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November 21, 2012
Blood and Tribalism
A recent picture taken in Gaza reveals more than all the sanctimonious speeches calling on Israel to be "humane" or "proportional" in fighting the Islamic terror state in Gaza that has made life a living hell for thousands in Israel.
The Islamist prime minister of Tunisia, Rafik Abdessalem, and the Hamas "prime minister" of Gaza, Ismail Haniyyeh, both wearing suits and ties, visited the body of a young boy killed in the new fighting. They dipped their hands in the blood of the boy, and then went to a press conference where they displayed their bloodied hands.
Some of us remember pictures of Arabs dipping their hands in blood and then brandishing them to the crowd. This occurred after a Palestinian mob grabbed two Israeli reserve soldiers and butchered and burned them in front of a cheering throng in 2002.
The two unarmed reserve soldiers had made a wrong turn, mistakenly entering Ramallah just north of Jerusalem. They had not attacked anyone. They were unarmed, but they were Jewish.
Dipping the hands in the blood is a tribal gesture -- taking credit for killing an enemy or rubbing up against the blood of a "martyr" who died because terrorists hid an arms depot under his house.
The tribal blood-dipping, like "honor killings" of women suspected of "improper behavior" is not really an Islamic ritual but a vestige of pre-Islamic tribalism. When two top Arab leaders engage in such tribalism, it belies all the diplomatic trappings and all the claims of Islamic democracy.
"Our message to the international community is that this blatant Israeli aggression on our people in Gaza must stop," said the foreign minister of Tunisia, the first Arab state to enjoy "Arab Spring." He never explained why he never complained about Arab terrorists spilling the blood of non-Arabs and non-Muslims.
"Israel has to realize that the Arab world has undergone many changes, and what was permitted to Israel in the past will not be permitted now," said the Tunisian minister whose government was the first messenger of "Arab Spring."
Recept Erdogan, the Islamist prime minister of Turkey said almost exactly the same thing. Erdogan personally supported Hamas terrorists with money and diplomacy. He visited Egypt and warned Israel it would not be "allowed" to subdue the terrorists of Hamas and Islamic Jihad the way it had in 2008.
It is worth remembering that this same Erdogan has been touted by President Barack Obama as one of the great hopes of the Middle East, as one America's greatest friends and even as a possible mediator between the U.S. and Iran. This says a lot about President Obama's judgment of other leaders and his understanding of the Mid-East.
Turkey's Erdogan has also offered himself as a mediator between Israel and Hamas, though Erdogan has done his best to isolate Israel from taking part in NATO drills and counterterror forums. With such mediators, one probably does not need enemies.
Egyptian president Muhammad Morsi has also offered to mediate. Like Hamas, he and his Muslim Brotherhood preach that Jews are the sons of pigs and monkeys.
Morsi violated the Israeli-Egyptian Peace Treaty by remilitarizing the Sinai Peninsula, supposedly to stop the various terror groups there, but he has done little to stem the flow of rockets and explosives to Hamas and other terror groups via Sinai.
This is no surprise. Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood is the father and mother of groups like Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Al-Qaeda. A Brotherhood graduate, Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman, organized the 1993 World Trade Center attack after helping to assassinate Egypt's Anwar Sadat in 1981, after he made peace with Israel.
Like Hamas, Egyptian leader Morsi finds it very difficult even to say the word "Israel." He prefers the Arabic term for "aggressors," while Hamas spokesmen use the term al-ihtilal -- The Occupation -- or al-kawn al-sihyouni: the Zionist entity.
Israel's neighbors -- some of whom used to have good ties with Israel -- now cannot even bear to say its name in public.
Say hello to the new tribal Middle East where several leading Arab/Islamic countries have passed through the Arab Spring into an Ice Age of pre-Islamic tribalism.
Dr. Michael Widlanski, an expert on Arab politics and communications, is the author of Battle for Our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threat published by Threshold/Simon and Schuster. A former reporter, correspondent and editor, respectively at The New York Times, Cox Newspapers and The Jerusalem Post, he was Strategic Affairs Advisor in Israel's Ministry of Public Security and teaches at Bar Ilan University.
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