Another Tack: Groundhog Day in Gaza

Like the unfortunate Phil, we too seem to be stuck in a repetitive pattern of reenacting the same sickening scenario

Like the unfortunate Phil, we too seem to be stuck in a repetitive pattern of reenacting the same sickening scenario.

Back in 2006 when then-PM Ehud Olmert sent units into battle without sufficient ammo or provisions and all around managed to mismanage the Second Lebanon War, he at one point gloated that victory up north would expedite what he dubbed “Realignment” on Israel’s winding long eastern flank.

That was to be his sequel to the unilateral Disengagement from Gaza a year earlier.

At the time, Olmert’s indiscreet blabbing set off a ground swell of protest among troops who didn’t take kindly to the notion that they would sacrifice life and limb to advance Olmert’s consensus-breaching political agenda. In the view of too many soldiers in harm’s way, the idea of shedding their blood to extend the by-then-obvious Gazan disaster to Israel’s most densely packed population centers wasn’t an appealing prospect.

But some subplots never die. A variation on the theme is being revived right now. All too many in the political arena – both nominal coalition members and opposition leaders – presume to exploit a consensual conflict to advance their non-consensual agenda. They portray Operation Protective Edge as the vehicle to propel their pet project of reinstating Ramallah figurehead Mahmoud Abbas (a.k.a. Abu-Mazen) at Gaza’s helm.

Winning Gaza back for Abbas wasn’t what most fighters fought for. Continue reading

Seemingly Sisyphean Quest

Sisyphys (1548–49) by Titian, Prado Museum

Sisyphys (1548–49) by Titian, Prado Museum

The most effective weapon which Hamas wielded against Israel throughout Protective Edge was its manipulation of civilian casualty numbers and images. The cumulative impact was used to provoke hate campaigns against Israel and/or Jews worldwide and misrepresent Israel’s self-defense as a calculated massacre of helpless civilians.

Some of the ploys were cynical beyond belief.

Photos of dead bodies from the Syrian conflict were recycled as Gazan victims of Israeli malevolence. Even pictures of the Fogel family children, slaughtered inside their Itamar home in 2011 by Palestinian terrorists, were purported to show Arabs murdered by Israeli troops.

Footage from the emergency room at Shifa Hospital in Gaza was rerun continually as if chronicling brand new incidents. Patients brought in due to disease, accidents and domestic violence were all exhibited as casualties of deliberate Israeli barbarity.

But none of this rivaled the numbers game.

Continue reading

Better Off Without UNWRA

image001UNRWA, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, has joined Hamas’s clamor for lifting the blockade on Gaza forthwith. This was the gist of what UNRWA’s Gaza spokesman Chris Gunness demanded. No surprise here. UNRWA never played a remotely constructive or impartial role in the Mideast.

Its self-preservation interests perhaps rule out neutrality and fairness to begin with, lest these actually lead to improvements that might obviate the sham pretext for keeping UNRWA around. UNRWA’s continued existence hinges on not solving this region’s problems.

Put differently, it’s in UNRWA’s distinct interest to keep the flames of conflict burning high. Continue reading

Another Tack: Some Truly Hated Truths

The crowds pranced and danced, jumping ecstatically up and down in what looked like a frenzied tribal trance

The crowds pranced and danced, jumping ecstatically up and down in what looked like a frenzied tribal trance

Last Friday morning, during yet another so-called humanitarian ceasefire, we heard that Lt. Hadar Goldin was missing-in-action. Before this too was revealed as a ghoulish body-snatching attempt, it looked like the Palestinians had finally grabbed the mega-ransom-generating and game-changing live hostage they craved.

Mind-bogglingly, the truth is that by the Hamas devil’s arithmetic, it was worth sacrificing over 1500 Gazan casualties to just maybe seize one Israeli.

In crude propaganda terms, it was a vicious variation on the theme of the Oron Shaul episode. When Israel suspects an abduction (as in the Goldin case), Hamas torments us with silence. When we discount its claims (as in the Shaul case), Hamas crows about its macabre “successes.”

Anyone who switched to Al-Jazeera early on in the ground phase of Operation Protective Edge heard piercing shrieks of what sounded like “Shaul Aron.” Then followed a screenshot of the Facebook page of a handsome blue-eyed fellow. His name was plainly spelled out: Oron Shaul. His Bar Mitzvah photos too went on Al-Jazeera’s spine-chilling display. Continue reading

Piteously-cum-victoriously

Rockets on board the Klos-C freighter, intercepted by Israel’s navy on its way from Iran to Gaza last March

Rockets on board the Klos-C freighter, intercepted by Israel’s navy on its way from Iran to Gaza last March

While it wails piteously, Hamas also crows victoriously. This evident logical incongruity may bewilder us but Gaza honcho Ismail Haniyeh connects the dots thus: “The military victory by the resistance and the legendary strength of our people will lead us to a lifting of the blockade on the Gaza Strip.”

Gaza, he avers, “has turned itself into a graveyard for Israel” and had sown death and destruction in Tel Aviv. On the flipside, precisely Gaza’s own devastation “will make it impossible for the world to ignore the Strip.”

“Gaza’s sacrifices” mandate acquiescence to its demands, foremost the elimination of what Haniyeh calls “the siege” on Gaza. Continue reading

No Mean Feat

This is no wholesale retreat – all options remain open after Hamas was dealt grievous blows

This is no wholesale retreat – all options remain open after Hamas was dealt grievous blows

The rule of thumb in gauging any public’s mood is that the higher the expectations, the deeper the let-down. Put differently, it may be argued that the more unrealistic the expectations, the more groundless the grumbles.

This was all too evident in the reactions of disappointment that followed the purely tactical decision to re-station IDF units at staging areas in and around the Gaza Strip, while keeping others behind to maintain defensive positions that safeguard Israel’s hinterland.

Anyone who bothered paying attention would have understood that this is no wholesale retreat, that all options remain open after Hamas was dealt grievous blows both to its rocket arsenals and tunnel projects. Continue reading

Another Tack: Goebbels on the BBC

Londoners sheltering underground during the blitz: an attacked nation doesn’t worry about the welfare of those striving to annihilate it

Londoners sheltering underground during the blitz: an attacked nation doesn’t worry about the welfare of those striving to annihilate it

Imagine Josef Goebbels invited to speak his mind on the BBC, smack dab during the Battle of Britain and the blitz. Sounds absurd?

Sure, but only in the context of normal nations. No sane Briton would have tolerated the notion of the BBC broadcasting German propaganda to Londoners as they ran for shelter from German bombs.

Abetting Nazi belligerence would have been a nonstarter even under the guise of a detached reporter’s interview, part of an evenhanded approach, a sporting consideration for the aggressor’s point of view.

But not so in Israel. Here we operate in an alternative universe.  Nothing that would be unthinkable anywhere else is out of bounds for our broadcasters.

While Protective Edge raged, they kept us tuned to nonstop nattering, most of it superfluous, speculative and narcissist. But in many prattle panels, there was an Arab-Israeli MK or a hotshot from some Arab “anti-racism” group (since in this country only Jews are accused of racism and never Arabs, the term is used as a loaded  euphemism for anti-Jewish, anti-Zionist and/or anti-Israel).

The rules of our deranged game oblige media hosts to treat Goebbels’s latter-day torchbearers with courteous deference, or – put less diplomatically – with obsequiousness. Continue reading

Another Tack: Diabolical Jewish Bikes

But the Jew on the train objects: “It’s all the fault of bicycles.”

But the Jew on the train objects: “It’s all the fault of bicycles.”

With so much going on, it was no wonder that the reaction by Hebronites to a Gazan rocket that crashed in their midst went right under our radar. We had way bigger concerns and still do but the incident is nevertheless instructive – very much so. It can actually account for why no peace is possible. It  firmly confirms that our logic and that of our neighbors operate on different wavelengths – an underlying and enduring fact of life that makes a meeting of the minds highly unlikely.

But to put the overlooked Hebron episode into context it might be best to start off with Alter Druyanov.

His name, alas, means absolutely nothing to the vast majority of Israelis today. Sic transit Gloria mundi. The output of this literary mover and shaker in newborn Tel Aviv is familiar only to nostalgia buffs and compulsive hoarders of esoterica. But in Druyanov’s anthology of Jewish jokes hides an unassuming little tale that is still sadly all-too-relevant to our scene.

Adhering to yesteryear’s time-tried format, a Jew rides the train and sharing the same compartment is a non-Jew – a Russian in some versions and a German in others.  The non-Jewish traveler cogitates out loud that “all the wars, bloodshed, wretchedness and ill-will on earth are caused by Jews.” But the Jew across from him objects: “It’s all the fault of bicycles.”

“Bicycles?” thunders the bewildered Russian/German, “Why? How come bicycles?”

In calm, measured tones his interlocutor inquires: “How come Jews?” Continue reading

No Magic Wands

Gazan Terror TunnelWe cannot even begin to estimate how many lives Iron Dome saved. But we know it’s very many lives. The downside, though, is that its success encouraged all too many Israelis to expect all our troubles to be solved by state-of-the-art magic wands. This isn’t always possible.

No miraculous technological gimmicks can entirely eliminate Gaza’s tunnels.

The only way to diminish this diabolical threat is by sending infantry in, by going from house to house to discover trap-doors and concealed shafts. Suggestions that the tunnels could be flooded or filled with smoke are impractical if their entry and exit points are unknown.

This rules out a deluxe war. This unavoidably costs lives and we’d be exceedingly lucky to even limit the cost. Continue reading

Another Tack: Hypocrisy Most Foul

Jubilant murderers sprung in the Schalit swap - it was a foregone conclusion that they’d murder again

Jubilant murderers sprung in the Schalit swap – it was a foregone conclusion that they’d murder again

The bamboozlers who gave us Oslo and its deformed derivative Disengagement have never expressed the slightest contrition and never begged the nation’s forgiveness – not even now when Gazan rockets threaten Israel’s heartland. The same goes for their craven accomplices, who ran with the pack and derided nonconformist compatriots who dared protest. But while the promoters of folly bask in self-proclaimed infallibility, they’re uncannily quick to blame others for their sins.

This is hypocrisy most foul and it’s not limited to territorial surrenders and the chimera of attaining peace and acceptance by rewarding belligerence.

Take, for example, the inflammatory issue of swap deals with terrorists and how it’s tied to the abduction and execution of three innocent boys on their way home from school. To hear our talking heads and swaggering former security chiefs, this heartrending saga started with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s 2011 decision to trade 1,027 duly convicted Hamas murderers and mass-murder masterminds for hostage Gilad Schalit, a.k.a. “the child of us all.”

It’s as if precedents weren’t already set and as if the Schalit kidnapping wasn’t in itself the result of previous cowardly surrenders to extortion. Worse yet is the fact that the very ones who spearheaded the campaign to do the deal with Hamas now pin the blame for what they actively advocated on the man they had anyway always viscerally opposed. He was to blame when he didn’t want to do the deal and he’s to blame for having done the deal. Continue reading