It would be only too easy for me to lose my entire holiday to blogging intensively about what's going on in Israel and Gaza. However, for once I get the feeling that Israel is handling itself pretty well, and that the public are seeing through the usual Hamas and media distortions. So just a few snippets:
Let's start with the text of the unbelievable hoax email "cancelling" the Board of Deps London rally:
The Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council, in consultation with a coalition of prominent organisations in the Anglo-Jewish community, have decided to cancel the planned Israel Solidarity Rally, due to occur on Sunday 11th of January.
This decision has been taken after intense discussions within the community, due to a feeling that such a demonstration would not be in accordance with the Board's wish to bring the conflict to an immediate conclusion. It was thought that the demonstration might be perceived as the community taking one side in the tragic war in Gaza and Israel, and might be seen as supporting Israel's military campaign.
The Board calls for an immediate ceasefire, immediate negotiations between Israel and Hamas, and for lifting the economic blockade of Gaza, in order to allow the Gazan and Israeli people to live together in peace. There is no military solution, only a political one.
The Jewish community does not wish to be seen as a participant in the conflict, and in taking this stand we hope to be a part of the solution. The Board stands in solidarity with the besieged and injured people of Gaza, as well as the victims of terrorism in Israel, and we oppose all violence as contrary to the tenets of the Jewish religion. We would like to reach out to the British Muslim community, as well as those of no religion who have demonstrated against Israel's military campaign-we share your anguish at the destruction and loss of life caused, and hope that our action in calling off our demonstration will be a small step towards peace.
This is a very clever and insidious fabrication, but let's set aside the sinister motives and capabilities of whoever did this, and ignore the kind of wide media coverage and opprobrium that would land on the whole Jewish community if anyone called Cohen or Abrahams turned out to pull off a similar stunt in hoaxing a pro-Palestinian protest. The Beeb covered it somewhere discreet, good luck trying to find it by browsing the site without that link... but mostly focused on headlines like "UK protesters call for Gaza peace" (until you read the text where it turns out they went on a bit of a pillaging spree, trashing Starbucks for presumably being a US-Zionist stooge, and trying to attack the Israeli Embassy.
The reality is that the Jewish community is a participant in this conflict, whether it likes it or not, because Hamas and its friends have been unashamedly boasting that they will take this war to the doorsteps of Jews everywhere. The reality is that most people in the Jewish community, and I think an unprecedented number outside it, are supportive of Israel's right to defend itself, using military means as a last resort.
The fact is that, unlike most of the media and the British Muslim community, whilst we weep for the loss of innocent life in Gaza, we also understand that intent is more important than proportion.
Israel does not intend the loss of life of civilians: there is no possible argument that would make it in Israel's practical, military, moral or PR interest to do so. Furthermore, if that was their intent, they would and could have killed tens of thousands, rather than about 250 civilians (assuming their figures of 550 Hamas activists dead is correct).
The reality is that 2 out of 3 people they have killed in this campaign have been non-civilian, with the tragic effect that these targets have been in densely populated areas where collateral damage is almost inevitable. The moral burden for those other deaths should surely fall on the bad guys Israel was going after. Bear in mind also that in the past, Israel has paid a huge price for trying to be EVEN MORE moral, for example in the tragic operation in Jenin. By going house-to-house, it lost 23 soldiers and the world lapped up every column inch of a blood libel that a great massacre had taken place there, although it turned out that about 50 people had died, half of whom were gunmen.
On the flip-side, almost every Palestinian terrorist attack is perpetrated intentionally against civilians, the only exceptions being those against IDF targets. Even then, these all too often have a scary parallel agenda: by attacking border crossings and fuel depots, they know the Israeli reaction will be to reduce supplies into Gaza from those places, and bizarrely, they secure a nice big PR victory in the international press, despite being the aggressors. It's amazing how little-reported this is - I had to explain to a friend how the article he had read by Jimmy Carter, claiming Israel had arbitrarily slashed humanitarian supplies to Gaza all the way through the 6-month hudna was putting effect before cause.
Another incredible example of the Palestinian calculus of their war against the Jews is the incident of the attack on the UN convoy drivers a few days ago. This was immediately reported in the media as having been carried out by the IDF, and the UN said they had to cut their supplies, blaming them too. In this, we see the following benefits to Hamas:
1. Bad media image for Israel
2. Further likelihood of bias against Israel from the UN
3. Waste of IDF resources investigating and being overly careful in future, probably risking the lives of Israeli troops
4. More sympathy for Palestinians due to cuts in aid
Bascially, dead Jews are good for Arab terrorists, dead Arabs are good for Arab terrorists, and dead foreigners are also good for Arab terrorists. Dead ANYONE tends to be bad for Jews.
Now in this particular case, the media just splashed Israel's supposed guilt immediately and without question. The UN blamed them straight away too. Hamas rubbed its hands with glee and added fuel to the fire with a range of other stories, none of which seem to have been independently corroborated.
What very few media have covered properly is that Israel has now said it is "100% certain" that it was not responsible for the deaths of those convoy drivers. Think about this. In the past, Israel has always apologised in case it made a mistake, then taken ages to investigate, and not pronounced on the subject until they had some certainty. In the past, this has meant that terrible slurs on the IDF and Israel have been left to stand until long after the damage is irreparably done, even once irrefutable evidence has been found to counter it, or at least enough to pose serious doubt, as has happened with Jenin, the Gaza Beach "shelling", and of course Mohammed Al-Dura.
For Israel to come out and make such a categorical denial means they must be that sure. Now think about what this means. Someone else must have attacked the convoy!
I am just going to let this sink in, in the light of my point above that in the cold logic of our enemy, this attack represented a multiple boon in their struggle. Now rethink every bad PR story you have heard and read in the last few days about how the IDF is carrying out this operation.
For example, there is the horror story of the Palestinian children found tired, hungry and weeping among the corpses of their families. Local staff of the Red Cross (NB these are usually Palestinian) claim that Israeli soldiers ignored their cries, and this amounts to a war crime. The story has yet to be corroborated by anyone else, but we have all been moved by the TV pictures.
Ask yourself which of these possibilities seems the most plausible, and whether it constitutes a war crime, bearing in mind the likelihood that Hamas or another Palestinian terror organisation attacked a UN convoy carrying their own humanitarian aid:
1. The Israeli soldiers hear the children's cries, and decide to do absolutely nothing about it.
2. They hear the cries, but having evaluated the chances of intervening, given a history of booby-traps and human bait, decide they can do nothing.
3. Having heard a noise, they fail to identify it as civilian children, and therefore do nothing.
4. They don't hear the cries at all, because of the noise and confusion.
5. The whole thing is a fabrication; it seems implausible that a shelling of a building would kill all the adults and magically leave the vulnerable children unharmed.
Of all these, number 1 looks the least likely, doesn't it?
Enough already. Comments welcome as always. Otherwise just using this to get frustrations off my chest...