Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Terra Incognita 69 The other 300, 1939 vs 2009 and the Gaza War

1) The Other 300: In 480 B.C three hundred Spartans left their homes to fight the Persian army. In 2009 around 300 women, mostly from Eastern Europe, left the Gaza strip. What separates the three hundred Spartan men from the three hundred East European women. The Spartan men traded their lives to defend the freedom of their nation. The three hundred east European women traded their lives for slavery in Gaza, for Islamic servitude, for covering their hair and making babies for their husbands and their husbands’ culture. As one of them said “there is nothing for me in Ukraine.” Why did modernity create self hate and lack of love for one’s heritage and home while ancient peoples had a deep sense of love for their people and their homes and their freedom?

2) Where were they in 1939? The European Protestor carries signs declaring a ‘Palestinian Holocaust’ and saying ‘we are all Palestinians’. The insinuation is clear; the Palestinians are the new Jews and Europeans want to show their solidarity with those Jews. But why didn’t the Europeans care for the Jews that actually lived in their midst in 1939? Why weren’t they ‘all Jews’ in 1939? Why didn’t they protest the real Holocaust that they, most Europeans, created and collaborated with? Do they love the New Jews so much in order to assuage their guilt?

3) The Gaza War 2009: History and perspectives: From whence did the Gaza war spring and what are some of the perspectives on it?

The Other 300
Seth J. Frantzman
January 4th, 2009

In 480 B.C three hundred Spartan men left their homes never to return. They died at the battle of Thermopylae to prevent the Persians from invading their homeland. In early January of 2009 three hundred women and their children were allowed by Israel to flee the Gaza strip. According to reports these were "foreign born wives of Gazans…citizens of Russia, Ukraine and other nations in the former Soviet Union, women who met Gazans studying in their countries." Among the 300 there were also six Norwegian women, seven Turks and 16 Americans. It was truly an international cast, just as the Spartan contingent at Thermopylae was bolstered by Thebans and others.

What makes the 300 of 2009 different from the 300 of 480 B.C? The first difference is that the former were all men and the latter were all women and their children. But there is another difference as well. What motivated the three hundred of 480 B.C to travel far from home and risk death? What motivated the 300 of today to do the same? What were the bonds to land and nation and religion that were common to the Spartans and likewise uncommon to the women of Russia and Ukraine? What does this say about the role of modernity and freedom in people's lives?

The Spartan men left their homes because they loved them so. They understood that by leaving they would help secure a future for their children. They died because they understood that preservation of their people was more important than their individual lives. For them, their children and their women were held in the utmost esteem and they wanted their people, their community, to have a long and glorious future. They desired freedom and not slavery and thus sacrificed their lives so that others might be free.

The women of the former Soviet Union, let's call them Slavic women, left their homes out of a deep sense of disinterest in their country, their people, their heritage, their language or the future. Many people make excuses about why they would choose to leave, poverty being the most common explanation. But the poverty of Russia and Ukraine, even at its worst in the 1990s has never rivaled Gaza. The media tells us that Gaza is poor and squalid, a festering hole of humanity. Even though it is true that there are wealthy people in Gaza, it is equally true that there were always wealthy men in Russia, to which these women could have attached themselves.

The women left Russia for Gaza because of secularism, freedom and democracy. We see these things as positive. Open borders, secularism, free-markets, freedom for women and democracy are the pillars of western civilization. But is there not a strange downside to these pillars, sort of a strange sewage in which the pillars rest? The Russian women in Gaza represent the underside, the unintended consequences, of western civilization. They represent the abandonment of heritage, religion, family and self. They represent the negation of the future.

Of all the women and children fleeing Gaza not one has children who are Orthodox Christians. All of their children are Muslims. Their daughters all dutifully cover their hair as do the Slavic women. Pictures of the women tell the entire story. The covered faces of their daughters, the boys dressing as they please, the Palestinian Khaffiyas, the lily-white faces of the mothers and the swarthier faces of the children. The names tell the story. Svetlana, Natasha, Galina. But these are names without a past or a future. There is no future for Svetlana. The future for her is Mohammed, Aisha and Ahmed. None of her daughters will share in her heritage. Neither will her sons. Her sons will not be raised on Peter the Great, Cyrillic, Chekov or Lenin. Her children will be raised on Hadith, Sunna and Said Qutb.

There is something else fascinating about the 300 Svetlanas fleeing Gaza. While their culture of democracy, freedom and secularism provided them the opportunities to meet foreign men, convert to a foreign religion and travel to a poverty infested foreign place, that very freedom is quickly replaced, voluntarily, by the prison of dictatorship, religion and love of heritage and family. While Svetlana, had she continued her life in Russia, would never have wanted children and would have passed her nights drinking alcohol and not believing in God or country, suddenly transforms herself, in the foreign land and in the arms of Islam, into a god fearing, child loving, housewife whose only concern is he 'domain of women' in the house. That domain in her own country was disdained, she never desired to cook dinner for her boyfriends or, had it happened, Russian husband. But in Gaza she dutifully performs her 'duty', cleaning he house, sitting at home, fretting over the children and accepting that her husband must take more wives "so his needs can be satisfied." The western white women who would leave a man who 'cheated' on her, will, under the culture of the other, love the man who brings home a second, third and forth wife. Let the Svetlana's tell their story themselves: "the children want to ply outside…every time they run outside, your heart sinks." Let Lilia tell us about her devotion to her man; "my husband is a doctor." Let Galina tell us about her husband and family and God; "the children…thank God." For the western, educated, western women the family and god and children and the job of the husband suddenly become all-important.

It reminds one of the story of Sir James Goldsmith's daughter Jemima. At the age of 21, with all the trappings of secularism and modernity and democracy and freedom granted her she chose to marry a 42 year old Pakistani man. She dutifully converted to Islam, covered her hair and began wearing 'traditional' clothing. The former nightclubber who had no qualms wearing short skirts, going and showing plenty of skin, suddenly swathed herself in 'modest' clothing. She said that her former life in England offered nothing but "it would seem that a Western woman's happiness hinges largely upon her access to nightclubs, alcohol and revealing clothes; and the absence of such apparent freedom and luxuries in Islamic societies is seen as an infringement of her basic rights…Besides, without in any way wishing to disparage the culture of the Western world, into which I was born, I am more than willing to forego the transient pleasures derived from alcohol and nightclubs; and as for the clothes I will be wearing, I find the traditional shalwar kameez (tunic and trousers) worn by most Pakistani women far more elegant and feminine than anything in my wardrobe.(Sunday Telegraph, 1995". She became a good Muslim, giving speeches on how wonderful a religion it is and writing opeds on it; "indeed, the Sunnah - which describes the life of the Prophet - shows that the messenger of Islam himself married both a Christian and a Jew during his lifetime." She discussed the topic of women in Islam and the women's correct place: "they are strong-minded independent women - yet at the same time they remain deeply committed both to their families and their religion. Thus, I was able to see - in theory and in practice - how Islam promotes the essential notion of the family unit without subjugating its female members. "

Lets take a step back and consider this. The women is raised in the Western country, given the freedom to do as she pleases. She decides that what she values in life is family and modest dressing. Because western society does not provide her with heritage or religion or the possibility to be modest and family loving in her own environment she must seek those values elsewhere. Naturally she will raise her children with none of the freedoms she was raised with. Jemima informs us that "As it explicitly states in the Quran, a Muslim is permitted to marry from "the People of the Book" - in other words, either a Christian or a Jew." But Jemima's two children, if they were daughters, would not be allowed to marry a Christian or a Jew, because respecting her new culture she would never permit them to marry a Christian or Jewish man, who are variously described in her beloved new Hadith as 'pigs and dogs'. So the west, the freedom, creates the person who submits to the hatred of whatever culture comes along and promises a return to the base instincts, and he west thus serves as a flesh machine, supplying the other with bodies, bodies unencumbered by thoughts or heritage or faith that are like empty vases to be filled with culture and heritage, and then will be put to work birthing that newfound culture. The women in the west who has on average, 1.2 children, will suddenly blossom into a baby-making machine, having 10 children or "whatever my husband desires." That woman who would never deign to wash a dish or do 'women's work' or learn to cook, will suddenly love her 'domain' and be "committed to family." Family, that thing hated in the west, disdained as archaic, and children, those things that one rarely sees in Europe, those alien creatures to be sent off as quickly as possible to child-care so the working mother can return to work, those annoying things that keep secular man awake at night, angry at his pleasures being interrupted, those beasts that no one wants to hear crying and who people are ashamed to take anywhere lest their tantrums disturb secular man, those things suddenly become loved, a worthwhile part of society. The "family unit", far from being some exotic idea from the 16th century is suddenly at the forefront of the woman's mind.

Sometime secularism has a way of returning to the perfect Islamic marriage. Jemima's husband cheated on her voraciously. But she accepted it as an Islamic woman because "he has his needs." Imprisoned in the house of her husband and his family she later recalled "I now think, my God, I mean, how did I live five years with Imran’s whole family, who I was very close to? I mean, I really liked and respected them, but obviously, they lived very, very differently." In 2004 her husband divorced her, she was not 30 so she was too old for him and his 'needs' meant he needed a younger woman, another 21 year old. She returned to England where, becoming a secular western woman once again, after doing her Islamic duty and raising her two children as good Muslim men (i.e doing whatever they want without any responsibility, sending them to strip clubs, encouraging them to do as Mohammed did and marry a Jew and a Christian, and do as Mohammed and be with young teenage girls, trade in slaves and commit massacres of non-believers), she began clubbing again and soon took up with the notorious actor Hugh Grant. She carried on an immodest relationship with him for years, in the tradition of secularism. But there was no marriage in the offing, western man does not marry his women, he just enjoys them, and secular woman does not marry or have children with her men.

Jemima is no Svetlana. The Svetlanas of Gaza will not return to their culture. They are already getting fat and they have their 'duty' to fulfill towards raising good Muslim children and telling them the stories of the 'Great Arab Conquests' so they will know their heritage.

If we were able to take a few thousand westerners back to the time of Thermopylae and we were to send 300 of our best women against the Persians we would find that they would join the Persian army, adopt its culture, produce 3,000 children for the Persians (at 10 children per woman) and encourage those children to become Persian nationalists.

That is the essential difference between the 300 of 480 B.C and the 300 of today. Secularism and freedom and democracy and open borders are surely wonderful things. But it all has a downside that is has been ill considered. It produces empty people, blank slates, open vases, yearning to be filled with something. The West cannot fill men or women with anything, it can only take away and empty them out. They thus become willing recipients of culture and tradition and heritage. All those things that just a generation or two ago women did in the west, such as cover their hair or love their families or believe in God, suddenly it all seems so exotic and in the name of some other culture women flock to it en masse.

Sparta offered the men something to defend, something to love. They loved their land and wished for a future for their children. They believed in their gods and yearned to defend them. Today's society, as epitomized by the Svetlanas in Gaza, will trade their country, their language, their heritage, their religion and their culture for anything, even if it’s a place widely considered to be at the center of a humanitarian crises, governed by an Islamist dictatorship, rife with violence, having shortages of common household items and in the midst of a war. One of the Svetlanas described the war in Gaza like it was the "siege of Leningrad." But there is an essential difference. During the siege of Leningrad Muslim women didn't marry Russian men and journey there to take part in it and Russian women fought for their country to defend that city. Today's Russian women would have no part of it. Secularism provides her with no explanations regarding why she would waste her time, her luxuries or her life defending a city that has no meaning to her. This is the central problem with the secular modern society. It provides no explanations about why its worth preserving for it inculcates no values in anyone and spends most of its time tearing down, 'exploding myths' and 'challenging traditions.'

Where were they in 1939?
Seth J. Frantzman
January 6th, 2008

In Paris Europeans carried signs declaring "we are all Palestinians". In the U.K they say "end the Holocaust in Gaza." In the U.S they say "Nuke Israel." The lack of originality is only matched by the desire to equate Israel with Nazism as in 'Israel: The Fourth Reich', 'Holocaust by Holocaust Survivors,' 'Nazi Genocide, Israeli Genocide.' When examining these images of protestors and those besides them it is important to keep one question in mind: where were they in 1939?

The desire by many Europeans and their resident Muslim populations to equate Israeli actions with those of the Nazis includes two hypocrisies. On the European side there is the disturbing fact that many of these same European countries with the most anti-Israel rhetoric were host to Nazi-collaborationist regimes. France stands out in this respect. When the French declare "we are Palestinians" it is important to wonder why, in 1940, they didn't declare "we are Jews." From one point of view the desire by many European 'peace activists' and 'human rights activists' to stand up for the Palestinians and connect with them stems directly from a subconscious guilt and knowledge that Europeans did little to save their Jewish neighbours during the Holocaust. This is a unique perversion whereby the person, out guilt for not saving Jews, turns the modern Jewish state into a 'Nazi state' in order to defend those he believes are victims of modern Jews. What is unique is that in both cases Jews must be the victims of European wrath. In 1940 it was the European collaboration. In 2009 it is the European solidarity with Palestinians and a deep hatred of Israel.

The knee-jerk reaction to identify Israel with Nazism may stem from a deeper subconscious need for Europeans and other Westerners to absolve themselves of guilt over the Holocaust. If the Jews, the victims of the Holocaust, can be shown to be the 'new Nazis' then there is a feeling, on the one hand that the perpetrators of the Nazi genocide and their collaborators were not unique, many peoples, even Jews, are Nazis today. On the other hand by turning the Jews, the victims, into the Nazis the European can declare that the victims are no longer in need of sympathy and the put the Nazi era to rest by saying 'look, the victims are Nazis too so why feel sorry for them.' The end result is a clean conscience for Europeans. Going out on the street with a khaffiya and identifying with the 'new Jews', the Palestinians, and declaring Israel the 'new Nazi regime' is cathartic.

The other side to the 'Palestinian Holocaust in Gaza' protests is the participation by numerous Muslims in Europe and the U.S. For the Muslim participants the need to make Israel into a Nazi state and declare the Gaza suffering a 'Holocaust' is also necessary. On the one hand Holocaust denial is common in Muslim countries, as is the view that Palestinians were the real victims of the Holocaust because the Europeans established Israel due to Holocaust guilt. By declaring the 'real' Holocaust to be taking place in Gaza Muslim protestors adopt Jewish suffering for their own ends, ignoring the fact that many of them believe the Holocaust to be partially a myth, and they thus come to own the Holocaust as its newest victims. On the other hand the use of the word 'Holocaust' is deliberate, a deliberate way to say that "we Muslims are the new Jews." Thus the European who declares Israel to be creating a Holocaust perverts history in order to clean his conscience while the Muslim perverts history, with the full knowledge that the original Holocaust killed 6 million while the Gaza war has killed 600, in order to become the world's newest victim.

The irony is that this alliance is acknowledged and celebrated. Europeans have convinced themselves that there really is a 'Holocaust' in Gaza and Muslim activists on behalf of Palestinians have convinced themselves that if people must feel sorry for Jewish suffering then the best chances the Palestinians have is to become the 'new Jews'. These facts cannot ignore history. Where were the European protestors in 1939? They were cheering and chanting and holding banners. They were holding banners with swastikas on them welcoming Hitler.

The Gaza War 2009: History and perspectives
Seth J. Frantzman
January 7th, 2009

The Background and Israel's Operation

In January of 2005, Hamas, a religious Muslim political party generally considered to be modeled on the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt and which had used terrorism as a weapon against Israeli civilians and soldiers since the mid 1990s, won Gaza's municipal elections in a landslide, sweeping away the traditional, internationally respected and more secular movement of Fatah (a party founded by Yasser Arafat and which was modeled on Arab nationalism as opposed to Islamism. It too had practiced terrorism against Israeli and Jewish civilians numerous times and had its own 'armed wings'. Arafat died in 2004 and the ineffectual, peace process adhering Mahmud Abbas took over Fatah).

In August of 2005 Israel enacted is disengagement from Gaza, removing 7,000 settlers from the Strip and dismantling its civilian and military infrastructure there. It ceremoniously closed the gate to Gaza in September, ending 38 years of occupation. ‏Greenhouses were left behind along with an EU and World Bank plan to aid Gaza in its economic development. Israel removed its troops from the Gaza-Egypt border and Egyptian troops were deployed there.

In January of 2006 Hamas was on the general Palestinian elections with the help of extremely strong support from Gazan's, who number more than 1.5 million people (as opposed to the West Bank's 2.4 million). Negotiations between the rival Palestinian factions led to increased clashes between them. The EU and other international monitors refused to accept a Hamas led Palestinian government until Hamas would renounce violence and recognize the existence of Israel. At the Gaza-Egypt Rafah border crossing (Gaza's only land-border crossing that does not lead to Israel), which had been opened in November of 2005 and was monitored by EU representatives, clashes and lawlessness by Palestinians, connected perhaps to internal Palestinian divisions and the general lawlessness pervasive in Gaza, drove the EU monitors away in the spring of 2006 and the crossing was closed.

With the EU monitors gone from the Gaza-Egypt border crossing the Egyptian government, whose historical inspiration of Arab nationalism and moderate Sunni Islam is close to Fatah's and Abbas's versions, closed the border. Egypt feared the Hamas operatives, connected with Egypt's own troublesome Muslim Brotherhood party, would pour into Sinai and use it as a base for terror or other activities.

In June of 2006 Gilad Schalit, an Israeli solder serving on the Gaza-Israel border, was abducted by Hamas. This, along with the continued firing of Kassam rockets at Israeli border towns such as Sderot, led to an Israeli military incursion and bombing of Hamas targets (Operation Autumn Clouds). With the outbreak of the Israel-Lebanon war soon after, perhaps launched by Hizbullah to show support for Hamas, the conflict in Gaza became quieter until a cease fire was agreed to between Israel and Hamas in November of 2006.

From December of 2006 until June 14th of 2007 there was a low level Civil War in the Gaza strip between Hamas and Fatah in which some 300 Palestinians died. It ended in June with the complete seizure of Gaza by Hamas, the ejection of the Hamas leadership from the West Bank, the flight of Fatah leaders from Gaza and a seeming partition of the Palestinian territories into the Fatah's West Bank and Hamas' Gaza.

From June of 2007 until June of 2008 there was continued Kassam rocket fire by Hamas into Israel, culminating sometimes in more than 30 rockets fired per day. During the period relatively few Israeli civilians died, around 18, but thousands of rockets terrorized the population of the Israeli towns bordering the strip. A total of some 8,000 rockets fell on Israel between the disengagement and December of 2008.

Between June and December of 2008 there was a cease fire or Hudna (temporary truce or calm) between Israel and Hamas. According to Hamas this was supposed to include the opening of border crossings. However Egypt, angry over Hamas' brutalization of Fatah (in which Fatah Palestinians had been thrown of roof tops and tortured), did not open the Rafah crossing. Israel allowed only minimal supplies to enter Gaza. It did not help encourage Egypt that in January of 2008 Hamas and civilian Palestinians had overrun the Rafah border, destroying the border fence and pouring in Egypt. Clashes resulted and some Palestinians were killed in Egypt's assertion of renewed control of the border.

On December 13th, with the end of the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas imminent, Israel said it was willing to renew the 'calm'. Hamas disagreed, claiming that with the border closed it was not getting its end of the bargain. During the ceasefire rocket fire by Hamas had been sporadic and after December 13th became more general, with dozens of rockets being fired, culminating in a December 24th barrage of 60 rockets.

On the 25th of December Ehud Olmert, Israel's beleagured and scandal plagued Prime Minister, who was to leave office in February of 2009, went on Arab television. With the full knowledge that a plan had been prepared by his generals, including chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and Ehud Barak, the former Israeli commando turned Labour leader and Defense minister, Olmert warned Hamas to "stop it." He declared "we want to live as good neighbours." The rocket fire did not stop.

On December 27th some fifty Israeli warplanes struck targets inside Gaza. The day before Israel had re-opened the Gaza crossings to fuel and aid and prominent Israeli politicians had declared they had no interest in invading Gaza. Hamas, apparently thinking that an Israeli attack was being postponed, had brought its men out for several parades and military graduation ceremonies. The Israeli planes killed some 200 Hamas militants on the first day of the bombing, destroying Hamas headquarters and infrastructure. In subsequent days Hamas built tunnels between Gaza and Egypt, used to smuggle weapons, food and people, were struck as well as the Islamic university. By January Israel had begun targeting senior Hamas leaders and on the 3d of January the Israeli army entered Gaza with the intention of ending the continued Hamas rocket fire (which had killed some three Israelis) and destroying the organization's 15,000 man 'army'.

The International View

There is a general sense among the international community that 'peace' is the preference of humanity. This is primarily a European view gained after some 1,000 years of bloody fighting among Europeans and the aftermath of the Horrors of the Holocaust and colonialism led Europeans to believe in peace. Therefore war is perceived by Europeans and in the west as something out of the ordinary, to be stopped as soon as possible. Needless to say, other cultures do not necessarily view war this way. Some believe, especially in a strictly Islamist view, that war (i.e the lesser Jihad) is the natural order of things (with the world viewed as Dar al Harb and Dar al Islam, the world of war and the world of peace/Islam), especially when enemies, such as infidels, are vanquished or until a 'defensive war' to 'protect Muslims' is waged to victory.

The international community and the culture of students and the media in the West has been conditioned increasingly over the years to see Israel as an unrestrained bully, a 'superpower' which abuses its neighbours and which has an archaic belief in nationalism, an extremist patriotism, a negative religiousness (as opposed to a secular state where religion is separated from the state), and practices a form of colonialism or 'Aparthied' in the occupied Palestinian territories. This has been the prevailing viewpoint even since the 1970s when the UN declared that 'Zionism is Racism'. With the outbreak of the first Intifada, which mostly pitted stone throwing Palestinians against Israeli soldiers, this idea of the Palestinian David confronting the Israeli Goliath was cemented among a western view that believes that the underdog is usually right (i.e Tibet is morally superior to China at least in part because it is weaker).

The Second Intifada which lasted from 2000-2004 in which some 800 Israelis and 3000 Palestinians died cemented this view even more. Palestinians were heroic victims, perhaps not when blowing up buses or nightclubs, but at least when they could be seen as women and children passing through Israeli checkpoints. After Sept. 11th, 2001 the West also came to the view that the Middle East 'conflict' was fueling 'Islamic rage' that was 'spilling over' and threatening the peaceful coexistence of Muslims in Europe and causing terror throughout the world.

The EU has wanted an increased role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the UK especially sees itself as a natural broker of 'peace' because it was the UK which originally colonized Palestine (1917-1948) and helped it become the mess that it is through an ill-conceived and planned 1947 partition and war that the British fled from at the time.

There is also a concept often repeated by the media and politicians that claims that 'disproportionate force' is unacceptable. From this viewpoint the Israeli use of F-16s against men firing small rockets is perceived as both unfair and disproportionate. However those that claim disproportion have ironically usually been countries that had their own disproportionate wars. The UK invaded Iraq along with the U.S in 2003, using disproportionate force. NATO and the EU bombed the Serbs twice, using disproportionate force.

There is a general feeling that 'not enough' Israelis die in wars with the Palestinians. The media makes this clear through using such words as "only three Israelis have been killed." The insinuation is that if only the body counts on both sides were equal then things would be better.

There is a general obsession with Israel by people in the world who tend to see it as a unique conflict even when other, more bloody conflicts, rage elsewhere in places such as Kashmir, Sri Lanka and Sudan. The reason for the interest in Israel may be merely the fact that the West is primarily Christians and the Muslim world is Muslim and Israel contains holy sites for both these religions. It may be part of the 'Clash of Civilizations' whereby people see it as a civilizational dispute. It may be also because Jews take a great interest, both critical and supportive, in the conflict and Jews are an influential, if small, group in some western countries. Whatever the logic the media's coverage of conflict is disproportionate. Some 300,000 have died in Darfur and there has never been a 'breaking news' bulletin for those people (who are Muslims like the Palestinians), perhaps because they have black skin (unlike the Palestinians) and are not as important to a Western audience which finds it hard to identify with black people. Perhaps it is because the West has some sort of strange need after the Holocaust to feel it is saying 'never again' and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict involves Jews and the West feels that even though in this case it is supporting those who harm Jews that in some twisted fashion it is doing its duty to stop massacres. Perhaps it is due to the increased role and population of Muslims in western countries. Muslims who have convinced many westerners that Muslims are the new romantic minority group who need to be supported and that their causes, foremost among them the Palestinians, are thus romantic, just as the previous generation of westerners fought apartheid or 'civil rights' or protested Vietnam. The Palestinians are a cause-celebre, as evidenced by the fact that many students where the Palestinian khaffiya or checkered scarf (yet western students where either the black one without knowing it is a Fatah khaffiya and they wear the red one without realizing it is connected to the PFLP or communist Palestinian party. Hamas looks disdainfully on these symbols which it connects with its secular enemies).

The international community must be seen to do something and it has come to the point where it believes all conflicts can be solved and that ceasefires and European monitors are the way to solve them. It has learned this from the Balkans where the EU carved out new statelets (Kosovo, Bosnia and Republika Serbska) and believes it successfully ended the conflict.

The key word 'disproportionate' force is a new part of the lingo of western discourse. It is used without thought to its logic. Wars are not fought with proportionate force just as criminals are not arrested with proportionate force. When a criminal robs a bank the police don't send one officer, they send dozens. When a man stabs a police officer they don't stab him back in order to show him 'proportion'. Those who argue for proportionate force by Israel don't seem to think about the end result of that force. Does it mean firing Kassams back at the Palestinians? The Europeans fought several wars in a proportionate manner, such as the 30 years or the 100 years war. Proportion helped them go on forever and cost numerous lives. Proportionate force was not used in the Second World war or by the U.S during the Civil Rights movement, in fact disproportion was the way in which these two great struggles were finally ended.

In general western people have a black and white view of Israel where Israel is the powerful 'white' aggressor and Palestinians are the weak 'black' victim. This makes it easy to see the conflict in racial or colonialistic terms. It is perhaps surprising for people to know then that some of the casualties of the Hamas rocket fire have been Ethiopian black children who were born to black Jewish Ethiopians who fled their country, with no help of the west, in the 1980s. It may surprise some to learn that those IDF soldiers going into Gaza are made up of people of all colors, religious belief (westerners forget that Arab Druze and Bedouins serve in the Israeli armies) and sexual orientations (Israel has no 'don't ask don't tell policy) and include numerous women soldiers.

The Israeli Palestinian conflict is, on the one hand a conflict that has a very real and genuine history, a process to it that includes numerous developments and that grows and matures and changes with time. It is, on the other hand, a myth, a myth of the west, a myth of right and wrong, of black and white, of victim and aggressor, of good and bad. It serves the western need to causes, the 'Palestinian cause', the need to wear some clothing that shows support for the downtrodden, the need to attend protests, the need to feel that one is 'helping others', the need to 'believe in peace' and the need to 'oppose conflict'. In this sense the conflict does not involve real people. It is an imagination of the West, a 'conflict' that is needed so the politicians have somewhere to travel and something to 'solve'. For that reason anything can be possible; body counts are reported without sources and the Israeli assault is described as a 'Holocaust' by upper class Khaffiya clad blond haired protestors. It is apparent to merely recall the disproportionate protests that erupted in western countries, primarily by white people, against Israel in the first day of the war when 200 Palestinians were killed. No such protests graced the streets of Europe when 200 Indians died in the recent Mumbai attacks. No such protests erupted when a similar number of Palestinians died at the hands of other Palestinians in the Fatah-Hamas civil war. No similar protests were held during the Rwandan genocide or the Sudanese genocide. The question should not be why the international community, which is to say western people, care so much about what happens in Gaza, but why they have so rarely cared about what happens to other people in the world. The question should be, if the Hamas rockets are so useless and are "home made and inaccurate" then why does Hamas fire them, before the cease fires, during the cease fires, after the cease fires and in the midst of this new war? If the Europeans and the UK are fond of 'proportionate' force then why are they still occupying Kosovo and Bosnia and Iraq in a decidedly disproportionate manner? If Europeans believe in proportion then why do their humanitarians drive SUVs in the midst of poor starving people in Haiti, lording over those people like colonialists, their white skin standing out among the myriad African faces. Should not the humanitarian drive a proportionate vehicle, say an ox-cart, like the locals? Why does the Free Gaza Movement own a yaucht that it uses to transport 'humanitarian' supplies and celebrities to Gaza. Shouldn't it use its money more frugally and purchase utilitarian boats if it genuinely wants to help Palestinians rather than just get the white faces and blond hair of its members photographed in the paper wearing the 'traditional' Khaffiya. When a westerner dons his 'Palestinian Khafiya' does he do so truly to support the Palestinian or to fit in, to seem to be part of what is 'cool', to show his and her friends that he is 'helping'? Those are the real questions.

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