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Selling a Vision of Hope: A Refreshing Alternative to Armageddon

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Vision of Hope
file under: peacenational defensemoderate majorityhuman rightsfrom hate to hopeextremistseconomic development 3 Mar 2008 8:28 PM
Is Gaza More Than Gaza? Posted by Nissim Dahan
The Middle East is a symbolic place. One thing means another thing, and nothing is quite as it seems. The recent fighting in Gaza can be explained on its face, but it too could be symbolic of a much wider struggle.


Why did Israel decide to respond, as she did, at this particular time? Let's look for the simple answer first. Since Hamas took over the Gaza strip in mid-June, over 800 rockets and over 900 mortar bombs have been fired at Israeli towns like Sderot. A number of injuries have occurred, but these rockets were a bit primitive in design, had a limited range of 3 to 10 kilometers, and have been referred to as "homemade."


However, in the last several days, some 15 heavy rockets known as Katyushas were fired from Gaza against Israel's southern port city of Ashkelon. This rocket, which was used by Hezbollah during the 2006 Lebanon War, has a range of 22 kilometers, and would expose 250,000 Israeli civilians to the threat of attack from Hamas.


We could argue back and forth as to what kind of provocation is enough to force a country like Israel to act in self defense. But there is no question that Hamas' decision to escalate the situation by upgrading its weaponry to Katyushas instead of Qassams, and by targeting Ashkelon instead of Sderot, was done intentionally, and with the specific intent of broadening the conflict. There is also no question that Hamas knew, in advance, that there would be civilian casualties on both sides of the conflict.


And so the question arises: Why would Hamas want to escalate the conflict and what does this say about Gaza's role in the wider conflict between the West and the Muslim world? To a certain extent, the struggle in Gaza is indicative of much broader trends. Hamas has concluded, rightly or wrongly, that a persistent and ever increasing attack on Israel is in their best interest. How else can we explain these attacks in the wake of the Israeli pullout from Gaza? Hamas would like to derail the peace process any way it can, even at the expense of its own citizenry? Why?


There are strong voices, in parts of the Arab world, which cry out that the struggle against Israel, and the parallel struggle against the West, are the only ways for Islam to resurrect itself, and to assume once again the power and prestige it once enjoyed. And Gaza is becoming a symbol of that struggle.


It does not take a brain surgeon to fathom the causes of resentment in parts of the Arab world:

  • It is the resentment that comes from a loss of power and prestige.
  • It is the resentment that comes from extreme poverty with little hope for a better day.
  • It is the resentment that comes from being unable to compete, in a world that seems to be passing you by.
  • It is the resentment that comes from political and religious oppression, and an inability to speak out.
  • It is the resentment that comes from the perceived hypocrisy of free societies supporting repressive regimes.
  • It is the resentment that comes from having the "infidel" occupy your lands.
  • It is the resentment that comes from having an unwelcome quest in your midst.
  • It is the resentment that comes from seeing your cultural identity disintegrate before your eyes.
  • It is the resentment that comes from searching for the soul of Islam, and not knowing which path to follow.
  • It is the resentment that comes from shouting out your deeply held beliefs, to a world that is not inclined to hear.
  • It is the resentment that comes from loving God, and not knowing if He really cares.

And Gaza is becoming the embodiment of Arab resistance, and of the collective decision to lash out in response. The problem is that in the long run, the policies pursued by Hamas, and by other extremists, will not work for them, or for their people. Israel is strong and will use her strength to defend her people. And so too will the West at large, as it defends itself against violent Jihad. Violence will not bring justice, but will only perpetuate itself, at the expense of the people on the street.


If Hamas seeks justice, which remains an open question, then it will declare a truce, and find a way to partner with Israel to create a state, and to create good paying jobs, for the sake of the people. If Hamas seeks the destruction of Israel as its ultimate purpose, then Israel will have no choice but to meet the challenge with even more destruction. No civilized society would do any less for its citizenry.


If Hamas chooses to cultivate its pursuit of death, then it will be up to the people to tell them, "No." And as Gaza goes, so too will go a good measure of the Middle East. And in the final analysis, it will be up to the good and simple man on the street to once again utter the word, "No." But it remains for Israel, and for the West, to make the case as to why he should take the risk.

Comments (1)Add Comment
Nothing in the ME is as it seems
written by Tonto, March 16, 2008
I have been looking in on a blog called: "Life must go on in Gaza and Sderot" written, evidently, by two young people. One lives in Gaza and the other in Sderot. Both of them duck bombs and bullets on a daily basis. Both say that the people around them want a cease fire and peace but the "powers" on both sides seem determined to make that impossible. Hamas wants revenge. Israel wants revenge. Somebody is supplying Hamas with rockets and bullets, and the encouragement to use them. Somebody wants this mess to continue for "a benifit". Follow the money. If Hamas and Israel and Hezbullah are all shooting at each other, the attention is there instead of what else is going on in the rest of the middle east. If Isreal is jammed up with fighting the H & H boys (who are simply thugs and bums), they are to busy to go after the moneybags behind terrorism (ie: Saud, Iran, Syria). The US has made a start in Afghanistan and Iraq. The terror going on in Iraq especially highlights the possibility that it's about POWER in the ME (who will be the lead group of muslim clerics in the "new caliphate"). There are more muslims killing muslims in any country in conflict than by any outside force, the US and Israel included. Just look at the numbers. Hundreds of muslims are being killed by MUSLIMS every day.....everywhere. The importance of Gaza and Sderot is to focus attention on that arena of activity rather than the real game in the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan and it's effect on Iran's power aspirations in the moslem world. The real game is in Iran and their dog, Syria. Sauds are just paying off terrorists to stay alive.....they are hostages of their own oil wealth. Gaza/Sderot are just a distraction paid for in innocent blood.
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