Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Gordon writes and writes well. He should. He makes a living as a Hollywood screenwriter. It's his day job. Since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, he's traded in his working scripts to chronicle the unfolding saga of Israel's war against Hamas. His knowledge of Israel (he spent some of his childhood growing up here); his love for the Jewish people (he's one of them) and his zeal for the truth to be told permeate these first hand reports. Here's another of his on the scene dispatches.
It gives those far from the battlefield and depending on the lens of the mainstream media, a clear eyed picture of what's really going on and the stakes in this war. Like the World War II correspondent Ernie Pyle, Dan writes about and to the common man. Here's one of his latest filings. It contains some typos and misspellings as he explains in his caveat but it's another robust picture of life in Israel at war.
Leading their people to death
Please forgive the many typos and misspellings in thus article . Just as I was beginning to proof read the location where I am right now came under rocket attack. I always send a safety copy to myself which I had done in this instance . But where I am right now one has less than 15 seconds to take shelter or face death or mutilation. Yesterday a teenager not more than a hundred meters away from me ( shrapnel can travel 1000 meters) was seriously wounded by shrapnel from a mortar round that landed somewhere between where he and I were standing . Mortars unlike rockets give no warning.
Any way in rushing to take cover rather like the IRS I accidentally deleted my working copy and was left only with the safety copy I'd emailed myself and I an too technologically challenged to know how to edit it. So apologies but you'll get the gist.
Capt. IDF ( Res)
Ernest Hemingway had great advice for writers. “ Write one true declarative sentence” he said, “ Then Write another.
By that standard Papa Hemingway would be proud , indeed, of Sami Abu Zuhri’s literary prowess.
Sami Abu Zuhri is a Hamas spokesman. He summed up the current situation in Gaza perfectly. And he did it in two true declarative sentences.
“ We ( Hamas) aren’t leading our people to destruction. We are leading them to death”.
That wasn’t wasn’t Israel’s Prime Minister who said that. That was an official Hamas spokesman, and he said it without apologies. Two true sentences.
Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed.
Each and every one of those deaths, since Hamas rejected the Egyptian cease fire proposal, which the Arab league endorsed was completely predictable, tragic beyond word, and absolutely, one hundred percent preventable.
Because Israel accepted that same cease fire proposal, immediately and unconditionally.
All the killing could and would have been stopped immediately, right then and there.
But as Sami said, that’s not where Hamas is leading the Gazan , Palestinian people. And that sentences by the way is neither “ Posturing , spin, amelioration and explanation”.
I use that last phrase because a reader of my last posted article, “ To The Last Drop of Others’ Blood” wrote in response, “ The truth is hame, horror, death. The rest is posturing, spin, amelioration and explanation”
As a writer by trade, I can, to a degree, appreciate the rhythm of that sentence. As they used to say on the American Badstand programs of my misspent youth, “ It has a good beat and you can dance to it.”. But with the greatest respect , it is not “ the truth” of this conflict.
An event occurred yesterday, which may, in the parlance of our time, provide a teachable moment. Israeli. Israeli forces, operating in Gaza, yesterday were approached by what they suspected was a female suicide bomber. They ordered her to stop. She did not and they, in retrospect, chose the correct course of action.
They shot her.
And she exploded. Or rather the suicide bomber vest that would have killed them all exploded.
This was not the first suicide bomber Israeli forces encountered since entering Gaza.
The first one was a donkey.
It appeared loaded down with an unusual load on it’s back and was beaten by it’s “ handler" in order to urge it forward ,toward the Israeli troops . The “ Handler” was .a Hamas operative, who, having dispatched the donkey, promptly disappeared, quite literally, according to what I heard, down a rat hole.
In retrospect, those Israeli troops also chose the correct course of action. They shot the donkey.
It too exploded , or rather the donkey sized suicide vest with enough explosives to murder dozens of people it exploded.
I bring these two incidents up because , while I have no first hand knowledge of Hamas’s evolving policy of using beasts of burden as unwilling suicide bombers, I have , at least second hand knowledge, of Hamas’s past and evolving policy regarding using women as female suicide bombers. I know the world’s leading expert on female suicide bombers.
Dr, Anat Berko has a PHD in criminology and advanced degrees in psychology. She speaks fluent Arabic and her parents were Jewish refugees from Iraq, where they had lived for several thousand years and from which they were expelled in the wake of the Israel / Arab conflict which made some 800,000 other Middle Eastern Jews, refugees as well. ( Ironically that is almost the exact number of Palestinians who became refugees in 1948 as a result of the same conflict.).
Dr Berko carried out the most comprehensive study of female suicide bombers and their handlers ever undertaken. She interviewed almost every female suicide bomber in Israeli custody. These were women whose suicide belts failed to detonate or who were caught before they could carry out their attacks. Her two books, “ The Path to Paradise: The Inner World of Suicide Bombers and their Dispatchers” and “ The Smarter Bomb: Women and Children as Suicide Bombers” have become classics on the subject.
What Dr. Berko found was that the majority of female suicide bombers were motivated by other than ideological or religious reasons. Nor were most of them motivated by the desire for revenge or even hatred of Israel.
The majority of female suicide bombers were unwitting, unwilling, or chose the path of so called “ Martyrdom” as the lesser of two evils with which they were presented. There is a saying on the Palestinian street in regard to female suicide bombers. I hope I would not be accused of spin, posturing or amelioration,” by saying that this particular expression betrays a somewhat sexist attitude amongst those who use it. With regard to female suicide bombers the Palestinian street saying is, “ Shahida o Sharmuta?” Freely translated it means “ ( was she) a martyr or a whore?”
The reason Palestinians might say that about one who had ostensibly committed the highly praised ( when it comes to men) act of “ Martyrdom” is because they know that in many of not the majority of instances, the female suicide bomber was approached by operatives of one terrorist organization or another and told that she had been seen with men other than male relatives and had thus “ dishonored” her family. In such an instance she would either be the victim of an “ honor killing” to be carried out by her, father , brother or another male relative, or she could choose to become a suicid bomber, strap on an explosive vest, blow herself up with as many Jews as possible, and thus die not a whore, but a martyr who would be admitted to Paradise where she would sit at the right hand of the prophet, and where, by the way, she could choose her own husband, as opposed to being forced into a heavenly marriage with someone not of her choosing.
Another category which provided fertile ground for female suicide bombers were victims of rape and incest from within their own families.. One girl was raped repeatedly by her cousins, another by her brother. Both saw the “ suicide” part of suicide bomber, as preferable to the liberal hell on earth which they were living.
To be sure there were women so enchanted with the religious notion of Paradise and it’s advantages over earthly life (such as not having to take care of children, never having a period and marrying the mate of one’s own choice) that they became suicide bombers from religious reasons. Others had seen relatives killed by Israeli soldiers and wanted revenge and others, while not religious were motivated by nationalistic reasons. But as noted these were far less in numb than the women who were unwilling martyrs or those choosing martyrdom instead of honor killing or as a means of escaping an intolerable life.
But what I remembered was that Hamas , had , at least at one time, a firm policy AGAINST using female suicide bombers. Indeed Dr Berko had once interviewed Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, one of the founders of, and the spiritual leader of, Hamas until his death in 2004, at the hands of the IDF..
Dr. Berko interviewed the Spiritual Leader in 1996. “ at that time” Dr. Berko told me this morning, “ Yassin said ‘ I’m against sending women ( as suicide bombers) because they have a special role. It is to give birth to children. There is not equality in Islam. Suicide bombing, that’s not a job for women. And then, too we have enough men to be suicide bombers. So we are against it. We don’t use them.”
“ What happened to make Hamas change it’s mind ?” I asked.
“ In 2002, there was the first female suicide bomber. “ Dr . Berko told me. “ She was not from Hamas. But it got a lot of good publicity for the organization that sent her. It got good media attention, and Hamas felt they had to compete with the other terrorist organizations who were getting all the attention because of the female suicide bombers. So Hamas didn’t want to be left behind.”
“ And that’s why Hamas changed it’s mind. Because it was effective media?!”
“ Yes” she said, “ Hamas had to compete with the other terrorist organizations.”
We will probably never know what motivated the female suicide bomber who exploded prematurely thanks to an Israeli marksman. But we absolutely know the motivation of the terrorist army of Hamas and it’s political wing as well, which dispatched her and the donkey and which has turned their own people into human shields, and which celebrate their deaths because of the great media attention it brings them.
That is the truth, the shame , the horror. It is not my, or Israel’s or anyone else’s posturing,or , Heaven forbid, amelioration.
We know it because Sami Abu Zuhri, the Hamas official spokesman told us so, in two declative, Hemingwayesque sentences.
“ We are not leading our people to destruction. We are leading them to death"
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Sometimes with the day-to-day reports from the conflict between Hamas and Israel, the bigger picture gets lost.
We talked with former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren about the war. He reminds us the stakes in this conflict are nothing less than Western civilization.
Friday, July 25, 2014
This week on Jerusalem Dateline: The fighting in Gaza intensifies. Israel takes out Hamas tunnels while Hamas attacks scare the international community into cutting flights to Israel.
Meanwhile, the United Nations investigates Israel's conduct in Gaza, but British Col. Richard Kemp says they should be taking a closer look at Hamas.
Also, despite the conflict, churches in Gaza and the West Bank are preaching a message of peace.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Dan Gordon, a volunteer with Sar-El and a reserve captain in the IDF, told CBN News that the West needs to understand that when Israel pulled Israelis out of thriving communities in the Gaza Strip nearly nine years ago, Hamas took over and turned the place into a terror camp.
This happened even though Israel offered to help the Palestinians there.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
For years, Israel has treated Palestinians with difficult medical problems from the Gaza Strip and other areas, in Israeli hospitals.
Ironically, those hospitals sometimes come under fire.
But as Dr. Ron Lobel told CBN News, Palestinians are often forced to allow Hamas to use their homes and property to perpetrate attacks.
Lobel, deputy director of Ashkelon's Barzilai Hospital near the Israeli-Gaza border, told us one Palestinian woman's story.
Saturday, July 19, 2014
Capt. Dan Gordon's day job is a Hollywood screen writer. When war comes to Israel, he becomes a spokesman for the IDF and a bard for life under fire. Here's another of his dispatches from the front lines of Israel's unfolding history.
From whence cometh my help
The woman on the pop music show on army radio in Israel has a sexy voice; Not sexy like she’s trying to vamp you. Sexy like cute, like friendly, like you want to take her to the prom, like you want to share an ice cream cone with her or hold hands in the movies. That kind of sexy. Friendly sexy.. Easy going sexy. Hasn’t got a problem in the world and is ready to go to the beach with you sexy.
She’s just finished announcing a Michael Jackson song as if she had just heard it for the first time, as if that Michael Jackson song is the biggest, brightest, coolest thing in her day. She says it in a way that you’d never know there was a war going on. Now that’s not unusual for Tel Aviv girls because if there’s a war going on in the south or the north, the girl from Tel Aviv, like her tall and tan and young and lovely counterpoint from Ipanema, just goes walking, while everyone else, especially the soldiers fighting the war in the north or the south, just go awww.
But the odd thing is, there are rockets falling on Tel Aviv too and still her voice is cool and calm, friendly, soothing, not rushed, not panicked, just there, tall, tan, young and lovely and friendly and reassuring as she says after the Michael Jackson bit, “And please remember if you’re driving in your car and you hear the air raid siren go off, pull off to the side of the road, turn off the engine and take shelter. Lie flat and cover your head with your arms and stay that way for 10 minutes because just because you heard one explosion doesn’t mean there aren’t more on the way, Ok? Take care of yourselves.”
And then she plays another song, Queen singing “Find Somebody to Love.”
And I think to myself how very, very much I love this country and this people, who refuse to let war put fear into their voices, much less their lives. And as I am experiencing that reverie and wondering what the girl on the radio actually looks like, the air raid siren goes off. I am just entering Ashkelon and per the drill I pull the car off to the side of the road as do all the drivers in front of me. We have 15 seconds to take cover. A religious couple is in front of me, the husband with his arm protectively covering his wife’s head. I can see the rocket, can trace its arc. Interesting war in which almost none of Israel’s soldiers are under fire and almost all of its civilians are.
Suddenly I hear the husband reciting the words of the 121st Psalm. It’s a psalm that is part of the Sabbath service and though Shabbat is over the words seem to be written for right now, this very instance, as the Grad rocket traces its arc over our heads, “I will lift up my eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help?”
And I remember 2012, lying in a ditch by the side of the road with a rocket coming straight toward the small group of people with whom I’ve taken shelter, except I think the rocket is coming directly for me. I think it has Captain Dan Gordon written on the side of it and I am taking the whole thing, in the words of Sonny Corleone, “very personally.” Then suddenly out of nowhere, like Mighty Mouse, an Iron Dome missile swoops down and blows the Grad rocket with Captain Gordon’s name on it to smithereens.
"My help cometh from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved, he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep…The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth and forever more.”
And out loud I find myself saying “amen,” and I also find myself thinking,"That’s another difference between Hamas and us. We build our missiles to defend our women and children and they use their women and children to defend their missiles.”
The rocket passes overhead and after a few minutes the drivers get up from the side of the road, get back in their cars and continue with their day as if nothing had happened and I try to imagine that scene on the 405 in LA or the Long Island Expressway and I love this people, and the Lord who watches over her even more.
I’ve come to Ashkelon to interview Dr. Ron Lobel.
Because his hospital is the nearest to the Gaza border, I ask if he has any Palestinian patients.
“Only from Hebron and Bethlehem, not from Gaza,” he says.
“Oh,” I say, quite reasonably, “After the war you stopped admitting them?” That makes sense to me. Why would you treat the people who are trying to kill you?
“Not at all,” he says, “We would never turn them away. Hamas stopped letting them come for treatment.”
“And before the war?” I ask.
“Before the war on any given day you might find a Palestinian, possibly someone who was trying to infiltrate or plant an I.E.D. [improvised explosive device] who was wounded by one of our soldiers, and in the next bed you might find an Israeli who was wounded by a rocket that one of the first guy’s friends shot off. And the Palestinian might be treated by a Jewish doctor and the Jew might be treated by either an Israeli Arab doctor or a Palestinian resident,” he said.
“You train Palestinian doctors here?!” I ask incredulously. “Yes of course,” he said.
It turns out that when Israel occupied Gaza up until roughly 10 years ago, Dr. Lobel was in charge of their health care system, supervising 5 hospitals, 28 clinics and three birthing centers.
“And do you still maintain relationships with some of the doctors there?” I ask.
He looks at me as if I were a slow witted child, “They’re my friends, “he says simply.
If it weren’t for Hamas, he believes we’d have peace with the Palestinians of Gaza.
“You really believe that? “ I ask. “Absolutely,” he says.
“And has the hospital ever been targeted, ever been hit by Hamas’ rockets?”
He nods his head. “In 2008, a Grad rocket landed 300 meters [yards] from the emergency room. And another landed 4 meters from the delivery room and nursery. Luckily the Iron Dome shot it down.”
“And you still think there can be peace? When they try to hit a hospital?” (Coincidently, while setting their own command and control post underneath THEIR hospital in Gaza City…the hospital the Israelis remodeled for them.)
“Things aren’t always like they seem,” he says.
And we talk about the case of Wafa al Bas. She was a Palestinian girl who had been burned over a good deal of her body when a cooking stove exploded in her home in Gaza. She was brought to Israel for treatment at Soroka Hospital and burn center [in Beersheba].
The doctors saved her life and she went home. A few years later she tried to cross back into Israel, ostensibly for additional surgery on her burns. At the border crossing she was stopped because the guards had received a tip that a female suicide bomber was coming to blow up an Israeli hospital. In fact that’s exactly what Wafa al Bas was intending to do, except at the last minute her handlers told her to hit a more Jewish hospital because there were too many Arabs being treated at Soroka.
When she realized she was caught, she attempted to pull the cord and detonate the 20 pounds of explosives she had on her suicide bomber vest. When the bomb failed to detonate she pulled it again and again, like an inconsolable child. They finally diffused the bomb and she was arrested. The Israeli public thought she was a monster at first. How could they not?! How could a person do that to the very doctors who had saved her life?
Then her story came out. When she had come back from the hospital to her parents’ home in Gaza, her father said she looked like a monster because of her scars. What man would ever want to marry her now? Now she was a burden on the family and so the Hamas dispatchers put the suicide belt on her in her parents’ house. This way she could die an honorable death and not be a burden on her family because she was so ugly. When she tried to detonate the bomb, there were no Israeli soldiers around. The only person she would have killed would have been herself, which is what she ACTUALLY wanted to do. It wasn’t that she wanted to kill Jews. She just wanted to end a life that had become unbearable.
Like the doctor said, things aren’t always what they seem. Of course when she was one of the prisoners exchanged for Gilad Shalit and was sent back to her parents’ house in Gaza, she issued a public statement urging Gazans to take another Shalit (prisoner) every year.
Like the doctor said, things aren’t always as they seem.
I ask the doctor if he minds if I ask a personal question. “Not at all,” he says.
“Do you believe in Hashem (the word religious Jews use for the Almighty).
“I’m not what you would call a religious Jew,” he says, “ but yes of course I believe in Him.”
“And have you ever felt him manifest in your life?”
“ Every hour of every day,” he says.
Then the phone rings. The rocket that missed me earlier that day has seriously wounded a 16-year-old boy with a piece of shrapnel to his head.
The doctor and his team will be doing everything possible to save him, and they will pray, as will I.
Hamas has fired almost a thousand rockets at Israel thus far. A THOUSAND!! And this is the first serious injury.
As I drive back another barrage of rockets slams into the country. As I write this, I count half a dozen exploding not far away. Iron Dome takes out the majority.
Just before I came here I got into a disagreement with a very pleasant, very well-intentioned American woman.
“War is never the answer,” she says.
“It is when people are trying to kill you,” I say. “And then you better be good at it.”
“I’d rather die than kill,” she says with that wonderfully innocent American Midwestern look, which means she’s never had to seriously consider either one.
“My people tried that once,” I say, “It didn’t work out well.”
Later today I’m with some very elite soldiers and in my hand is a Tavor assault rifle, and overhead are Israeli-made drones on their way to take out missile launchers in Gaza as the Iron Dome tags another rocket out of the skies above us.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills, from whence cometh my help? From the Lord who made heaven and earth” and by whose Holy Grace my people can finally defend ourselves, by ourselves, instead of hoping for the kindness of strangers or even friends.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Here's a dispatch from the front lines of the war between Hamas and Israel by Hollywood screenwriter and IDF spokesperson Dan Gordon.
I have been an Israeli soldier for over 40 years and never in that time have I ever seen a war that Israel wanted less nor did more to avoid
At every stage of the current conflict, the government of Israel has given Hamas a chance to not just exit the conflict, but do so with its dignity, and honor, if a terrorist army can be said to possess such a commodity, intact. And at absolutely every stage Hamas has answered unequivocally, and in a manner that could not possibly be misunderstood, that this war was theirs.
They wanted it.
They created it.
They owned it.
Israel tried to create, at every turn, the beginning of a cycle of peace.
Hamas, at every turn, chose to perpetuate a cycle of death.
Were it not for Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system, a brilliant civil defense mechanism, a disciplined and courageous home front, and most of all a merciful and loving God, Israel would now have casualties mounting in the thousands, if not tens of thousands.
You cannot fire almost 1,500 missiles at dense civilian centers of population and expect anything less.
Therein lies perhaps Hamas’s and Israel’s dilemma.
Make no mistake. Hamas did not begin this war because of any occupation or to avenge the horrific death of a Palestinian teenager by a group of deranged, murderous Israeli Charley Manson’s.
There is not and has not been any occupation of Gaza in almost 10 years.
Hamas began launching its murderous rocket attacks long before the Palestinian teenager was murdered.
Indeed Hamas instigated the murder of three Israeli teen agers to drag Israel into the present conflict, and still Israel refused to take the bait, refused to attack the source of the problem in Gaza, contenting itself instead with a policing action in the West Bank.
Nor did Hamas begin this war because of their love for their Palestinian brothers and sisters in the Palestine Authority of Mahmoud Abbas. They, after all, deposed Abbas’s forces in a blood thirsty coup by lining them up against walls and machine gunning them to death.
Heaven help you if you have an ally like Hamas.
Hamas began this war for two reasons and two reasons only:
One was to preserve their own political power.
Having overthrown their Palestinian brethren (not the Israelis who had unilaterally withdrawn from Gaza the year before) in a bloody coup, Hamas now faced a perhaps unanticipated challenge. They actually had to govern. And that is something at which they have utterly and completely, through a combination of greed and corruption, failed.
Gaza has 40 percent unemployment.
They pump raw sewage into the Mediterranean.
They cannot afford to pay their own soldiers and civil servants.
Thus they faced a possible overthrow of their government for the commonest of all reasons. Their people were fed up with them.
At the same time they were regarded as not radical enough by a newer breed of terrorist like ISIS, al Qaeda and Islamic Jihad, who also threatened to topple them for not confronting Israel enough.
Thus a limited war against Israel, which they knew they would lose and which would hopefully provide a sufficient number of dead civilians to outrage western sensibilities, fit the bill perfectly.
How can you blame us about the economy? Look how the Israelis bombed us!
How can you say we’re not radical enough? Look how many thousands of rocket attacks we will have launched against the Zionist enemy.
How can you say we’re terrorists? Look how many dead children we have.
The other reason Hamas launched this offensive is because their Iranian masters told them to. That way Iran can tie nuclear concessions to the supposed genocide of the Palestinian Gazan people whose lives they, and Hamas both, have chosen to sacrifice on the altar of their own political gain and greed.
Make no mistake. This is Iran’a and Hamas’s offensive.
When the Egyptians, a Muslim Arab country, offered a ceasefire, endorsed by the Muslim Arab League, The Jewish State of Israel accepted it unconditionally.
Hamas said “no” by launching over a hundred new rocket attacks at Israel during the supposed ceasefire.
Still Israel did not respond.
The next day, the UN and Egypt, with the encouragement of the Arab League and the United States, asked for a five-hour humanitarian pause, a cease fire to allow innocent Palestinian civilians to get to safety and stock up on needed provisions.
The Jewish State of Israel said yes.
Hamas gave its response not just in renewed rocket attacks, but by sending some 13 to 15 commandos through a terrorist, homicide tunnel, dug under Israel’s border, and leading up to an Israeli civilian community. The terrorists were armed with a dozen anti-tank missiles, machine guns, grenades and thousands upon thousands of rounds of ammunition. Heaven forbid that they had made it the few thousand meters into the civilian bedroom community. With that kind of weaponry they could have killed and wounded hundreds and taken scores of innocent civilians as hostages. They would have made the Mumbai massacre look like child’s play by comparison.
Once again however, thanks to the alertness of Israel’s all female observation unit, which spotted the Hamas terrorist team, and thanks to Israel’s ground and air assets, which neutralized them, that attempt at civilian mass murder was foiled.
But even its failure served Hamas’s purposes -- because now Israel had absolutely no choice whatsoever but to launch a limited ground offensive into Gaza to deal with the clear and present danger and imminent threat of dozens of terrorist homicide tunnels whose purpose is not smuggling, but out and out murder of innocent civilians, all in the name of a “ divine victory” that will keep Hamas in power and please its Iranian puppet masters.
Here is the official communique of the government of Israel in the face of this almost unprecedented terrorist aggression.
“The prime minister and minister of defense have directed the Israel Defense Forces to open, tonight, a ground operation in order to strike at the terrorist tunnels that penetrate from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory…The prime minister and minister of defense have directed the IDF to be prepared to widen the ground action (if necessary). The directive was confirmed tonight by the security cabinet after Israel agreed to the Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire, which Hama refused, and after which, continued its rocket fire against Israeli cities.
Nor did Hamas honor the humanitarian ceasefire put forward by the United Nations, instead continuing its fire at Israel during the proposed “lull.”
In light of the spreading and unceasing aggression of Hamas and the dangerous penetration of Israeli sovereign territory, Israel is obligated to act to protect its civilian population. Operation Protective Edge will continue until its objectives have been achieved -- to return to the citizens of Israel a prolonged period of tranquility while striking in a significant way at Hamas’s infrastructure and that of the other terrorist organizations in Gaza.”
No civilized country on the face of the earth could do anything less for its civilian population.
There is no doubt that Israel will prevail. The only two questions now are how many of its own hapless civilians will Hamas unflinchingly sacrifice to maintain its political stranglehold on its own people and how many well intentioned Westerners will become their unwitting enablers.
For Israel there is an additional question. What is the price that we too will have to pay to buy our civilians another few years of peace and quiet?
But there is no doubt as to who has forced this horrible dilemma on both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.
Their name is Hamas and their master is in Teheran. And the responsibility for this wholly unnecessary unfolding tragedy is theirs and theirs alone.
Capt. IDF (res.)
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Capt. Dan Gordon is not only a reservist in the IDF, he's also a Hollywood screenwriter. When war breaks out in Israel, Dan leaves his scripts and heads to the Jewish state.He takes up his post as one of the spokespersons for Israel. Here's his latest dispatch on the latest development of "Operation Protective Edge."
Who's War Is It Now?
If there was ever any doubt before, there is none now.
This is Hamas’s war.
They got it.
They own it.
And they own all the consequences that will befall their own people whose lives and well-being, whose property and livelihoods, they have so callously exploited for two reasons:
The first and foremost reason they wanted this was, and is, to maintain their own power, to maintain the literal stranglehold they have on the hapless people of Gaza. As mentioned in an earlier article, Hamas was feeling pressed from two sides. When they seized power from their own Palestinian brothers in an absolutely bloodthirsty coup, during which they lined people up against walls and machine gunned them, pushed them, bound and blind folded off of buildings and terrorized them into submission, they faced what seems to have been an unexpected problem. Now that they had indeed “occupied” Gaza, they had to rule it. That means mundane things like providing electricity and water, processing raw sewage and collecting garbage and providing the conditions that would create, if not economic growth, at least prevent Gaza from falling into abject misery and poverty.
At all of these things, they have utterly and completely failed.
There is over 40 percent unemployment in a place that literally should, could, and still can, be the Singapore of the Middle East. Indeed they have failed so miserably that within the last few months they were not able even to pay the salaries of their own soldiers and bureaucrats.
Thus for the first time they were actually beginning to face demonstrations against their completely corrupt and incompetent regime, which they feared could become the first cracks in the dikes holding back a flood of discontent that could sweep them from power.
At the same time they were being pressured from newer breeds of terrorists like ISIS and al Qaeda and Islamic Jihad, who perceived them as too tame toward Israel. Thus their calculus was that a limited war against Israel, even one they knew they would lose, would be to their advantage. It would rally the populace around the flag, focus it’s anger at Israel instead of the Gazans’ own rulers and prove their terrorist street creed to their competitors.
In order to hype a conflict for which their own population showed absolutely no appetite, they promised” surprises” for the Zionist enemy, if not actual military victory. They dug a tunnel under Israel’s border and intended to use it to infiltrate their most elite commandos, who would then kill and kidnap as many Israeli CIVILIANS as possible.
Instead Israel discovered the tunnel and used it against them, used it to allow our own commandos to attack and wipe out the entire force that Hamas had hoped and promised would provide their own version of “ Shock and Awe.”
They infiltrated a terrorist cell onto Zikim beach near Ashkelon. Israeli forces discovered and destroyed them.
They have to date launched over 1,300 short, medium and long range missiles against Israel, promising to devastate the Israeli civilian population against whom their rockets were aimed. They promised to “Open the Gates of Hell” on the Zionist enemy.
Instead, thanks to its Iron Dome missile defense system, a civil defense operation second to none in the world, and a civilian population that has displayed the grace and courage under fire reminiscent of London under the Blitz, yesterday Israel suffered its first and only fatality; a civilian, father of three who had gone out to deliver food to the soldiers. Just a nice man, doing a good deed. That is, thus far, Hamas’ Divine Victory.
The only misery they have managed to inflict has been what they have visited against their own people.
There is one other reason Hamas decided to go to war against Israel. Their Iranian puppet masters told them to. In that way, Iran, engaged in supposed nuclear negotiations with the West could now say, “How can we make concessions of any kind when the Zionist enemy is committing genocide in Gaza?” That, after all, is the tune to which Iran has taught to its Hezbollah and Hamas puppets to dance, a terrorist two step if you will; commit acts of terror against Israel’s civilian population while hiding behind your own civilian population. Launch your rockets from school yards, mosques, hospital courtyards and crowded neighborhoods and then when Israel, having no other choice but to strike those rocket launchers, attacks them, accuse Israel of genocide. That way you can both be a terrorist and claim the mantle of victimhood.
One can’t blame them for doing it because to a degree it works. There are only too many apologists and enablers in the West for whom this perversion of morality and logic has almost taken on the aura of religion. Israelis are white European colonialists oppressing the brown skinned indigenous people.
Never mind that the majority of Israel’s population comes from the Middle East and have lived here for thousands of years and were turned into homeless refugees when they were driven from their homes in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Lebanon and other Middle Eastern states for the crime of being Jews. Facts don’t matter. Only the mantra does.
That Hamas started this war is beyond doubt. They began by launching rockets into southern Israel in clear violation of the 2012 cease fire agreement, which was the result of the last war they started with Israel.
But Israel didn’t respond, saying instead that “calm would be met with calm.”
Then Khaled Meshaal, chairman of the Hamas political bureau, not its military wing mind you, but the supposedly more moderate, political wing, issued a public call for Hamas cells in the West Bank to kidnap Israelis. And one of those cells answered the call and kidnapped three Israeli school boys on their way home from school and then murdered them in cold blood, laughing and singing as they did so, “We got three! We got three.”
And still Israel did not attack Gaza. Instead it carried out a police action in the West Bank trying to put Hamas out of operation there before they could turn the West Bank into another Hamasstan only a few miles from Tel Aviv.
Of course there were those who then pointed to the horrific torture and murder of an Palestinian teenager by a demented group of Israeli, murderous thugs as a sure sign that there was a moral equivalence in this struggle. “The Palestinians killed three Jews; the Jews killed a Palestinian teen.” What’s more, a handful of Israeli police brutally beat the Palestinian /American teenaged cousin of the murdered boy. "If that isn't evidence of moral equivalence between Hamas and Israel, what is?”
But every society has cold blooded murderous thugs. To confuse the Charley Manson’s or Ted Bundy’s of the world as being one and the same with Osama Bin Laden is either intentionally disingenuous or betrays a flawed moral or intellectual compass, or both.
Moreover I was a specialist reserve officer with LAPD at the time of the Rodney King beating. It was an awful thing, a horrible thing, and betrayed the fact that LAPD had real problems, especially with regard to its attitudes and practices toward LA’s minority communities. But that did not make the United States of America the moral equivalent of al Qaeda or Hamas.
But let’s say you just don’t buy that. Let’s say you simply believe the Zionist racist society was indeed committing genocide in Gaza. Yesterday Egypt, a Muslim Arab state, offered up a ceasefire proposal that Israel accepted unconditionally. It was to have gone into effect at 9:00 a.m. this morning. There was a chance to end the bloodshed, end the suffering, not just of the Israeli people, but especially that of the Palestinian people in Gaza about whom so many in the world have rightly expressed so much concern. There was a chance to put an end to the supposed cycle of violence. Hamas gave its answer within an hour. They launched a barrage of rockets at Israel’s most populous city, Tel Aviv. Had it not been for the Iron Dome intercepting all of them there would have been thousands, not hundreds of casualties. Since then another hundred rockets have rained down on Israel. I had the dubious honor of having had Iron Dome keep me above ground once again.
This morning there was a chance for a cycle of peace.
Hamas has answered that with war. Now there can be no doubt as to the legitimacy of what Israel must do. And what, all in all, are Israel’s goals in this conflict?
Not peace. We know that won’t happen as long as Hamas’ charter says’ We go forward to the fulfillment of the promise that “the time will come when the Muslims will rise up and kill the Jews until the rocks and the trees cry out, ‘O Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me. Come and kill him.’” That’s their charter. That’s their “We the People.” No we’re not so naive to believe that this will be the war to end all wars and the peace will descend upon our beleaguered nation. Our goal, our hope, our prayer…is just for a few more years of quiet in which to raise our children and grandchildren until the next time we have to fight simply for the right to live in the Jewish state.
But make no mistake. From now on, this is Hamas’s war.
Only those who prefer to see the sheep’s clothing, rather than acknowledge the wolf within, will see it for anything else.
Capt. IDF ( res.)
Monday, July 14, 2014
1. Hamas’s violent history. Since 2001, Hamas and other terror groups inside Gaza have fired nearly 14,000 rockets and mortars into Israel. That’s an average of three attacks a day. Those attacks increased after Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005 to bring quiet on its southern border. The question remains: what other country in the world would endure such a barrage? For example, would the U.S. tolerate such an onslaught from Mexico or Canada?
2. We’ve seen this movie before. In 2008/09 Israel launched Operation Cast Lead in 2012 it began Operation Pillar of Defense to end intense rocket attacks during those periods.
3. Israel strives to reduce civilian casualties. While tragically a number of civilians have died inside Gaza, in each operation, Israel employed and employs precision strikes to eliminate the rocket attacks while aiming to protect innocent civilians inside Gaza. “Knock on the door” is the name of the policy. It calls and/or texts residents warning them of an imminent attack. They will also abort an attack if they know civilians are in the area. They have also dropped leaflets by the thousands to warn residents to flee. Hamas counters that policy by calling its people to act as human shields.
5. Hamas and Israel employ two radically different styles of warfare. The Israeli tatement: “We use missiles (Iron Dome) to protect our citizens while they use their citizens to protect their missiles” sums it up. Hamas shoots missiles into Israeli civilian areas while shooting missiles from civilian areas inside Gaza. Israel regrets civilian casualties inside Gaza. Hamas celebrates civilian casualties inside Israel.
6. Hamas is a radical Islamic group. Their charter states their movement “… strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine” (Article 6) and “ … the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realization of Allah's promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said: "The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him …” (Article 7). Hamas is the child of the Muslim Brotherhood and part of the same family as ISIS and Al-Qaeda. Israel’s fight is the same fight as the U.S. and the West.
7. The calculus of the conflict: The world counts the casualties on both sides and inevitably shifts the blame towards Israel. Israel invests millions in self-defense like the Iron Dome anti-missile system and a sophisticated nationwide civil defense program. This results in a minimum of casualties. Hamas often places its population in harm’s way resulting in hundreds of casualties. Israel’s lack of casualties and Gaza’s number of casualties leads to the conclusion that Israel is the aggressor when in fact; it’s defending its citizens. When Hamas stops firing, so will Israel. In the meantime, the diplomatic pressure grows on Israel to stop the fighting while Hamas survives to launch its missiles another day.
8. Hamas disappears. During Operation Protective Edge as with the previous operations, Hamas leaders go underground. It’s reported Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is hiding underneath Gaza’s main hospital. They also control the image from Gaza. You rarely, if ever, see a Hamas terrorist firing a missile. What you do see is the suffering, the burials and the wounded. Civilians in Gaza are often the pawns in this conflict. Freedom of speech inside Gaza is not tolerated. While Hamas enjoys a great deal of support, you will rarely if ever hear a critical statement about Hamas. It might be their last.
9. It’s not over. Unless Hamas is overthrown completely - an unlikely prospect - this conflict will likely have another chapter … and another.
10. The Red Alert App has brought the conflict to the world. Now downloaded more than half a million times, the app tells in real time when a rocket is fired and where it’s headed. It gives Israelis a chance to find shelter. It also is being used by Christians around the world to redeem this situation and remind them to pray for all sides in this seemingly intractable conflict.
Friday, July 11, 2014
This week on Jerusalem Dateline: As Hamas launches scores of rockets deep into the heart of Israel, the military is responding. Government advisor Dore Gold explains why Israel does what it does to protect its people.
And we'll take you to "Rocket town," the bomb shelter capitol of the world.