Commentary on Political Economy

Monday 17 May 2021


I lost sympathy for activist pleas with the 2000th rocket

The latest attacks on Israel are part of a decades-long plan to destroy the Jewish state and establish Islamist rule in its place. While the trigger and justification for violence against Israel changes with each conflict, the collective goal of transnational jihad remains the same. It is to wipe Israel off the map.

The most recent outbreak of violence was triggered by a long-running property dispute in East Jerusalem against the background of violent conflict between rival ethnic chauvinist groups of Palestinians and Israelis. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu roundly condemned Israeli Jews involved in the brutalisation of Arabs in recent weeks and called for an end to the violence.

Sheikh Jarrah is a predominantly Palestinian neighbourhood. Some Israelis have asserted legal ownership to properties in the area and sought court orders to evict tenants whose leases have expired, as well as some they say are squatters with no lease rights. Palestinian tenants are claiming they are the rightful owners of the land under a historical agreement with Jordan before Israel assumed control of the territory.

While the law might be on the Israeli settlers’ side, they have all but lost the public relations battle. The media is less interested in the opinion of Israeli courts than the plight of Palestinian evictees. It makes colourful copy and is easy to digest. The best option for settlers would be to accommodate the Palestinians, quell domestic unrest, and set their sights on Gaza.

For supporters of the Palestinian cause, the Sheikh Jarrah dispute is a microcosm of Israeli-Palestinian relations. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement criticises the unequal citizenship status of Palestinians and Jews in Israel. Yet on its website, BDS members also describe Israel as a racist, colonising power. It is unclear why a group that denies the legitimacy of the Jewish state would seek to further enfranchise Palestinians within it.

Wall Street Journal6:31

WSJ Opinion: Suddenly, Israel's War With Hamas Reignites

Journal Editorial Report: Paul Gigot interviews Clifford May on the causes of the conflict. Image: Fatima Shbair/Getty Images

The majority of United Nations members recognise Israel’s legitimacy, but its boundaries are contested. Writing for The Atlantic, Uri Friedman explained that after the Six Day War in 1967, Israel captured the Gaza Strip from Egypt and took the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan. He writes that under its military occupation, Israel allowed Jews to build settlements in Gaza and the West Bank. Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon withdrew settlers and troops from Gaza in 2005. Islamist group Hamas subsequently gained control there.

For many, Gaza is a cautionary tale of what could happen if Israel bowed to international pressure and yielded more territory to Palestinians. Hamas won the Palestinian legislative election of 2006. After armed conflict with the rival Palestinian political party, Fatah, the Palestinian Authority was split in 2007. Ynet news reported at the time that more than 600 Palestinians had been killed in the factional fighting in 2006-07. In April, President Mahmoud Abbas postponed the first Palestinian elections to be held in 15 years. Hamas claimed it was a coup.

Since it came into being, the modern state of Israel has been subjected to unending threats of annihilation from Islamist states and their terrorist proxies, countless terrorist attacks, streams of vitriol from the UN, unbridled anti-Semitism on social media and a barrage of anti-Semitism often wrapped up in Palestinian rights rhetoric. Yet the ever-aspiring superpower of China chose to condemn Israel for defending itself in recent days. It called the US racist for rescheduling a UN meeting on the matter.

One might see irony in China condemning other states for prejudice given its ethnically chauvinistic citizenship rules, but perhaps it is only natural the CCP should feel an affinity for terrorist groups like Hamas. They are both ideologically purist and violently intolerant. They employ extrajudicial means to silence dissent and want to fell the free world. They are barbaric brothers in arms.

Somewhere between Palestinians flying the terrorist flag of Hamas on the Temple Mount and the 2000th rocket fired on Israel in a week, I lost sympathy for folk crying racism in Jerusalem. And there is nothing quite like the CCP pleading the case of Hamas to firm one’s resolve to defend Israel.

Death toll rises as conflict between Hamas and Israel intensifies

Hamas and Israel have traded air strikes overnight leaving nearly 200 Palestinians and 10 Israelis dead. The UN Security Council has called for an immediate ceasefire however Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned it would take time before the fighting ends.

In recent weeks, the international community called for moderation on both sides, as though Israelis and Palestinians had never thought of it. At the root of such casual condescension is an inability to grasp the difference between pacifism and peacemaking. It is the latter that creates sustainable peace, and it requires eternal vigilance.

In the coming days, the West must resist being so easily persuaded by populist narratives that depict Palestinians as the victims of evil Israelis. Remember the broad support in the Palestinian territories for Islamist terrorist groups. Remember that Palestinian voters gave Hamas victory in the last election. Recall that Hamas is allied to the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, all of which seek the destruction of Jews. Do not forget that Hamas has executed innocents for being homosexual, politically moderate, or fraternising with the enemy – Israel. Remember that Hamas killed hundreds of Palestinians to secure its power, enforce sharia morality and permanently silence dissenters. It is a brutal terrorist organisation that kills Jews whenever it is given the chance and seeks the destruction of freedom-loving people. Its founding charter is a testament to genocidal anti-Semitic intent.

If you must defend Hamas and its comrades against Israel, first know what it is you are defending.

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