July 29, 2014

Ever the Skewed Narrative on Israel-Hamas

By In Blogs, C.Jay Engel

The prevailing paradigm of the current Israel-Hamas conflict in the Western World is that Israel largely acts in a defensive manner as a response to Hamas’ initiations of violence.  This model of their relationship is consistent with the overall assumption that Israel is the innocent victim in the Middle Eastern world.  Constantly the contrarian, I see the entire matter almost opposite of this narrative.

It is obvious that the Neoconservatives, that Big-Government leftist faction which overtook the GOP establishment during the Reagan years, can be referred to as “Israel-firsters” because the “security of Israel” (which is political speak for the security of the socialist Israel State, as opposed to the Jewish citizenry) is more important to them than American financial prudence, our own safety (which rests on non-interventionism and foreign neutrality), and limited government.  But besides them, even those who do not have the same level of “Israel-centeredness” still view the Middle East conflict between Israel and Hamas in similar fashion: Israel is simply responding to Hamas craze.

It is important to remember though that the recent flare up of conflict between Hamas, which primarily exists on the Palestinian Gaza strip, and the State of Israel, was, contrary to Israeli propaganda, arguably not the fault of Hamas.

The touted story is that Hamas kidnapped three Israeli teens and then Israel, intent on seeking justice and defending her people, sought after the kidnappers.  Hamas became angry at Israel’s seeking justice and then shot rockets into Israel. Israel then had no choice but to respond, defensively, with airstrikes and “troops on the ground” in Gaza.  It is the “terrorists” vs. the “justice seekers.” It is amazing that American conservative libertarians, aware of the massive lies and deceitful catch-phrases that their government tells in order to expand military efforts worldwide, so easily accept the media’s storyline.

First of all, whenever you see the word “terrorist,” be on guard.  There is such a thing as terrorism.  But precisely because such a thing exists, the Western Establishment loves to use it to drum up support for whatever it desires to do around the world.  By using the word in the present conflict, it is easy to put the masses on the opposite side of the labelled “terrorists.” But anyone who has been keeping track with the eerily broad definition of “terrorist,” should immediately be suspicious. Terrorists, these days, are all those who oppose the agenda and trends of those who control the governments.  Glenn Greenwald wrote the following recently:

As I’ve written many times before, “terrorism” is, and from the start was designed to be, almost entirely devoid of discernible meaning. It’s a fear-mongering slogan, lacking any consistent application, intended to end rational debate and justify virtually any conduct by those who apply the term.

And then he relates that statement to the Israel-Hamas happenings:

In American media discourse, when Palestinians overwhelmingly kill soldiers (95% of the Israeli death toll) who are part of an army that is blockading, occupying, invading, and indiscriminately bombing them and killing their children by the hundreds, that is “terrorism”; when Israelis use massive, brutal force against a trapped civilian population, overwhelmingly killing innocent men, women and children (at least 75% of the Palestinian death toll), with clear intentions to kill civilians (see point 3), that is noble “self-defense.” That demonstrates how skewed U.S. discourse is in favor of Israel, as well as the purely manipulative, propagandistic nature of the term “terrorists.”

Now, a couple more things. The first thing that Netanyahu did when he learned of the three kidnapped Israelis was to, without evidence or justification, immediately point the finger at Hamas: “Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay.”  Classic propaganda from the fascist Netanyahu.  Well, it was claimed then by various non-establishment outlets that Hamas was denying involvement. Aside from the fact that no party should be held responsible prior to a trial and evidence (remember the Old American idea of innocent before proven guilty), it is ridiculous to even assume that Hamas would sanction such an activity as the kidnappings. They have nothing to gain, and everything to lose. They know the power and might of Israel. Why would they want to provoke such a strong regional military force?  And even more importantly, this regional force has the American military –the strongest the world has ever known! –on its side.  Hamas is not stupid.

Just last week, it began to circulate that Israeli officials were admitting that “kidnappings were not Hamas’s handiwork after all.”  Oops, sorry (after nearly 1200, mostly civilian, Palestinians were killed at the hands of Israeli vengeance). Rather, shifting the blame toward Hamas looks now to be a pretense, an excuse, to involve heavy military force into the area.  Israel has long had the imperial desire to expand its jurisdiction into Palestinian territory.  The recent effort against Hamas is just another strategy to extend its reach.

So then, how did we get from three kidnapped people to a dangerous and deadly conflict?  Was Israel simply trying to “find the kidnappers”?  No, they used this as leverage to invade.  Rather than simply investigating, the State of Israel initiated a show of drama, marching through the street of Gaza, arresting over 350 palestinians, and killing four.  This was all before the rocket attacks against Israel.  Three kidnapped Israelis, a crime done by a small and rouge group which was condemned by, yet blamed on, Hamas; and the response to this by Israel was an intense week of forced martial law — which is a war crime.  Reports the Times of Israel:

According to the Fourth Geneva Conventions, Article 33, no civilian “may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed.” Hence, “collective penalties” are illegal under international humanitarian law and thus considered a war crime.

This Israel-led effort was given the Orwellian title of “Operation Brother’s Keeper.”

It was only after this illegal and immoral invasion that Hamas fired their rockets.  Now, if the roles were switched between Hamas and Israel, would not the activity of firing rockets be truthfully an example of defensive war?  Of course it would.  And yet, since Hamas is the party firing the rockets, they are deemed “terrorists.”  Now, I certainly agree that Hamas should not fire those rockets, and I do not condone such actions for two reasons.  First, innocent Israelis will die.  The Israeli people should not be held responsible for the misdeeds of their rulers. (This is an important point that we should remember in all world events.  The American people too should not be held responsible for the insanity of their rulers).

And second, on a practical level, Israel will without a doubt continue to respond fiercely to Hamas’ rockets.  Hamas should understand that nothing good can come of using force to defend themselves against Israel.  Israel has the United States on a string and Hamas is no match for the 21st century central powers of Israel-United States-Saudi Arabia.

My second reason is already proving true. With air strikes (phase 1) and ground forces backed by tanks (phase 2), “Operation Protective Edge” is underway against Hamas and the Gaza strip at large.  While one might opine that Hamas should protect itself, the sad reality is that Israel is too strong, too fierce, too unreasonable.  Israel wants every excuse for a war and jurisdictional expansion.  And Hamas-sourced rockets only feed the pro-Israel sentiment.

The important thing to remember, though, is that the infamous rockets fired against Israel were a response. This is a huge point.  This is precisely what the American media assumes we should not understand.  The rockets were a reaction to Israel invasion.  The prevailing narrative is that Israel is responding to Hamas’ rockets. But this is chronologically false.

And that is not all. In a time of American fiscal crisis, crony politicians like Harry Reid (it’s great to use a leftist here because it reveals the fact that the GOP and Democrat establishment agree on the basics), are seeking to financially support Israel (as per usual), despite the fact that the American Congress is Constitutionally purposed to represent their American constituents –not take money from Americans and give it to foreigners.  Nonetheless, Jason Ditz reports on Reid:

A new Pentagon request for $225 million in “emergency” aid for Israel, above and beyond the billions sent there annually, was panned by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as far too low.

“We should not give the Israeli people the minimum amount of aid and then cross our fingers and hope it all works out in the future,” insisted Reid, without detailing exactly how many more hundreds of millions of dollars he would throw at Israel.

The latest military aid package comes in spite of administration efforts to convince Israel to agree to a ceasefire, though Congressional eagerness to bankroll Israel above all other concerns means that Israel can safely ignore calls for a ceasefire without risking the gravy train.

Just like in domestic policy, when the Federal Government subsidizes an activity, more of it will take place.  It’s basic economics. Israel may be a crony socialist State, but the United States government has aided them every step of the way.

So whose side should we take in all this?  Many Christians are predisposed to Israel because of the presence of an Israel in the Bible.  Because the current State of Israel is simply not the same as Ancient Israel, I have another suggestion: look at it through the lens of property rights. When either side initiates aggression against the life, liberty, or property of another person of group of people, the aggressor is in the wrong.  By using this as the rubric, it is much less convoluted.  Sometimes the State of Israel is at fault, and sometimes the various Muslim groups are.  And in all cases, the American government should maintain neutrality, mind their own business, bring the troops home, and decentralize their power.  These suggestions should replace the current policy of igniting wars, supporting foreign governments, and stirring up trouble.

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On a related note, I found this article by John Glaser on the truth about cease-fire violations between Israel and Gaza to be stunning.  It too challenges the Western Establishment narrative.

And finally, if anyone is interested, I highly recommend Ron Paul Institute board member Eric Margolis’ impressive overview of the Muslim world and the source of their conflict with the West.  It convincingly reveals the source of anti-Western mindsets held dearly by the revolutionary Muslims.  Hint: contra Bush, they don’t “hate us for our freedoms.”

Written by C.Jay Engel

Editor and creator of The Reformed Libertarian. Living in Northern California with his wife, he writes on everything from politics to theology and from culture to economic theory. You can send an email to reformedlibertarian@gmail.com