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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hitler's Children

February 4, 2009:

Strategy.com

While Arabs love to call Israelis "Nazis", it is the Arab world that is the true heir to the Adolph Hitler's vision of how the world should be. A major weapon in the Palestinian arsenal is anti-Semitism. For a long time, even before World War II, the racial hatred tactic was particularly popular in the Arab world. This was partly the result of Islamic radicalism, which pushed hatred of all non-Moslems, not just Jews. But as more Jews began moving into Jerusalem and surrounding areas in the late 19th century, more of the Moslem racial animosity was directed at Jews.

This was not the usual ethnic animosity found in Europe, but something more in line with the extreme violence of the Nazis. In fact, during World War II, the Nazis were very popular in the Arab world. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem (the highest Islamic official in the area) spent the war in Berlin (to avoid arrest by the British). Iraq, which had become independent during the 1930s, declared itself a German ally in 1941 (and was promptly invaded and re-conquered by three British divisions, before the Germans could get many troops into the territory of their new ally). After World War II, the Arab language media continued Nazi-grade anti-Semitism. The Arabs had enough sense to tone down this race hatred, and pro-Nazi, line in their English language media.

Over the last few decades, and especially since the end of the Cold War, many Westerners have adopted the anti-Semitic angle in denouncing Israeli attempts to defend itself against Palestinian terrorism. Such self-defense measures are now seriously discussed as "war crimes" in the West. To the Arabs, the very existence of Israel is a "war crime," but the Arabs have been unable to do much beyond fanaticizing about destroying Israel. Now they have many political activists and progressive thinkers in the West fanaticizing along with them. Tangible gains from this ethnic hatred strategy have been scant. Many in the West are appalled by it, and the leadership in most Western nations does not buy into it. But much of the popular media does, and incidents of anti-Semitism, including assault and murder, are on the increase in Europe. Arabs see their anti-Semitism strategy as a success, as Arabs tend to take solace in symbolism, given their lack of substantial progress in destroying Israel. So every anti-Semitic attack in Europe is a victory, as is every European politician who denounces Israel for non-existent war crimes, or ignores the very real atrocities that the Arabs commit against each other. To many Arabs, living the fantasy is easier than dealing with reality.

The reality of Gaza is that the Israeli attack prompted Hamas to increase their terror operations against Fatah followers in Gaza. Hamas denies this sort of thing, but plenty of evidence is getting out. The official Hamas response to this is that all this violence is Israeli propaganda, and that, at most, there are family feuds or clashes between rival criminal gangs occurring in Gaza. Foreign backers of Hamas use this fiction to dismiss allegations that Hamas is trying to wipe out Fatah support in Gaza.

Relations with Turkey, and it's pro-Islamic government, have deteriorated. The Turkish government has taken the public position that Israel is all wrong about Gaza. Israel has responded that Turkey would do the same thing if attacked. Actually, Turkey is doing the same thing, regularly bombing PKK Kurdish terrorist camps inside Iraq, and sending in troops as well. While many Turks want continued good relations with Israel, the emotionalism of support for the Palestinians in the Moslem world leaves no room for logic or justice.

Palestinian terrorists continue to fire rockets, mortars and machine-guns into Israel. This happens daily, but usually to no effect. However, the rocket attacks usually trigger the Israeli rocket alert system, which sends thousands of Israelis scrambling for bomb shelters. The Israeli response has been some air raids on suspected tunnels on the Egyptian border, and missile attacks on known terrorists. Finding such targets has become more difficult, since the 22 day war revealed to Hamas a more extensive Israeli intelligence system inside Gaza than they had previously believed. As a result of this, Hamas has been going after anyone guilty of any suspicious behavior indicating they might be supplying Israel with information. This has led to a lot of innocent people getting beaten, killed or locked up in a basement (all the jails have been bombed by Israeli aircraft). Hamas is not too bothered by this, as most of the victims are from the rival Fatah party. In addition to the "no-snitch" campaign, Hamas personnel have gone into hiding. They move around a lot, trying not to work or sleep in the same place too many days in a row. This gets old pretty fast, and Israeli intelligence officers are getting more target information on Hamas leaders who are staying in one place. Meanwhile, Israeli air attacks are destroying locations where 24/7 UAV coverage and informants indicates rockets and other weapons are being stored. There are usually no casualties from these attacks, as the Israelis continue to call ahead, warning any civilians in the area to get out of the way before the bombs hit. No such warnings are given when the target is a Hamas operative, and that's where civilian casualties continue to occur.

Hamas is trying to have it both ways, by claiming that it cannot control the continued rocket and mortar attacks on Israel, and that Israel must open up the borders and allow goods to enter freely. But Israel is particularly sensitive about allowing materials (like pipes and certain chemicals) that can be used to build the Kassam rockets (pipes form the body of the missile, and chemicals are combined in makeshift labs to produce propellant and explosives for the warheads and detonators). Hamas tolerates the smaller terrorist groups, some of which are technically affiliated with Fatah, as long as they do not threaten Hamas rule of Gaza, and confine their activities to attacks on Israel. Publically, Hamas denies this connection, as a way of absolving itself of responsibility for the daily ceasefire violations. The fiction of high civilian losses during the 22 day war is believed in the Islamic world and by many in the West, thus reinforcing Hamas control of Gaza. In actuality, most of the 500 or so dead were Hamas members, and most of the damage was to Hamas facilities. Israel is in no hurry to allow more building materials into Gaza, since most of the rebuilding will be of Hamas headquarters, rocket building workshops and jails for Hamas opponents.

Israel is offering to allow more stuff into Gaza if Hamas frees Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit (kidnapped in June 2006). While Hamas has declared itself the victor of the 22 day war, it is now much worse off than before the war. Less stuff is getting into Gaza and many Hamas assets and personnel are gone. Hamas has a PR boost from its status as chief victim in this situation. But you can't eat PR, and long term, Hamas faces continued resistance inside Gaza. Israel appears to be seeking a longer term strategy to defeat Hamas. There are a lot of people in Gaza who hate Hamas, and the longer Hamas cannot do anything to improve the daily lives of Gazans, the more disliked the Islamic radical organization is. While many Israelis would prefer a quicker take down of Hamas, using military force, that would get dozens of Israelis killed, and Israeli politicians feel more comfortable with a more indirect approach. Israeli politicians have been dealing with Arab politics for a long time, and see this indirect approach as eminently doable. Time, as in weeks or months, not years, will tell.

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I am a cantankerous man living and working in the Silicon Valley where reading books is an abomination that is virtually unheard of, frowned upon and may be detrimental to one's career. I avoid censure by never conceding that I ever read or owned a book in my life. If anyone accidentally glimpses my scant proficiency in any subject matter, I immediately accredit it to having glanced at DrudgeReport that day.

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