Thursday, March 6, 2008

Terror in the holy city of Jerusalem


Israel experienced one if its worst terrorist attacks in almost two years on Thursday when a Palestinian gunman raked a Jewish Seminary with gunfire, killing eight people before being shot death himself. President Bush and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack, but Hamas and other Palestinian militants "blessed" it...and threatened that more attacks would be coming.

Now I've never understood these Palestinian terror groups and what goes through their minds when they commit such evil acts. They claim to be fighting for the "liberation" of their people, but in the end, this attack will inflict more harm on innocent Palestinians than on Israelis, seeing as Israel will most likely retaliate against Hamas and Islamic Jihad installations in the Gaza Strip. It's also troubling that these people are carrying out attacks while Israelis and Palestinians are trying to work out a peace agreement. Obviously, terrorists groups like Hamas do not want peace...they just want to kill Jews, as well as Palestinians who choose not to go along with their call for the destruction of Israel.

Obviously, international diplomacy is a good thing. If two countries have differences but want peace in the end, then it is one of the best tools available. However, when the opposing side does not want peace and does not want to co-exist, it is useless. That point was proven last year when Hamas overthrew President Abbas' government in the Gaza strip and executed some of its members in the streets. At the same time, a simple military operation against Palestinian terrorism will not solve the problem either...in fact, it could only make it worse in the long run. Instead, the Palestinians must be convinced that Hamas' use of political violence is not the solution and work together with Israelis to phase out such beliefs. Once the terrorists lose the support of the people, they're infrastructure falls apart, its that simple. The Anbar Province in Western Iraq is proof of that.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

How tragic.

I'm bothered by people's reactions as well: celebrations on one side and calls for vengeance on the other. It's not clear to me how much there is on either side--emotions are so strong and of course no media sources are truly unbiased.

I've been following this to some extent on the Angry Arab blog. Most of the comments are from extremists, and they are very disturbing. Some are HAPPY they have an excuse to kill Palestinians, others think the Israelis had it coming. Not what you would normally expect in the aftermath of a mass murder.

A number of people have revealed their true selves. A couple of us have pointed out again and again that a certain character who claims to be on the pro-Israel side is actually an anti-Semite using Jews to further his anti-Muslim/Arab views. I think that few believed us. He is arguably the person who posts most frequently on the blog. He made himself clear:

"The Muslims still have not got it. Their enemy is we, the secular West AND modern Jews (probably former Khazars :). The fanatics at the religious seminary in Jerusalem are the same birds of a feather as themselves, i e religious nutcases and from the same Semitic heritage. They kill their own kind."

So some Jews are OK (Ashkenazis), others who have Semitic heritage are subhuman.

This Khazar hypothesis has been disproven by both Historians and Geneticists. The idea is that a small group of Jews converted a much larger group of Eastern Europeans. The argument is that European Jews cannot trace their heritage to the Middle East. Pretty much the only people who buy it are those who argue that Jews from Europe have no historical ties to the ME.

His argument that some Jews are good, some are bad, then boils down to one of racial supremacy. Scary stuff.

Anonymous said...

Oh, if I remember correctly Wikipedia has a HUGE article on the Kazar nonsense. Sorry to go off topic a bit, but the sources of tension in the area are of course relevant. This idea is one of the biggest used to advance the idea that the European Jews are not like the Palestinians and don't belong there. This argument has fallen apart, but it hasn't completely died. There are plenty of other arguments though, for why the current situation is unacceptable. Neither bad science nor terrorism are very productive at this point.

Anonymous said...

Khazar, not Kazar

C.H. said...

Here's the problem,

People are raised into believing that the other side is evil (Israelis and Palestinians). Yesterday, Palestinians were cheering over the deaths of innocent students, and angry Israelis were chanting "death to Arabs"...even though many Arabs and Muslims condemned this. What each side needs is a leader who can convince them that terrorists who committ savage acts of violence against innocent civilians are to blame, not Arabs or Muslims.

Not to mention, the gunman who committed this horrorific event will only bring more suffering on the PAlestinians, since Isreal is sure to retaliate over this. I also think its a shame that this is happening while the Israeli government is meeting with Abbas and his government in the West Bank...these terrorists are determined to stop that from happening.

...and don't think I don't criticize the Isrealis, too. I think that their attack on the Gaza strip that left over a hundred civilians dead played directly into Hamas' hands...that was the response they were hoping for after firing barrages of rockets into Isreali towns.

This issue is kind of like racism here in the US...people are raised up on the values. Many Palestinian children are raised to believe the Jews are not human, and many Israelis think that Palestinians are all terrorists.

Anonymous said...

I heard that they arrested a number of the shooter's family, and bulldozed their houses. I'm not sure if this is supposed to be a deterrent or what.

I have heard the racial inferiority business goes both ways when it comes to Israelis and Palestinians. Kind of ironic when you consider that they are indeed closely related. Perhaps they need to teach less hate and more science in the schools.

I agree that the net effect of this will be very bad for the Palestinians. The timing is also bad. Just when they had an opportunity to generate sympathy in the West because of the blockade and recent attacks, that may be gone. Also important is the fact that within Israel there are people who are more sympathetic. They too will have more trouble having their views heard.

A sad story on all sides.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to add to the previous post that although I was sure I had read about bulldozing houses, I can't find anything now in the news. So please treat that with skepticism. However, this is something that the Israelis have done in the past to the families of suicide bombers.

C.H. said...

The thing is, no matter what side you take, this is not the same Israeli Palestinian conflict we have been hearing about for the last 60+ years. Today, the stakes are much higher, since the conflict is being exploited and capitalized on by political extremists who have hijacked a religion and turned it into a cult to accomplish their political goals.

Interestingly enough, Hamas inflicted a lot more harm on their fellow Palestinians last year than they did on Israel. In fact, I don't think Hamas carried out one successful attack inside the Jewish State (I'm not sure, but I think thats the case). In the meantime, they were busy purging out the Palestinians who refused to submit to their extremist ideology of destruction. All the while, countries like Iran continue to export death to the Gaza strip and arm these terrorists with rockets, who in turn use them to provoke Israel.

The Fatah movement, which is affiliated with Yassir Arafat and the PLO, was routed from Gaza, and was replaced with a militia that exists solely for one purpose...the destruction of Israel.

So the truth is, Israelis and palestinians are both victims in the war on terrorism. Muslims, Jews, and Arabs alike...if they don't submit to the beleifs of Hamas and Islamic Jihad then they are infidels...its that simple.

The PA sadly had to pay a price for trying to hammer out a peace deal and end years of fighting with Isreal...and that was losing the Gaza strip, as well as hundreds of its members and innocent Palestinians who were caught in the crossfire.

One other thing...Hamas seems to be in the middle of divide. The political division of Hamas, like PM Ismail Hanniyeh, have called for cease-fires in the past and have signalled they would prefer a truce (mostly because the Israelis have targeted their homes and they fear for their lives). At the same time, Hamas' military wing, known as Izzadin Kassam, has rebuffed such calls, and continues to work with Islamic Jihad in carrying out rocket attacks, ambushes, and recently...suicide bombings.

There's also speculation they could have been behind the J'lem attack, although the leadership od Hamas claims the group was not responsible (they did refer to it as an "honor" though).

Abbas Hawazin said...

hey,

have you read the Vanity Fair article in regard to Hamas and Fatah and the the role of US in the Hamas [pre-emptive] coup against a coup?

C.H. said...

As a matter of fact, I have read that article. I got the impression that the author is one of those "Blame America" non-interventionists, but I could be wrong. I would not be surprised if this article, or at least its main points, is true. However, I have a feeling the article only tells the parts of the story the author wants you to hear and conveniently ignores the other facts.

For one thing, according to a recent article that appeared on www.timesonline.uk, Hamas has been training its fighters in Iran for over two years. Now, I'm assuming they are not being shipped out to these training camps to learn how to properly govern a democracy or discover the true meaning of peace, would you agree? All the while, Iran and Syria continue to export death to Gaza and Lebanon by arming terrorist factions with long-range rockets and other arms. Think about this, long and hard...two years ago, around the same time Hamas apparently got involved with the regime in Tehran, the conflict between Hamas and Fatah began. I could clearly see why the United States, Israel, and Fatah would be very afraid and searching for a way to get rid of Hamas. At the same time, Hamas' main purpose is the destruction of Israel...and they frequently remind us, then and now, by launching rockets into Israeli towns, lobbing mortars over the fence, and sending the occasional suicide bomber into an Israeli cafe. This suggestion by the author of this article that Hamas simply "pre-empted a coup" is laughable. Hamas was (and is) undoubtedly up to something..."actions speak louder than words" as an old saying says.

To be honest, I think the mistake the US made was the push for elections in Gaza. Clearly, it was not the right time. If you click "older posts" on the bottom of my blog you can see a series of videos I posted that detail Hamas' propaganda campaign to convince children (and adult Palestinians as well) that the Jews are evil--that they are not human and must be destroyed. It is for this reason, and others like it I believe Hamas was able to achieve victory in the elections. I have met with many Muslims myself, and I can tell you that they strongly oppose Hamas' ideology of violence...therefore, if they could get their information from a true news network instead of Iranian and al-aqsa hate television, I think Palestinians would feel the same way as well.

Before elections were held in Gaza, a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians should have been reached...I'm sure we all can agree on that, right? If that had happened, there should have been a campaign between the Israeli and Palestinian governments to promote understanding of each others cultures. If Palestinians could see that the Jews are not the horrific monsters Al-Aqsa TV makes them out to be, they may be less-inclined to elect a bunch of suicide bombers into the government.

I hope this explains my views, Abbas. I know it is confusing these days...the world has become a scary and dangerous place. But I believe my country is a force for good in this world, and I believe that there are people in the press who do not and must be called on it.

Anonymous said...

C.H.

You might find this interesting. It's an article in Haaretz by Gideon Levy, who is a liberal commentator and was Shimon Peres' spokesman.

He both condemns the killings and criticizes the Seminary as a source of the sort of extremist thinking that has prevented peace. I expect you will find that combination to be in poor taste, however it is a very interesting piece.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/
spages/962041.html

C.H. said...

I think that's an interesting way to look at it. It highlights how the cycle of violence just goes on because the two sides refuse to accept each others cultures.

Anonymous said...

It's very interesting. Gideon Levy even goes as far as suggest that there might be peace if it weren't for that particular seminary:

"Without the settlement enterprise, peace might have reigned here already; without the Gush Emunim movement, supported by successive Israeli governments, there would be no settlements; and without the Mercaz Harav yeshiva, there would be no Gush Emunim. This institution, then, was the cradle of the settlement enterprise and its driving force. Most of the students killed in the terrorist attack were second-generation settlers. It should be said again, clearly and unequivocally: Their killing was a criminal act."

C.H. said...

well I don't know about that. So long as terror groups like Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Al-Aqsa martyrs Brigade keep thwarting the peace process, it might never happen...not until Israelis and Palestinians reject such groups and work for their own future.

No matter what the Israelis do, those terror groups will never want peace, its pretty unfortunate.

Just out of curiousity, how do you feel about my views on the Fatah/Hamas/Usa article Abbas mentioned.

Agree or disagree?

Anonymous said...

C.H.

I don't know if you noticed, but As'ad posted the Gideon Levy article. I mentioned to him that I thought it was interesting; I would be shocked if others didn't do the same and I also imagine that he had already read it himself. Normally if you are the only source of an article, he will thank you by name. I don't think that the article generated much in the way of useful discussion, however.

But back to your question: I have not read the Vanity fair article, so I really can't deal with that. A couple points though:

You discuss the propaganda campaign by Hamas with the evil bunny directed at kids, etc. In general people (adults at least) can see through propaganda campaigns and often consider them as a bit of a joke. This was certainly true of the Soviet Union. However, in that case, the oppressors were seen as internal (the government), while in Palestine there is certainly a large component that is seen as external (Israel). Add religion to the mix, and things get more complicated. And kids are a totally different matter.

Still, I wonder how much people buy the propaganda and whether its importance is hyped in the U.S. Do most kids sit down and watch it every day? I'm sure you know the answer to this better than I. If they do watch it regularly, do they see it as real or make believe? I never believed that if you dropped an anvil on someone that they got flat but survived.

Regarding campaigns to promote peace. First, there's a lot of hate and racism on both sides. You can't blame only the Palestinians for that one. Second, there ARE quite a number of organizations that promote peace between the two groups. Coincidentally, I was looking for this a couple days ago.

There's a Wikipedia article "Projects working for peace among Arabs and Israelis"

http://en.wikipedia.org/
wiki/Projects_working_for_peace_
among_Israelis_and_Arabs

Which lists a whole bunch of organizations. I'm going to go ahead and cut and paste them all:

# 1 Israeli-Arab co-existence projects

* 1.1 Community Advocate Mentor Program - Middle East
* 1.2 Valley of Peace initiative
* 1.3 Peace Settlers
* 1.4 Hand in Hand Bilingual Arab-Jewish Schools
* 1.5 Ta'ayush Arab-Jewish Partnership
* 1.6 Neve Shalom-Wahat Al-Salam (Oasis of Peace)
* 1.7 Hewar Center for Peace and Development
* 1.8 Hamidrasha Jewish-Arab Beit Midrash
* 1.9 Ir Shalem co-existence program
* 1.10 The West-Eastern Divan
* 1.11 Seeds of Peace
* 1.12 Givat Haviva's Jewish-Arab Center for Peace
* 1.13 OneVoice, a project of the Peaceworks Foundation
* 1.14 "Seeking Peace, Pursuing Justice"
* 1.15 The Abraham Fund
* 1.16 Comedy For Peace
* 1.17 Brit Tzedek v'Shalom
* 1.18 Brit Shalom/Tahalof Essalam
* 1.19 Israeli-Palestinian Confederation
* 1.20 Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace
* 1.21 Jews for Justice for Palestinians
* 1.22 ICAHD Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions

# 2 Arab-Israeli peace diplomacy and treaties
# 3 Jewish-Muslim dialogue

* 3.1 The American Jewish Committee
* 3.2 Children of Abraham
* 3.3 Centre for the Study of Muslim-Jewish Relations

# 4 Islam-Israel Fellowship
# 5 Nonviolent struggle

* 5.1 Albert Einstein Institution

# 6 The Unification Movement
# 7 American Muslim leaders


I'm sure the governments aren't doing as much as they could to educate and break down barriers, however I suspect that most people do in fact want peace. They don't exactly want to have their kids die. And of course some want radical political change, however I suspect we're just not hearing from the moderates at the moment.

C.H. said...

Well, the TV show is only one small part of Hamas' PR campaign. That type of hate and calls fro violence routinely make their way onto Palestinian (as well as Iranian and Syrian) television. Whether or not its effective enough to encourage people to elect terrorists is up for discussion, but there's no doubt some people are brainwashed by it...just look at that little girl, Saraa, who used phrases like "Zionist Filth" in her vocabulary.

Obviously, I do not blame only the Palesinians...the Israelis share plenty of blame as you, and even myself, have pointed out. The truth is, this is a complicated conflict that has been going on for years, and during that time it seems each side has only gotten better at blaming the other for the current strife.

What I can day though, is that both Jews and Muslims want peace in the world. I have met with leaders from both faiths here in my community, and I call tell you with absolute certain that they condemn the continuing violence being carried out by both sides in the Middle East.

Someday, I'm thinking an Israeli or Palestinian "Gandhi" could emerge in that region and help convince both combatants that violence is not the answer. Until then though...and as long as the terror groups continue their provocative actions that are harming both peoples, there might not be any peaceful solutions in the immediate future.

Anonymous said...

C.H.

I hope there's a way you get notified of posts on older threads; I thought you'd appreciate this one. It echoes similar concerns that you have mentioned:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/03/14/
anti-semitism/index.html

"The collective effect of unremitting criticism of Israel, coupled with a failure to pay attention to regimes that are demonstrably guilty of grave violations, has the effect of reinforcing the notion that the Jewish state is one of the sources, if not the greatest source, of abuse of the rights of others, and thus intentionally or not encourages anti-Semitism."

I sent a Reuter's article to As'ad on the same subject; he hasn't posted it. If I remember correctly, it discussed even more how criticism of Israel can mask anti-Semitism. The question of course, then, is how does one express legitimate concern about the actions of Israel without being suspected of anti-Semitism. Interestingly, I've heard many times that criticism of Israel is much easier to do in Israel itself than in the U.S.

A general comment about anti-Semitism. An incredible resource, if you're not familiar with it, on hate groups of all sorts--anti-black, anti-Semitic, anti-muslim, etc (anti-white even). is the Southern Poverty Law Center (yes a strange name). Founded initially as a civil rights organization and to fight the Klan, if I remember correctly. They're the premier group that monitors hate groups and hate crime in the U.S.

http://www.splcenter.org/index.jsp

Tapline said...

Hello, This is my first time to visit this blog. The post was well written. The murder of these students was just that Murder. The person who perpertrated this crime was a murderer, not a Martyr. On reading the comments, I have come to one conclusion it is both tHe Pals and the Israelies fault. My take is, It not quite as simple as that. This problem could have been solved simply by Israel obsorbing all of the territories given to them in the 1920's. The treaty that ,I believe also spoke to tran-Jordon . ... In the 1967 war, Israel was attacked by Syria, and Egypt they were defeated in 7 days. Israel had pushed Egypt back across the Red Sea, Lebanon and Syria back into their country. The United States under its Democratic leadership was screaming at Israel to stop, if they has kept going they would now control Egypt as well.... Carter in his infinite wisdom got them to sign a peace treaty at Camp David and Israel seceding much of the captured land back. I was told at one point Hamas is telling Israel what they will and will not accept. Of course they had made up their own roadmap with Saudi Arabia and other middle eastern countries about a peace treaty they would accept. This was done in 2006. Of course Israel was not a party to these talkes and they didn't have to acknowledge Israel, but that's OK. Everyone is trying to get a Palestinian state, Watch the fireworks....It won't happen!! What will the Arabs point to about how bad it is over there without the Israelis picking on the Palestinians. They perhaps will look at their own lot and that would not be good for the kingdom nor the Monarchy, nor the dictatorships,,,and on and on........ I ramble.....stay well....