Palestinians confirm: many of Gaza dead killed by Hamas rockets (& Why won't Israelis let themselves be killed?)

May 14, 2021

Not only secular but also haredi Jews were randomly beaten by Arab assailants in Israel yesterday. (Video link here: https://www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia/posts/3941649869205836 )

 

Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz ordered the Israeli flag raised on the Austrian federal chancellery yesterday in solidarity with Israel. Several European Union governments, including the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria and others have shown strong support for a besieged Israel, unlike the post-EU British government which so far has not.

 

Germany's largest newspaper stands with Israel. This is rare among international (and German) papers.

 

[Notes above and below by Tom Gross]

This is a follow-up to my two dispatches on Wednesday:
http://www.tomgrossmedia.com/mideastdispatches/archives/001990.html

There is so much happening at present, it is impossible to cover everything. Here are a small snapshot of items and articles that you may have missed. (I posted several of these items yesterday on my Facebook page. Please follow that page for quicker updates than these dispatches.)

https://www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia

 

PALESTINIANS CONFIRM: MANY OF GAZA DEAD KILLED BY HAMAS ROCKETS

Palestinian NGOs have been honest enough (unlike the New York Times) to confirm what Israel has said all week: that about one third of the now almost 2,000 Hamas rockets aimed at Israeli civilians in recent days have fallen short and landed in Gaza, some killing Palestinians.

For example, in this statement, the Gaza NGO "Defense for children international - Palestine" (which is normally very anti-Israel) says that eight Palestinians including two children, died in this Hamas rocket attack:

"a homemade rocket fired by a Palestinian armed group fell short and killed eight Palestinians, including two children. The rocket landed in Saleh Dardouna Street near Al-Omari Mosque in Jabalia, North Gaza, according to evidence collected by DCIP. Mustafa Mohammad Mahmoud Obaid, 16, was killed in the blast, and five-year-old Baraa Wisam Ahmad al-Gharabli succumbed to his injuries around 11 p.m. on May 10. "

https://twitter.com/DCIPalestine/status/1392190460093927424

On Tuesday alone, Hamas rockets killed 16 Gazans, including 8 children, according to Palestinian NGOs. And yet anti-Israel media continue to mislead their readers into thinking that Israeli air strikes caused these deaths.

In other cases Palestinians have been killed while being used as human shields by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

***

Persons connected to intelligence circles tell me that the highly successful Israeli air strikes on Iranian and Qatari-funded Hamas rocket and weapon factories of recent days mean that Hamas may run out of long-range missiles within the next hours, thereby making it harder for Hamas to continue to hit Tel Aviv and major Israeli cities. However, Hamas still has thousands of short range-missiles which Israel is determined to destroy before any ceasefire.

***

A friend tells me, that when Israeli politician Gideon Saar told a CNN anchor two months ago that Hamas could use some of the money it was using to build expensive weapons and rockets to instead purchase coronavirus vaccines, the CNN anchor laughed at him.

 

16 HORRIFYING SECONDS IN LOD, ISRAEL

Israeli Arabs shoot live ammunition using machine guns from their apartment, targeting Jews in the parking lot of a residential neighborhood where Jews and Arabs had co-existed peacefully for decades.

Video here: https://www.facebook.com/dov.lipman/posts/5542183589186525


 

MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD INFLUENCE

Tom Gross adds: My friends in intelligence circles have been warning for months that the Israeli government was being far too weak in allowing Hamas to pour money into promoting Muslim brotherhood extremist views and preachers among Israeli Arabs (in much the same way as past British governments allowed extremist foreign funding to infiltrate mosques in London which later led to several terror attacks in the UK.)

(Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.)

 

JEWISH TEEN ATTACKED IN JAFFA UNDERGOES COMPLEX BRAIN SURGERY

There were several more gun and knife attacks on Jews in Israeli towns and cities yesterday evening.

The 19-year-old who was attacked in Jaffa underwent complicated surgery overnight Thursday after suffering from a severe injury to the head when he was attacked at random on the street by assailants shouting Allah Akbar.

Jews were also shot and stabbed in the mixed Jewish-Arab towns of Lod and Ramle.

Not only secular but also haredi Jews were beaten, for example, here:
https://www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia/posts/3941649869205836

Synagogues in Lod and Jaffa, both cities with mixed populations, have been burned down.

 

JEWS ATTACKED IN MIDTOWN MANHATTAN

Jews have been attacked in New York while left-wing Democratic congress members stir things up with their lies about Israel, much as Muslim Brotherhood-Hamas preachers have stirred things up with their lies in the Middle East.

Video here from midtown Manhattan:

https://www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia/posts/3936214026416087

 

PLAYING AMERICAN RACE POLITICS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Liel Leibovitz writes in Tablet magazine:

Congressman Jamaal Bowman's district includes parts of the Bronx and Westchester County. He was elected with support from Jewish voters, four of whose synagogues were recently attacked and defaced by maniacs in his district.

Yesterday, responding to the onslaught of Palestinian violence against Israel, Congressman Bowman had this to say to his constituents when attacking Israel? "enough of Black and brown bodies being brutalized and murdered."

Now, this might be confusing to you, especially if you?ve been following the news over the past day. If so, you would have heard about Soumya Santosh, a 32-year-old Indian woman who, in order to provide for her 9-year-old boy, found work in the Israeli city of Ashkelon, caring for an 80-year-old woman. The pair were ducking for cover when their home was directly hit by one of Hamas's rockets. Santosh's brown body was torn apart by a projectile hurled by a terrorist organization and aimed at innocent civilians, none of whom, by the way, have any use for silly and preening identity politics.

Or maybe you know about 19-year-old Yehuda Guetta?his family hails from Libya, a country located, of all places, in Africa. Yehuda was shot and killed earlier this week by a Palestinian-American named Muntasir Shalabi, who was motivated, according to his neighbors, by equal parts Jew hatred and heavy gambling debts.

In general, I am loathe to deny Americans the right to play their national sports, which these days apparently include mau-mauing ?white people??though I will say that it seems creepy to use skin color as the primary way to identify human beings, like 19th century ?race scientists? did. But since Congressman Bowman is being joined by a host of other elected officials including Rashida Tlaib in trying to chauvinistically transpose their own American psychodrama onto a foreign region, this is now starting to get terrifyingly dangerous?and I don't mean for Israel, but for Jews living here in the United States, including those in Congressman Bowman?s own district.

So let's be clear as day: Israel isn't America, Jews aren't white, and Palestinians aren?t "Black and brown people. " Judaism is an identity that predates "race, " just as it predates America, and the sin of slavery, and the idea of nations and the Christian and Muslim faiths?

(The full article further down this dispatch.)

 

REP. RITCHIE TORRES: ?TRUTH,? AS WELL AS ISRAEL, IS ?UNDER SIEGE?

Not all progressive Democratic congressmen are joining in the campaign propagated by the so-called ?Jihad Squad? of AOC, Tlaib and Omar.

Democratic Rep. Ritchie Torres, a 33-year-old East Bronx native whose 15th district includes the South Bronx and borders that of fellow Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), said on Wednesday in a swipe at his fellow progressives "what is under siege is not only Israel, what is under siege is the truth itself. Circulating on social media is a vicious lie ? a lie that deceptively reframes the terrorism of Hamas as self-defense and deceptively reframes the self-defense of Israel as terrorism. Increasingly, we seem to live in an Orwellian universe where the truth no longer matters."

Torres, who is the son of African-American and Puerto Rican parents, added: "We cannot allow ourselves to be silenced by an overbearing Twitter mob, dominated by the extremes of American politics. If we, in elected office, are not willing to say and do what is right, then we are unworthy of the office we hold."

 

FAR RIGHT JOIN FAR LEFT, UNITED BY THEIR ANTISEMITISM

Not only are the extreme left stirring up antisemitism while pretending to care about Palestinians, but the far right are too. Photo above from Florida yesterday.

For more, see here:

https://jewishjournal.com/news/336589/florida-van-with-palestinian-flag-and-hitler-was-right-sign-circles-around-pro-israel-rally

https://www.adl.org/blog/extremists-leverage-crises-in-israel

 

MEDIA ALLOWING SOME DIVERSITY OF OPINION

In spite of much very skewered reporting, perhaps finally aware that their incessant misinformation and invective about Israel have increased antisemitism in their own countries, some media are being a little less one-sided against Israel than in the past, and have included fairer interviews.

Here, for example, is Jason Greenblatt, who was Donald Trump's Middle East envoy (and before that Trump?s real estate lawyer) on BBC World News yesterday evening:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Vn7ktZWwvZw

***

There is also an important interview on Sky News with my friend Tim Marshall (who is a subscriber to this list) explaining that you can't understand what is happening in Gaza without understanding the key role of Iran in rocket supply for Hamas, and (as I?ve pointed out before) how Abbas cancelling the Palestinian elections forced Hamas?s hand.

The interview is posted here: https://www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia/posts/3941818122522344

(I would add that the Biden administration's new soft approach towards the Iranian regime has encouraged it to be more belligerent in its support of both its Houti allies in Yemen and Hamas in Gaza.)

 

VIDEO: 'WE ARE FAMILY': JEWISH AND ARAB MEDICAL STAFF RESPOND TO ETHNIC TENSIONS

In an uplifting series of multi-lingual tweets, Jewish and Arab Israeli doctors and nurses have posted messages including a photo collage in which they are seen standing side-by-side, holding up pieces of paper saying: "We overcame the coronavirus together. We will all come together again now."

You can see a video here on the Jerusalem Post website from medical staff at the Galilee Medical Faculty Safed branch of Bar-Ilan University:

https://www.jpost.com/arab-israeli-conflict/we-are-family-jewish-and-arab-medical-staff-respond-to-ethnic-tensions-668120

Contrary to claims about "apartheid" propagated by propaganda organizations such as Human Rights Watch (whose co-founder quit in disgust at what he said the organization had become), Muslims, Christians and Jews work side by side at hospitals throughout Israel (as they do at other institutions, including universities, the judiciary and the police).

Prof. Jonathan Halevy, co-director of Shaare Zedek Medical Center, said ?Between 20% and 25% of our 5,000 employees are Arab, which is about the same rate of Arab patients we have. We are all united by the mission to work for the patients. I know it sounds very banal but it is true. Politics remains outside the hospital.?

Halevy pointed out that the head of Shaare Zedek?s corona department was an Arab doctor from East Jerusalem, while his head nurse was a ultra-Orthodox Jewish mother of seven. "They worked hand in hand," he said.

The Bnei Zion Medical Center in Haifa yesterday organized an end of Ramadan meal for its Jewish and Arab staff to celebrate coexistence.

The Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, promoted a social media campaign featuring Arab and Jewish personnel holding "shalom-salam" signs. Linda Hashem, an Arab nurse who has been working at Rambam for 26 years, said "I have never felt anything unpleasant here, I have never experienced racism."

I attach three articles below -- Tom Gross


ARTICLES

WHY WON'T ISRAELIS LET THEMSELVES BE KILLED?

Why won't Israelis let themselves be killed?
The global woke loathing for Israel is taking an even darker turn.
By Brendan O?Neill
Spiked Online (UK)
May 13, 2021

Two weeks ago Turkish forces launched a military assault in the Duhok region of Iraqi Kurdistan. Villagers were forced to ?flee in terror? from raining bombs. It was only the latest bombardment of the beleaguered Kurds by Turkey, NATO member and Western ally. It did not trend online. There were no noisy protests in London or New York. The Turks weren't talked about in woke circles as crazed, bloodthirsty killers. Tweeters didn't dream out loud about Turks burning in hell. The Onion didn't do any close-to-the-bone satire about how Turkish soldiers just love killing children. No, the Duhok attack passed pretty much without comment.

But when Israel engages in military action, that?s a different story. Always. Every time. Anti-Israel fury in the West has intensified to an extraordinary degree following an escalation of violence in the Middle East in recent days. Protests were instant and inflammatory. Israeli flags were burned on the streets of London. Social media was awash with condemnation. ?IDF Soldier Recounts Harrowing, Heroic War Story Of Killing 8-Month-Old Child?, tweeted The Onion, to tens of thousands of likes. Israel must be boycotted, isolated, cast out of the international community, leftists cried. Western politicians, including Keir Starmer, rushed to pass judgement. ?What?s the difference??, said a placard at a march in Washington, DC showing the Israeli flag next to the Nazi flag. The Jews are the Nazis now, you see. Ironic, isn?t it?

This is the question anti-Israel campaigners have never been able to answer: why do they treat Israel so differently to every other nation on Earth? Why is it child-killing bloodlust when Israel takes military action but not when Turkey or India do? Why must we rush to the streets to set light to the Israel flag but never the Saudi flag, despite Saudi Arabia?s unconscionable war on Yemen? Why is it only ?wrong? or at worst ?horrific? when Britain or America drop bombs in the Middle East but Nazism when Israel fires missiles into Gaza? Why do you merely oppose the military action of some states but you hate Israel, viscerally, publicly, loudly?

The judgement and treatment of Israel by a double standard is one of the most disturbing facets of global politics in the 21st century. That double standard has been glaringly evident over the past few days. Israel is now the only country on Earth that is expected to allow itself to be attacked. To sit back and do nothing as its citizens are pelted with rocks or rockets. How else do we explain so many people?s unwillingness to place the current events in any kind of context, including the context of an avowedly anti-Semitic Islamist movement ? Hamas ? firing hundreds of missiles into civilian areas in Israel? In this context, to rage solely against Israel, to curse its people and burn its flag because it has sent missiles to destroy Hamas?s firing positions in Gaza, is essentially to say: ?Why won?t Israelis let themselves be killed??

No other nation would be expected not to respond either to internal disarray ? Hamas supporters have rioted in parts of Jerusalem and around Al-Aqsa Mosque ? or to foreign attack. Imagine if the Isle of Wight was home to a movement whose founding constitution expressed loathing for all ethnic Britons and which regularly fired hundreds of missiles into Sussex, Kent, Hampshire. Wouldn?t the British military respond? Of course it would. But the woke demonisation of Israel is now so acute that Israel is expected to take the military assaults of the radical Islamists to its south. To Western activists who find the very existence of Israel abhorrent, any effort Israel makes to protect its borders or its citizens is an affront to global peace and decency. They cannot understand why Israel doesn?t hate itself as much as they hate it, and therefore will not allow itself to be punished by its righteous enemies. How dare you live?

In relation to Israel-Palestine, local context is always crushed by the narrative and prejudice of Western observers. So the current violence is seen as stemming from Israel?s ?ethnic cleansing? of the Arab neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem. ?The latest Israel-Palestine crisis [is about] ethnic cleansing?, said MSNBC. First, the events in Sheikh Jarrah, while undoubtedly distressing and unpleasant, are more complex than many observers will allow. Secondly, and more importantly, the depiction of the current tensions as a battle between an expansive Israel and a beleaguered Palestinian community overlooks the intra-Palestinian conflict that is playing out right now.

Much of the current instability actually stems from Mahmoud Abbas?s announcement two weeks ago that he was cancelling elections in the West Bank. Abbas is the leader of Fatah and the Palestinian president. He has been president since 2005. It was meant to be a four-year term, but it has lasted 16 years. Democracy has disappeared in the Palestinian Territories. As one report points out, no Palestinian under the age of 34 has ever taken part in national elections. Abbas said his most recent cancellation of elections was down to the disagreements over East Jerusalem, but many suspect his real concern is that Hamas would beat Fatah and would come to dominate both Gaza and the West Bank. Hamas?s recent actions have primarily been a response to Abbas and an attempt to position Hamas as the true representative of Palestinians against Israel.

And in this, Hamas has been fully and foolishly assisted by the anti-Israel obsessives of the West. Westerners? hyper-moralisation of the current tensions, their depiction of the conflict as a black-and-white story of Evil Israel vs the plucky defenders of the Arabs of East Jerusalem, has enormously benefitted Hamas in its intra-Palestinian conflict of legitimacy with Fatah. The naive anti-Israel lobby is witlessly helping to elevate a radical Islamist organisation as the leader of all Palestinians. Indeed, some anti-Israel activists are even rallying behind the repugnant Hamas slogan ?From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free?, which is essentially a call to wipe Israel off the map. This represents a vile consummation of the unholy marriage between the Western left and radical Islam.

Here?s the irony of anti-Israel commentary and activism in the 21st century: it has the form of anti-imperialism but the substance of imperialism. Witness how campaigners brand Israel a ?rogue state?, borrowing from the language of modern Western imperialism. Observe how they call on the Western powers to isolate and chastise Israel and to enforce sanctions against it. Or see how, in its more extreme form, anti-Israel activism promotes a racial caricature of Israelis as bloodthirsty, as uniquely dangerous, as a very particular threat to world peace. Anti-Israel sentiment adopts the postures of 20th-century national liberation while in fact pushing an agenda of Western chauvinism that views Israel as a distinctly problematic state in need of our virtuous punishment.

There is nothing positive in contemporary Israel-bashing. In its naivety, it assists the rise of Hamas. In its arrogance it empowers the West to determine the fate of the Middle East. All of this stores up more conflict and hatred for the future.

 

PLAYING AMERICAN RACE POLITICS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Playing American Race Politics in the Middle East
New York Congressman Jamaal Bowman and others are grafting a domestic psychodrama onto a foreign region?and endangering American Jews in the process
By Liel Leibovitz
Tablet magazine
May 12, 2021

https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/jamaal-bowman-liel-leibovitz

Congressman Jamaal Bowman?s district includes parts of the Bronx and Westchester County. He was elected with support from Jewish voters, four of whose synagogues were recently attacked and defaced by maniacs in his district.

Yesterday, responding to the onslaught of Palestinian violence against Israel, Congressman Bowman had this to say to his constituents: ?Whether it?s the infringement of human and civil rights of Palestinians living in Sheikh Jarrah, the violence against those praying in the Al-Aqsa mosque during the holy month of Ramadan in East Jerusalem? my heart is breaking for people around the world experiencing oppression and hurt.? And in case the virtue signal wasn?t heard loudly or clearly enough, Bowman added in a tweet, ?enough of Black and brown bodies being brutalized and murdered.?

Now, this might be confusing to you, especially if you?ve been following the news over the past day. If so, you would have heard about Soumya Santosh, a 32-year-old Indian woman who, in order to provide for her 9-year-old boy, found work in the Israeli city of Ashkelon, caring for an 80-year-old woman. The pair were ducking for cover when their home was directly hit by one of Hamas?s rockets. Santosh?s brown body was torn apart by a projectile hurled by a terrorist organization and aimed at innocent civilians, none of whom, by the way, have any use for silly and preening identity politics.

Or maybe you know about 19-year-old Yehuda Guetta?his family hails from Libya, a country located, of all places, in Africa. Yehuda was shot and killed earlier this week by a Palestinian-American named Muntasir Shalabi, who was motivated, according to his neighbors, by equal parts Jew hatred and heavy gambling debts.

In general, I am loathe to deny Americans the right to play their national sports, which these days apparently include mau-mauing ?white people??though I will say that it seems creepy to use skin color as the primary way to identify human beings, like 19th century ?race scientists? did. But since Congressman Bowman is being joined by a host of other elected officials including Rashida Tlaib in trying to chauvinistically transpose their own American psychodrama onto a foreign region, this is now starting to get terrifyingly dangerous?and I don't mean for Israel, but for Jews living here in the United States, including those in Congressman Bowman?s own district.

So let?s be clear as day: Israel isn?t America, Jews aren?t white, and Palestinians aren?t ?Black and brown people.? Judaism is an identity that predates ?race,? just as it predates America, and the sin of slavery, and the idea of nations and the Christian and Muslim faiths.

Reckless, ignorant racializing, precisely of the kind that Bowman is practicing these days, has a trickle-down effect. In a statement last month, the Congressman and his fellow progressives released a statement declaring themselves shocked, shocked! by the anti-Jewish violence in their own districts. Sir, the call is coming from inside your house.

Moreover, if people like Congressman Bowman can?t see how being openly denigrated by powerful people?like, say, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives?makes members of a minority group feel vulnerable and targeted, then I really have no idea what progressive politics are even pretending to be about anymore.

Of course, Bowman is free to ignore Jewish history and all the suffering of real people in the present, and to fantasize about skin-based affinities while fundamentalist terrorists lob thousands of rockets at people who are family members, both figuratively and literally speaking, of his own constituents. But how about the other side of what?s happening in Israel? In the last 48 hours, thousands of Israeli Arab citizens, whose skin color is exactly the same as that of their neighbors, and who enjoy the highest standard of living in the region as well as every right to practice their religion freely and attend great universities, launched a wave of pogroms against their Jewish neighbors. They attacked and defaced synagogues in Lod?just like in Bowman?s district in Riverdale. They also beat up children in the street, bombed buses, dragged drivers from their cars, and smashed shop windows, targeting the Jewish regional minority.

A rabbi traveling with his students told the Israeli press about feeling helpless when their bus was blocked by throngs of Arab rioters armed with burning tires and large rocks. Four police cars, the rabbi reported, stood idly by and did nothing as the pogromists pelted the bus with boulders. ?I didn?t open fire,? the rabbi, who was armed, said. ?I didn?t want to be the subject of a police investigation myself.? Instead, he told his underage charges to lie on the ground, keep their heads down, and pray, as they were pelted with stones and shattered glass. Is this a righteous or ?understandable? punishment for the teacher and his students for ?occupying Palestine??

The world?s sole Jewish state was not formed to give Jews yet another ghetto in which to cower in fear. The country?s restraint in the face of these deadly provocations is not some kind of acknowledgement of guilt or slick PR move, the way woke corporations write checks to Black Lives Matter. In a dangerous part of the world, real bad boys move in silence, with violence?and believe me, no one will care how loudly progressives in America may howl. We know that America can bring peace, or it can bring war by encouraging our enemies and rewarding them when they try to kill us. In which case, the bloodshed that follows is on your head.

The Jewish state has known deadly attacks before, but this week?s onslaught marks a turning point. It marks the end of false pretenses, the end of politely engaging with those who tacitly or otherwise engage in violence against Jews. In Ramla and in Riverdale, the message should ring loud and clear: The choice is between our own safety, and the other side?s twisted political games. Choose wisely.

 

"ON THE SYMPATHY SCALE, IT IS GOOD TO BE A PALESTINIAN, BUT NOT SO GOOD TO BE A KURD, UIGHUR, TIBETAN, COPT, YEZIDI, MUSLIM ROHINGYA IN MYANMAR, OR WEST-SAHARAN"

A Not-So-Little War Brings Palestinian Arabs Back To the Middle East Stage
By Josef Joffe
New York Sun
May 13, 2021

On the sympathy scale, it is good to be a Palestinian, but not so good to be a Kurd, Uighur, Tibetan, Copt, Yezidi, Muslim Rohingya in Myanmar, or West-Saharan, whose land has been occupied by Morocco since the Seventies. This is the short list of those who are oppressed or slaughtered, but are hardly worthy of attention.

Today, as the missiles are reaching Tel Aviv and the Israeli Army readies itself for a ground assault, demonstrations in favor Uighurs, Saharans et al are on the low side or non-existent. The war between Israel and Hamas has triggered the classic reflexes in the Western press. If rockets are flying, it must be the fault of Israel, the usual suspect.

It?s a standard script: Evil settlers who want to expel Palestinians from their ancestral abodes in Jerusalem; a power-crazed Israeli prime minister who hopes to keep his office by unleashing war; an ?apartheid state? that that will use any excuse to terrorize the victims of Israeli colonialism. The aggressor must be punished, and so a New York Times columnist has appealed to the American government to reconsider its copious aid to the Jewish state. Case closed.

Old Middle East hands know that the case is not open and shut ? and that nothing is ever as it seems in a region where peace has for ages been a pause between two wars. Let?s start from the bottom up and go to the Jerusalem quarter the Arabs call Sheikh Jarrah, and the Israelis Shimon ha-Tsaddik.

Jews had bought places there in 1874 and were expelled by British and Jordanian forces in 1948. Arab squatters moved in. Though the IDF unified the City in 1967, the status quo persisted until the descendants of the expellees, titles in hand, sued to regain their properties. The case is now before Israel?s Supreme Court.

So, in this benighted region, a plea for restitution under the law is yet another provocation, another heinous attempt to ?Judaize Jerusalem.? One might question the wisdom of raising the matter after six decades, but ?colonialism? this is not ? unless due process is. Given the rockets and a looming IDF incursion into Gaza, the Supreme Court has postponed a decision.

Next level up is the labyrinth of Mideast politics that is too complex for journalists and politicos to navigate. Better to apply the simple good-vs-evil template. Hounded by the courts, Prime Minister Netanyahu is using war to shore up his crumbling position at home. Not quite: Well aware of the annual clashes on Jerusalem Day, the government deployed army and police to separate Jews from Arabs as marchers on both sides claimed true title to the ?City Upon a Hill.?

Keeping them apart might have worked if two deadly enemies on the Palestinian side had not decided to make their own points. It started with Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, who had postponed, sine die, yet another election scheduled for 22 May, using the brewing conflict over Jerusalem as subterfuge.

Seeing itself as the predestined winner, what could Hamas do to counter the Fatah gambit? How about starting a little war against the Yahud, which promised several benefits?

First, Hamas could posture as only defender of the faith and of Palestinian dignity, which would make it shine as true leader of the flock in both Gaza and the Westbank. This struggle has tortured the Palestinians ever since Hamas grabbed power in 2006.

Second, a little ? or not so little ? war would bring Palestine back to center-stage whence it was being banished while the Great Realignment of the Middle East unfolded, as one regional potentate after another tucked tail and decided that a common Arab-Israeli front against Iran was more important than the will-o?-the-wisp of Palestinian statehood. Fatah and Hamas were successively being pushed offstage. In an attention economy, the limelight is precious.

Third, start a conflagration, and the international fire brigade will rush in to chastise the Israelis and appease the Palestinians. President Biden promptly dispatched an emissary, and the Russians and Europeans won?t be far behind. The expectation? Israel will be upbraided, and money will be showered on Gaza and Ramallah, two failed states. Back to square one.

And then what?

The problem of the Palestinian leadership is ? and has always been ?two-fold. For one, this Israeli ?apartheid state? ? an obscene term, when the Arab List, known as Ra?am, almost played kingmaker in Israel?s coalition wars ? will not go away as Anglos and Afrikaaners did after losing power in South Africa. Nor did Pretoria protect black lives as, metaphorically, Israel is doing in going after Jewish extremists.

Second, Israel towers over the chessboard; soldier for soldier, the IDF is unmatched in the world, and Israel?s per-capita income is slightly above France?s or Japan?s. No number of anti-Israel op-eds can change these realities, not to speak of the soft power accruing from the Arab-Israeli realignment.

Will yet another American-sponsored peace parley end the Hundred Years War? Not as long as Palestinians say ?Hebron? and mean ?Haifa.? Not as long as domestic machinations on either side dwarf the logic of coexistence in this narrow strip between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. Abba Eban?s fabled line about the Palestinians never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity by now goes for Israel, as well.

Will Hamas, Fatah and Israel sit down in earnest? It seemed so when Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat sat down with Bill Clinton in Camp David 21 years ago. The ?Rais? went home and launched the Second Intifada, which claimed 1,000 Israeli and 3,000 Palestinian lives. And they blamed it on Ariel Sharon.

 

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