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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Gaza, Again

As some may have noticed, I think the problems in Mexico, while mostly unnoticed, are of much more immediate concern to the US than the problems in the Middle East. But, yet, the Middle East gets the attention.

Here is commentary on Israel and Hamas, by Michael Yon, exclusive to Instapundit.

Michael Yon is a freelance writer who has been traveling in the Middle East and as far afield as Afghanistan, reporting on what is going on. He has been doing this for several years. Here is his web site.

But, back to the piece. Michael Yon is writing from Israel, where he has traveled to Sderot, a town that has received a number of the thousands of rockets fired into Israel from Gaza.
The playgrounds in Sderot come equipped with bomb shelters, decorated with kid-friendly art. When the alarms sound, the youngsters have 15 seconds to dash, tumble or waddle into a shelter before impact, or risk being torn asunder.
Mr Yon, who took a taxi driven by a Muslim Arab for his visit to Sderot, seems to have strong feelings about Hamas.
I considered going to Gaza, to hear the other side of the story, but after having seen so many terrorists attacks up close, there seemed little value in taking such a chance with my life, just to hear ramble from a leadership that condones and executes terrorism and launches thousands of rockets at school kids. Stories like this from April 2007 Times Online make it clear enough:

“The family of a BBC journalist kidnapped in Gaza appealed for his immediate release yesterday, as it emerged that Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, had informed the corporation that the journalist was alive and well.

This was the first sign from the Palestinian authorities that they had received any information on the welfare of Alan Johnston, the BBC Gaza correspondent who has now been held longer than any other Western hostage in Gaza.”

The story goes on:

“Mr Johnston, 44, the BBC Gaza correspondent for the past three years, was seized in Gaza City on March 12. About 20 foreign journalists and aid workers have been abducted in Gaza in the past year. However, the kidnappings have typically ended shortly after the capture of the victim.”

It makes no sense to risk life and limb only to allow people who intentionally target children to talk through my pen. Not until they stop the terrorism. Those members of the press who transmute Hamas’s crocodile tears into ink only exacerbate the disease.

Recently, I traveled about a thousand miles around Afghanistan, without military, to learn more about the country. Taking chances for good people is one thing, but taking chances to talk with Hamas terrorist leaders, whom I would not believe anyway, is just not smart. Their propaganda is widely available.

One can roam Israel at will, write as one wishes, without reprisal. The choice is easy: the Israelis won’t kill the messenger, even when journalists mercilessly rip into them.
We don't make peace with our friends. We make peace with our enemies. But, is there peace to be made with Hamas? Former President Jimmy Carter seems to think so. Others do not. But, many think that it is the United States than can make the difference, the United States that should weigh in and make peace happen.

What do you think?

Regards  --  Cliff


Craig H said...

I think, by holding millions of innocent Palestinians hostage to the criminal violence perpetrated by terrorists, that we are complicit in allowing terrorist control of the territory. Reporters who DO risk their lives to discover the truth of what's happening on the ground in Gaza are finding things that are far more heinous than playgrounds equipped with nearby bomb shelters. Children massacred by their being unable to escape the military actions in their neighborhoods are just as much a tragedy as those threatened by a terrorist rocket.

Let's be clear: THREE Israeli citizens have died in the recent violence. OVER SIX HUNDRED Palestinian civilians have died over the same stretch of time. We should never diminish the tragedy of the three. But we must be vigilant not to ignore the tragedies of the six hundred simply because it is inconvenient or dangerous.

Because it's dangerous is all the more reason we need to invest greater efforts in reporting the truth of what is going on.

Craig H said...

I took a quick Google for blogs including Gaza content, and out of the hundreds/thousands found this one near the top with pictures and video from inside Gaza. I don't want to get into a discussion of bias, but I offer it because it contains information from reporters on the "other" side of the border.

C R Krieger said...

Kad Barma gives us a different look at the Gaza problem. I do believe that it is helpful to distinguish between the Palestinian People and Hamas. The Palestinian People are suffering. On the other hand, if one believes the Declaration of Independence, the Palestinian People bear some responsibility.

That said, I read a recent report about a gun battle in Afghanistan where the local farmers ran home and got their guns and joined the Taliban side. The reason was not that they sided with the Taliban, but that in their culture to not participate would be bad. The Taliban was the local side and the US forces were the foreigners.

This story makes me wonder about the responsibility of the People of Gaza vis-a-via Hamas' actions. And, the vision of Hamas, which attacks Israel, in hopes of provoking a "disproportionate" response, which aids them in their efforts to isolate Israel and eventually achieve their goals.

The question of what is a "proportional" response is an important one.

I have not seen anyone put real numbers to it. The three Israeli citizens vs the six hundred Palestinians shows a large gulf. What is a proportional response? If Hamas manages to score a big hit--a school during the time the warning system is down--and kills 50 kids and a pregnant school teacher, is that proportionate? 100 kids, a pregnant school teacher and a grandmother visiting the school?

To end this madness we need to fix the root cause, but that is going to take cooperation, and a long blog post.

Regards  --  Cliff