Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dying To Kill


Israel Affairs

Gaza has been in the world news once again. It seems that the only time it and its inhabitants receive such sustained media coverage is when Israel, after receiving continued and sustained rocket attacks from the Islamist group Hamas, decides to use military force to defend its citizens and to stop the attacks. Then, on cue, like a bad chorus in a Greek tragedy the international community cries with sustained hypocrisy and hatred that Israel's response is not proportional, as if it would only be acceptable if Israelis suffered as many deaths and injuries as those living in Gaza do. It's an irrational response, no doubt; but it both exists and persists. Rarely brought up are the thousands of rocket attacks that Hamas (and, at times, other Islamist groups) have launched at Israel since the Disengagement in 2005; and rarely discussed by those pro-Palestinian (and possibly Hamas) sympathizers are that Hamas has openly declared its intention to "destroy Israel," a horrible thought. It does not want peace, or an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, but something else altogether, a point noted by Prof. George Jochnowitz: "Hamas is doing its best to see that the descendants of the refugees remain refugees forever. It is rejecting the possibility of any kind of peaceful solution. Its Charter rejects Israel, but more to the point, launching rockets aimed at civilians leads necessarily and inevitably to responses from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The number of deaths in Gaza is perhaps 200 times higher than the number of Israeli deaths. Is it worthwhile to sacrifice 200 Palestinian lives to kill an Israeli Jew? Obviously, the actions of Hamas say that it is."

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by George Jochnowitz

We all know about suicide bombers, who kill themselves in order to kill others. The Boston Marathon bombers were one of many recent examples. But do we know about nations that want to destroy themselves in order to destroy another nation?

Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, in the annual Al-Quds (Jerusalem) sermon given on December 14, 2001, said that if one day the world of Islam came to possess nuclear weapons, Israel could be destroyed. He added that the use of a nuclear bomb against Israel would leave nothing standing, but that retaliation, no matter how severe, would merely damage the world of Islam (reported in MEMRI Special Dispatch Series No. 325; January 3, 2002).

In other words, Rafsanjani was saying that Iran should turn itself into a suicide bomb—a nuclear suicide bomb. No one noticed. However, he did add the important words, “retaliation, no matter how severe, would merely damage the world of Islam.” In fact, in all likelihood, he expected that Iran too would survive horrible and severe destruction. Like most suicide bombers, he expected his cause to survive.

ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) is a friend and ally of Hamas. Nevertheless, their vision of the future includes a Middle East Not only without an Israel but without a Palestinian state, according to their recently released map of how the world will look in five years. They don’t care about the survival of the Palestinian cause.

The popular world-wide opposition to Israel comes from sympathy with the Palestinians. Nobody stops to think what would happen If Israel were destroyed, God forbid. All its citizens—Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Druse, Bahai—would be killed. The neighboring states would then divide the territory, and the issue of a Palestinian state would vanish. The surviving Palestinians would then be persecuted by the Arab states as they have always been.

Rival groups of Muslims would blow up al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, preferably when lots of people were in them. The world would blame Israel (even if it no longer existed) and respond with an outburst of anti-Semitism leading to massacres of Jews in Europe.

The Palestinians are victimized because they won't accept an independent Palestine. The Arab world rejected a state in 1947. It did so with the Three No's of Khartoum in 1967. It did so at Taba in 2001. It did so in Gaza when Israel withdrew. It is doing so today by refusing to recognize that almost a half million Jewish Israelis live in places like Maale Adumim. The Palestinians are the only independence movement in history to reject a state of their own because of a boundary dispute.

The Germans forced out of the areas annexed by Poland in 1945 found homes in East and West Germany. The Poles forced out of areas that became part of the USSR and today are Belarus and Ukraine found homes in western Poland. The Serbs forced out of Slavonia by the Croatians are finding homes in the remaining Serbia. What is being done to the Palestinians and has been done for over 70 years is without precedent. If there were an independent Palestine that lived in peace with Israel, this situation could conceivably end. Hamas is doing its best to see that the descendants of the refugees remain refugees forever. It is rejecting the possibility of any kind of peaceful solution. Its Charter rejects Israel, but more to the point, launching rockets aimed at civilians leads necessarily and inevitably to responses from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The number of deaths in Gaza is perhaps 200 times higher than the number of Israeli deaths. Is it worthwhile to sacrifice 200 Palestinian lives to kill an Israeli Jew? Obviously, the actions of Hamas say that it is.

The Arabs on the West Bank and elsewhere in the Arab world who celebrated the recent kidnappings with a three-finger salute are in effect calling for murder.

Israel has consistently made sacrifices for the sake of peace. After winning the Sinai War of 1956, with a bit of air assistance from Britain and France, Israel surrendered Sinai—partly because Eisenhower joined with the USSR to pressure Israel. In the Six-Day War, and again in the Yom Kippur War, Israel reconquered Sinai. But when Anwar Sadat visited Israel in 1977 and signed a treaty in 1978, Israel withdrew from Sinai.

Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005, removing settlers kicking and screaming, thus creating an independent Palestinian state. Where are the Arab analogs to these withdrawals?

Hitler murdered as many Jews as he could. If the Nazi Party hadn’t been anti-Semitic, Jews would have remained in Germany, where they were typically assimilated and generally very productive German citizens. Hitler could have enjoyed Mahler’s music, which he would have loved. Germany would have been the first country on earth to develop atomic weapons. Hitler could have established a German Empire and ruled most of Europe—and maybe even the world. But even if he had known about the possibility of an atomic bomb in the early days of his rule, he wouldn’t have been able to accept Jews as German citizens. He destroyed the Nazi Party by losing a war that he could have won. That was a price he would have been willing to pay. Hamas may well destroy the possibility of an independent Palestine. So what? ISIS has already abandoned that possibility.

Destroy. Destroy. There is joy in destruction.

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George Jochnowitz was born in New York City, in 1937. He became aware of different regional pronunciations when he was six, and he could consciously switch accents as a child. He got his Ph.D. in linguistics from Columbia University and taught linguistics at the College of Staten Island, CUNY. His area of specialization was Jewish languages, in particular, Judeo-Italian dialects. As part of a faculty-exchange agreement with Hebei University in Baoding, China, he was in China during the Tiananmen Massacre. He can be reached at george@jochnowitz.net.

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Copyright ©2014. George Jochnowitz. All Rights Reserved. It is republished here with the author's permission.

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