July 20, 2014

Arab Zombies Death March

Rarely does international politics present a moment of such moral clarity.

Yet we routinely hear this Israel-Gaza fighting described as a morally
equivalent "cycle of violence." This is absurd. What possible interest can
Israel have in cross-border fighting? Everyone knows Hamas set off this
mini-war. And everyone knows the proudly self-declared raison d'etre of
Hamas: the eradication of Israel and its Jews.

Apologists for Hamas attribute the blood lust to the Israeli occupation and
blockade. Occupation? Does no one remember anything? It was less than 10
years ago that worldwide television showed the Israeli army pulling die-hard
settlers off synagogue roofs in Gaza as Israel uprooted its settlements,
expelled its citizens, withdrew its military and turned every inch of Gaza
over to the Palestinians. There was not a soldier, not a settler, not a
single Israeli left in Gaza.

And there was no blockade. On the contrary. Israel wanted this new
Palestinian state to succeed. To help the Gaza economy, Israel gave the
Palestinians its 3,000 greenhouses that had produced fruit and flowers for
export. It opened border crossings and encouraged commerce.

And how did the Gaza Palestinians react to being granted by the Israelis
what no previous ruler, neither Egyptian, nor British, nor Turkish, had ever
given them - an independent territory? First, they demolished the
greenhouses. Then they elected Hamas. Then, instead of building a state with
its attendant political and economic institutions, they spent the better
part of a decade turning Gaza into a massive military base, brimming with
terror weapons, to make ceaseless war on Israel.

Where are the roads and rail, the industry and infrastructure of the new
Palestinian state? Nowhere. Instead, they built mile upon mile of
underground tunnels to hide their weapons and, when the going gets tough,
their military commanders. They spent millions importing and producing
rockets, launchers, mortars, small arms, even drones. They deliberately
placed them in schools, hospitals, mosques and private homes to better
expose their own civilians. (Just Thursday, the U.N. announced that it found
20 rockets in a Gaza school.) And from which they fire rockets at Jerusalem
and Tel Aviv.

Why? The rockets can't even inflict serious damage, being almost uniformly
intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system. Even West Bank leader
Mahmoud Abbas has asked: "What are you trying to achieve by sending
It makes no sense. Unless you understand, as Tuesday's Post editorial
explained, that the whole point is to draw Israeli counterfire.
This produces dead Palestinians for international television. Which is why
Hamas perversely urges its own people not to seek safety when Israel drops
leaflets warning of an imminent attack.

To deliberately wage war so that your own people can be telegenically killed
is indeed moral and tactical insanity. But it rests on a very rational
premise: Given the Orwellian state of the world's treatment of Israel (see:
the U.N.'s grotesque Human Rights Council), fueled by a mix of classic
anti-Semitism, near-total historical ignorance and reflexive sympathy for
the ostensible Third World underdog, these eruptions featuring Palestinian
casualties ultimately undermine support for Israel's legitimacy and right to

In a world of such Kafkaesque ethical inversions, the depravity of Hamas
begins to make sense. This is a world in which the Munich massacre is a
movie and the murder of Klinghoffer is an opera - both deeply sympathetic to
the killers. This is a world in which the U.N. ignores humanity's worst war
criminals while incessantly condemning Israel, a state warred upon for 66
years that nonetheless goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid harming the
very innocents its enemies use as shields.

It's to the Israelis' credit that amid all this madness they haven't lost
their moral scruples. Or their nerve. Those outside the region have the
minimum obligation, therefore, to expose the madness and speak the truth.
Rarely has it been so blindingly clear.

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