be fall into the trap of a provocation to fire on a school. We know their leaders want them to die as martyrs to boost their cause so why give them that victory? However, mistakes in judgement occur and in war these mistakes are fatal. Israeli also tanks fired the day before on their own soldiers in two incidents killing four of our own fighters.

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