It's Back to Square One
Like it or not, Israel has taken a public relations beating during this last military operation against Gaza. The Palestinian side of the "narrative" has come to the fore, and the only thing that saved Israel from a rout in the media was the incredible ability of Muslims to shoot themselves in the foot. In this case, the atrocities of ISIS soured the world against Muslims long enough to give Israel a breather.
The visuals of dead children in Gaza and bombed schools have done more damage to Israel than Hamas rockets ever did. It matters not that the media is, only now belatedly, coming to grips with Hamas lies -- how Hamas shoots rockets from civilian areas - the visuals are what lingers in the mind. The "disproportion" of casualties has turned the world off.
The world has been told that 1.8 million Gazans are locked in what is essentially an open-air prison where entrance and exit are denied at the whim of Israel. They are told that Israel prevents their fisherman from earning a living by imposing an "unreasonable" blockade.
If truth be told, there is a large degree of truth to the charge. Israel has blockaded Gaza in order to destabilize Hamas; and has turned up the heat. It is harsh. Maybe Israel is unnecessarily capricious at times, but often enough there are genuine security reasons.
It matters not that Egypt closes its borders, too. Israel claims to be the only "democracy" in the Mideast. Egypt does not.
So what is going on, and why is Israel losing this media battle?
The issue, which the Israelis do not want to admit, is that this is the Last Hurrah of the 1948 war.
The Arabs -- and UNRWA -- claim that 80% of the people in Gaza are "refugees" from the "nakba,” the Arab flight of 1948. Underlying this is the claim that Israel shoved large amounts of people that Israel did not want in 1948 into the Gaza concentration zone, and left them there to rot. These people and their descendants want to go back to where they or their parents or grandparents where "dispossessed" from.
This view has even been adopted by some "conservatives."
And remember, again, and this is where we have to go back to history, when you say the Israelis only want to live in peace with their neighbors, is that why 1948 is regarded by any non-Israeli in the region as a "catastrophe"? Was that living in peace with their neighbors? That was a terroristic campaign of expulsion, of ethnic cleansing, and of mass murder. That’s how Israel was founded. -- Andrew Sullivan, DISH
The Gazans hold this view as their national story. They see this battle as their last stand. Their do-or-die moment. In their view -- the Palestinian Authority's Abbas is an Israeli puppet who no longer represents the Palestinian people; but is interested only in getting rich.
To the Gazans, the PA gained nothing from its commitment to nonviolence. Israel is still building settlements, refusing to offer the Palestinians open borders, and offering the Palestinians nothing but an Arab reservation without much autonomy. Insultingly little. So much for peace!
The people in Gaza support Hamas because Gazans refuse to recognize the defeat of 1948. They want to go back "home," and they see violence (jihad) as the only way to achieve it. Heady stuff! And it sells well on the internet where it is repackaged as an Arab version of the Alamo; where Netanyahu is cast as the Jewish version of Santa Ana.
Does anyone mention that Arabs going back home means the destruction of Israel?! That part of the equation is usually ignored. It sounds so "human" to let the Arabs go back. Let's not worry about the consequences to the Jews.
Pressed on whether Palestinians could recognize the state of Israel as a Jewish state, Meshaal reiterated Hamas' position -- the group does not recognize Israel. - Yahoo News
Gaza is 1948 being played out again. If Israel is to live, the Palestinians must go. If Palestine is to live, the Jews must go. That is what fueled the Israeli War of Independence in 1948. That is what is fueling Gaza now.
The Gazans know if Hanas concedes anything, the Palestinians will lose the "Right of Return" forever. Now that Abbas has been effectually beaten, this is the Palestinian Last Stand, as it were; hence why the Gazans, as mad as they are at Hamas, are willing to withstand such a brutal beating.
This is precisely why Israel must go in and beat Hamas.
However "sympathetic" the plight of the Palestinians might play to the media, the foundational truth is that only one side can win. If Israel lets up in the slightest, it will give Hamas an opportunity to fight another day. One day, Hamas may win. They will not shirk from victory.
Israel may wake up to find that Hamas has upgraded its missiles so they can elude the Iron Dome, to do real damage to Ben Gurion Airport and Tel Aviv. At that point, despite Israeli bravado, Jews will start to flee.
Oh, Yes! some "settlers" are determined enough to fight to the last man, but the Arabs do not lack for extremism, and they are steadily gaining discipline. The seculars, however, may quit. Why should a Tel Aviv engineer and his family stay when he and his family can always return to Brooklyn, Sydney, London, Hollywood, or Buenos Aires.
Things may be bad for Jews in Europe, but Paris has not been under rocket attacks as of yet. Under an enfilade of Qassams, the call of the Marseillaise may become a siren song.
It is precisely because the Gazans are so "sympathetic" that Israel must go in and root out Hamas, even if it means enormous casualties to the IDF. Palestinian dreams must be crushed, if Israel is to live. President Lincoln drove Old Dixie Down; likewise the Israelis must forever remove Palestine from consideration. They must make Palestine another "Lost Cause."
Israel finally has to win a clear victory -- something it has never done. One does not contain a cancer. One excises it, or it will return. Israel has never performed the necessary excision. They have to go in and execute Ismail Haniyeh, and all of Hamas' executive leadership.
When pressed by the media, Israel has to say defiantly, “It is us or them. This land is too small. If you pity them, you take them. Come! Pick them up. They are yours. We are not going to die to ease your conscience.”
Is this brutal? Yes! Stop denying it. War is hell.
Is this collective punishment? What do you think war is?
Will it be hard to see "innocent" Gazans killed?
Yes, it will. I am moved by their plight, too. Very much so. I can get angry when I hear some Palestinian describe how their family was rooted out in 1948 by Zionist "thugs" -- which at times was the case -- but my brain kicks in to tell me, it is either them or Israeli Jews; and my pity is directed by reason, not hysteria.
[E]ither Zionism is moral and just or it is immoral and unjust. But that is a question that we should have settled before we became Zionists. Actually we have settled that question, and in the affirmative. -- Ze'ev Jabotinsky, The Iron Wall
Israel has to once and for all crush Hamas. It may cost hundreds of Jewish lives now, but will save tens of thousands later on. Either that, or return to Brooklyn, and Poland. If Israel does not have the will to destroy its foe, it has lost the will to live.
Mike Konrad is the pen name of an American who is not Jewish, Latin, or Arab. He runs a website, http://latinarabia.com, where he discusses the subculture of Arabs in Latin America. He wishes his Spanish were better.