Death in Gaza – there is no alternative
Postmodern history is neither science nor art, but a random sequence of feelings drawn from a melting pot of misinformation concocted from a myriad of disparate anecdotes and distorted concepts embroidered by the half-light of relativity.
And so it is with the eternal Arab-Israeli conflict.
The piteous images of the dead and wounded in what has become known as the ‘Gaza Strip’ are convenient for the Jew-hater or for those who are pathologically disposed to the elimination of Israel. The babies who had barely breathed, the children who had scarcely played, the young men and women who were on the cusp of falling in love, and the elderly and infirm whose life it was to dote on their children and grandchildren, all cruelly cut off by the barbarism that is war.
Why is this happening? What is the cause? Who is to blame? How can peace be found?
No-one will deny that life on this godforsaken, besieged strip of land is hard. Jobs are scarce, the economy is in ruins, health is poor, education is poorer, and the future (should any bother to consider it) has always been bleak. It was bleak when Israel governed the land, but it has become bleaker since withdrawal and the systematic eradication of the Israeli settlements.
From the moment Hamas were elected to govern in 2006, the welfare and interests of the Palestinian people have been subjugated to the religio-political objectives of its divinely-ordained charter. Instead of spending the billions of dollars and euros it has been given in aid on social infrastructure and the realisation of progressive policies, it has squandered it on military hardware and political propaganda. The militant ruling party has had little concern for the long-suffering of the Gazans, determined, as they have been, to ensure increased social trauma and worsening strife, in order that Muslims across the world might be provoked to rise in anger against Israel – the author of all that evil in the world.
Hamas has only one objective – the destruction of Israel. It is championed by Iran, which would also like to see Israel ‘wiped off the map’. Hamas have therefore rained down missiles into Israeli towns and villages for the past three years – 6000 of them, to be precise. And not one has been aimed at an Israeli military target, but purposely fired randomly at residential areas to maximise the civilian death toll.
Israel has tolerated this for years. It has turned cheeks, blind eyes, deaf ears, and mute mouths (if one turns a mouth). And while it was doing so, no-one was marching on the streets of London, Paris, Berlin, Rome or Washington demanding that Palestine halt its indiscriminate bombardment of Israel. No-one co-ordinated mass demonstrations, no-one besieged any Arab-Muslim embassies, and the mainstream media was silent on the slaughter of Jewish men, women and children.
You see, not enough were dying.
If only Israel had thought to orchestrate a few devastating missile hits, to conceal explosives in the basements of its synagogues or beneath apartment blocks, to preserve a few bodies of babies and children in morgues so they could be produced for the world’s cameras when required.
But even then, few would have cared. And fewer would have equated such a tale with Israel’s fight for survival. For Israel, you see, has not only been framed by Hamas, it has been systematically and chronically demonised by the Islamists, by the Left, by the pathologically anti-Semitic media, and so by all the mindless, undiscerning idiots who obtain their ‘truth’ from the fount of all untruth.
So the British Foreign Secretary demands a ceasefire, and so does his Shadow. And they along with their leaders advocate dialogue. They demand a cessation of hostilities and a peace agreement. They will doubtless organise another summit (equally doubtless presided over by the President of the United States), at which they will attempt to address the ‘underlying causes’ of the latest conflagration, only to discover that they are the same underlying causes which were discussed last year, and the year before, and the year before that; and last decade, and the decade before that, and the decade before that; and last century, and the century before that...
You see, the ‘underlying cause’ is not simply (or complexly) political, and neither is it social, psychological or straightforwardly territorial.
The ‘underlying cause’ is theological, or, to be more precise, religio-theological-historical-political.
It all comes down to which son Abraham almost sacrificed.
For Jews it is revealed in the Torah (Gen 22:1f) that it was Isaac – from whom the Jews are descended. The Christians corroborate this (Heb 11:17; Js 2:21). But to Muslims it is revealed in the Qur’an (Surah 11:69-73, 37:112-113, 51:24-30) that it was Ishmael – from whom Arab Muslims are descended. They believe that the ‘promised son’ was Ishmael and scribes later corrupted the original reading in Genesis to 'Isaac'.
This is possibly the most important bit of redaction in the history of the world. Genesis according to the Torah reveals that Isaac was the ‘promised son’ and so the Jews are the chosen of YHWH. But Genesis according to the Qur’an reveals Ishmael as the ‘promised son’, and so Muslim Arabs are the chosen of Allah.
So who is the chosen ‘promised’ son? Who inherits the land? The second-born of the first wife, or the first-born of the second wife?
There is no consensus to be found here, no agreement to be had, no concordat to be drawn up by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, for not even the Middle East
For most Arabs, Israel is an Islamic land ‘occupied’ by the Jews. And this is the fault of the UK (who double-crossed and deceived them in 1948), and the US (who support Israel militarily). Peace can only be restored when the Jews of Isaac surrender that which they illegally occupy to the Muslim-Arabs of Ishmael.
It is not clear to where Hamas (et al) propose that Israel’s Jews should move, but presumably they simply want an exodus of millions of the sons and daughters of Isaac which will then become someone else’s problem – presumably that of the United Nations.
Alternatively, the sons of Ishmael could accept that the Jews of Isaac are related to them through their father Abraham, and extend true Middle-Eastern hospitality to their distant cousins by acknowledging firstly their right to exist, and secondly their right to a homeland, and thirdly by sharing copious quantities of kosher wine and halal beer. It is not much of a life without a home, and one cannot build a home without land, and one cannot obtain land without rights, and one cannot be granted rights if one does not at least have the right to exist.
But sadly, formal recognition of Israel (and peace agreements signed) by all Arab countries is a pipe dream, whatever they may be smoking or drinking. Iran’s leadership has recently condemned Israel in the strongest terms over their airstrikes against Hamas, and are beginning to register volunteers to fight against Israel in the Gaza strip. Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei earlier issued a religious decree declaring it the duty of Muslims around the world to fight back against Israel in any way.
There will always be radical factions within the Islamic ummah which hate Israel, and past signatories to peace treaties have paid with their lives.
So Plan C is to leave it to Tony Blair to sort out.
But this is a futile pursuit, for he is busy building his
Plan D is to leave it to President Obama to sort out.
But even the half-black, half-Muslim Christian will not end the suffering or bloodshed, even with his magnificent oratory of postmodern platitudes. Wars do not wait for inaugurations, and he is already losing a war he does not even know he is in. He will learn that he cannot bring ‘change’ to Israel any more than he can turn water into wine.
So we are left with an intractable dilemma, a problem without resolution, a devastatingly inevitable and utterly unavoidable scenario in which nothing but the return of the concept of a victor and a vanquished will lead to anything approaching peace - with all the attendant suffering, pain, death and trauma.
Innocent people will be killed by the hundreds and terrorised by the thousands because ultimately this is a battle between good and evil. And there are good and evil people on both sides. But the leadership of Hamas has no moral equivalence with the leadership of Israel.
Whatever the Islamists may spout, whatever the Left may splutter, and whatever the mainstream media may self-righteously declaim, Israel is on the side of morality and justice. There is one civilised force in this war, and one barbaric horde of genocidal maniacs.
If liberty is to result, if stability is to ensue, if peace is ever to be known, one had better pray for Israel as much as one weeps for innocent victims of Hamas.
Shalu Shlom Yerushalayim.