Weekend long read

At Commentary magazine Evelyn Gordon has an interesting piece titled Ramadi, Gaza, and Western Hypocrisy which is also available here.Weekend Read  

“The other factor in Ramadi’s devastation was airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition. As AP reported, these strikes “smashed large parts of the city into rubble.” Nor is that surprising: When a target area is extensively booby-trapped, even precision airstrikes often cause greater-than-expected damage, because the attacking force can’t know which buildings are wired with explosives, and hitting a wired building will set off massive secondary explosions. Yet airstrikes are unavoidable when fighting militants entrenched in a sea of tunnels and booby-trapped buildings, because using ground troops alone would result in unacceptably high losses for the attacking force.

Consequently, a Pentagon spokesman correctly blamed Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) for the damage to Ramadi: “One hundred percent of this is on ISIL because no one would be dropping any bombs if ISIL hadn’t gone in there,” Colonel Steven H. Warren told Hubbard.

Yet in Gaza, both the Obama Administration and European officials largely blamed the damage on Israel rather than Hamas, even though Israeli airstrikes were employed for the exact same reason, sometimes caused greater-than-expected damage for the exact same reason, and obviously wouldn’t have been launched at all had Hamas not attacked Israel to begin with. Indeed, Israel’s airstrikes were arguably far more justified than America’s were: Islamic State wasn’t firing missiles at America from Ramadi or digging attack tunnels into American territory from Ramadi. In contrast, Hamas had fired thousands of rockets at Israel from Gaza over the previous decade and dug dozens of cross-border attack tunnels, including one that notoriously emerged right next to a kindergarten.”

Given the BBC’s repeated portrayal of the ongoing wave of terrorism against Israelis as ‘lone wolf’ attacks and the differing terminology it employs when reporting terrorism in Israel and elsewhere, an essay by Irwin J Mansdorf published by the JCPA under the title ‘The Psychology of “Lone Wolf” Palestinian Arab Violence: The Interaction between Religious, Cultural and Political-National Motives’ is of interest.

“To many Western minds, the increasing amount of knife attacks by mostly individual young Palestinian Arabs on Israeli Jews is simply an expression of the despair and hopelessness that years of occupation and lack of freedom have nourished. To many Israelis, the violence is clearly a manifestation of endless incitement against Jews that includes false allegations and education based on hate. This discrepancy is at the root of a difference in worldview when it comes to how one views acts of violence against Israel as opposed to violence clearly seen as “terror” elsewhere in the world. What is missing from both views, however, is an understanding of precisely how factors interact to create the cognitive set or ideology that drives this behavior.”

The BBC’s general avoidance of the topic of internal Palestinian politics means that consumers of BBC News do not get to see the kind of perspectives recorded by Avi Issacharoff in a recent article at the Times of Israel.

““How do you explain the fact that no resident of the [Jenin refugee] camp took part in the ‘intifada of knives’ over the past three months?” I ask him.

“It’s not an intifada. It’s a fad,” he says. “Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarm, Jericho — nothing is happening in any one of those places. Things have calmed down even in Hebron. True, people were killed there, but it’s a passing phase. The ones that created this intifada were the media and Facebook.

“And let’s be honest,” he continues. “What did we gain from the Second Intifada? What did we get? Those of us who live here in the camp paid the heaviest price. And what did that do for us? Did we get representation on the Revolutionary Council [one of the leadership groups] or on the Central Committee [Fatah’s supreme leadership group]? So why should we take part in this? What will we get out of sending a kid to stab somebody with a knife?”


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