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  • Will History Repeat Itself in Gaza?

    by Mark P. Shea

    Israel’s 13-day war in Gaza endeavorsto teach Hamas a lesson” and to defend southern Israel against its missiles. It’s highly unlikely the Israeli bombing and ground attack — which has resulted in nearly 700 dead, including 300 civilians — will achieve these objectives. Why? Because it has been tried before, and it failed.
    In 2002, Israel undertook a campaign to assassinate Hamas leadership, which amounted to hundreds of individuals, according to Israeli defense forces. Among those assassinated was leading Hamas militant Raed Karmi on January 14, 2002. On July 24, Salah Shehada, a senior Hamas military leader, was killed by an air attack on a crowded apartment block in Gaza City. Those killed included 11 children. That same day, Hamas was expected to announce a unilateral cease-fire declaration.
    Israel’s 2002 assassinations neither decreased the power of Hamas nor its popular support. Hamas went on to win a majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament in the 2006 elections. The ascendancy of Hamas, which does not recognize the right of Israel to exist, over the Fatah party made further progress toward a two-state solution a practical impossibility.
    Will the present offensive in Gaza create even more support for Hamas, perhaps even on the West Bank? If Hamas makes further inroads outside of Gaza, thus weakening the ability of Palestinian President Abbas to negotiate with Israel, any possibility of an end to the 40-year occupation will be destroyed. A window of opportunity will close — the window that opened in 1988 when Yasser Arafat, a Fatah founder, affirmed Israel’s right to exist by accepting UN Security Council Resolution 242.
    The likelihood of creating broader support for Hamas was increased with the bombing of a United Nations school in Gaza, where 40 people taking refuge were killed, including many women and children. This attack is bound to strengthen extremists throughout the region, as have all previous assaults. With uncritical and unmitigated U.S. financial, military, and political support for Israel, we — along with Israel — will be dragged deeper into an unnecessary war that will endanger the security of both nations.
    Further complicating the situation is the fact that foreign journalists have been completely barred from entering Gaza. An article by Ethan Bronner in the New York Times describes how the journalistic blockade is affecting coverage of the war, including the 40 deaths at the UN school:
    And so for an 11th day of Israel’s war in Gaza, the several hundred journalists here to cover it waited in clusters away from direct contact with any fighting or Palestinian suffering, but with full access to Israeli political and military commentators eager to show them around southern Israel, where Hamas rockets have been terrorizing civilians.
    One can imagine the popular outcry if the United States had similarly denied journalists access to observe the military operations in either Afghanistan or Iraq.
    The issue isn’t whether Israel has a right to defend its citizens against Hamas missiles — of course it does. The question is whether Israel recognizes the long-term consequences of its actions, which may well strengthen the presence of Hamas on the West Bank — just as its 2002 operation likely contributed to the Hamas victory in the 2006 elections.
    The views expressed by the authors and editorial staff are not necessarily the views of
    Sophia Institute, Holy Spirit College, or the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts.

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    • James Pawlak

      Saturday, January 03, 2009
      Dancing Aroung The Gaza-Israel Conflict
      Editors, publishers, politicians, diplomats, religious leaders and others are all “dancing around” the real base for the Arab-Israel conflicts—-Including the rocket attacks from Gaza and the efforts of Israel to stop them. That avoided issue is the combined teachings oi the Koran and the Hadith (The collected sayings of Mohammed) which preach killing Jews and declare that any land (eg What is now Israel) ever ruled by Muslims must always be so ruled. In the long run, there are only two possible and final solutions to the noted problem.
      I.
      That all rulers of Muslim majority nations and all Muslim religious leaders declare that the State of Israel has an absolute right to exist within its present boundaries and with its own system-of-laws AND that those teachings of the Hadith and Koran noted above are evil and against the will and law of Allah.
      II.
      That Israel level all buildings and remove all people from that strip, in the Gaza, plant creeping grass to allow clear fields of fire and declare that Gaza is a “free fire zone” AND indicate that it is willing to do the same to Palestine or the “West Bank”.

      TAKE YOUR PICK! ANY OTHER PROPOSED “SOLUTIONS” WILL BE FALSE AS TO BASIC FACTS AND FAIL OF THAT LACK.

    • Dan Deeny

      Deal, thank you for this info on Gaza. You didn’t actually give any practical suggestions in this article or the previous article. Give us some practical suggestions so we can look at them. I have two practical, but expensive, suggestions. First, Israel takes over Gaza, removes the Gazans and resettles them somewhere in the North of Israel and the South of Lebanon. Israel can develop Gaza, and the Palestinians can develop their new country in what was once northern Israel and southern Lebanon. Second, Israel takes over Gaza and removes the Gazans to Detroit, which they can then develop, or to an area near your home, and you and the Gazans can then work together for peace, progress, and justice. What do you think?

    • R.C.

      At this point, assuming the statistics are valid ones and not inflated by Hamas, the civilian casualties are out-of-proportion to the intended good of this attack.

      I previously could support it, when the ratio of Hamas militants to non-combatants killed was higher.

      But now, it’s hard to see how the benefits could be worth the proportion of civilian casualties.

      Under Jus In Bello, this falls under the combined headings of Distinction and “Micro” Proportionality: Given that noncombatant casualties are an evil (Distinction) the benefit of continuing hostilities must be sufficiently good to overcome that evil (Proportionality).

      If, indeed, all Arab states — indeed, all Islamic clerics in the region — were to repudiate the anti-Jewish bits of the Koran and Hadith, and mean it, then of course that’d make an ending worthy of these tragic deaths.

      But (a.) that isn’t going to happen, and (b.) if it did, it would come about not from this action, but despite it.

      I suppose even if this action were to make hostilities by jihadists from the direction of Gaza impossible for as long as a decade, and for the same period of time utterly frustrate Iran’s desire to use Hamas there as one arm of a pincer-move in the upcoming conflict to exterminate Israel, it could barely manage to be justified.

      But — granting that I’m no expert — I don’t see how this can possibly end that well, short of a complete occupation and demilitarization of Gaza administered (perhaps) jointly by Egypt and Israel. And I very much doubt either the Israelis or the Egyptians have mustered the will to make that happen. I wish they would. But they won’t.

      The best that this action could hope to achieve is to render Hamas incapable of action for perhaps a couple of years, maybe three, at most five, but not ten, and certainly not forever. And for that limited benefit, I can’t help but think the conflict has grown too bloody to be justifiable.

      A few days ago, this wasn’t yet the case; I therefore supported the Israeli decision up until then. And clearly the job wasn’t done at that point, so it made sense to continue the attack if, and only if, they could continue to maintain the same proportion of combatant-to-noncombatant casualties they’d achieved until that point.

      But they haven’t. To the extent to which this increasing inability to discriminate between combatants and noncombatants was foreseeable by decision-makers, they’re morally culpable.

      I hate it. Killing (or otherwise neutralizing) a terrorist is a noble goal for a warrior. There is no form of human enemy or criminal more in need of extermination. But it’s worth only so much risk to innocent blood, and no more.

      God help the noncombatants. God help the IDF to make some kind of silk purse from this sow’s ear.

    • Tim Shipe

      Deal- since I would say that a majority of Inside readers are moderate Republicans- by that I mean they may be more likely to be Republican than Democratic, but are not afraid to criticize the Repub party when they have moral complaints.

      For this reason I would like to recommend the former Republican Congressman Paul Findley’s books and organization- Council for the National Interest- cnionline.org, and -They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby- and – Silent No More.

      I think that there is a very practical path to a just peace for Israel/Palestine- the problem has been that there has not been equal pressure exerted to protect the rights of Israel and Palestine to exist- and the lives of Israeli Jews, and Palestinians in Israel Proper or in the Occupied and/or Israeli controlled territories, have not been viewed here in the US as being equal. If one looks at how over a million Palestinians live in their daily lives inside Gaza compared to the average Israeli, and think about what it must be like to live in a virtual prison with very hostile superior forces determining your every right of movement, of access to food, power etc.. well you start to get a handle on why there seems to be an irrational need for some kind of violent resistance in the hearts of so many Gazans.

      There is a long line of International voices that have made the case for a just peace- Israel must go back to the 1967 borders, Palestine must be a contiguous State, Compromises must be made to secure water and power for all peoples into the future, and Palestine must cease attacks on Israel proper once the borders are secured- and Jerusalem must become an international city or at least one divided EAst and West for both Israel and Palestine. Compensation must also be secured for Palestinians who were displaced by the wars. All of this has been the view of UN resolutions and international law for a long time now- it is the powerful forces inside Israel and the US that have rejected these things because it requires that the player with the most power make the most moves for peace- the primary victims, the underdog, defeated, humiliated and roadblocked Palestinians have so little power in this relationship, but they receive nearly all the blame- hardly fair.

    • Dan Deeny

      Many thanks, Tim Shipe and R.C., for your input on this difficult problem. Actually, Palestinians do bear some responsibility for their problems. They have consistently supported Hamas and Fatah. Thay allow, perhaps reluctantly or perhaps not, Hamas to fire missiles at Israel from schools and population centers. (The IDF has some interesting videos on YouTube.) As devout Muslims they can in this way participate in the struggle against the infidels. Perhaps you can address the sincerity of the Gazans in regard to Islam? It would be expensive in the short run, but I think the best idea is to remove the Gazans to Detroit, where they can begin a new life just as all immigrants have. I’ve been told that there are about 15,000 Somali immigrants in Minneapolis. There are already many Muslims in Dearborn. They could help the Gazans to, finally, get on their feet and begin a new life.

    • Peter Freeman

      Maybe I’m just a bitter young man, but I have a hard time imagining global opinion of Israel getting much worse. They’ve already got Iran telling them they will nuke them any day now (and the world pretty much just shrugs) and radical Muslims chanting for their destruction on a daily basis (and the world pretty much just looks the other way).

      Is it possible that this military action isn’t just between Israel and Hamas, but the first step of a defensive strategy against a greater, very vocal threat, and a reminder to the world that Israel has a will to power despite global apathy regarding its future?

    • Saint

      For every civilian that Israel kills, they will, in the long run, create 10 more militants. If the numbers are correct, that’s over 3,000 future militants, and they were able to knock off how many? Nowhere near how many it’s creating.

      Just think about it, if your little brother or sister were huddled in the corner from an Israeli barrage and he got killed, wouldn’t you go and join Hamas? If your mother or infant child died from starvation due to the blockade, wouldn’t you try to avenge their deaths? We Americans in our cushy country like to take the high road and simply say these are evil people. No, these are people trying to survive. You would do the same, in their situation.

      That said, because of the blockade, seige, bombings and subsequent invasion of Gaza, we will see a renewed vigor in Palestinian attacks on Israel. I predict suicide bombings, which haven’t happened since 2005, will resume. I predict that this will only cause 50 more years of terrorism against Israel.

      Israel must take the high road. If they are to be a light among nations, then they must be that light among nations. They should have been feeding the Palestinians during the cease fire, not starving them. They should have been helping fund schools and hospitals, not restricting access to resources. And if a rocket is launched in a field, they should have cleaned it up, traced the source and quietly dealt with it, if even doing that. Doesn’t Christ command us to turn the other cheek? To stand above the ills of others and to show others the path of righteousness?

      All you people condemning the Palestinians to death, saying that the only solution is to kill them, are no better than them. They have become beasts because of Israeli policies. And you too have become beasts. You all should be ashamed. How can any of you, feign to be Catholic while calling out for the death of others? Shame on you all.

    • Will

      I read with alarm about removing the Palestinians from Gaza to Detroit. If effect, we make this our problem not Israel’s problem. I welcome immigrants, as they are usually hard working, good people, but the prospect of having hundreds of thousands of angry people, who hate Israel and American coming into the United States, gives me pause. Saudia Arabia is very thinly populated and very wealthy. Why can’t they absorb the Palestinians? Why is this a problem for the United States?

    • Mark

      “Just think about it, if your little brother or sister were huddled in the corner from an Israeli barrage and he got killed, wouldn’t you go and join Hamas?” – Written by Saint

      No

    • Beatrice

      Well said, Saint. We have no idea. And Israel has not taken the high road, but has helped engender the hatred toward it.

      I have friends who’ve spent time in the Holy Land and they said after just a few days of spending hours at check points every day to get around and do the most ordinary of tasks they were so frustrated and exhausted they could understand why this alone would cause people to rebel and even kill. They said the ordinary Palestinian’s life is so difficult and oppressed that it’s hard to imagine how more of them are not terrorists.

    • Will

      The Palestinians in Gaza have been languishing in refugee camps for 60 years. It is interesting that the Arab States, who typically so aggressively condemn Israel, such as Saudi Arabia, Syria, etc, have not taken them in. I know very little about the Middle East, but it seems to me that the only real long term solution would involve resettlement of the displaced Palestinians in other Arab countries. I really can think of no other solution which will work. Of course, this may not work either, given the fanaticism of so many of the Islamic States.

    • Jason

      From the reading I have done on the subject:

      1) The other Arab nations deliberately refuse to resettle the Palestinian refugees within their borders. This serves to keep passions inflamed among their own jihadists (“Look at how miserable the refugees are! Death to Israel for causing this!”), thus distracting them from the misery and corruption in their own countries.

      2) Israel’s hands may not be totally clean, but it’s not them who are preaching annihilation of the Islamic world, whereas Hamas and Jihadists routinely cite their desire to completely eradicate Israel and all Jews. How in the world can anyone suggest that contiguous borders between such people are a good idea?! I think an unsettled, unpopulated border separating Israel from its neighbors is a much better idea.

      3) Radical Islam is the primary enemy here, which is why so many of us who are committed Christians are firmly pro-Israel. Not because we conflate God’s promises to the ancient Israelites with a promise of Divine favoritism on the modern secular nation of Israel, but because the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Islam wants Israel destroyed and all Jews killed because they are enemies of Islam – as are we, in their eyes.

      We should all be very careful about passing judgment on Israel, and be thanking God that they are drawing most of Islam’s ire, sheilding us from the worst of it. For if Israel falls, the West is next.

    • R.C.

      Let us keep in mind a few things:

      I. Purpose of Limitations on Warfare
      The “laws of war,” treaties such as the Geneva Conventions, and the Just War Doctrine(s) exist with the goal of limiting the barbarity of war. To the extent that one interprets any of the above in such a way as to actually increase the barbarity of war, one actually defeats the purpose of every attempt to limit warfare.

      II. We Prefer “Regular Military” Over Terrorism
      The “laws of war” are written in such a way as to promote the use of “regular military” instead of “irregular” forces. Real “regular military” soldiers:
      - Wear uniforms and openly bear arms
      - Accept only legal orders, from a structured chain-of-command, topped by a legitimate authority, which is the legally-authorized civilian government of a nation-state
      - Attack only legitimate enemy targets
      - Reject tactics and strategies which would risk or cause harm to non-combatants, including those of their own side
      - Do not mistreat helpless prisoners

      To the degree that a combatant acts outside these parameters, he becomes progressively more “irregular.” At the extreme end of “irregularity” are the combatants correctly labeled terrorists, who:
      - Wear no uniforms and attack clandestinely
      - Report to no particular chain-of-command or one topped by no legitimate authority
      - Execute illegal orders
      - Attack non-combatants willfully
      - Torture or kill prisoners

      The “laws of war,” Geneva Conventions, other relevant treaties, ought always be interpreted in a fashion which gives advantage to “regular military” over “terrorism,” in order that the goal of reducing the barbarity of war not be frustrated. Far from being a dishonest reading, this is actually the best way to acknowledge their authors’ intent.

      III. Impossible Standards Imposed On Regular Military Functionally Promote Terrorism
      To the extent that we insist that Israel never cause civilian deaths, we make them functionally unable to defend themselves using regular military. This promotes:
      (a.) Israel using “irregular” tactics, themselves (the “Sword of Gideon” approach
      (b.) The increased use of terrorism by Hamas, Hizbollah, and others, without fear of effective retribution

      Application:
      I bring these things up because my earlier post, saying that Israel had gone overboard and permitted too many non-combatant casualties, can easily be misunderstood.

      So that it is not misunderstood, let me state: Were the statistics in the neighborhood of 1,000 dead Hamas combatants to 350 non-combatant casualties, I’d be okay with it: A roughly 3-to-1 ratio. Were the ratio better than that, I’d be not only okay with it, but (while saddened by any non-combatant casualties) warmly supportive.

      And let me state that I’m not entirely confident about the realism of my 3-to-1 “breaking point.” It is not entirely arbitrary — I have some sense of what constitutes a really good ratio of urban-warfare combatant-to-noncombatant casualties — and I have to acknowledge that Gaza is a bit more densely populated than other areas, which gives the IDF a bit more “fudge factor” before one can reasonably criticize them for not doing all they could. But I’m no expert, so I wonder if I have failed to appreciate the difficulty of the task.

      So I do not accuse the IDF of war crimes. I do not vilify them. I only say that, at this point, the ratio of combatants to noncombatants has dropped too low. Unless they know of a way to lift it back up, to regain precision, then the numbers are just too awful to be justified by a temporary victory.

      It’s revolting to have to do such cruel math. But I see no other way to analyze the situation.

      Still, I have this to say to those who insist the whole operation is implicitly illicit from the start because, no matter what, there were going to be civilians killed: That view ties the hands of regular military operations altogether. In so doing, it (however unintentionally) promotes terrorism. I’ll have no part of it.

    • Dan Deeny

      Beatrice’s friends have problems in the Holy Land because the Palestinians have decided to follow Fatah and Hamas. Palestinian social democrats are either dead, in exile, or very, very quiet. Social democracy does not exist in Islamic countries. I hope someone can comment on the religious sincerity of the members of Hamas. I think they are sincere. Jews are their special enemies because the Jews insist on remaining Jews. This is possible in a social democracy, but not in an Islamic country.

      Al Andalus was possible because the Muslims in control practiced a very tolerant form of Islam, one not permitted by modern Muslims. Please see Saudia Arabia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Sudan, and Islamic efforts in Somalia.

      And Will needn’t be alarmed about Palestinians in Detroit, cautious, but not alarmed. There are already Palestinians in Dearborn. Perhaps the experience of democracy will help the Palestinians in America help their countrymen in the Holy Land.

    • Will

      R.C, you are correct, the Israelis [IDF} have a very messy problem. Hamas uses Palestinian civilians as shields, so they can fire rockets into Israel,knowing full well that when the IDF responds, innocent civilians, especially children will be killed. Israel is in a very bad position: if they do nothing, Hamas has a blank check to fire rockets into Israel and commit other terrorist acts, but if Israel responds, Palestinian civilians will die. I wish I had an answer for this, but I don’t.

      In my younger days, I was an officer in the Marine Corps and know a little bit about warfare. The IDF is a superb military, well trained, well equipped and very well led. Unfortunately, this Gaza business is very messy counter-insurgency warfare, which by its very nature means lots of dead civilians. The IDF is much like our military and really tries to avoid killing civilians. Unfortunately, Hamas wants the IDF to kill civilians and does everything in its power to facilitate this.

      Unfortunately, the Israeli incursion into Gaza will not have positive long term benefits for Israel. The Palestinians will be more militant than ever, and will launch more and more terrorist attacks as soon as they are able. Israel must defend itself, however, I hate to say this, but I don’t think time is on their side. Arab Demographics indicate more and more Arabs with a much slower Israeli population growth, and ultimately, I think the US will tire of supporting Israel.

      In Summary, this Gaza incursion may help in the short term, but will not work in the long term. I don’t see what other choice they have however.

    • Saint

      RC,

      I would say that the tactics used by Hamas, as well as by Hezboallah, are to goad Israel into using conventional warfare tactics. Not all irregular warfare is terrorism, by using small strike forces combined with intelligence to root out problems, whether it be to attack terrorists or to attack their supply chains, is irregular as well, but doesn’t necessarily rely on killing civilians or torture. The US has made use of this several times in our history, as have many other countries. It’s even occurred in Arabia during WWI.

      Hamas launches rockets intending for an over reaction by Israel. When they did it in 2005, it worked for their favor – they took over Gaza. When Hezboallah did the same thing, it worked in their favor – they solidified control in Lebanon. The more Israel turns to conventional tactics to combat irregular methods, the more support, favor and influence Hamas and Israel’s enemies wins.

      That’s why I say that publicly, Israel must appear to be stoic. If a fly bites, who cares? These guys killed 5 people just after the cease fire. And Israel kills 500+ after that, with over 250 civilian casualties. Everyone knows Israel has the capabilities to kill lots of people, they don’t have to prove it. Does that make Israel appear strong, or appear insecure and overindulgent, especially when Olmert admits that they were planning this operation anyway? When Israel claims that the Hamas militants fired a rocket from behind a crowd of children, and then Israel kills all 60 children, does that make Israel appear to be the just side?

      Israel MUST rethink their tactics. Hamas will never resort to a conventional war against an assymmetrical opponent. They can’t, it would mean absolute failure. But if they can get Israel to commit enough atrocities, they can pull in other forces at work, neighboring countries, other groups, etc. Israel should work using irregular tactics. Use intelligence. Introduce more humanitarian aid into Gaza, win the hearts of the people, free up the Strip to trade and start tracking where certain tools go. Things are MUCH easier to track when they don’t have to be smuggled in.

    • Dan Deeny

      Saint, thank you for your input, but Israel cannot “win the hearts of the people” because of Islam. The members of Hamas and the Palestinians are Muslims. No amount of social democratic advice or aid will change their minds or hearts. Because of their religion, they wish to change our minds and hearts. It is extremely rare for Muslims to give up land once they have settled in. Spain is an exception. Will, you treat the problem in a normal, military manner. Counter insurgency is indeed difficult and tragic. Study the problems the French had in Algeria. Even after they had won the battle of the Casbah, they lost the war. Algeria is still dealing with a savage civil war pitting modern Muslims against social democrats. Tough Marine though you may be, even you seem affected (as in “I hate to say this, but…”) by the implacable determination of the Muslims. The best, though very expensive, solution is to transfer the Gazans to Detroit and let us deal with them.

    • Beatrice

      Saint, thank you for your input, but Israel cannot “win the hearts of the people” because of Islam. The members of Hamas and the Palestinians are Muslims. No amount of social democratic advice or aid will change their minds or hearts.

      Dan, It is not simply because of Islam. The majority of people who voted for Hamas did so because Hamas has been a humanitarian organization for them. Without Hamas, many of the people would have no food, no water, no fuel. Hamas has gained support as conditions have worsened for the Palestinians at Israel’s hands. If you go see Israel’s security Wall, you will notice that it’s not simply intended for security, but is clearly devised as a land grab and to take resources. Palestinians’ olive groves and water supplies have been seized. There are religious orders there who are cut off from their schools. If you don’t believe this, go see for yourself.

      Also, there are still Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land. Only about 2% now because most have fled. But that still means there’s a couple hundred thousand. (About 3000 in Gaza.) Americans seem to think all Palestinians are radical Muslims. They aren’t. But they don’t bite the hands that feed them. (Hamas) And the more Israel makes all their lives miserable, the more the majority silently allow Hamas to rule, even if they don’t like some of their tactics.

      You better believe that all these young men growing up in Palestine with no work, and lots of trauma, watching their families suffer every day, and without hope for a future, will become radicalized.

      The numbers are on the Palestinian’s side. Israel and the US would do well to consider this and turn to other strategies that will produce better long-term outcomes.

    • Reader

      The Palestinians in Gaza have been languishing in refugee camps for 60 years. It is interesting that the Arab States, who typically so aggressively condemn Israel, such as Saudi Arabia, Syria, etc, have not taken them in. I know very little about the Middle East, but it seems to me that the only real long term solution would involve resettlement of the displaced Palestinians in other Arab countries. I really can think of no other solution which will work. Of course, this may not work either, given the fanaticism of so many of the Islamic States.

      Will, the Arab States have only one use for the Palestinians, as pawns in fanning the flames of hate against Israel. The Arab States want NOTHING else to do with the Palestinians, and certainly don’t want them resettling within their borders.

    • Will

      I cannot help but notice parallels between modern Israel and the medieval kingdom of Jerusalem. The Kingdom of Jerusalem was established at the end of the First Crusade in 1099 and endured in one form or another until 1291, almost 200 years, before the Muslims took it back totally. The Christians won various battles here and there over the years, but were eventually overtaken. The problem that the Kingdom of Jerusalem had is similar to Israel’s problem: they cannot afford to lose a war. The Muslims can lose war after war and endure, but the Medieval Christians in Palestine and now the Israelis, cannot afford to lose even one war, or they are finished.

      The Catholics of Spain were able to retake the Iberian Peninsula during the Reconquista, because they were never totally driven out, and were able to push the Muslims back, a little bit at a time from the North, with an occassional big victory to consolidate their gains. The Kingdom of Jerusalem and modern Israel however, were basically a Western transplant in the middle of the Islamic Middle East. These entities were not really big enough and strong enough to survive on their own, and needed massive help from the West to endure. The massive help from the West cannot go on forever. Sooner or later, the tide rolls in, in spite of heroic efforts to stop it.

      The Israelis are in a quandry: they know time is not on their side, they know the Israeli Lobby has been very successful in obtaining massive support from the US [American politicians often being almost comically "pro Israeli - I loved seeing Bill Clinton in a Yamulka!], but this cannot last forever. You have to wonder where this will be in 50 years?

      BTW, while I may be a “tough Marine” I do like to read medieval history, especially Church History, as it gives you a sense of perspective when worrying about our current problems.

    • Justin in Ohio

      Many thanks, Tim Shipe and R.C., for your input on this difficult problem. Actually, Palestinians do bear some responsibility for their problems. They have consistently supported Hamas and Fatah. Thay allow, perhaps reluctantly or perhaps not, Hamas to fire missiles at Israel from schools and population centers. (The IDF has some interesting videos on YouTube.) As devout Muslims they can in this way participate in the struggle against the infidels. Perhaps you can address the sincerity of the Gazans in regard to Islam? It would be expensive in the short run, but I think the best idea is to remove the Gazans to Detroit, where they can begin a new life just as all immigrants have. I’ve been told that there are about 15,000 Somali immigrants in Minneapolis. There are already many Muslims in Dearborn. They could help the Gazans to, finally, get on their feet and begin a new life.

      Dan, You generalize everything and fail to recognize that there are CHRISTIAN (even Catholic) Palestinians too in Gaza and in the Holy Land in general.

      The ongoing fighting and violence from all parties, Hamas, Israel, Hezbollah, etc. have driven a large Christian population out of Israel, Lebanon and the occupied territories.

      I think many Catholics – myself included – pray for a solution and pray for peace, because we dream of a Holy Land region that is safe and peaceful for Catholics to visit and experience the land that Christ Jesus and the Apostles walked in.

      We fear that in 50 years, there may not be enough Christians left in the region that was once heavily populated with Christians (mostly Catholic and Orthodox).

    • R.C.

      Will, I hope you’re incorrect, though of course your argument does sound plausible.

      I hope you’re incorrect, not just for the sake of the Israelis, but for the Iranian people and the folks in Gaza and the West Bank and such, also.

      After all, the Israelis have nuclear weapons. And, right or wrong, I pretty much believe them that they’re willing to use the “Samson option” in the event of the imminent fall of Israel.

      Iran regards Israel to be, as they repeatedly state, “a one-bomb state,” meaning a state they can completely destroy by merely getting one single nuclear-tipped missile past Israeli anti-missile defenses. Fair enough. I wonder how aware the Ayatollahs are that Israel has more than one bomb, and when they know they’re being destroyed, they’ll be more than willing to use as many as it takes to exterminate life from the Persian plateau.

      Yet I worry that that, in-and-of itself, is not sufficient deterrence. The death-lovers are fond of expressing their willingness that Iran fall, if jihadist Islam is thereby triumphant.

      I believe them, but I hope that the threat of destruction can still deter them for another reason: Because they’re the sole enclave of ascendancy for Shia Islam, and in the rest of the world the Sunnis are empowered majorities. Perhaps the Ayatollahs will be deterred, if not for fear of the death of their people, then for fear of having “those heretical Sunnites” take over the worldwide leadership of Islam.

      Alright, that’s enough dark speculation. Gives me shivers.

    • Will

      R.C.; I hope that I am wrong too. The Iranian Mullahs seem bent on self destruction. They prattle about destroying Israel and also sacrificed hundreds of thousands of their young people in a useless war against Iraq in the early 1980′s. You are correct in that there is a lot of tension between the Sunnis and Shia Muslims {Islamic Protestants vs Catholics?}, which sometimes errupts into open warfare.

      It seems to me that Islam needs some sort of “reformation” whereby Charity, reason and cooperation would become more of a factor than blind fanaticism and a weird love of death. Islam does have some very good attributes, such as charity towards the poor, but somehow this has not been the driving force. I wish the Muslims in power would focus more on making the lives of their people better, rather than wallowing in hatred of Israel, the West, etc.

    • Dan Deeny

      Thank you to everyone for your contributions. Yes, Beatrice and Justin, there are Christians in the Holy Land. According to modern Islam (purified of degenerate and decadent Western influences), the Christians will, God willing, be going to Hell because they are not Muslims. In the meantime they are tolerated because they do have a holy book which does, in part, give the story of the Prophet Jesus. Modern Muslims are not social democrats. Which brings me to Will. The Kingdom of Jerusalem is a good analogy, although I don’t come up with your conclusion. This Kingdom was an attempt to restore the Christian presence in the Holy Land, a presence that had been endangered by the Muslim advance. The Orthodox were hard pressed to maintain themselves against the implacable Muslims. It is true that the Latin Christians were cruel towards Muslim and Orthodox alike, although even the Latins adopted a form of convivencia. Sea of Faith by Stephen O’Shea is informative and very well-written. Unfortunately for us, Islam continually reforms itself. Modern Muslims are purifying Islam of Western elements, thought to be for the most part decadent and degenerate. This modern reform began with the Wahabis in Saudi Arabia. Amir Taheri summarizes Hamas’ views in this weekend’s edition of USA TODAY, page 11A. The members of Hamas are not social democrats.

    • Will

      Dan, We keep hearing about the many, many “Moderate Muslims” but it seems that they don’t really have much say about things. Their more radical brothers [no sisters!] appear to control the levers of power in most Muslim nations, which makes me wonder about those “moderates.”

      You are correct; they are not Social Democrats or anything close. In Africa they [Muslims] are fighting the Christians and Animist Faiths, in Palestine, fighting the Jews, in India, fighting the Hindus, in Southeast Asia, The Buddists….do I detect a pattern here? That “great intellectual” George W Bush refers to Islam as a “religion of peace”, perhaps because he is afraid of offending his Saudi friends. It doesn’t take much observation to realize that perhaps he may be wrong…..

    • Mark

      “It seems to me that Islam needs some sort of “reformation” whereby Charity, reason and cooperation would become more of a factor than blind fanaticism and a weird love of death. Islam does have some very good attributes, such as charity towards the poor, but somehow this has not been the driving force. I wish the Muslims in power would focus more on making the lives of their people better, rather than wallowing in hatred of Israel, the West, etc.”
      - Written by Will

      I appreciate your optimism and agree that this would be ideal Will, however I think a more practical approach would be to get the dangerously naive among us to accept that Hamas and Hezbollah are Satanic Cults and Islamic leaders worldwide remain silent.

      Contract law teaches us that there are occasions in which silence implies agreement and reasonable people would infer that this is one of those situations.

      It’s sad that the insidious nature of Political Correctness (cultural marxism) makes it difficult to voice the obvious truth that Islam was started by a sword-wielding pedophile.

      Also, I would like to thank you for your service to our country. God bless the Marines!

    • David W.

      …and its enemies know this. Which is why there will never be a lasting peace, because they realize they don’t have to accomodate Israel but wait until the inevitable occurs. Israel has one of the following options:

      -Further wall itself off from it’s neighbors to maintain Demographic survival, ensuring a worse lot for the Palestinians in the short term, and in the long term lead to a large war.
      -Open itself up, leading to an influx of Arabs…causing social strife and in the long run the end of Jewish dominion and of Israel itself as a state.

      Its neighbors recognizing it’s right to exist will not solve this problem….Israel is in an increasingly untenable state. The Palestinians are not going to take a consolation prize. The surrounding Arab nations shouldn’t HAVE to take the Palestinians in just because they share an ethnicity with them…that is a ridiculous assertion. I am of European descent but that doesn’t give me the right to just demand to live in Europe or obligate any of them to take me in. The Palestinians want their home back, homes they lost when Israel was created. Many of them left voluntarily because they sided with the Arab nations who declared war, and more than a few were forced out by the war. Much like the Muslims who were forced out of India, and the Hindus who were forced out of Pakistan when those wars started. They want to go home…and if it was any other country accomodations would be attempted, but because of Israel’s demographic reality we are deaf and dumb to that desire…where is the justice in that? The Israelis are not white as snow and blameless in this mess, and we need to stop pretending that they are.

    • Dan Deeny

      Mark Steyn has an interesting article in National Review Online on hatred for Jews. In a tribute to Fr. Neuhaus, Steyn also quotes Fr. Neuhaus on our own growing malaise. Perhaps the Gazans can be given the choice of living in Israel or living in Detroit? If they come to Detroit, we ourselves can then experience on a daily basis their hatred for the infidel. We can listen to their preachers and decide for ourselves whether to convert to Islam, resist, or encourage them to accept Jesus as their Saviour.

    • nobody

      Much of western culture cries either peace at all costs or the existence of an evil military-industrial complex when we defend ourselves against the world

    • Gary

      I would like to remind the American readers of this site that virtually every weapon system and munition used by the Israelis in Gaza, Lebanon, and elsewhere was not only MADE in the USA (or made in Israel under US license), but also funded by the US Government, courtesy of the hapless American taxpayer. The US gives Israel more MILITARY foreign aid (known legally as Foreign Military Financing) than it gives all other countries combined. Additionally, of the entire US foreign aid budget (including civilian aid), Israel has been the largest single recipient for many years. Yes, Israel receives more than the entire continent of Africa, if one does not count aid to Egypt (stemming from the Camp David Accords)and AIDS funding, which is targeted almost exclusively at Africa. Yet under the deal brokered by the Bush administration in 2007, the aid levels for Israel will continue to rise annually for another ten years. Of course, that requires Congressional approval with an appropriations bill each year, but Congress is only too eager to help. For FY 2009, Israel already has its approximately $2.5 billion in military aid, passed by Congress in a little known bill last fall entitled the Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2008. The rest of the world awaits its foreign aid while Congress wrestles with its continuing resolutions. Finally, a long-standing law called the Arms Export Control Act requires each country to use US-origin military equipment only for specified purposes, which include self-defense and internal security. In the case of Israel, no administration has dared to question Israel’s use of US weaponry against this legal requirement, no matter that the battleground is not Israeli soil or how many civilians are killed and maimed. As for the current conflict in Gaza, no US Senator and (I believe) only Congressmen Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich have had the courage to speak out.

    • Dan Deeny

      Thank you for this information, Gary. Do the Israelis have to pay back any of this aid? Do the Egytians have to pay back any of this aid? I’ve always wondered how much of foreign aid is simply a gift and how much is a loan to be paid back. If it is a gift, I would want it to be closely monitored and spent on schools, teachers, and scholarships for students who would have to return to their country for a good period of years. Israel is, of course, an exception. I am glad to see they are putting our aid to good use. Hamas is the enemy of all social democrats. If we all convert to Islam peacefully, they will be happy. If we resist, they will wage war. They are not interested in lessons from Christians or Jews. Every year two young Mormons walk through our neighborhood. They are polite, interesting, and reasonable. They wish to share their knowledge of their prophet, Joseph Smith, peace be upon him, and their Book of Mormon. No Muslims wishing to share their knowledge of their prophet, Muhammed, peace be upon him, and their Q’uran have every walked through our neighborhood. We have learned, however, from their own preaching of the modern Muslims hatred for the infidel and of their contempt for Christians and Jews.

    • Dan Deeny

      Just now on France24, I heard a spokesman for Hamas demand an immediate ceasefire because the battle was not “egal”, to use the French translation of the spokesman’s Arabic, which in context would mean that the two sides were not using equal weaponry and equally trained soldiers. But Hamas believes God is on its side and Israel is the Little Satan. Surely, as good Muslims, they believe that God is stronger than Satan. So, if Hamas is stronger, why isn’t it winning? Perhaps in the future? Or perhaps the members of Hamas do not believe their preachers, or perhaps they are misinterpreting the Q’uran.? Who can explain what the members of Hamas believe?

    • Dan Deeny

      For those of you still interested, Thomas Sowell has an excellent article in National Review Online, Andre Glucksmann has an excellent article in City Journal, and Ralph Peters has a very excellent article in the New York Post. Ralph Peters’ article is especially interesting because he places modern Islam back to the time before Muhammed. His thesis is that modern Islam is, in fact, not Islam at all. Is his view the members of Hamas have returned to a time before the Prophet.

    • RK

      Thomas Sowell has an excellent article in National Review Online, Andre Glucksmann has an excellent article in City Journal, and Ralph Peters has a very excellent article in the New York Post.

      I read the Sowell and Peters articles. More neoconservative pro-Israel propaganda…. Any even-handed commentary on this needs to include admission that Israel’s blockade has provoked an understandable response from Hamas.

    • Michael Keffer

      Mr. Hudson,

      I did not renew my subscription to Crisis Magazine precisely because of what I perceive to be the distorted understanding of Islam and its relationship with TRUTH, by its Editors and Columnists. Their Doctrine of Subrogation enables Mohammedans to pervert any possible connection their false religion has to our Judeo-Christian Faith and traditions.

      I have lived with Muslims. Islam is not a religion of peace. Mohammedans desire to conquer the world and will use as much force as necessary to accomplish those goals. That is a major part of their Quran, phony Hadiths, and militant tradition.

      Mohammedans have destroyed virtually every religious culture in their way to conquering what we now call the “Middle East.” Let us not forget that Christians and Jews had thrived throughout much of that area, including North Africa, Asia Minor (including what is now Turkey), and the Caucuses. In only a few centuries after its inception, their military brutality had defeated, destroyed and subjugated millions of Jews and Christians. At best, those who were not killed were forced into dhimminitude or third class citizen status.

      Where was the Church’s defense of its people, its teaching, and its moral truths? Millions of Christians were killed, or forcibly converted to the Mohammedan religion. Like their modern successors, the Catholic Bishops allowed this by being Sheppard

    • Khalid

      Reading some of the comments here lead me to believe that the intent of making this conflict a conflict of cultures and/or religions is very strong. Perhaps this is the only way to get support from the majority christians in the western atmosphere. However, I totally disagree and strongly oppose the notion that Islam or Muslims for that matter is against jews. Nothing can be further from the truth for honest knowledgable people of Islam. It’s basically a land grab and unequal rivals. There are so many christian arabs and there are jews living in so many parts of the world including Iran, Bahrain, Yemen, Egypt, Morocco, Tunis,… etc for centuries in peace and harmony. In fact, they have been more of them prior to the creation of Israel which made the arabs change their attitude towards them in general, mostly because of ignorance due to decades of colonial eras. As a muslim from Saudi Arabia and one who thinks that more killings will never make the Israelis safer eventhough I am against mass killings of human beings, I put the blame onto the leaders of both sides. They are the ones who benefit from such conflicts while the innocent pay the dear price. It’s hight time that the jews in the U.S. who don’t risk their lives from supporting and raging this conflict begin to let the ones who do take to road to peace.

    • Mike

      The Palestinians in Gaza elected a government whose foreign policy was the destruction of a much stronger neighbor and whose domestic policy was corruption on a more human scale. That government has kept both promises. Why is anyone surprised that picking a fight with someone bigger and stronger results in getting pummeled? Mr. Hudson keeps claiming that Israel’s latest action will not stop the violence in Gaza and he is right. But that is because the violence in Gaza stems mainly from its residents, not from Israel.