Hmmm – Blockade, Siege, State of War?

It just occurred to me (I’m a little slow) that now that Egypt has opened their Rafah border crossing with Gaza, there is no siege or full blockade of Gaza anymore.

In spite of the world’s criticism of Israel for closing its borders with Gaza, it is important to remember that Egypt has done the same.  I do wonder why there is little or no protest in the world press about that closure, but I suspect it’s because Egypt is not a Jewish state.  No one cares what one Muslim state does to another, or in this case, what a Muslim state does to another Muslim entity, since Gaza is not a state or country.

But, let us talk a bit about Israel’s rights and responsibilities with respect to Gaza.

Israel, unlike Egypt, is in an active state of war with Gaza.  That war has been declared many times by the leadership of Hamas, which is the ruling power in Gaza.

While in a state of war, in my opinion (and I suspect legally), Israel has zero obligations with respect to the residents of Gaza.  After all, they are at war with them.

In what warped universe does a country under attack by another provide the aggressor with 15 tons of humanitarian aid every week, provide them with electricity, fuel, etc.?  Please, someone enlighten me about all the other places in the world where this happens.

The idea that Israel needs to open its borders to the residents of Gaza is ridiculous.  What entities at war with one another have ever allowed open borders, whether for trade, commercial transfers, or for any other reason except prisoner exchanges, ceasefires to pick up wounded or dead soldiers, etc.?

Hamas, the PA, and the world all clamor for Israel to open the border crossings, employ Palestinians from Gaza in Israel, and generally behave toward Gaza as one country would behave toward another bordering country with no malicious intentions toward it.

In this instance, that simply isn’t the case.  THEY ARE ACTIVELY AT WAR WITH ONE ANOTHER.  THERE ARE ROCKETS FLYING ACROSS THE BORDERS INTO ISRAEL.  THERE ARE ACTIVE ASSAULTS ON THE BORDERS.

If, at some future time, Hamas declares an end to the state of war, I have no doubt that Israel would be happy to have the Palestinians of Gaza as peaceful neighbors, would love to trade with them, and would love to have open borders.

In the meantime, though, it’s silly to think that Israel has ANY responsibility to Gaza.

If the Arab world, which for 60 years has shed crocodile tears for the Palestinians while keeping them locked up in refugee camps, preventing them from working, forbidding them from obtaining legal status in their countries, wants to support the Palestinians of Gaza, they have their chance now that Egypt has lifted their blockade.

It is incumbent upon Israel to protect its citizens from the aggressive rulers of Gaza.  It is NOT incumbent upon them to make life easier in any way, shape, or form for the Gazans, who elected Hamas to power and cheer them on in their war on Israel.

What a funny world!

Some facts about Gaza and Israel

What strikes me about much of what I see in the world press and the crocodile tears shed by the misguided of the world for the “peace activists” killed by Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara, is the clear lack of knowledge of history and even of basic facts of the region.

Common complaints are that Israel is choking the life out of poor Gaza, with no reasonable justification, and that Israel is using disproportionate levels of force.

My initial reaction is “WTF???”, but since obviously, that doesn’t really address the issues, let’s move beyond that reaction, and list a few facts.  These facts are easy to verify, so I won’t put links, although if you can’t find data with a simple click on Google, let me know and I’ll point you in the right direction.

  1. Israel and the ruling regime in Gaza (Hamas) are in a DECLARED state of war.  Hamas has declared war against Israel, formally.  Their charter calls for Israel’s destruction.
  2. Hamas has launched over 6000 rockets at Southern Israel since Israel withdrew unilaterally from Gaza in September, 2005.
  3. Israel waited until January, 2009 to take significant action to try to stop the continuous bombardment from Gaza.  This means that they sustained rocket fire to their civilian population centers for over 3 years before responding seriously.  The response (invasion of Gaza) was taken after many, many warnings to Hamas that it was coming.
  4. Before and during the invasion, Israel telephoned, emailed, and leafletted residents of Gaza, warning them of imminent bombings of their areas, in an effort to reduce civilian casualties.
  5. Hamas has made significant and frequent efforts to obtain advanced, long-range weapons with which to reach additional Israeli population centers.  Israel has stopped several ships containing massive amounts of weaponry.
  6. As a result of Hamas’ declared war and their continuing efforts to obtain weapons, Israel and Egypt instituted a blockade of Gaza.  The blockade is both on land and sea.
  7. The Israeli land blockade allows about 15,000 TONS of humanitarian aid to pass into Gaza weekly, including food, medical supplies, clothing, and many more categories.
  8. Israel’s blockade by sea is LEGAL, and is a common tactic taken by entities at war with one another.  It is designed to prevent weapons that would be used against Israel from reaching those who would use them.
  9. The recent flotilla that attempted to “break the blockade” (a quote by its organizers) was warned numerous times that they were in a war zone, and were not going to be allowed to pass without their cargoes being verified first for absence of weapons.
  10. The organizers of the flotilla refused to be diverted to an Israeli port, although Israel publicly and frequently offered to let them move their “aid” to Gaza after Israel verified there were no weapons on board.
  11. Israel may have been assured by Turkey’s Prime Minister (there is some speculation about this – it is not a fact I could verify to date) that the passengers were all non-violent, peaceful activists, and as a result, Israel did not expect or prepare for violent resistance to being boarded.
  12. On the sixth ship, the Mavi Marmara, there was a large contingent of mainly Turkish men, trained in combat and armed with knives, ax handles, metal pipes, etc.
  13. When Israeli troops, armed primarily with paintball guns and pistols for backup, rappelled onto the deck from helicopters, they were violently attacked, their pistols stolen, and shots fired at them from their own pistols, which they had not fired.
  14. Eventually, the Israeli troops took control, but only after 9 of the Turks were shot dead.
  15. Israel’s actions, while probably poorly planned, were LEGAL based on the Helsinki Principles on the Law of Maritime Neutrality, to which most of the nations (with seaports) of the world are signatories, including Israel.  Israel has an absolute legal right to interdict ships attempting to run their blockade.
  16. The world’s reaction was predictable – instant condemnation of Israel, calls for investigation of the “facts”, even though the condemnations were already made and repeated by major media around the world, even in the face of video supporting the facts as I’ve laid them out above.

So, where does that leave us?

Wondering why the world is always ready to think the worst of Israel, regardless of facts easily verified by anyone with a computer and a connection to the internet.

The public grasp of history (or lack thereof) is appalling, but the parallel lack of knowledge by those paid to inform us of facts and those elected by us to govern is inexcusable.

When I watch the news and see mobs of Muslims calling publicly “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great) and calling for eradication of Israel, killing of Jews everywhere, when I read about Jews being attacked on the streets of Europe, synagogues being defaced, and read that absolute bullshit that many believe about Israel, I’m truly stunned and amazed.

I can only conclude that those who stridently call for Israel’s destruction and cheer on the Islamic regimes that oppose Israel are in favor of misogynistic policies suppressing women, gays, and non-Muslims.  What other conclusion might one reach?

Foreign “Policy”?

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the foreign “policy” of our current president, Barack Obama.

While reading an article this morning (see below), my vague feelings (ok, not so vague) coalesced.

Here’s the article, if you’d like to read it.http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37523915/ns/world_news-washington_post

Our current government’s “foreign policy” appears to be that it is our duty to treat everyone (friend, foe, ally, neutral)  in the world equally, and to behave in accordance with what the majority of nations decree is “right”.

This is a wonderfully naive perspective, since clearly, many of the nations of the world don’t have our best interests, or those of our closest allies, at heart.

Sometimes, the majority opinion does NOT reflect what is morally or ethically (per OUR morals and ethics) “right”.

The treatment of Israel by a large majority of the countries in the world is a prime example.

Our ethics tell us that everyone should be treated fairly.  We are not doing that to Israel – we and the rest of the world have singled them out and are holding them to a higher standard.  Turn the other cheek, then turn it again, then again, then again, etc.

We (the world) demand self-flagellating behaviors from Israel that we wouldn’t consider demanding from ANY other country in the world.

But, even worse is our (America’s) current self-flagellation at the expense of the worst the world has to offer.

Of course, let’s put their interests first!  Of course we’ve hurt other countries!  Of course we’ve offended others!  We must apologize and propitiate ourselves in order to make them like us.

But, what if these actions strengthen those who wish to hurt or destroy us?

Not everyone in the world has such a “Pollyanna-ish” perspective.

There are plenty of countries rejoicing that we are not standing by our friends and that we are putting the interests of the world community before our own.

Maslow, in his famous hierarchy,    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Maslow%27s_Hierarchy_of_Needs.svg describes how needs are determined and typically addressed.

First are physiological needs – food, water, air, etc.  The absolute basics required to survive.

Next are needs related to safety – security of employment, resources, employment, family, body, health, etc.

After that comes love and belonging between friends and family, and only after that come achievement, belonging, self-esteem, respect of others, and respect by others.

It seems to me that Obama, in his policies, is ignoring that the basic needs of the collective American “I” must be met first before worrying about the collective “wants” of the rest of the world.

It is his job to secure OUR survival first, THEN worry about what the rest of the world thinks of him.

Throwing friends to the wolves reduces our security, and provides a false sense of belonging to the worldwide community.

Many of the nations of the world wish us harm.  Of this, there can be no doubt.

Not everyone who tells us they’re our friend has our best interests at heart.

There is a very long list of countries who would like nothing better than to see the United States fail.  Many have tremendous jealousy of our way of life at the same time they profess to abhor it.  Then, there are those who truly despise our way of life and what we stand for.

Appeasement of these nations in no way serves our best interests, nor does it make us safer.  The opposite, in fact.

Appeasement as policy does not work.  Just ask Neville Chamberlain.  Had the United States stood by and let OUR ALLIES be conquered, getting along in Europe today would involve knowing only one language – German – instead of the joys of myriad different cultures.

We, as a Republic (which is NOT the same as a Democracy!!!), stand for the rights of individuals, for self-determination, and for freedom.

Most of the countries which Mr. Obama is trying to appease have absolutely no desire to embrace ANY of our principles, are not and never will truly be our “friends”, and on a more basic level, wish we would just go away, along with Israel.

I think Mr. Obama is doing us, as a nation, a severe disservice by making us appear weak in the eyes of the world, and by not standing firm by Israel’s side, he is signaling to the rest of the world that our guarantees of the security of our friends means absolutely nothing.  That it is safe to attack and isolate our friends because clearly, we won’t lift a finger to help them, since that might make other countries not like us.

What a sad time for us…..