Hamas Breaks Ceasefire, Israel Responds Destroying Military Targets in Gaza

Hamas broke their own ceasefire last night by firing more than five rockets and mortars into Israel.  These landed in populated civilian areas sending residents fleeing into their bunkers.  The IDF attacked back immediately destroying multile military targets in Gaza.

Is War Coming to Israel’s South?

There is no doubt that Iran is pulling the strings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in order to open up a third front against Israel.  The Gaza front has little to do with conquering territory.  Rather it is being activated with the sole purpose of draining Israel’s resources and attention away from the North, mainly from Iranian movements in and around the Golan. The war being waged against Israel, is designed to exact a psychological toll on Israel’s populace while buying time for Iran to find a hole in Israel’s defenses.

The first round of warfare clearly went to Israel, but unless Russia agrees to the total removal of Iran and Hezbollah from Syria and not just near the Golan, the noose will continue to tighten around the Jewish State.

Gaza – A “simple” solution

Denying—or delaying—the inevitable does not make it any less inevitable, only more costly


To remain at peace when you should be going to war may be often very dangerous….Let us attack and subdue…that we may ourselves live safely for the future. – Thucydides (c. 460–395 BCE)

No government, if it regards war as inevitable, even if it does not want it, would be so foolish as to wait for the moment which is most convenient for the enemy .– Otto von Bismarck (1815–1890)

If you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against – Winston Churchill (1874-1965)


This week, Gaza was once again simmering on the brink of largescale military conflict, the fourth in just under a decade.

Yet, even as the specter of recurring tragedy looms ever closer, the discourse (even—indeed especially—in Israel) on how to avoid “another round of violence” remained mired in a rehashed potpourri of previously disproven formulae—which ranged from the patently puerile to the positively preposterous; and from the blatantly inane to the borderline insane.

They are all doomed to fail—just as they did in the past. Indeed, even if the current efforts to sustain the current fragile calm succeed, it is only a matter of time until the inherent volatility reasserts itself and erupts once again. And again. And again.


Misunderstanding Palestinian pathology

Last week, I referred to a 2016 article in “Commentary”, by Prof. Michael Mandelbaum, of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, entitled, The Peace Process is an Obstacle to Peace. In it, the author attributes the failure of the effort to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to“…an inadequate understanding of the pathology it attempted to cure…[Accordingly], it did not solve the problem it was intended to fix, and it sometimes made it substantially worse.”

This is precisely the syndrome that we are witnessing right now.

None of the prescribed remedies address effectively the underlying causes of the malaise, which are being mistakenly imputed, by misinterpreting its symptoms.

Worse! What we are seeing is more than a mere misdiagnosis. It is nothing less than an utter reversal of causality; a complete inversion of cause and effect.

This is particularly disturbing when it comes from within much of the Israeli leadership. For although, overall, there is little disagreement that Hamas, and its even more radical Islamist offshoots, are responsible for the current outburst of violence, the dominant theme advanced for restoring and maintaining calm is through the improvement of the humanitarian conditions in Gaza.

This is a grave error! For, it is—demonstrably—both untrue factually and detrimental strategically.

Indeed, to base any policy initiative on such a tenet would, to paraphrase Mandelbaum, reflect a hopelessly “inadequate understanding of Palestinian pathology”. Accordingly, it would “not solve the problem it was intended to fix”, but, in all likelihood, will make “it substantially worse.”

Complicit with the enemy

To attribute the hostility toward Israel to the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza plays directly into the hands of Israel’s detractors. Indeed, it is, in effect, to be complicit with the enemy—endorsing its mendacious and malevolent narrative.

After all, it necessarily implies that if only Israel would somehow initiate/facilitate an improvement in Gaza’s living conditions, the violence would subside. This not only reinforces the false claims that Palestinian terrorism is driven by Israeli-induced economic privation, but also that Israel bears the responsibility for such terror, which is, therefore, no more than an understandable reaction to hardship and despair, externally imposed by an alien power.

But this, as mentioned previously, is a malicious inversion of causality.

For, the penury in Gaza is not the cause of Arab enmity towards the Jewish state. Quite the opposite! It is Arab enmity towards the Jewish state that is the cause of penury in Gaza.

The current conditions in Gaza are the result of neither a lack of international humanitarian aid, nor of Israeli largesse. Gaza has enjoyed an abundance of both, only to   squander them on efforts to harm Israel by diverting massive resources to the construction of a vast military infrastructure with which to assault the Jewish state.

Indeed, for anyone with even a smidgeon of familiarity with Israeli society and its basic impulses, must know that, had there been any genuine desire for peaceful coexistence with its Jewish neighbors, Gaza would have flourished.  Israeli enterprise and expertise, which transformed Israel from a struggling agricultural-based country to a super-charged post-industrial powerhouse in a few decades, would have flooded into the enclave, providing opportunity and employment for its impoverished residents.


Gaza: “Cutting its nose to spite its face”

So, in effect, the only thing that the Gazans need to do to extricate themselves from their current predicament is…nothing! All they need to do is stop what they are doing now—attacking Israel. Indeed, the only thing that needs to happen for Gaza to thrive is for them to convincingly foreswear hostility and embrace peaceful coexistence with Israel.

But of course, that will not happen! For that is not in the nature of the Gazan populace, who overwhelmingly (70%) endorse a return to armed intifada and who prefer “armed resistance” by a factor of two to one over “nonviolent resistance” or “negotiations”.

Nothing could symbolize the Gazan’s willingness to “cut one’s nose to spite one’s face” better than the destruction of the hi-tech greenhouses left behind by the Jewish farmers in the 2005 Disengagement. Rather than operate them for their own benefit, a frenzied mob trampled them into mangled ruin the moment the IDF left the area.

It should therefore be clear that the  priorities of the Gazan people, as a collective, are not to improve their socio-economic lot, but to inflict harm on the Jewish state, whose sovereign existence they obdurately refuse to accept—except as a temporary tactic to allow them to enhance their offensive capabilities to pursue a later endeavor to destroy it.

In this equation of enmity, resolving the conflict has nothing to do with what the Jewish state does (or does not do). It has everything to do with what the Palestinian-Arabs are—and what they are not!


Greatly enhanced military capabilities

Of course, the Gazans have shown considerable initiative, innovation and ingenuity—none of which has been directed towards developing socio-economic realities in the enclave.

If one surveys the enhancement of Gaza’s military capabilities since Israel withdrew in 2005, it is impressive indeed. In fact, had such progress been envisaged before the pullout, it is doubtful whether it would have been undertaken at all!

After all, back then, the most formidable weapon the terror organizations had at their disposal was a primitive rocket with a 5 kg explosive charge and 5 km range. Today, not only do they have an arsenal of missiles with a range of 100 km (possibly more) and a warhead of 100 kg (possibly more), but in December 2016, Hamas Political Bureau Member, Fathi Hammad, proudly informed Al Aksa TV: “If you look into the missile or weapon industries of developed countries, you will find that Gaza has become the leading manufacturer of missiles among Arab countries…

To this must be added the huge investment in the maze of underground terror tunnels (the last one discovered reaching almost a kilometer into pre-1967 Israel), the development of naval forces and of drone capabilities.

Significantly, after each round of fighting, despite the heavy damage inflicted by the IDF, the Gazan-based terror groups have ypically emerged with vastly enhanced military capabilities and political standing.


Soon drones with biological/chemical payload??

They have shown that they can transform everyday children’s playthings, such as kites, into instruments of extensive destruction, and forced Israel to develop hugely expensive defenses (such as Iron-Dome interceptors) to deal will risibly cheap weapons of attack (such as mortar shells).

Indeed, it is hardly beyond the limits of plausibility that Israel might soon have to face incoming missiles with multiple warheads, which disperse just before being intercepted, greatly challenging its missile defense capabilities. Or the development of some kind of anti-aircraft capabilities that could restrict—or at least hamper—Israel’s present unlimited freedom of action over the skies of Gaza.

Or worse, will Israel have to contend with the specter of a swarm of drones, armed with biological or chemical payloads, directed at nearby Israeli communities—rendering the billion dollar anti-tunnel barrier entirely moot? For those who might dismiss this as implausible scaremongering – see here, here, and here.

Israel’s decade long policy of ceasing fire whenever the other side ceases fire has allowed Hamas, and its terror affiliates, to launch repeated rounds of aggression, determining not only when they are launched and when they end, but also largely controlling the cost incurred for such aggression –ensuring it remains within the range of the “acceptable”.

This is clearly a recipe of unending and escalating violence—and must be abandoned before it culminates in unintended, but inevitable, tragedy.

Over 180 cases of attempted murder

Earlier this week, over 180 rockets and mortar shells were launched at Israeli civilian targets in a 24 hours period.

Each one of those projectiles was intended to take the lives of innocent Israeli civilians. As such, each launch was a clear case of attempted murder—and Israel should relate to them with commensurate severity. Poor aim on the part of the would-be murderers can—and should—not be a mitigating factor. The fact that, fortunately, no Israeli lives were lost is hardly the point here. Indeed, in the case of a shell landing in a kindergarten, terrible tragedy was averted only by happenstance—and a few minutes.

Persisting with the same policy as in the past will produce precisely the same results it produced in the past: Continued attempts at mass murder!

After all, there is not a shred of evidence that the Palestinian-Arabs will morph into anything that they have not been for over a hundred years, nor that they are likely to do so within any foreseeable time horizon. Indeed, as time progresses, such an outcome seems increasingly remote.

Accordingly, any policy paradigm based on the assumption that, somehow, they can be coaxed or coerced into doing just that, is hopelessly fanciful and fraught with grave perils.

Gaza: The “simple” solution

To formulate an effective policy regarding Gaza, we need to understand the pathology of what we are attempting to address. The source of the conflict is the physical presence of a large, implacably hostile Arab population on Israel’s southern border. Simple logic therefore dictates that to remove the source of conflict, that hostile population must be removed.

Israel will not be able to indefinitely endure recurring bouts of fighting—whenever the enemy on the other side feels sufficiently bold to launch an attack or sufficiently desperate not to be able to refrain from one.

Accordingly, the solution for Gaza is not, and cannot be, its reconstruction, but its deconstruction and the generously funded humanitarian relocation and rehabilitation of the non-belligerent Gazans to third party countries, outside the “circle of violence”.

To achieve this, the IDF cannot content itself with periodic punitive sorties, followed by a limited interbellum, in which the enemy regroups, rearms and redeploys, ready for the next round. It must conquer the entire Gaza Strip, apprehend (otherwise dispose of) the current Gazan leadership, dismantle the current mechanism of governance and begin a vigorous program of incentivized emigration of the non-belligerent population.

This is the “simple” solution for Gaza—and the only durable one. Of course, to say that it is “simple” does not imply that it is “easy”. Indeed, the great difficulty it entails is rooted in its brutal simplicity of “Them or Us”.

Clearly, the fact that it is relatively easy to propose such a harsh policy prescription in the air-conditioned comfort of my study does not make it any less imperative or less inevitable.

After all, denying or delaying the inevitable does not make it any less inevitable, only more costly when it inevitably comes about.

BIBI NETANYAHU: “It is Iran that is Responsible”

As calm began to return to the Gaza belt communities, Prime Minister Netanyahu touched on the IDF’s response the attacks by Hamas.

“Since yesterday the IDF has strongly retaliated against the firing from the Gaza Strip and has hit dozens of terrorist targets in the severest blow we have landed on them in years,” the Prime Minister Netanyahu stated at a ceremony for the victims of the Atalena.

“The Hamas regime, Islamic Jihad and the other terrorist organizations, inspired by Iran, that are responsible for the escalation. I will not detail our plans because I do not want the enemy to know what to expect. But one thing is clear: When they test us, they pay immediately. And if they continue testing us, they will pay dearly.”

“I salute the fighters of the IDF and the security forces and I commend the resilience of the residents of the south.”

As of tonight, the IDF’s strategy of hitting hard and early to prevent a cascading conflict appears to be working as Hamas has stopped firing rockets. Given the fluid situation anything is possible, but it appears that Hamas is rethinking its offensive.

Israel’s media problem

Published in Abu Yehuda

If endemic irrational hatred of Israel is viewed as a disease, then its primary vector is the Western mainstream media. Although social media have been gaining in importance recently, the traditional media organizations are still the Xenopsylla cheopis spreading this plague.

They had begun to become less and less sympathetic to Israel after the oil shock of the mid-1970s. I started noticing it in 1982, during the First Lebanon War. Never mind that we went into Lebanon because our people in northern Israel were being pounded by rockets, katyushot, fired from Lebanese territory by Yasser Arafat’s PLO. We were blamed for starting the war and sharply criticized for every civilian casualty. And then we were vilified because we didn’t prevent our Christian Phalangist allies from taking (well-deserved, in my opinion) murderous revenge on the PLO.

In 2000, we saw one of the most damaging incidents of fraudulent atrocity reporting, one which was used as an excuse for countless terror attacks, the al-Durrah affair. 12-year old Mohammed al-Durrah was not shot and killed by Israeli soldiers, and probably was not shot at all by anyone, but a Palestinian-produced “news” event, recorded by a Palestinian cameraman, legitimized and transmitted around the world by a (Jewish) French reporter and TV network, ignited a worldwide conflagration of hatred. It was one of the sparks for the Second Intifada, and al-Durrah’s “death” remains a staple of anti-Israel discourse today, despite the ample evidence that it was faked.

In 2002, Israeli forces fought Palestinian terrorists in the Jenin refugee camp, a battle in which 23 IDF soldiers and 53 Arabs, only five of whom were noncombatants, died. The media again – in this case the BBC was the prime villain – accepted fabricated Palestinian accounts as the truth, reporting 500 to 1000 deaths, the deliberate massacre of hundreds of civilians and their burial in mass graves, the destruction of part of a hospital, and more. None of it happened, but that didn’t stop the media from reporting it as if it had. And like al-Durrah, it is still an article of faith in much of the world that there was a massacre in Jenin.

It continued in 2006, during the Second Lebanon War. Social media was in its infancy – Twitter had been around for only a few months and Facebook was two years old and limited to colleges and a few corporations – but already there was communication and coordinated incitement via email, newsgroups, and blogs. Still, the mainstream media outdid itself, sucking up and spewing out Hezbollah propaganda, like the famous “Red Cross ambulance incident,” dissected by the intrepid blogger called “Zombie.”

The phenomenon has only increased since then, through our various Gaza conflicts. The media repeatedly ignored the provocations, the thousands of rockets fired into Israeli communities and the kidnappings and murders carried out by terrorists associated with Hamas; and they consistently accepted Hamas’ atrocity stories and casualty figures.

Most recently, Hamas’ attempted invasion at the Gaza fence has been presented as a “peaceful demonstration” at which Israel’s shooting terrorist operatives (53 out of the 62 dead have been identified as members of Hamas or Islamic Jihad) is described in the media as an “indiscriminate massacre of unarmed protestors.” Today, social media has come into its own, creating multiple echo chambers for anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish expression; but the “real” media continues to legitimize some of the worst narratives.

Naturally there is a close relationship between hating Israel and hating Jews, because Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. It’s instructive to recall the “3-D” criteria for determining when criticism of Israel crosses over into antisemitism – I prefer the expression “Jew hatred” – suggested in 2004 by Natan Sharansky: Demonization, Double standards, and Delegitimization.

The mainstream media, with a few exceptions (e.g., the Wall St. Journal and Fox News) is regularly guilty of at least the first two “D’s.” They are notorious for their double standards, especially including a double standard for credulity: almost any claims of Israeli misbehavior, cruelty, or criminality are repeated with little attempt at verification, even when the claim is made by a terrorist organization like Hamas or its sympathizers.

These claims – such as that Israel steals organs from dead Palestinians, a story first promulgated by Aftonbladet, a very “mainstream” Swedish newspaper – are often so outrageous as to be comparable to medieval blood libels, and clearly constitute demonization.

Prime examples of anti-Israel media somewhat more sophisticated than Aftonbladet are the New York Times and – what else? – the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz. Day in and day out they provide “coverage” of Israel and her conflicts according to the principle that “for Palestinians everything is permitted; while for Israel nothing is excused.” (I apologize for not remembering who said this first).

The New York Times has a history of hostility to Jewish concerns, which according to one book on the subject are a result of the assimilationist ideology of its Jewish publisher. Just as it minimized the Jewish dimension of the Holocaust, today it minimizes the anti-Jewish roots of irrational hatred of Israel.

Ha’aretz is interesting in that it isn’t really a newspaper for Israelis. Its Hebrew print edition and website have a negligible circulation in Israel, while its English-language website ranks about 2,300th among all websites in the US – not up with the Times, whose rank is about 30 (for comparison, Abuyehuda’s rank is about 4.9 million), but not bad at all.

Ha’aretz is the home of Gideon Levy, who writes a column almost every day viciously attacking the Netanyahu government, the IDF, or the 90% or more of Jewish Israeli society that does not live in North Tel Aviv and belong to the academic, media, or “creative” Left. Levy has enormous sympathy for Palestinians and illegal migrants, but none for IDF soldiers, Mizrachi Jews who still remember who their enemies are, or residents of South Tel Aviv whose neighborhoods have been destroyed by said migrants.

Can the mainstream media be fixed? I doubt it. Reporters and editors come from universities where anti-Israel activities are prominent, and tend to study liberal arts, “communications,” or journalism rather than history. Then they join a pool of like-minded individuals who encourage each other to engage in activist journalism. Correspondents in the field are manipulated by very media-savvy operatives from Hamas, Hezbollah, and the PLO who use a combination of threats and inducements to turn coverage in their direction. By contrast, Israel’s efforts are sporadic, poorly funded, and often poorly conceived. The major news organizations use Arab stringers in places like Gaza and southern Lebanon, who are ideologically anti-Israel, susceptible to threats, or both.

Could social media replace it as a reliable source for news? This is even less likely. Social media does have a role to play in keeping the mainstream honest, as illustrated by the Red Cross ambulance incident mentioned above. But if mainstream standards are eroding, social media has no standards at all. It is very subject to manipulation, as was demonstrated during the last election in the US. And efforts to clean it up, such as Facebook’s proposal to measure “trust” in various news sources are likely to make things worse.

There is no overall solution to her media problem, but there are things that Israel could do. One is to increase the available resources and professionalism of her various spokespersons, such as those of the Foreign Ministry and the IDF. Another is to establish worldwide satellite news channels – like Al-Jazeera – broadcasting in multiple languages, which would present accurate news together with entertaining content. This would be extremely expensive, but a drop in the bucket compared with the military budget.

Although Israel’s commitment to free expression prevents us from silencing our “Gideon Levites,” we can at least speak louder and more clearly, in order to ensure that the real story is accessible to anyone who cares to listen.

BOMBS AWAY: Israel Strikes Back at Hamas Overnight

With the increased mortar and rocket attacks coming from the Gaza Strip into Israeli population centers, Israel attacked back over night hitting more than 25 target in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas now claims it is requesting a ceasefire, however rockets were still being fired this morning into Israel.  The IDF’s strategy is to pound hard early on in order to end the offensive before it devolves into something larger. With Hamas claiming there is a ceasefire, it looks like the strategy is working.

Why Did Hamas Attack?

The mortar fire yesterday which sparked this round of hostilities between Hamas and Israel came at then of multiple weeks of riots and attempted infiltrations from Gaza into Israel.  Hamas was willing to use crowds to undertake terror operations against Israel, which included burning kites, which flew into Israel causing massive damage to crops.  Although this sort of thing had been taking a toll, it was not proving the necessary success Gazans needed to keep the game going.  The mortar attacks were part of the show, but now seemed to have been a miscalculation on the part of Hamas.

With most politicians unifying for a serious assault on Hamas if they don’t stop attacking, the ball has been squarley placed back in their court.  Then again, the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad have already vacated their above ground homes, running to safety in bunkers. They will have to decide whether its better to risk a real war, with no one in the White House to hold Israel back or calm the situation back down.  The choice is theirs.

HAMAS WAR: Nearly Hits Jewish School After Firing 28 Mortars

After weeks of riots on the border, Hamas has resorted to its old tactic of firing lots of mortars and rockets at Israel. One mortar landed next to a kindergarden. Thankfully no children were in the building at the time.

The IDF reports continuous shelling originiating from Hamas positions:

Following the attacks Tuesday morning, Israel’s Foreign Ministry tweeted a statement in response to the mortar fire, hinting that Israel would respond to the provocation.

Former Finance Minister MK Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) also responded to the attacks via Twitter Tuesday morning, saying that the IDF would use “necessary force” in Gaza, while calling on foreign leaders to condemn the terrorist attacks.

Responses to Lapid did not take long:

With tensions high in the Israel’s north, the IDF may have to contend with an increased threat of attacks coming from the Hamas controlled Gaza strip. The government has yet to finish their emergency meeting on the situation. However, it can be assumed the IAF will deliver a much harsher blow to Hamas and Islamic Jihad than before.

Inane …Again! Tom Friedman on Gaza

Tom Friedman’s last piece on Gaza is a “masterful” blend of personal bile & bias, liberally laced with logical inconsistencies, factual inaccuracies and even blatant non-sequiturs

What if all two million Palestinians of Gaza marched to the Israeli border fence with an olive branch in one hand and a sign in Hebrew and Arabic in the other, saying, “Two states for two peoples: We, the Palestinian people of Gaza, want to sign a peace treaty with the Jewish people — a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders, with mutually agreed adjustments. – Thomas L. Friedman, Hamas, Netanyahu and Mother Nature, New York Times, May 22, 2018.

…the American conduct of the peace process bears an unhappy resemblance to the custom of treating diseases by placing leeches on the body of the afflicted person: It was based on an inadequate understanding of the pathology it attempted to cure, it did not solve the problem it was intended to fix, and it sometimes made it substantially worse. – Michael Mandelbaum, The Peace Process Is an Obstacle to Peace, Commentary, April 14, 2016.


The really disconcerting thing about the New York Times columnist, Tom Friedman, is that, at times, he can actually produce some sensible and insightful articles—as long as he is not writing (or more precisely, ranting) on Israel. Or Trump. Or the Palestinians. Or Barack Obama…

Sadly however, whenever he makes one of his far-too-frequent forays into any of these “touchy” topics, his journalistic output invariably degenerates into patently partisan pamphleteering.


Lip-service to “balance”

But even compared to his past inanities, his latest column, “Hamas, Netanyahu and Mother Nature”, is a real doozy—a “masterful” blend of personal bile and bias, liberally laced with logical inconsistencies, factual inaccuracies and even blatant non-sequiturs.

Friedman begins his column feigning journalistic impartiality and paying perfunctory lip- service to “balance”, with some cursory condemnation of Hamas, acknowledging “its utter failure to produce any kind of decent life for the Palestinians there, whom Hamas has ruled since 2007”.

He accuses the Islamist terror group of “Cynici[al] and Reckless Disregard for One’s Own People in Pursuit of a Political Fantasy [capitals in original- MS] ”, and of “facilitating the tragic and wasted deaths of roughly 60 Gazans by encouraging their march, some with arms, on the Israeli border fence in pursuit of a ‘return’ to their ancestral homes in what is now Israel”.

But then, predictably, he quickly reverts back into his almost Pavlovian, Israel-bashing, Bibi-phobic mode—basically dismissing the importance of his previous censure of Hamas and shifting the onus onto…Israel: “So much for the “bad” Palestinian leadership. What’s Israel’s approach to the secular, more moderate Palestinian Authority in the West Bank…Answer: nothing.”


Moderate, secular Palestinian Authority??

The secular moderate Palestinian Authority!


Gee, I wonder if Friedman was referring to the same “moderate secular” Palestinian Authority, whose leader, Mahmoud Abbas, not too long ago, referred to the Jews as desecrating the Temple Mount with their “filthy feet”? Or who recently explained that the slaughter of millions of Jews during the Holocaust was due to their practice of usurious moneylending? Or who orchestrated a vicious campaign of incitement against the Jewish state, and praised the bloody violence in terror attacks against the Jews, proclaiming: “We bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem, which is clean and pure blood, blood spilled for Allah, Allah willing. Every Martyr (Shahid) will reach Paradise, and everyone wounded will be rewarded by Allah.”

That moderate, secular Palestinian Authority???

Friedman has of course, been long been captive to the seductive deception of two-statism. At the base of this dogma is the belief that, among the Palestinian-Arabs, there is a leader sufficiently reasonable to cut a deal acceptable to Israel and sufficiently authoritative to ensure its implementation.

Accordingly, in order to sustain their political credo, (or rather, “cult”), two-state adherents have to conjure up imaginary Palestinian-Arabs and an imaginary Palestinian-Arab society, significantly different from those that actually exist on Planet Earth.


Favoring fantasy over facts

Indeed, Friedman would do well to heed the somewhat contrite confession of yet another dogged advocate of two-statism, Aaron David Miller, formerly a senior State Department official, deeply involved in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, and today, vice president of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

In a recorded exchange, with the suitably gloomy title, “Today’s Bleak Prospects for Israeli-Palestinian Peace”, Miller acknowledged: “I would draw from my own experiences that when we failed in diplomacy, and particularly in the pursuit of Arab- Israeli negotiations, it was almost always because Americans – let’s forget the Israelis and the Palestinians for a moment—chose to see the world the way they wanted it to be, rather than the way it actually was.”

Significantly, this closely parallels the assessment expressed in the opening excerpt by Michael Mandelbaum, Professor of American Foreign Policy at The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, that “the American conduct of the peace process …was based on an inadequate understanding of the pathology it attempted to cure.”

Indeed, Mandelbaum puts his finger precisely on what Friedman, and those of his obsessive ilk, refuse to acknowledge. Writing in the final stages of the Obama administration, Mandelbaum counsels: “The next administration should tell the truth about the Israeli–Palestinian conflict: namely, that the responsibility for creating and perpetuating it rests with the Palestinian side.


Friedman: Favoring fantasy over facts

Of course, Friedman will have none of this hardnosed realism. For that, heaven forfend, would be to admit error of staggering proportions.

Accordingly, he embarks on a flight of fantasy into the realm of “what if”.

Wistfully, he asks: “What if all two million Palestinians of Gaza marched to the Israeli border fence with an olive branch in one hand and a sign in Hebrew and Arabic in the other, saying, ‘…:We, the Palestinian people of Gaza, want to sign a peace treaty with the Jewish people …’”

Well, perhaps the question Friedman should ask himself is: Why don’t they??

A truthful answer to this would be: “Because it is not in their nature!”

For, if they did, they would not be who they are! Indeed, as I have argued repeatedly in the past, the Gazans are not the hapless victims of their leadership. To the contrary, they are the very crucible in which that leadership was formed and from which it emerged.

After all, it was the general public that elected Hamas into power, over a decade ago, in an election generally considered free and fair—and with the outcome by-and-large reflecting prevailing electoral sentiment. Even today, there does not seem to be a major anti-Hamas metamorphosis in the overall attitude of the Gazan public.


Scant regret over Hamas?

Quite the opposite.

According to the findings of a very recent poll, conducted just as the unrest on the Gaza border began to flare up, by the leading Palestinian polling institute (in conjunction with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung), in a presidential election, a Hamas candidate would trounce Fatah’s incumbent Mahmoud Abbas by almost 2 to 1. Even in legislative elections, it seems that Hamas would hold its own against the rival Fatah faction.

Underscoring just how detached Friedman’s prescription is from reality is another finding in the poll: Almost 70% of Gazans support a return to an armed intifada. Moreover, Gazans chose “Armed Resistance” by about 2 to 1 over “Negotiations” and “Popular Non-Violent Resistance” as the preferred course of action against Israel.

Indeed, Friedman’s idea of Palestinian-Arabs, extending an olive branch with one hand, and placards proclaiming peaceful intent with the other, is not entirely new. He proposed the identical formula back in a 2011 anti-Bibi screed shortly after the fall of Mubarak in Egypt and in which virtually all his analyses/prognoses proved to be embarrassingly mistaken.

Yet, unchastened by his massive misreading of Mid-East realities back then, Friedman sallies forth yet again with his implausible proposal—now, if anything, even more implausible than before.


Banking on amnesia or ignorance?

Friedman empathizes (at least partially) with the Gazans’ rage: “I appreciate the Gazans’ sense of injustice. Why should they pay with their ancestral homes for Jewish refugees who lost theirs in Germany or Iraq?

Of course, unless Friedman is woefully misinformed, he is wildly—perhaps even willfully—misleading!

For the Arab residents of Israel did not lose their homes during the 1948 War of Independence to accommodate Jewish refugees, fleeing persecution in Europe and the Arab countries.

They lost them because of the failure of their Arab patrons’ aggressive initiative to annihilate any vestige of Jewish political independence. Accordingly, the 1948 displacement of Arabs was a result of categorical Arab refusal to accept a Jewish state and of the resultant Arab defeat in the Arab attempt to destroy it.

Friedman goes on to speculate on how better things might have been “if only” the hopelessly improbable had transpired. He laments: “If Hamas had chosen to recognize Israel and build a Palestinian state in Gaza modeled on Singapore, the world would have showered it with aid and it would have served as a positive test case for the West Bank. Hamas chose otherwise.”

On reading this, one can only shake one’s head in puzzlement and wonder whether Friedman is banking on the ignorance or the amnesia of his readers.

After all, the international community has showered aid on Gaza, only to have most of it diverted into construction of military infrastructure to be used against Israel, or into the personal bank accounts of the corrupt cliques who rule the enclave, and their complicit cronies.

Surely Friedman must know that Gaza has not degenerated into the current cesspool that it is because of any lack of international funding or of Israeli largesse. It has done so despite an abundance of both!


Infuriating and disingenuous
Friedman “graciously” acknowledges that “Israel has no choice but to defend its border with Gaza with brute force.”

But then, nimbly sidestepping the morass in Gaza, he goes on to berate Israel anyway, regarding Judea-Samaria: “… I find it a travesty that a country with so much imagination in computing, medicine and agriculture shows so little imagination in searching for secure ways to separate from the Palestinians in the West Bank…”

Of course to accuse Israel of showing insufficient endeavor in searching for ways to “separate” from the Palestinians is both infuriating, and disingenuous. Indeed, Israel has gone to incredible—even recklessly irresponsible —lengths to try and foist self-governance on the Palestinians—whether in terms of negotiated sovereignty under the 1993-5 “imaginative” Oslo Agreements or in terms of the unimaginably asinine unilateral abandonment of Gaza in the 2005 Disengagement, where even Jewish graves were unearthed to accommodate “separation”.

As it turns out, the real problem is not achieving “separation”—as the Gaza episode clearly shows. The real problem is to ensure that the post-separation realities will not be those that arose following the separation in Gaza—i.e. that Israel will not face a hostile mega-Gaza on the fringes of Greater Tel Aviv, overlooking Ben Gurion Airport and abutting the trans-Israel highway.


Blatant Bibi-phobic bile

But oblivious to all this—to past precedents, present realities and future probabilities— for Friedman, the real culprits are easily identifiable: Netanyahu and Trump!

Clearly willing to stand up for his so called “liberal” principles down to the last Israeli, Friedman pontificates: Israel has never been stronger than it is today. Hamas has never been weaker. If there were ever a time for Israel to take a few calculated risks to try to nurture a different pathway with Palestinians in the West Bank, it’s now”.

Leaving the reader to puzzle over what on earth a weak Hamas in Gaza has to do with taking huge risks in Judea-Samaria, Friedman rails on with puerile pique: “Unfortunately, its [Israel’s] prime minister is too cowardly, and America is too slavishly supportive, for that to happen”.

While I have many criticisms of Netanyahu, it is patently absurd to accuse him of being cowardly, unless Friedman is suggesting that to be “courageous” Netanyahu must bow to enemy demands; unless to be “courageous” is to concede to pressures to expose Israeli citizens to unacceptable risks…

And as for the overly “slavish support” of America, Friedman seems to have forgotten that for eight years, the White House was occupied by a president who was anything but “slavishly supportive” of Israel—and yet nary a sign of separation appeared on the horizon… I wonder why!

Clearly then, drivel is drivel, even when it appears in the purported paper of record—leaving one to wonder how this stuff gets published!

Swastikas over Gaza!

Nothing could expose the true intent of the Judeocidal riots on Gaza border more than the Nazi-style swastikas on incendiary kites flown into Israel to set Jewish property (& if possible, Jewish people) ablaze.

Hamas supporters in Gaza held the world’s first peaceful protest with hand grenades, pipe bombs, cleavers and guns. Ten explosive devices were peacefully detonated. There were outbursts of peaceful gunfire and over a dozen kites carrying firebombs were sent into Israel where they started 23 peaceful fires. And Israeli soldiers peacefully defended their country leaving multiple Hamas attackers at peace – Daniel Greenfield, Frontpage Mag, May 15, 2018.

“We will tear down the border and we will tear out their hearts from their bodies.” Yahya Sinwar, Head of Hamas, clarifying the peaceful intent of the rioters on the Gaza border, April 6, 2018.

Nothing could expose the true intent of the Judeocidal riots on the border with Gaza more than the Nazi-style swastikas, brazenly emblazoned on many of the dozens of incendiary kites flown into Israel with the purposeful intent of setting Jewish property—and if possible, Jewish people—ablaze.

Yet, despite the blatantly violent nature of the mob activity on, and around, the border, and the bloodcurdling exhortations of the Gazan leadership to butcher Jews, Israel is being excoriated in international forums for allegedly using uncalled for lethal force to prevent its borders being breached by a manifestly homicidal horde.

Crucible, not victim

Indeed, one needs little imagination to envision the gory consequences, if only a few score of frenzied fanatics—perversely dubbed “protesters”—were to breach the fence and break into a nearby Jewish community. There is little doubt that they would butcher the residents, ravage the women and raze the properties. After all, this is precisely what their leaders urged them to do.

Thus, a week before the head of Hamas had urged the Gazans “to tear out their [the Jews’] hearts from their bodies”, he shifted his anatomical focus somewhat, and called on them to “eat the livers” of Jews across the border.

One can only image the outcry had any Israeli leader used such gruesome rhetoric vis-à-vis the Palestinian-Arabs. But when used by the Arabs against the Jews—nary a muted squeal of protest! Is it just me or is that a blatant display of the soft bigotry of low expectations?

Two flimsy excuses are being bandied about in the mainstream media for the ongoing displays of hostility at the Gaza border.

Both portray the inhabitants of Gaza as victims – either (a) as victims of their leadership and/or (b) as victims of Israel’s repressive blockade of the hapless enclave.

With regard to the former, the Gazans are not the blameless victims of their leadership.

Quite the opposite!

They are the very crucible in which that leadership was formed, and from which it emerged.

To underscore this, a poll, conducted less than a year ago by a leading Palestinian survey institute, found that 85% of Gazans supported maintaining payments to “security prisoners” (read “jailed terrorists”), who have murdered countless Israelis in cold blood.

Israeli sympathies for the Gazans should, therefore, be tailored to these sentiments.

Confounding cause with consequence

Indeed, an up-to-date poll, conducted this month by the same Palestinian institute, showed that the Gazans display little remorse for their election of Hamas. Thus, according to its findings, in a future presidential election, Hamas’s Ismail Haniyeh would trounce incumbent Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah by almost two-to-one!

These revealed preferences of the Gazan public bring us to the other purported “victimhood” claim regarding Israel’s security quarantine.

The refrain currently being aired is that the violence manifested at the border is the result of pent up frustration of the public over the dire socio-economic conditions that prevail in the Gaza Strip: Largely undrinkable water, perennial power outages, raw sewage overflows and polluted beaches. The blame for this dismal condition is being laid at Israel’s doorstep for the alleged restrictions it imposes on the Gazan economy. Thus, according to this so-called “reasoning”, the only solution is the lifting, or at least the loosening, of the quarantine to alleviate the despair and desperation of the impoverished and suffering populace.

However, it is demonstrably and indisputably clear that the imposition of the quarantine on Gaza is the consequence—not the cause—of Arab enmity towards Israel.

It is the result of, not the reason for, the Judeophobic incitement and the Judeocidal aggression that have become the hallmark of Gaza ever since Israel unilaterally evacuated the enclave, well over a decade ago—and recently so irrefutably illustrated by the swastikas flying over the enflamed mob, chanting slogans calling for the slaughter of the Jews and destruction of their state.

Incipient anti-Semitism: Expecting Jews to die meekly

Accordingly, since the security quarantine was instituted to protect Jews from Arabs who sought to kill them, the demands to have it removed, or made less thorough in discharging that function, are inherently anti-Semitic. For the unavoidable significance of these demands is to undermine the ability of the Jews to defend themselves against those who would eagerly slaughter them—and as such, are in effect, a call for Jews to die meekly, or, at least, not to overly inconvenience their would-be murderers.

Moreover, the calls for increased humanitarian aid are a deceptive “red herring”—either maliciously misleading or naively misguided.

Indeed, for years, Gaza has been the recipient of massive humanitarian aid—reportedly among the highest per capita on the planet—both from international sources and Israel. Israel routinely—some might say, perversely—allows in thousands of trucks weekly, laden with merchandize to improve the welfare of a population, which if it could, would tear its citizens limb from limb—“rip out their hearts” and “eat their livers”, to reiterate the exhortations of their leadership.

However, regrettably and routinely, the bulk of humanitarian aid is promptly expropriated by Hamas for its own nefarious purposes and for lining its own nest—and those of complicit cronies.

Thus almost inevitably, any easing of current security restrictions would be exploited by terror organizations—as has been the case in the past—to perpetrate further assaults on Israelis.

Current humanitarian aid perpetuates the conflict

The socio-economic plight is neither the result of scarcity of cash nor of any lack of largesse on the part of Israel. To the contrary, the Gazans have enjoyed a plethora of both. Both have been purposely misused.

Indeed, it would take an exceptionally contorted mind to believe that Israel was investing huge effort and treasure in constructing a multi-billion shekel barrier—over 20 foot high above ground and 130 foot deep below ground—described by IDF Chief of Staff, Gadi Eizenkot as the “largest project” ever carried out in Israel’s military history, merely to make Gazans more miserable rather than to make Israelis more secure.

After all, the dominant (albeit, mistaken) view in Israel’s political and military Establishment is that a prosperous Gaza, which, it is presumed, will also be peaceful, is an Israeli interest. Accordingly, Israel should endeavor to prevent economic meltdown in the Strip.

This is a grave error.

Gaza has descended to its current depths not because of a dearth of dollars, or a deficit of Israeli good-will—but because of the brutal and dysfunctional nature of its society. Greater funding and more Israeli leniency will not remedy that malaise. To the contrary, they will only exacerbate it.

Worse—it will only prolong the conflict, increase the toll of casualties, allow the enemy to enhance its capabilities and extend the suffering it was designed to end.

“…a traumatic scar on collective Arab memory…”

In October 2000, close on two decades ago, just after the outbreak of what has become known as the “Second Intifada”,  I wrote a (Hebrew) opinion column, in which I warned: “the current outbreak of violence will not end without the use of massive military might that will leave a traumatic scar on the collective national memory of the Arabs”.

Today, almost two decades later, Israel is suffering the result of its unexplained—and seemingly inexplicable—reticence to use its overwhelming military dominance to achieve strategic victory over its far weaker adversaries—and lasting security for its own population.

Thus, in the North, it has allowed Hezbollah to exploit periods of calm to develop from a small guerilla group of mainly nuisance value, into a significant strategic threat, with well over 100,000 missiles, many of them precision guided, capable of hitting virtually any target—military or civilian—in the country.

Similarly, when Israel pulled out unilaterally from Gaza, the most formidable weapon Hamas had was a primitive rocket with a 5 kg explosive charge and a range of 5 km. Today, it has enhanced its capabilities beyond anything imaginable then—with not only missiles having ranges up to 100 km and warheads of 100kg, but a maze of underground attack tunnels, naval forces, and is developing its expertise in drones.

Thus, although the Gazans have failed miserably in developing the socio-economic foundations of their society, they have shown considerable initiative and creativity in developing means and methods of terror. Accordingly, it would be a grave error to underestimate the current threat of mass breaches of the border by murderous mobs. Indeed, the longer the attempts persist, the more likely they are to develop new tactics and the means to challenge IDF counter measures.

Decades of dereliction of diplomatic duty

But beyond the gravely detrimental operational implications involved in letting the violence at fence drag on, the implications in the diplomatic field are even more disturbing.

For as we have seen in the past, even if Israel does enjoy sympathy at the start of some violent encounter (like the 2006 offensive against Hezbollah), this is quickly eroded away as time draws on. Indeed, prolonged clashes allow Israel’s detractors to mobilize, concoct anti-Israel fabrications, garner support for fallacious accusations of “disproportionate” use of force and portray its adversaries as the blameless victims of the “Zionist ogre”.

But to give the IDF the freedom of action it requires to terminate the current threat permanently—or at least, for any foreseeable future—it needs diplomatic cover.

It is here that Israel has been derelict for decades in discharging its diplomatic duty—both quantitatively (in terms of resources allocated) and qualitatively (in terms of the objectives defined).

With regard to the former, Israel has been appalling miserly in the resources it has allotted to strategic diplomacy—if that concept was at all relevant in the country’s strategic planning. It has allocated literally miniscule sums to advance its case on the international stage and to undermine that of its detractors/adversaries.

As I have pointed out repeatedly, if Israel would apportion a mere 1% of state budget for a strategic public diplomacy offensive, this would make well over a billion dollars available for this purpose.

Indeed, unless one is convinced that deceit and deception are preordained to prevail over truth and justice, I am sure, even the skeptical would concede that with over a billion dollars, Israel could change a lot of minds and win a lot of hearts.

This then, is the first step in quelling the violence in Gaza.

General context, not eventspecific endeavor

With regards to the latter (qualitative) aspect, the principal focus of Israel’s diplomatic effort must not be on trying to explain/justify ex-post specific events—after they have taken place. Rather it must endeavor to redefine, ex-ante, the general context in which those specific events are perceived and interpreted.

This distinction is crucial—for the same event can be interpreted in very different ways depending on the context in which they are seen. After all, if Israel is persuasively portrayed as a lone democracy, valiantly striving to maintain western values in a surrounding sea of tyranny and theocracy, its actions are far more likely to win approval than if it allows itself to be presented as a cruel and avaricious behemoth, trampling the rights of the deprived indigenous natives. Likewise, the Palestinians are far less likely to receive international sympathy if they are—accurately—depicted, not as the victims of some brutal colonial interloper, but as comprising a cruel backward society, bent on nothing less than the extermination—or at least the subjugation—of the “Other”.

It is difficult to overstate the practical importance of this. For unless Israel can transform the context in which events—such as dealing with the homicidal thugs on the Mavi Marmara, or the murderous mobs massing on its borders—are perceived, it will never be able to provide its military the chance to achieve any lasting strategic solution to the threats the nation faces.

This is a topic to be elaborated on in future columns. Until then, it would be just as well to keep in mind the theme Netanyahu articulated several times this week: Policy should be based on truth.

Nikki Haley Walks Out of UN During “Palestinian” Envoy’s Speech

Nikki Haley keeps on showing why she deserves to be the United States Ambassador to the UN.  After her speech at the UN, where she defended Israel’s use of force against “Palestinian” terrorists dressed as protestors, she decided to lodge her own protest against the “Palestinian” Authority by walking out while its envoy Riyad H. Mansour was speaking.

Mansour claimed Israel indiscriminately shot unarmed civilians and committed genocide.  Two claims proven false by Hamas’ own admission. Later he spoke with ABC outside saying:  “We condemn in the strongest term the atrocity by the Israeli occupying forces using this massive firepower against civilians who have the right to demonstrate peacefully, and they have been demonstrating peacefully.”

Mansour continued: “We demand that this action be stopped immediately, and we want those responsible to be brought to justice from the Israeli side because this is not allowed under the provisions of international law.”

Yet, Mansour’s claim the “Palestinians” were protesting “peacefully” has been proven wrong by Hamas’ own admission.

See the image in the Tweet below:

Here is just one of many examples of their “non-violent protest”:

and of course another example:

Nothing beats their own leadership admitting “these are not peaceful protests,”:


“Israel is Off the Hook Again?” State Department Reporter asks Heather Nauert

In the following video an unnamed State Department reporter is heard harrassing Heather Nauert over the administration’s support for Israel’s right to defend itself.

Nauert rebuffs the reporter, but he inists on questioning the adminstration’s defense of Israel’s actions on the Gaza border.

“How is it not justification for killing, for Israel killing, when you say ‘Israel has a right to defend itself?’” the reporter asked. “Israel has a right to defend itself and there are no Israeli casualties and there are literally tens of thou-, over ten thousand Palestinian casualties and a hundred deaths.”

The above questioning uses the often made equalization statement, which makes it all about body count.  Of course that is offensive and border line anti-semitic as it inisists that the only time Israel has the right to defend itself is if Jews are killed first and of course in equal amounts to enemy numbers.

This is of course ridiculous.  If the IDF had not opened fire, hundreds and potentially thousands of Israelis would be killed from the hoardes of people carrying grenades, guns, and molotov cocktails.

The reporter also made a comparison between border patrols on the US-Mexico border to Israel-Gaza border.  “The U.S. isn’t mowing down people along the U.S.-Mexican border, isn’t that accurate?” the reporter said.

As bad as the border situation is on the US-Mexico border, Mexico is ruled by a terrorist entity willing to pay tens of thousands of people to ram the border fence, fly burning kites in US territory, and throw grenades and rocks at US soldiers.

This sort of thinking is what is driving leftists like Bernie Sanders to make statements like the following: “Instead of applauding Israel for its actions, Israel should be condemned. Israel has a right to security, but shooting unarmed protesters is not what it is about.”

The David-Goliath trope running through the left is what is driving their perception of reality disconnected from the real world. Then again this is the same group that doesn’t believe in national borders.