Tuesday, March 13, 2012

13-Mar-12: Just one of the ways in which a terror war is different from conventional war

Ashdod yesterday:  An Israeli woman surveys the damage to her store
following a rocket attack from the nearby Gaza Strip. Image source: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images
We'll start with what might seem an irrelevant news report from less than an hour ago:
A 15 year old Palestinian teenager from Gaza has been transported to Israel for emergency medical treatment in an Israeli hospital. He was seriously injured while preparing to launch a Palestinian Qassam rocket at Israeli civilians in southern Israel, when the rocket suddenly malfunctioned and exploded. The explosion took place in the Shuja'iyya district of Gaza city. 
[Source and hit tip: Jameel @ The Muqata]

Next we'll get on to the don'ts. We don't mean to lecture here on how terrorists  don't wear uniforms, or that they deliberately, consistently and almost exclusively target civilians and don't seek strategic or military goals, or that they don't answer to governments who then have to answer for their actions (though in the case of the Palestinian Arab terror groups, they not only don't lack a government but they actually have two, one in Ramallah and the other in Gaza City).

No, what we mean is that in terror warfare, there's no universally agreed definition of what makes it terror in the first place. And as a consequence, it's not universally agreed when the terror has passed or what it produced.

Tonight, for example, there are reports that "both sides honored a cease-fire brokered by neighboring Egypt" [TIME Magazine: "Egypt Brokers a Gaza Ceasefire"]. There is celebrating in Gaza - literally: a victory rally as we type these words.

By mid afternoon today, the IDF Spokesperson was reporting that, ceasefire or not, so far six rockets launched from the Gaza Strip had hit southern Israel. Shortly after dark, a Gazan Palestinian Arab rocket fired from the terrorist ranks crashed into the Ashkelon Beach (Hof Ashkelon) region; fortunately, no injuries or damage were reported.  To be clear about this, that rocket attack on Ashkelon Beach was in no sense an attack on a military target. The terrorists didn't care, didn't try and very likely could not deliberately strike a military target or any other target, but it hardly matters. Their aim is terror and in this they succeeded. Likewise the mortar attack that happened half an hour ago (around 9:00pm) in the Eshkol region; again, fortunately, no reports of injury or damage. But for the residents of the Eshkol region, suffering one more time through Color Red sirens screaming a warning to take cover, ceasefire or no ceasefire, it hardly matters.

Nor does it matter for the terrorists whose aim is not to conquer or occupy or neutralize their enemy. They have a goal of sowing terror. Tonight's victory rally in Gaza is accompanied with new threats by their leadership to do it all again, only worse [Ynet].

And why should they say or do anything else, when supposedly civilized states, like for instance the Turks, are egging them on, celebrating the great achievement of the past four days and, for good measure, accusing Israel of carrying out no less than a massacre in Gaza. The Turkish prime minister Erdogan is quoted tonight explaining the nightmare of the past few days in ways that make sense to him and his fellow Turks. Israel, he asserts "failed to annihilate the Gaza Strip by withholding food, medications and is therefore now trying to subdue it with airstrikes." Israel, says Erdogan,
"is committing a massacre in Palestine in the backdrop of the recent flare-up on the Gaza border area. Speaking at the Turkish parliament, Erdogan described Gaza as the world's largest open air prison.... [Erdogan said] "23 Gazans lost their lives in the past five days, including children on their way to school". He added, "A genocide has been committed slowly but systematically in Palestine since the beginning of the 20th century." Erdogan said that "the resistance fighters" were not militants or terrorists, but dissidents who are protecting their rights and their lands. Erdogan linked violence in the south to anti-Muslim events around the world and addressed the murder of 16 Afghans by a US soldier earlier this week. He said he wished the Afghan and Palestinian fatalities "revenge from Allah."
We will subdue our sense of the absurdity (better: chutzpah) at hearing the head of the government that committed one of the twentieth century's literal acts of genocide, the one intended to remove every last Turkish Armenian from the face of the earth, accusing Israel (again) of that unspeakable crime. We will also save ourselves the effort of reminding his know-nothing supporters of how food and material aid continued to flow from Israel into Gaza in the past four days, even when Gazan gunmen opened mortar fire on the Kerem Shalom crossing itself this week and struck several aid vehicles. Some genocide

But we will address the issue of who was killed on the Gazan side this week. This is important because of the deliberate attempts of the terrorists of Palestinian Islamic Jihad and of Turkey's Erdogan and of the shameless suited diplomats of the Arab League to claim there has been a massacre of innocent Gazans. It is justified because of the calls by the religious fanatics of the new Egyptian parliament's lower house, the People's Assembly, deciding unanimously (unanimously!) that Israel's ambassador to Cairo must be deported and Egyptian gas sales to Israel must be halted and the Camp David peace accords with Israel must be 're-examined".

All these actions are calculated at hiding the truth and maintaining the crazy situation that leads to open and deliberate acts of terrorism (against us) being justified and perpetuated, as they have for so many years in this ongoing war.

So who was killed on the Gazan side? And did a massacre happen there this week as the serious people we listed above all say?

Here is who was killed. According to the IDF: "Twenty-six Palestinians were killed in Israeli air strikes: 22 terrorists and four civilians." Challah Hu Akbar, who does outstanding research from open source materials (the kind you can find if you spend the time and effort and have the skills) has pieced together a visual table of the dead of the past few days. He writes that 14 of the terrorists killed by Israel since Friday were members of Islamic Jihad. Here are their faces:

Challah Hu Akbar's site 
The images go on down the page. Please visit the website of Challah Hu Akbar, and point your acquaintances to it. Because if we go on from here with intelligent people dishonestly (and malevolently) claiming the Israelis conducted a massacre in Gaza this week, then sooner or later, as a million or more Israelis are held hostage to the vast arsenal of rockets held by the enemies on our northern and southern borders, there will be no option but to respond with devastating force. If that's what it takes, and nothing else persuades them to stop, then tragically that may be what is needed because no state voluntarily leaves its people exposed to an armed-to-the-teeth terrorist enemy.

In Syria today, by the way, "government forces killed dozens of people in the northern city of Idlib, dumping their bodies in a mosque" [Source]. That's just today's toll. The bloodletting orchestrated by Al-Assad, the Butcher of Damascus, has gotten to truly monstrous proportions: "More than 8,000 people have died since anti-government protests erupted in Syria a year ago, a UN official says. UN General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser said many women and children were among the victims." [Source]

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