Melanie Philips : Hamastan 30 January 2006
There's a lot more to this than what she says. Rabid, demented, unhinged anti-semitism has swilled around the Middle East for years. It is not just Hamas. It is part of the very bones of the conflict. If Arab countries are happy to have massively long t.v. series based on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion running, then what hope is there of a rational debate?
One almost feels, as a bystander, a fight to the death might be preferrable. The problem with this defeatism is that Israel could obliterate everyone of the Palestinian in Gaza and the West Bank in a fortnight if it chose to - and that without resorting to nuclear weapons which could bot be used anyway because they would destroy the whole area through contamination. And, two, the Palestinian Problem has always beeen a proxy for wider Middle East discontents.
None of the Arab States or Iran wanted the formation of the state of Israel. The Arabs fought three wars to express this view, losing all three. Lebanon was a proxy war. Now they leave it to the Palestinians to be a thorn in Israel's side.
Israel insists it is being terrorised when it responds with state terrorism against the Palestinians by bumping off selected targets. Western intellectuals (apart from the marginalised,condemned few on the Left) and the western media rarely debate whether Israel is acting terroristically in combating the Palestinians, though it spends a lot of time on the victimhood of the Palestinian people, which makes for a good story. An undoubted fact, the victimhood. But they are as much victims of their own side and their own leadership as the Israelis.
After Hamas: a time for politics
Opendemocracy 30 January 2006
is as considered an appraisal as I have found.
My immediate reaction on Hamas victory was this might the catalyst for real change. Other have argued the same. Comparisons have been made with the history of Northern Ireland. There are some parallels, but the ideology which drives the anti-Israeli campaign is in a sense based in cultism, which has such a large irrational element to it. One feature of these long attritions is bound to be endemic gangsterism. That is the nature of the beast which Northern Ireland exemplifed with the IRA and the Protestant UVF and so on, financing themselves by means of drugs and bank raids. Though presumably Hamas is being paid by Iran in large measure with some contributions from various Arab states, which makes it slightly different from the IRA or many of the South American resistance movements such as The Shining Light.
Surely one could classify the Soviet and Chinese Communist systems as cults? Cult or not, the point is: closed systems do not work well against or with open systems. You're running on different tracks and are never going to meet. That's why I said at the beginning that a cataclysmic war to the death might be the answer. Humans usually (often) stop just before the final annihilation. People are so shaken by the physical horror of it all that they are prepared to change in ways they would not have even considered before.
Though events in Iraq come under, "The Horror, The Horror" category, it too will change for the better when the old ways of thinking are thrown away after the blood-letting subsides. The phrase is paradigm shift. The example of Lebanon civil war is always instructive. Most who watched that in real time, from a safe distance, thought it would go on for eternity.
memories of a childhood in Iraq in the 1950s * thoughts on events in the Middle East