The Ghost of Snapped Shot

Or, welcome to my low-maintenance heck.

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Far be it from me to suggest that Hamas uses its populace as life-sized puppets.

Tens of thousands of Hamas supporters attend a rally in Gaza City marking the 21st anniversary of the Islamist movement's creation, December 14. Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip last year. (AFP/Mahmud Hams)

Each one of these rallies, as far as I've seen over the past few years, involves "tens of thousands" of people. And each and every rally has been surrounded by gunmen like these, with their weapons and scopes aimed towards the crowds always, presumably to ensure that all of the puppets present are appropriately enthusiastic about whatever the Hamas leadership is going on about this time 'round.

And yet, the Left continues to ignore this blatant manipulation of the populace, treating the Gaza Strip as if it were no different than the suburbs of Philadelphia—Though, to its credit, the Gaza Strip is probably somewhat safer.

Speaking of which, according to caption, Hamas used this occasion to declare that they will not "seek to renew" their "ceasefire" with Israel after it expires this month. Which is kinda curious, considering how the attacks never ceased.



#1 upyernoz 15-Dec-2008
actually, the attacks did cease, until the israelis violated the ceasefire on november 4th when the IDF entered the strip. in retaliation for the incursion, hamas has fired a bunch of rockets into israel in the past month and a half, and israel has retaliated for those rockets with various strikes into gaza and blockades of food and fuel supplies to the territory.

when you tell only 1/2 of the story like that, it's really not doing much for your credibility.

hamas probably is threatening to "not renew" the ceasefire in order to get better terms this time around. i expect that both israel and hamas will reach an 11th hour ceasefire agreement later this week. the reason israel keeps entering into these ceasefires is because hamas often (though not always) does honor them .
#2 Brian C. Ledbetter 15-Dec-2008
Who's telling half of the story here, Noz?

From November 4th: Israel: Ceasefire with Hamas Ends

[quote]The temporary cease-fire (tahdiya) agreement between Israel and Hamas has come to an end earlier this month with an escalation of violence in the region and a re-implementation of the Gaza blockade. [b]Following information on [u]Hamas[/u] preparations[/b] to abduct IDF soldiers through a tunnel, the IDF operated near the border in Gaza. The operation prevented the planned attack and killed seven Hamas operatives. In reaction, Hamas fired a massive barrage of rocket and mortar shell fire onto the Israeli south.[/quote]

What were the specific terms of the cease-fire, you ask?

[quote]Israel pledged to refrain from massive offensive operations but [b]reserved the right to carry out attacks on specific targets[/b] should the need arise. Hamas, on the other hand, regarded the temporary cease-fire as a tahdiya and not a hudna. Jonathan Dahoah Halevi explains the difference:[/quote]

Israel [i]has[/i] refrained from massive offensive operations in the Strip, and based on the reading of the passage above, I'd say that their incursion to stop a [i]specific threat[/i] was justified under the cease-fire arrangement. Which, of course, would mean that Hamas is lying when they say that their rocket launches were "retaliation" for Israeli "violations."

If I might turn the question around, what do you suppose that spouting Hamas' propaganda is doing to [i]your[/i] credibility?

Again: My credibility lies where it is. I have never claimed to be [i]impartial[/i] when recounting these stories—but I am being [i]honest[/i], and I am [i]honestly[/i] reporting my stated beliefs. And will continue to do so, of course.

For what it's worth, my fingers are crossed for another 11th-hour renewal, even though these ceasefires tend to be essentially meaningless. But hey, we're talking about an unlawful international group of terror-supporting militants. What's a violated ceasefire or two between 'em, right?

#3 upyernoz 15-Dec-2008
one thing you should always be suspicious of are articles in english that pepper their writing with arabic words. it's often an attempt to take a concept that exists in english and make it seem sinister and foreign by using an alien term. and, in my experience, they're always used in incredibly misleading ways. so, for example, "tahdiya" and "hudna" are often used as synonyms. but because some hamas officials have used the word "tahdiya" to refer to the agreement on some occasions, that leads rightwing commentators to claim the agreement is something less than a ceasefire. never mind that other hamas officials, or sometimes the same ones at different times, have used the word "hudna".

but anyway, yes, the israeli government initially justified its violation of the ceasefire because it claimed there was a plot to kidnap israelis via the tunnels it raided. the problem was, the tunnels didn't go into israel, they went into egypt. the story simply didn't make sense. so later the israeli officials dropped that line and claimed that they were going in to close to tunnels to stop the smuggling of weapons into gaza from egypt. surely you remember that, you posted about it yourself right here! but the so-called "actionable intelligence" used by israelis to justify breaking the ceasefire turned out to be a cover story.

and yes, israel always says that it reserves the right to break ceasefires when it has actionable intelligence. likewise, hamas always says that if israel enters gaza it will respond with rocket attacks. but neither of those things are made part of the ceasefire agreement. but neither of those things are part of the ceasefire agreement, they're threats by each party intended to keep the other one in line.

besides, by your logic, the fact that hamas says stuff like that up front would also excuse their rocket attacks. if israel's statement that it can still raid gaza if it has actionable intelligence means it is excused when it raids gaza, why wouldn't hamas' statement that if there is such a raid it would respond with rockets, absolve hamas?
#4 Brian C. Ledbetter 15-Dec-2008
At least do me the honor of providing source documentation for your allegations, good sir. I've always tried to do the same.

As far as how "right" Hamas is in prefacing their agreements, I think there's clear enough proof that Hamas launches rockets [i]regardless[/i] of Israel's actions - See that "meaningless" link I put in the comment above. A large portion of the rocket attacks listed there occurred AFTER the ceasefire agreement, yet at that point, [i]Israel hadn't done [u]anything[/u] to "retaliate" for[/i]. Ergo, Hamas' words are meaningless.

Other than that, I'd draw comparisons between Israel (a democratically elected, multi-ethnic government) and Hamas (an anti-Jewish terrorist group, which holds a dictatorial reign over a miniscule sliver of land, and wears the cloak of politics [i]only[/i] when it feels threatened enough by exterior powers to require foreign intervention on its behalf) in saying that THE TWO SIDES OF THIS AGREEMENT ARE NOT EQUAL.

On the one side, you have a group of people who are held accountable by their populace, by and large.

On the other is a band of lawless thugs that takes particular pleasure in inflicting harm on the Jewish [i]civilian[/i] population.

Take that as "proof" of my bias however you will.

#5 upyernoz 15-Dec-2008
"After an Egyptian-mediated truce went into effect in last June, rocket attacks dropped off significantly (from a high of 257 in February to just one in July, eight in August, one in September and two in October.)"
(i always do embedded links wrong on this site. sorry about the naked urls.)

it is true that rockets from gaza didn't stop completely. but it's also true that hamas would arrest people for firing rockets in violation of the ceasefire.

that is, until the israeli incursion in early november.

oh, and hamas is the elected government of the palestinian authority. for that reason i think it is fair to view them as having the ability to enter into agreements with israel. israel may not recognize them as the legitimate government there, but hamas doesn't recognize the israeli government as legitimate either.
#6 Brian C. Ledbetter 15-Dec-2008
Thanks for the links - For future reference, the site uses BBCode syntax, so links should look like [url= http://xxxxxx/ ]blah blah[ /url ] (without the extra spaces)

I'm glad to see the rocket attacks "go down." It's interesting that Hamas didn't actually arrest any Hamas members for launching such attacks, though. Of course, I also wouldn't go so far as to blame an Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade rocket launch on Hamas, either - considering how much the two groups tend to detest each other.

(The enemy of my enemy is also my enemy's enemy, yes?)

Re: their [i]political[/i] aspirations, Hamas was only elected into power by the Gaza Strip, were they not? One could suppose that the proverbial Hamas gunmen in mosques "conducting" the populace towards the polls on voting day just [i]might[/i] have skewed the results just a [i]teensy[/i] little touch, don't you think? (How many stories have there been about Hamas crime families and their petty disputes, anyway? Is it really beyond imagination to suppose that these violent clans used their gunpower to coerce a result out of the population there—an illegitimate democratic exercise by anyone's definition of the term, is it not?)

And aside from even all of that, the PA government [i]itself[/i] does not recognize the legitimacy of Hamas over the Gaza Strip, which would seem to make your arguments about Hamas being a justifiable negotiator in these ceasefires a moot point, wouldn't it?

Is it Fatah vs. Hamas hatred and bias? Is Fatah worried about the state of international donations were it to officially recognize the terror group as legitimate? Or is there some other intrigue involved that I'm missing?

Either way, the scope of the negotiation—i.e., that of a lawfully elected government of a nation on one hand, and a band of thugs on the other—remains unchanged, as far as I can tell.

#7 upyernoz 15-Dec-2008
"their political aspirations, Hamas was only elected into power by the Gaza Strip"

no. hamas was elected at the governing party for the entire palestinian authority. what happened is that fatah assumed it would win and then, when it lost, refused to give up the keys to power.

there was a political standoff for about a year, with hamas claiming it was the legitimate leader and fatah refusing to acknowledge the election results. then fatah (backed by both the u.s. and israel) attempted a coup that failed spectacularly in gaza. fatah ended up getting kicked out of the strip entirely, leaving hamas in control of the strip. fatah then arrested a bunch of hamas supporters in the west bank (where it has more control), effectiving dividing the PA territory between two competing governments, one elected and one not. hamas is the one that is elected. but fatah is the one that has gotten more recognition internationally simply because it is liked better and not because it has any legal claim to legitimacy.

and the reason why the 2006 palestinian elections are generally viewed as fair is because international observers thought they were fair and because the opposition party (i.e. hamas) beat the incumbant (i.e. fatah). that doesn't generally happened in fixed elections. remember, at the time of the election, the security forces at the polls were all fatah people.

"And aside from even all of that, the PA government itself does not recognize the legitimacy of Hamas over the Gaza Strip, which would seem to make your arguments about Hamas being a justifiable negotiator in these ceasefires a moot point, wouldn't it?"

see above. the fatah-controlled PA violated its own law by refusing to cede power to hamas after that group beat it in the election.

"Is it Fatah vs. Hamas hatred and bias?"

no, it's a real political disagreement. historically fatah was a secular/nationalist party and hamas is an islamist party. (fatah, for example, has a lot of christian members). but the waters are a little muddy because fatah has gotten into the religion thing a little bit to try to undermine hamas' support with religious muslims. their biggest policy split is over the oslo accords. fatah entered into them whereas hamas always opposed them. but most of the difference between them comes down to power. fatah simply doesn't want to give up its role as ruling party.

"Is Fatah worried about the state of international donations were it to officially recognize the terror group as legitimate?"

i don't think so. after all, it does officially recognize hamas as a political entity. it just refuses to recognize hamas' victory in the 2006 election. also fatah itself was once branded a terrorist group (and still is by a lot of people). fatah has profited a lot from it's face-off with hamas simply by contrast. it now sells itself as "the good one" or "the one the west can deal with" and helps demonize hamas as a way to increase its own stature internationally.

"Either way, the scope of the negotiation—i.e., that of a lawfully elected government of a nation on one hand, and a band of thugs on the other—remains unchanged, as far as I can tell."

well, except that you seem to have them reversed. both are pretty thuggish. but hamas is the one that was elected.

(note: fatah leader abbas was also elected, in the 2005 election held after arafat died. hamas boycotted that election. abbas can and does claim some legitimacy from that election, except that he should not be in charge of the government because the PA has a modified parliamentary-styple form of government. so that means that the majority party, i.e. hamas, should be in charge)
#8 captainfish 15-Dec-2008
so far in December, there have been:
Mortars: 79
Rockets: 28 (7 rockets and mortars were launched during last week when aid was sent to Gaza)

For November,
Mortars: 104 (+12 unknown type)
Rockets: 144

For November,
Mortars: 104
Rockets: 144

Give me time and I will get the October data as well. However, on a side note, over 218 Pallies were killed by their own bretheren so far this year with a total of 618 MEN since 2007 (+another 100 or so women and children).
#9 Kevin 16-Dec-2008
I agree with upyernoz - the only solution is to send the palestinians packing to Jordan and leave the West Bank and Gaza a no-man's land.

Thanks upyer!
#10 upyernoz 17-Dec-2008
apparently kevin is advocating ethnic cleansing as the solution to the israeli-palestinian problem.

that pretty much says it all.

oh, and i realized i didn't respond to captainfish's above comment. you'll note that he starts with november (and for some reason prints the november stats twice). as i said above, hamas has been firing rockets into israel ever since israel violated the ceasefire on november 4th. so the good captain's comment doesn't actually contradict anything i said.

i wonder if he noticed?
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