* “Imagine Churchill sending supplies into Berlin as a humanitarian gesture during the bombing of London”
* “Why not just redefine ‘holocaust’ to refer to deaths of terrorists in numbers under 400 to give greater credence to Hamas’s current claims?”
* “Israel’s crime isn’t striking back at terror, but demonstrating, year after year, that a country in the Middle East can be governed without resort to terror. Israel’s crime hasn’t been denying Arab rights, but insisting on human rights for women and minorities.”
This is one of three further dispatches concerning the ongoing Israel-Hamas confrontation. Two of the dispatches contain articles by others, and the third will have various observations and news items by myself.
1. Israel’s crime
2. “The moral and intellectual bankruptcy of so many Western journalists”
3. Mumbai update: A further tragedy
4. “A series of appalling anti-Semitic statements”
5. “Give Hamas a fair chance to carry out suicide attacks!” (By Victor Davis Hanson)
6. “Israel’s response is disproportionate” (By Jonathan Mark, Dec. 30, 2008)
7. “Damned if they do, but Israel’s dead if they don’t” (By Ralph Peters, NY Post, Dec. 29, 2008)
8. “U.S. to contribute yet more money to Palestinians” (State Dept. Press release, Dec. 30, 2008)
[Note by Tom Gross]
I attach three articles and some other items below.
I would in particular recommend reading in full the first two pieces, both of which deal with the issue of proportionality. The first is a tongue-in-cheek analysis by historian Victor Davis Hanson of Stanford University (who is a subscriber to this email list). The second, by Jonathan Mark, explains what a proportionate response by Israel to Hamas and those Gazans who support it, would actually look like.
In the third article below, military expert and retired Army Lt Col. Ralph Peters says that “Israel may have executed the most accurate wave of airstrikes in history, with a 15-to-1 terrorist-to-civilian kill ratio.
“… Israel’s crime isn’t striking back at terror, but demonstrating, year after year, that a country in the Middle East can be governed without resort to terror. Israel’s crime hasn’t been denying Arab rights, but insisting on human rights for women and minorities.
“Israel’s crime has been making democracy work where tyranny prevailed for 5,000 years. Israel’s crime has been survival against overwhelming odds, while legions of Arab nationalists, Islamist extremists and Western leftists want every Jew dead.
“But Israel’s greatest crime was to expose the global cult of victimhood, to prove that hard work, fortitude and courage could overcome even history’s grimmest disaster.”
“THE MORAL AND INTELLECTUAL BANKRUPTCY OF SO MANY WESTERN JOURNALISTS”
Commenting on Ralph Peter’s article, Jack Kelly says: “Israel gets little credit for either its military skill or its remarkable forbearance. Nothing better illustrates the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of so many Western journalists than the ritual condemnation of Israel for the accidental deaths of a few Palestinian civilians, and the near total absence of condemnation of Hamas for its repeated deliberate attacks on Israeli civilians.
Writing on the website of the British magazine The Spectator, Melanie Phillips says: “Those who scream ‘disproportionate’ think – grotesquely – that not enough Israelis have been killed. If anything has been ‘disproportionate,’ it’s been Israel’s refusal to take action during the years when its southern citizens have been terrorized by rockets and other missiles raining down on them from Gaza. No other country in the world would have sat on its hands for so long in such circumstances.”
MUMBAI UPDATE: A FURTHER TRAGEDY
Updating the dispatch “No, they weren’t ‘practitioners’” (Dec. 2, 2008)
On Tuesday (December 30), the elder child of last month’s Chabad Mumbai terror victims Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg died of long-term illness exacerbated by shock at the murder of his parents.
Dov Holtzberg, 4, was not in the Chabad Mumbai Jewish center when the terror attack occurred. His 2-year-old brother Moshe was saved from the terrorists by his Indian nanny. Dov was buried in Jerusalem yesterday next to his parents.
UPDATE: “A SERIES OF APPALLING ANTI-SEMITIC STATEMENTS”
Updating the dispatch New low for British media: Ahmadinejad invited to address UK on Christmas (Dec. 24, 2008):
The British government has now criticized publicly-owned British Channel 4 television for broadcasting an alternative Christmas Day message by Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
A spokeswoman for the British foreign office said that the broadcast had caused offence around the world.
“President Ahmadinejad has during his time in office made a series of appalling anti-Semitic statements,” she said. “The British media are rightly free to make their own editorial choices, but this invitation will cause offence and bemusement not just at home but amongst friendly countries abroad.”
Channel 4 head of news and current affairs Dorothy Byrne defended her decision to invite Ahmadinejad to give the Christmas message.
-- Tom Gross
TAKE DOWN THAT SECURITY BARRIER!
Hamas aren’t being given a fair chance to carry out suicide attacks!
By Victor Davis Hanson
December 31, 2008
Here is how to leveling the playing field for the underdog Hamas:
1) Request that 50% of Israel’s air-to-ground missiles be duds to ensure greater proportionality.
2) Allow Hamas another 1,000 free rocket launches to see if they can catch up with the body count.
3) Have Israeli soldiers congregate in border barracks so that Hamas’s random rockets have a better chance of killing military personnel, to ensure it can claim at least a few military targets.
4) Redefine “holocaust” to refer to deaths of terrorists in numbers under 400 to give greater credence to Hamas’s current claims.
5) In the interest of fairness, allow Hamas to establish both the date that war is supposed to begin and the date when it must end.
6) Send Israeli military advisers to Hamas to improve the accuracy of their missiles.
7) Take down the barriers to return to Hamas a fair chance of getting suicide bombers back inside Israel.
HOW TO MAKE ISRAEL’S RESPONSE PROPORTIONATE
Israel’s response is disproportionate
By Jonathan Mark
December 30, 2008
I condemn Israel’s disproportionate attack on Hamas because, so far, it has only lasted four days and I would like to see a proportionate response that terrifies Hamas for seven years, the years that have filled Sderot and neighboring towns with nightmares, death, amputations and trauma coming from rockets and mortars fired from Gaza.
Perhaps a proportionate response would have Gaza’s leaders fearful of being killed every day for the next two years, as Gilad Shalit has been terrified of torture and death every day for the last two years in his solitary Gaza dungeon.
A proportionate response would have Hamas mothers and fathers as fearful for their children’s lives as Shalit’s mother and father have been fearful for Gilad’s life.
A proportionate response would have Gaza’s children crying for their mommies and daddies, the way at a Hamas pageant earlier in December a Palestinian actor dressed as Shalit got down on his knees, mock-begging in Hebrew for his Ima and Abba while the Gaza crowds laughed.
A proportionate response would so intimidate Hamas that they will grovel and, as a “gesture,” send cocoa and jam into Sderot, the way Israel has groveled in response to rockets from Hamas, sending cocoa and jam into Gaza. Imagine Churchill sending cocoa and jam into Berlin as a humanitarian gesture after – during – the bombing of London.
A proportionate response would be one that will convince Hamas there is no military solution, no solution but surrender. They can then call surrender a “peace process,” if they like, just as the mostly unanswered attacks on Jews have convinced some Jews that there is no military solution but surrender to any and all demands. They suggest a euthanasia by the euphemism of “peace process,” that Israel become what some are already planning to call “Canaan,” a non-Jewish state of all its citizens.
A proportionate response will convince Palestinians that if they insist that the starting point to peace negotiations is that no Jew be allowed to live on the West Bank, the proportionate response will be that Israel’s starting point in negotiations is that no Arab be allowed to live in Tel Aviv. Horrible to contemplate? Fine, let there be a proportionate negotiation.
A proportionate response to Hamas, one might gather from the European scolds, would be as if the United States, after Pearl Harbor, would bomb just a few Japanese fishing boats and call it a day, believing the war would have ended with that.
A proportionate response will begin to remind Jews that there is no peace process like victory, just as Israel’s decade of disproportionate restraint and self-doubt has convinced young Palestinians that their victory is inevitable, like Aryan youth in 1933 singing “Tomorrow Belongs To Me.”
Let it be said to Israelis and Jews everywhere, in the words of Churchill: “You have enemies? Good. It means you’ve stood up for something.” But remember: A war (and Hamas has repeatedly said this is war) is never won if you are disproportionately kind to someone who wants to destroy you and, failing in that, demands with indignation that you not destroy him.
When meeting that enemy, be proportionate.
“HOW LONG WILL IT BE UNTIL THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY PASSES A RESOLUTION CREATING AN INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST APPRECIATION DAY?”
Damned if they do, but Israel’s dead if they don’t
By Ralph Peters
New York Post
December 29, 2008
DEAD Jews aren’t news, but killing terrorists outrages global activists. On Saturday, Israel struck back powerfully against its tormentors. Now Israel’s the villain. Again.
How long will it be until the UN General Assembly passes a resolution creating an international Holocaust Appreciation Day?
Israel’s airstrikes against confirmed Hamas terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip were overdue, discriminating and skillful. So far, this retaliatory campaign has been a superb example of how to employ postmodern airpower.
Instead of bombing empty buildings in the dead of night in the hope of convincing bloodthirsty monsters to become peace-loving floral arrangers – the US Air Force version of “Shock and Awe” – the Israeli Defense Force aimed to kill terrorists.
Israel’s attack aircraft appear to have accomplished that part of the mission. As I write, some 300 terrorist dead have been reported in Gaza, while the propaganda-savvy information office of Hamas has struggled to prove that 20 civilians died.
Given the fact that Hamas adheres to the terrorist practice of locating command sites, arsenals and training facilities in heavily populated areas, the results suggest that the IDF – supported by first-rate intelligence work – may have executed the most accurate wave of airstrikes in history, with a 15-to-1 terrorist-to-civilian kill ratio.
The bad news is that it still won’t be enough. While Israel has delivered a painful blow against Hamas, it’s still not a paralyzing hit. The only way to neuter such a terror threat – even temporarily – is to go in on the ground and scour every room, basement and underground tunnel in a region.
That would mean high Israeli casualties and, of course, condemnation of Israel’s self-defense efforts by every self-righteous, corrupt and bigoted organization and government on earth, from Turtle Bay to Tehran.
What have been Israel’s “crimes?” Not “stealing Palestinian land,” but making that land productive, while exposing the incompetence and sloth of Arab culture.
Israel’s crime isn’t striking back at terror, but demonstrating, year after year, that a country in the Middle East can be governed without resort to terror. Israel’s crime hasn’t been denying Arab rights, but insisting on human rights for women and minorities.
Israel’s crime has been making democracy work where tyranny prevailed for 5,000 years. Israel’s crime has been survival against overwhelming odds, while legions of Arab nationalists, Islamist extremists and Western leftists want every Jew dead.
But Israel’s greatest crime was to expose the global cult of victimhood, to prove that hard work, fortitude and courage could overcome even history’s grimmest disaster.
Was it a crime to hand Gaza back to Palestinian authorities, to give peace a chance? Look what Israel received in return for trading land for peace.
Let us never forget the fundamental truth that, while Israel longs to live in peace with its neighbors, those neighbors openly profess the desire to eliminate Israel and exterminate its people.
Indeed, Arab and regional jealousy toward Israel is so all-consuming, so necessary to excuse the Arab art of failure, that even these judicious airstrikes will hardly make a dent in the terrorist threat.
Unless Israel sends in ground forces for the long haul – and thousands of IDF reservists are being mobilized – there will be, at best, a temporary respite from terror attacks. Even a new occupation of Gaza would not fully solve the problem.
A crucial point about interfaith and interethnic conflicts that we sheltered Americans refuse to understand is that, all too often, there’s just no good solution – and not even a bad solution, short of acts of barbarism.
It’s a rare conflict that results in an enduring peace. Unintended consequences abound. At times, you fight just to buy time, to gain breathing space – or merely to frustrate an enemy’s designs for a limited period.
That’s the situation Israel faces: No hope of an ultimate victory, but a constant fight to survive. Enemies who believe their god ordains their actions can’t be placated. For faith-fueled terrorists, such as the core members of Hamas, the struggle with Israel’s a zero-sum game. Compromise is, at most, an expedient tool, never an acceptable end state.
What will we see in the coming days? Much depends on Israel’s resolve. The most probable scenario is that Hamas will continue launching terror rockets for a few weeks to salve its wounded vanity and maintain the image of “resistance,” but will ultimately reduce its attacks against Israel – while it rebuilds its cadres and restocks its arsenal.
Israel will have bought time, not peace.
What might Israel have done better? It’s essential to take out the top terrorist leaders. But Israel’s government remains reluctant to target the cowardly Hamas leaders hiding in Damascus – or even the top terrorists remaining in Gaza.
For terrorist bosses, the rank-and-file are disposable and replaceable. You can’t just kill the gunmen. You have to kill the names.
We may sympathize with the average Palestinian family, exploited by generations of corrupt leaders and now caught in yet another round of violence. But let us never forget that Israel hasn’t fired thousands of blind rockets into Palestinian cities, that Israeli suicide bombers don’t attack Arab restaurants and bus stops, and that Israel seeks to avoid harming civilians – while Hamas seeks to kill as many civilians as possible.
In a world where there are no good answers, Israel just answered as best it could. The world’s response? “How dare Jews defend themselves.”
Humanity doesn’t progress. It just changes clothes.
Risen from the enlisted ranks, Ralph Peters became an intelligence officer and a foreign area specialist for Russia and its borderlands. He has served in infantry units, in the Pentagon, and in the Executive Office of the President. His military career and personal interests have taken him to more than fifty countries. He is the author of Beyond Terror: Strategy in a Changing World and the highly-influential Fighting For The Future: Will America Triumph?
YET MORE MONEY FOR THE PALESTINIANS TO SQUANDER
Tom Gross adds: I regularly receive press releases such as the one below from various governments. Palestinians continue to be the best-funded per capita population in the world. Much of it is squandered to buy arms, or in corruption and waste. It is amazing that the U.S., EU and other donors seem willing to put up with this.
The U.S. will contributes another $85 million for humanitarian assistance to Palestinian refugees
Press release, Office of the Spokesman
State Department, Washington, DC
December 30, 2008
The United States announces its plan to contribute $85 million to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for its 2009 appeals. Of the $85 million announced today, $25 million will go to UNRWA’s Emergency Appeal for the West Bank and Gaza; $60 million to UNRWA’s General Fund.
Through this contribution to the Emergency Appeal for the West Bank and Gaza, Palestinian refugees, who comprise 70 percent of the population in Gaza and 30 percent in the West Bank, will receive urgently needed food, medicines, and other critical humanitarian assistance. The contribution to UNRWA’s General Fund will support the provision of basic and vocational education, primary health care, and relief and social services to more than 4.6 million registered Palestinian refugees in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.
The United States reiterates its deep concern about the escalating violence in Gaza and commends UNRWA’s important work meeting the emergency needs of civilians in Gaza at this very difficult time. We hold Hamas fully responsible for breaking the ceasefire and for the renewal of violence. We call on all concerned to protect innocent lives and to address the urgent humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza, by facilitating necessary access into Gaza for UNRWA and other humanitarian organizations. We also encourage other states to provide urgently needed funding to UNRWA and other international organizations providing lifesaving care to civilians in Gaza.
The United States is UNRWA’s largest bilateral donor, and contributed $184.68 million to UNRWA towards its 2008 Appeals, including $99.87 million for UNRWA’s General Fund and $84.81 million for its emergency appeals for Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza. The United States plans to provide additional funding for UNRWA’s 2009 appeals in the future.