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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Fisking an Independent(UK) column

It always amazes me how know-nothing liberals can look at facts and come to such amazingly wrong conclusions.

Here is a column in the Independent (UK) by Johann Hari that describes the Islamic Jew-hating terror in the Palestinian Arab territories - and blames Israel for it all.
I am sitting in a poky bedroom somewhere in Gaza City - I'm not allowed to know where - and opposite me is a huge beaming picture of Osama bin Laden, with the smoke from a burning World Trade Centre forming a black halo around his head. He is surrounded by a gaggle of jihadi angels: some Chechen fighters, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and our own Tube bomber, the Yorkshireman Mohammed Sidique Khan. "Would you like to see our weapons?" a masked jihadi says cheerfully, before thrusting a grenade into my hand.

I have come to see what Israel will confront in a generation if - as now looks certain after this weekend - they never, ever deal with the democratically elected Hamas government, but instead resolve to break it.

Coining one of the dullest clichés about the Middle East, Abba Eban, one of Israel's longest-serving foreign ministers, famously claimed that "the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity". Precisely the opposite is the case. As the Fatah President, Abu Mazen, tried desperately this Saturday to dislodge Hamas by calling for early elections, we need to remember a stark truth. Every time the Israeli government rejects a Palestinian leader because he is too hard-line, they do not get a cuddly Gandhian moderate in his place. They get somebody more hard-line still.
This should be an easy one to fact check. Let's look at Palestinian Arab elected leaders: Arafat, Abbas, Haniyeh. I'm glad we have intellectuals like Hari who can draw a straight line though those and find that Abbas was worse than Arafat.
Yasser Arafat endorsed a two-state solution, but couldn't accept a forever-and-always string of Bantustans bisected by Israeli settler-only roads as his half of the deal - so they rocketed and shelled the old man's compound until he died.
Don't remind Hari about what Israel really offered nor about that pesky intifada that has been raging for six years now. Nope....Israel just killed Arafat because he was such a peaceful person.
Many Israelis now look back on Arafat with near-nostalgia. Today the Hamas Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, says he can never accept Israel's existence. But he is offering a 40-year-long hudna (ceasefire) - provided Israel withdraws to the internationally recognised 1967 borders, as they should anyway under international law.
Hari fails to mention that UN 242 says no such thing. He fails to mention that the pre-1967 green line was never a "border" that was internationally recognized; it was an armistice line. He also fails to mention another small condition of this "hudna" - Israel's allowing millions ofPalestiniann Arabs to settle in Israel proper, thus destroying Israel.

No, all Hari sees is how great Hamas is for offering Israel peace in return for Israel's destruction. Is he being obtuse or is he being a purposeful liar?
Haniyeh is offering to kick all the tough issues down the road until 2046, and build two peacefully co-existing states, with no mutual violence. His track record of keeping his word on ceasefires is strong: in the current short hudna, Hamas has held its fire even as Fatah fires a few Qassam missiles.
Yes, let's look at Hamas' wonderful track record of keeping truces, shall we?

Notice also how Hari has gone from saying that Fatah is more moderate than Hamas in the third paragraph to now saying that Hamas is more interested in peace.
But the governments of America, Europe and Israel are snubbing this deal too. They say Haniyeh has to recognise Israel totally, and today. Until he does, his people will be "put on a diet", in the words of one Israeli government adviser. I have seen what this means: hospitals shut and shuttered across the West Bank, with women left to give birth at home like pre-modern peasants. The yellowish hue of malnutrition on children's faces. The empty and echoing schools.
Here he is just lying. The "shuttered schools" were because of a strike in September and October. No one is dying of malnutrition and hundreds of millions of dollars in aid gets through to Gaza from NGOs.

Also notice how he dismisses as absurd the idea that Hamas recognize Israel. Somehow, the fact that the PA did officially recognize Israel and Hamas is now in charge of the PA doesn't register with Hari - why, asking Hamas to recognize Israel is just crazy talk! Look how many concessions Hamas has done already for peace!
Tony Blair has been at the forefront of this programme to force Hamas to concede, and is in the Middle East to promote it further. For him, the onus is on the Palestinians living under military occupation to justify why they should be freed - rather than on the people who have been oppressing them on their own land for 39 years to explain why it should continue.
Yes, those nasty Israelis, insisting that their neighbors promise not to try to destroy it at every opportunity. How oppressive! Can't they just tear down the wall, invite them into their towns, and blow up with dignity and grace?
The result of breaking the democratic will of the Palestinian people will not be greater softness on their part. No. It will create more men like Abu Ahmad (a nom de guerre), who I sat with last week in the shadow of Bin Laden in a corner of Gaza.
Here yet again we see the fundamental pro-terror bigotry of leftist thinking - that the terrorists have no free will and no responsibility for their actions, and that they are forced into their opinions because of the criminal Western countries. Israel has no right to feel threatened by Arab terrorists but Arab terrorists have every right to terrorize because of Israel's policies.
"I want to kill and kill and kill again. I want to be a killing machine until, inshallah [God willing], I become a martyr," he said, staring at me intensely. He is 27 - my age - and murderous. He has just described how he slashed the throats of four female Israeli soldiers in an illegal settlement in 2002, and he chuckled as he described how they cried for their mothers. "All the Jews have to be killed," he says. The children? The women? "I prefer to kill soldiers, but they must all be killed in time. Soldiers first." The Holocaust did not happen, he says, "but it should have".
So whose fault is this naked Jew-hatred from a terrorist? Do you have to ask?
These crazed young men - the "troops" of Islamic Jihad - are the children of the first Intifada. They saw their parents peacefully protest, and the Israeli troops be ordered to "break their bones" as punishment. Abu Hamza, a sober, severe 26-year-old, explained he first joined Islamic Jihad when he was 10 - a year after he took his first Israeli bullet in the skull. He had been throwing stones and setting fire to old tyres in the street when it happened, and he became a local celebrity as the first child victim of the violence. "I was so proud," he said. He invited me to feel the scar on the back of his head. "Yes," he said with a smile, "we have been growing in popularity over the past few years. Very much."

All over Gaza and the West Bank, the assault on Hamas is creating groups like this to their right, deranged little pockets that will swell if Hamas is totally humiliated. At the moment, they are small, speaking - as Hamas did a generation ago - for only a small fraction of Palestinians. But for how long?
If only the Palestinian Islamic Jihad wasn't created in the 1970s, one could almost think that Hari knew what he was talking about. (Not to mention that it was an offshoot of the older Egyptian Islamic Jihad.)

Now that we have the theme that Israel is responsible for all Islamic terrorism, we can go to the next step:
Last week I tried to trace the footsteps of a new streak of Islamist fanaticism that has jutted suddenly into Gaza over the past month. A group calling itself Swords of Islam has started blowing up internet cafés - a symbol of extra-Koranic knowledge and cosmopolitan connection to the world. They have issued Talibanist threats warning that women who do not wear the hijab will be "burned", and that the internet is a "Zionist plot" to keep people away from "their religious duties".

In a bombed-out café named Montada Donajoun in the Jaballiya refugee camp, I spoke to the terrified owner. Basa Abu-Jased, 29, said, "Of course women are frightened now. [Even as a man] I am really frightened! I used to sit on the street and talk to women. Now I won't do it. You don't know what's going to happen." Almost everybody on the street was too frightened to speculate about who these people were; one woman suggested they were "maniacs who had returned from fighting in Iraq", but then hurried away.

It took a very long time to rouse the Palestinians to violence and produce these pathologies. Between 1967 and 1982 - as 200,000 Palestinians were expelled and more than one-third of their remaining land was stolen by fanatical settlers - just 282 Israelis were killed by Palestinians.
Didn't Hari ever hear of the airplane hijackings in the 1970s? The Olympic massacre? The other terror attacks? Black September? Oh, sorry, they don't count, because they don't fit the narrative of the peacefully demonstrating Palestinian Arabs that Hari is peddling. Out of scope.

Also, Hari wasn't born then.
But Israeli policies have virtually guaranteed a tip towards great violence and forms of madness. Every time the Palestinians have peacefully protested or negotiated, they have been choked further.
All those Israeli attacks on the territories during Oslo, without a single terror attack back. Right?
There is still - still - a majority in Palestine for peaceful coexistence with Israel, with 67 per cent supporting the Hamas proposal for a 40-year hudna.
Because they know what the offer was, unlike Hari. Notice also how he picks and chooses his polls to ignore any that might, just might, contradict his story of a peaceful Palestinian Arabs people.
But if their democratic will is treated with contempt by humiliating Hamas, this historical window will close.
Yes, Israel and the West must start rewarding Hamas for consistently proclaiming its desire for the destruction of Israel and killing as many Jews as it can, because the alternative is "worse."

And anyone elected democratically is automatically deserving of respect and honor. Unless he is named Bush.

Liberal logic at its finest.
Every year the occupation goes on, more deranged people like Abu Ahmad are smelted. "I love Osama bin Laden," he said to me as we parted, slapping me on the back. "I love killing."
As usual, it is all Israel's fault, so in the end Israel gets what it deserves.

Even the love that Abu Ahmad has for OBL and the Terror All-Stars (way back in the first paragraph) is all because of Israel.

And, by extension, all terror against the West is because of Western policies, and London and Madrid and New York all get what they deserve - it is the same logic, after all, that extremists are created by us. They couldn't possibly be responsible for their own actions, and Islamic extremism and the desire for a shari'a based caliphate and the inability for Islam to confront its own extremists has nothing to do with it.

Right, Johann?