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Israel-Gaza Megathread #1

This is a megathread for any posts on the conflict between (so far, and so far as I know) Hamas and the Israeli government, as well as related geopolitics. Culture War thread rules apply.

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It is a bit lame to post a twitter link and say I agree with it, but this piece resonates with me so much that I wanted to share it here. I still believe this place is majority composed of reasonable people, notwithstanding the couple of accounts that has spent the last couple of weeks plotting genocide scenarios and reliving their war on terror "they hate us for our freedoms" high one last time.

To delve deeper into the uncomfortable topic of the looming genocide, I also increasingly get the feeling that contrary to the expectations of some whose view of geopolitics is eerily similar to RTS mechanics, the genocidal military power IDF is displaying right now is ultimately going to harm Israel a lot more than it helps. I think it mainly has to do with political/military leadership trying to cover their ass and muffle their enormous failures with the sound of bombs. If IDF really goes through with their plan which seems likely to cost civilian lives in the hundreds of thousands, I don't think the nation of Israel will ever recover from this.

It is a country that is already losing two of its most powerful weapons:

  1. Endlessly idealistic and intelligent Ashkenazi founders who knew to out-think and out-work their opponents at very turn, and most importantly to not lose the sight of their goal even when they had to take very nasty decisions at times: to create a people. Not to destroy one. These people are not only losing out in demography but also they are losing the soul of the nation. Their spirit will not survive a Gazan genocide.
  2. Zionist influence in the Western world. Through a combination of dedication, money, human quality, well-crafted propaganda, historical guilt and Cold War positioning, Zionists has always had a very unique power position in Western institutions, especially the US ones. This is quickly disappearing. Western Jews are assimilating into the PMC deracinated blob at a breathtaking pace. They are losing the set of assumptions that motivated them to identify with their kin in Israel, and they are losing the power that comes from ethnic favoritism. A Gazan genocide is very likely going to be the final nail in the coffin here.

I fully agree that the situation with Gaza is entirely unsustainable. But if Israelis go through with what they are plotting right now, they will slowly but surely find out that they are 7 million souls surviving in an ocean of half a billion through miracles, and they are pissing in the miracle potion.

I actually agree with most of what he said. It's more what he hasn't said that's the problem.

Please also remember this: Hamas is still an extremist group. The Palestinian people do not have a government or leaders who legitimately represent their interests, and it sure as hell isn't Hamas.

I'm gonna say, source on this? (not necessarily to you Pasha) Hamas is the legitimately elected government of Gaza. So Mr. Isaac Saul does not believe they "legitimately represent their interests", but who is he to say? They won the last election, how does he know better? Perhaps he is personally friends with a number of reasonable Palestinians in Gaza, but there's no solid indication that they represent a majority. So why isn't it him and whoever he is friends with who do not legitimately represent the actual interests of the majority of Gaza residents? For better or worse, if they are free people, their opinions are what they actually are and what they have proven them to be, not what we would like them to be.

Israel is forever stuffing these people into tinier and tinier boxes with fewer and fewer resources.

So this is technically true, but it misses the why. They're not doing it because they're great big jerks who just wanna smash some Palestinians (or at least, they weren't before this most recent spate). They're doing it because the Gaza residents have consistently prioritized hurting Israelis any way they can over everything else. They've displayed pretty remarkable levels of cleverness in turning what we would think of as ordinary objects into weapons. If you legitimately try to stop anything that could possibly be turned into some sort of weapon from coming in, you're not left with much. What materials do you think they used to make those para-glider things to drop basically paratroopers into a music festival, and would you block all of those from going into Gaza?

Ultimately, I have no idea what to do with a people who refuse to accept any sort of peace and bend all their efforts towards destroying you no matter what you do to them. Maybe sitting on them hard enough to mostly stop them from attacking you just makes them angrier, but then exactly what are you supposed to do?

Gazans voted for Hamas in 2006, which took over the control of the strip the next year with a coup.

There hasn’t been any elections ever since and Hamas controls Gaza through widespread torture and executions. It’s openly acknowledged* and widely known that Israeli government (especially Netanyahu) has been more than happy and supportive of this situation since the existence of Hamas makes a two-state solution impossible and gives Israel ample opportunity for further taking over the West Bank. They thought they could handle the heat for the political gains. Turns out they couldn’t.

I am not sure if you are being disingenuous or simply ignorant when you argue Gaza electing Hamas means they are fair game. I was entering most discussions here very combatively last weekend because I thought people were plainly lying, but lately I am realising that people genuinely don’t know much about the history of the conflict and they just like to make big brain statements for the sake of it.

*one thing I really like with every Israeli I ever met is that they are very direct people. Hence you can almost always find videos of an Israeli prime minister openly describing plots which gets you branded as a conspiracy theorist when you describe them to westerners who are used to their government officials talking in absolutely empty sentences all the time.

I do know that, but I don't think it changes anything regarding what I said. They did win the last election, regardless of it being kind of a while ago and however much the Israeli government might have helped. As far as I know, Hamas didn't make any secret of what they believed when those elections were being held; everyone who voted for them must have known what they were all about. There aren't any free opinion polls there, so all we really know is that nobody has managed to successfully overthrow them yet.

I'd honestly love it if the residents of Gaza truly were 80% Jeffersonian classical liberals whose demands for peace and prosperity are not being heard solely due to the brutal oppression of Hamas - that means there is a possible peaceful solution to all this. Sadly, regardless of how much you or I would like for that to be the case, we just don't have any proof of it, and all of the indirect signs suggest it's not.

What if it truly is the case that upwards of 80% of Gazans really do hate the idea of Israel existing at all so much that they don't mind giving up things like running water to hit back at them somehow? What evidence would you accept that that's the case?

For me, a lot of this comes from the, I guess you would call it hangover or backlash from the Iraq war. We were told the same things during the runup to that. Hey, the only reason this place is a mess is because Saddam Hussein is a big fat jerk. If we just bump him off, it'll be a nice stable Democracy in a snap. The Bush admin said it. I remember reading all of the blogs saying it at the time. I probably said it to a few people myself. I wanted to believe it. Then, reality hit us all in the face. Saddam was actually keeping a lid on a lot of beefs that promptly blew up in our faces as soon as his regime was out of the picture. Through a tremendous effort in both blood and treasure by the most powerful military in the world, we eventually managed to get it sort of kind of under control. At least until ISIS gobbled up a good chunk of it. But let's not get too far into recent Middle East happenings. Bottom line is that it is a nice and seductive idea that there's all a bunch of nice kind peaceful people in these places who are being oppressed by a minority of nutcases, but it's just not the case. We've had our faces rubbed into it good and hard by now.

I think often of this old-ish, since deleted article I read a while back during the Iraq war and Arab Spring. A Western blogger / journalist meets an Egyptian political blogger for a little tour of Cairo and a few conversations. In one, he asks this Egyptian guy, a classical liberal there, "How many people here think like you do?". The answer was "Few, very few. Less than ten percent probably." Also note how the Taliban took over Afghanistan about 20 minutes after the US Military left. The way I see it, it's just a fact that a majority of people in that region really do think this way. Nothing we try to do in the region will work right if we continue to refuse to accept this even when it's staring us in the face.