Saturday, March 01, 2008

"Uncle, I don't want to die"

This was the heart-wrenching scream of a Palestinian toddler suffering from severe burns inflicted by indiscriminate Israeli fire. Gaza is aflame again and a total of 61 Palestinians were killed yesterday by the Israeli army, almost half were civilians. In fact it seems to be just the beginning as an Israeli deputy defense minister threatened Gaza with holocaust (!!!) should the rockets continue to fall on Sderot and Ashkelon.

I deeply sympathize with the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza and seethe with anger at the sheer brutality of Israel's behavior. But mostly, I despair at the futility of it all. The Israeli obligingly pulverize everything in Gaza using the rockets as their excuse. Their strategy is simple: make life in Gaza a living hell until it implodes and self-destructs. But I cannot understand Hamas' strategy. What is the purpose of rockets randomly lobbed at Sderot or elsewhere? How does that help the Palestinian cause or the Palestinian people?

I am sure some readers will be indignant at these questions. Do I not understand the right to resist, to self defense, to live in honor and dignity? Sure I do, I understand and appreciate these concepts on an emotional level, but logic and rational thinking dictates that the first order of business should be self preservation. Gaza is completely surrounded by one of the world's biggest war machines and one that has no qualms about raining death and destruction by F-16 and Blackhawk helicopters. The cold hard reality is that Israel can sustain low grade hostilities (and blockades, etc) in Gaza without risking the ire of the international community but cannot go on all out offensive without a cover. But when the first pictures of the distressed people of Ashkelon whose peace and tranquility was inconvenienced by rockets hit the front pages of the international media, Israel will have all the cover it needs to pulverize what remains of Gaza. So why hand the Israelis the cover that they need?

Perhaps Hamas has some clever endgame in mind. If they do, it will come at a very high price for the Palestinian people; too high a price. There must be a better way.


Wassim said...

The strategy for the rockets is simple, if Israel fails to stop the launches regardless of the death and destruction, then Hamas has scored a victory. If Israel fails to destroy Hamas in it's planned invasion of Gaza, then Israel has been defeated again. After it's loss in Lebanon, it's standing in the region will be devastated.

You mention something about a price for the Palestinian people, yet at what stage does the price for your stolen home become too high? I'm sure many Palestinians would like to surrender just to stop all this bloodshed, but many more refuse this option even though they have every reason to do so - except for the right one.

The only thing worse than continuing this struggle is giving up ya Abu Kareem.

كتب عليكم القتال وهو كره لكم

كتب عليكم القتال كما كتب على الذين من قبلكم

صدق الله العظيم

Last night I was thinking. Love them or hate them, if Hezbullah, Hamas, Syria and Iran are all neutralised or eliminated, where and who else can continue this struggle? Jordan? Egypt? Saudi Arabia?

Is this the peace worth sacrificing our principles for? Is there anything worth sacrificing our principles for? If we sell ourselves and bend over for the Americans it might be a pragmatic choice, but apart from a sore bum, we will have nothing and be nothing.

saint said...

Abu Kareem I completely agree with your thoughts and I admire your courage in spelling it out reflecting on the silenced majority who never had a vehicle one the media to express their views regarding these issues. You are not alone and there are a lot of people share you these thoughts. At least those silenced majority do not suggest to sacrifies other to achieve their national interest which actually their interest. The long standing propaganda from the despot regimes always will put land above people and that will serve them well. Thank you for not suggesting sacrificing more people like the deafted regimes that did not lose a finger and who been defeated thousand times and they still have a loudest voice in the region. Thank you Abu Kareem for bringing up the power of mind who can achieve much more than those small missiles and who can time the right action at the right time.

Fares said...

Wassim shows up and defends the culture of death as expected.

Bravo Abu Kareem, you hit the nail on the head, Hamas deserves to be smashed for giving the palestinians in Gaza up on a plate of Gold to Israel.

Reminds me of Nasralla 2 years fact Hamas and the extremists are so useful to Isreal and they benefit extremely from each other, but the blood of the palestinians go on the cheap just like the blood of the Iraqis or the Lebanese go in waste and they call the murdered people martyres...what a disgusting joke.

Fares said...

Wassim shows up and defends the culture of death as expected.

Bravo Abu Kareem, you hit the nail on the head, Hamas deserves to be smashed for giving the palestinians in Gaza up on a plate of Gold to Israel.

Reminds me of Nasralla 2 years fact Hamas and the extremists are so useful to Isreal and they benefit extremely from each other, but the blood of the palestinians go on the cheap just like the blood of the Iraqis or the Lebanese go in waste and they call the murdered people martyres...what a disgusting joke.

Fares said...

Wassim I just want to know where is this marjalle coming from!!!!

what are you sacrificing yourself!!!! you are just a useless cheerleader cheering people up as they die...

Look at Hugo Chavez, he thinks he is defying the west by causing problems with his neighbours and causing all kind of tensions and beating up the drums of fact he is playing into the American hands perfectly, since the US oil and weapon industries benefit tremendously from instabilities and can write all kind of bullshit and honor words that you want but in reality the US benefit from everything even though you think you scored a divine victory (in your head) on them.

The system is flexible enough to turn tragedies (like 9/11) into benefits.

Abu Kareem said...


No ya Wassim, I am not asking the Palestinians to surrender. Why is it that the only two choices we have is surrender or anihalation? Is our intellect so limited? This is senseless bravado that is stupid and self-destructive.

And I for one, sitting in my comforable surrounding, out of reach of Israel's wrath will be the last one to tell the Palestinian civilians to stay put and just suck it up.

I liked your choices of 8 things one should do by 18. I suggest that you apply #6 to this situation: "Condition yourself to moderation in all aspects of life".

Wassim said...

Fares! Like a bad smell on a crowded bus, you make your way towards my nostrils again. It's typical that you would use a playground mentality of big balls and fights behind the bike shed as a frame of reference for your view of the world. Please spare me your cafeteria political analysis. The grown ups are talking here.

Abu Kareem, I've missed the boat on those eight choices but this is so future generations will learn from my mistakes ;)

Fares said...

Wassim, I can tell that the baath party had brainwashed you to gamble your mind away...

I wonder if your wise parents (the real grown ups) think like you do or you are the rebel of the family!

Anyway just like a savage enjoy the blood on innocent people on TV and call them martyres and tell them to keep resisting!

fares said...

Hey Drakula, oops I meant Wassim

check out this aritcle, you would need it in your playground
sorry you have to cut and paste it

Abu Kareem said...

Fares and Wassim,

Please keep it civil; you can critize each other without the insults.

The Syrian Brit said...

Abu Kareem,
I wanted to leave a comment, but it was way too long.. So I wrote a post instead!..

Anonymous said...

Do I not understand the right to resist, to self defense, to live in honor and dignity?

Certain it is that a person's "right" to "honor and dignity" ends where their will to violence begins. As for "resistance" - this term must be defined further - but probably you do not have such a right under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

abufares said...

Abu Kareem & SB
You always provide me with unabashed insight about the grim politics of the Middle East.
Of course I lack your objective analytical ability and I cannot make any positive contribution on such topics as I often get emotionally involved thus reduce my credibility to nil.
I read both of you with great admiration and I will make this same comment on both of your posts simultaneously.
Thank you.

abufares said...

Abu Kareem
Although I don't agree with you fully, I still agree with your line of thought. Does that make any sense?

Abu Kareem said...

Abu Fares,

I fully understand. The thing is, you and I (and SB) in our combined half century of existence (suddenly I feel old)have watched our esteemed leaders, over and over again, use the same approach and arguments and get nowhere.

Wassim said...

Abu Kareem,
That's what my Dad says too. As you can imagine, we tend to avoid discussing politics


fares said...

Wassim, I was right then was not I!!!! about your family!

Anyway I advise you to stop writing garbage and learn from history a bit instead of being selective in writing about people who chose to die (like the Cartagian woman, BTW she propably chose death because she would become a slave after being a general's wife) could think about the people you mentioned in the begninning of your article who were massacred by Alexandre...I bet those people resistance led to nowhere but death...

Great leaders win when they decide the time of their fight and not being dragged on by some lunatics to fight (Bashar/Nasralla/Mishaal) are the same lunatics that Saddam was and once the US find no value in them they will find the same destiny as your uncle Saddam.

Abu Kareem said...


Your father is a wise man. This iswhat you said in your earlier comment: "Love them or hate them, if Hezbullah, Hamas, Syria and Iran are all neutralised or eliminated, where and who else can continue this struggle? Jordan? Egypt?..."

This is not exactly a ringing endorsement of either Hamas or Hizbullah on your part. You see, we are so starved for real leaders that anyone who can give Israel a a black eye is raised on a pedestal. It does not matter if we agree with their long term objectives or even if they have any. We sacrifice long term gain for short term satisfaction; and with many of these leaders it is like a series of one night stands.

qunfuz said...

I can't agree with Saint that a majority of Arabs oppose Hamas's resistance. From what I can work out from here in the Arab world, it's the other way round. Neither do I think this is a matter of regime propaganda. Most regimes are cravenly pro-American, but their people are not.

It's a sad reality that the years of 'calm' and 'peace process' saw increased land confiscation on a daily basis. The Palestinians are facing slow ethnic cleansing. Many of them have decided to resist however burdensome the consequences. Many more Palestinians support resistance than French supported resistance to Nazi occupation, which also seemed futile at the time. Missiles steadily expanding their range and effectiveness, even if nothing compared to Israeli weaponry, represent much more than a mere irritant.

DUBAI JAZZ said...

Abu Kareem,
The core principle in any military conflict is to spare the civilians any harm.
But was Israel really adopting this principle before this episode of violence has began? Of course not, Gaza has been under brutal siege for God knows how long. Ill people and expecting women were disallowed entry to Israel to get the medical treatment they need.

Medicine supplies were dwindling in Gaza's own hospitals. I am sure that you as a thoughtful and considerate physician would consider such kind of Israeli approach as collective punishment and as targeting civilians. 'cause as you said, they wanted the situation inside Gaza to implode in the face of Hamas.

But what should Hamas do? Just cut and leave because the Israeli and the American masters (and their puppet Arab regimes) want them to? Have you read the Vanity Fair article? What would you do if you were in Hamas shoes and you are conspired against? You said there is a better way of doing things, what is that?
Is it really fair to blame the victim for providing cover for its assassin? Like saying 'ohh he's so stupid, he walked this dark road in the shank of the night and invited the robbery upon himself' or 'she invited the sexual assault by wearing a short skirt' …or.. or..

Above all that ya Abu Kareem, and here I beg to differ from you and from Abu Fares, Hamas's leadership is in the same boat with its people. They are as well sustaining losses of lives amongst their commanders. So this isn't like Saddam Hussien enjoying a lavish lifestyle while his people suffer from sanctions.

The Israeli strategy toward Hamas is simple; kill yourself or I'll kill you. I am not entirely happy with what Hamas have been doing. But now I honestly hope their missiles get more and more effective. This thing will get far worse before it gets better. And I eventually hope that the people of Gaza would live in peace. Under Hamas leadership or any other dignified and non-corrupt leadership.

(sorry for the long comment)

saint said...

There are reason and logic in all comments on this subject. First I respect all other views and thank all for not trashing others views which differ. Because of the lack of free speech each one of us may expect that he reflect the populace views, but in the end we are reflection to our believes and to the circles we live in, such as family and friends.
First, thanks for not accusing other views of betrayal. Anyone from the region is crying blood inside for the scenes of the killing of indecent children and the suffering of the Palestinians. The Palestinians in Gaza have elected Hamas to represent them but surely not to do what they are doing; the corruption factor on the Fateh side was another factor for the election of Hamas. Hamas people are the most honorable resistance party we have known. That does not make them right neither make them without mistakes and also does not mean we should agree with them. Playing in the hands of the regional power was and still is one of the mistakes which plight these people and factored in extending their suffering. People in Gaza or people in the region might not agree with their action but all we agree with their objectives.
On my side I learnt the hard way not to impose a fight on others because talking is cheep and easy. I would consider myself and my country first for the fight and I would not enthuse others to take the burden from my comfort. I still believe there should be better way and always chose the time which suit you to rise up. The other thing, resistance should be factored with time; you have to rest and come back again choosing the right moment. What we are seeing right now is not fruitful resistance and too much burden on these poor people under very harsh conditions. I look at the Palestinians people as a whole, not only the Gaza people. Yes some French resisted the Nazi but French people later learnt the wisdom of accepting the other half who did not chose to do so and put it for right day.
Respectfully, please accept my disagreement.

Wassim said...

"but French people later learnt the wisdom of accepting the other half who did not chose to do so and put it for right day."

Umm Saint, I'm not sure if you are aware, but De Gaulle gave a 48 hour period for people to "settle scores" once France was liberated from the Nazis.


saint said...

Thanks for giving me 48 hours Sir, but I think from what I’m trying to covey is that both views can at least respect the other and keep their hearts towards each other. Both ideas could serve their existence and continuity. And by bringing the treason example for the other views is just unhealthy to say the least. My example was just to save those dictators who lost wars and still residing on the top of the pack claiming their leadership for us, to save them from revenge of the people when land will be liberated. On the other hand, when land liberated, we should not go on killing frenzy to kill all the people under occupation and call them traitors, are we?. We hope from discussion to build a new culture of understanding each other as humans with different view, We hope that we can build a new consensus that when a leader fail and his land get occupied, he should not hide in a hole, he should accept defeat or kill himself as an acknowledgement of defeat, not keep residing on top.

As far as I know, De Gaulle did not liberate the land not from Nazi, the coalition did that, but he liberated the country from the dictators who assume power and collaborated with the Nazi.
De Gaulle 48 hours you mentioned was targeted the cooperators who did harm to the French people not any cooperators with the occupations, and not the French people who were under occupation. Otherwise we should see three quarters of France disappear after the war.

Karin said...

Abu Wassim - I was almost in shock when I read your post .. and to be absolutely sure I read it another time and now there's no doubt in m mind: there's someone who shares my stand, my way of looking at the "conflict" 100%!!

You know, I was critzised COUNTLESS TIMES for "not understanding" or for being "one-sides", "sympathizing with the terrorists" ect. - all kinds of utter nonsense. I grew so tired of all that ...
To know you do share it gives me hope!

Thanks so much for this GREAT POST!!

Abu Kareem said...


I think you meant to write Abu Kareem, correct? If so, thanks for the comment.

Karin said...

I apologize - of course that had been my intention!
It was careless of me - I hope you can forgive me!