Saturday, June 01, 2024

Israel's Troubles: Hamas and the Blowback from October 7th and Hamas

There was a time that whenever Israel was attacked, most of the free (ish) world would rally around the beleaguered little country. But now, it seems nearly everybody, especially the youth, are out protesting and chanting "Free Palestine" or "Stop the Genocide" when it was Israel that was the victim. They (illegally) block highways, streets, and prevent free movement of individuals. They disrupt anywhere they can. They engage in vandalism. They also strike out against anyone who disagrees with them

They charge into shops, disrupt business, knock over merchandise, etc.  They make an ass of themselves at graduation services. They've interfered with wedding and church services. They prevent fellow students from attending class. While these individuals like to wave Palestinian flags, wear a Arab Keffiyeh, I have to wonder just how familiar they are with the history of Israel or Palestine?

Do they know, for instance,  that the region had been under control of the British? As a colonial power, Britain acquired control of what was called the "Palestinian Territories" after  the collapse and breakup of the Ottoman Empire following the end of World War I ( the breakup was engineered by the British and  French which also acquired a large swath of land along with Germany's colonies).

 It was called the "British Mandate for Palestine", and included the Emirate of Transjordan, They also acquired Arabian Peninsula, including what is now Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and the Mandate of Mesopotamia (Iraq).  Egypt had been under British control since 1882.  

In 1917, the British published a statement in support of establishing a Jewish homeland called the "Balfour Declaration".  The declaration favored a dual state, one Jewish and one Palestine. It specifically said that there would be no interference with anyone's religious or civil rights.  In 1939, the British published a "White Paper" or policy statement in response to massive Arab revolts (1936 -- 1939).

The paper was published by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (of the infamous Munich Accords). Its aim was to appease the Arab nations by limiting Jewish immigration into the Holy Land, restricted the sale of land to Jews, and the establishment of a Jewish homeland within ten years---1949 in violation of the Balfour Declaration. Of course during that ten year period there was an event which changed everything. It was called the Holocaust.

The Holocaust officially began in 1941, although anti-Semitism wasn't strictly a "German disease" as it was called. It  had been rampant in most European countries for centuries. The Holocaust didn't end until  Nazi Germany's surrender in 1945. It resulted in the deaths of over six million people plus  thousands more forced to live in starvation conditions in dumps known as "ghettos" (as an aside, percentage wise, more Roma gypsies were murdered by the Nazis than Jews).   

While there had been rumblings of reneging on the promise of a Jewish state, but global sympathy for Jews everywhere practically insured the establishment of a new Jewish homeland.  For politicians,  to do otherwise would have been political suicide. Meanwhile, Jews who had earlier settled in Palestine formed their own terrorist units such as Haganah, Irgun and the Lehi or "Stern Gang" in response to attacks on Jewish farms  by Arabs as well as on British authorities in order to keep the Jewish cause in the news and to push British officials back in London.

On November 29th, 1947, the United Nations adopted a plan, originally submitted by American, British, and French, known as "Resolution 181 (II)". It called for a two state solution, one Jewish and one Palestinian. Palestine would compose 42% of the land  or about 6,900 square miles (the proposal was amended to put the town of Beersheba and a strip of land along the Negev Desert into Palestine). 

The new Israeli state would cover 56% of the territory or the equivalent of  8,761 square miles. Israel would get the coastal region from Ashdod to Akko and would include what was the small port city of Haifa. The Palestinians received the central and western Galilee as well as Be'er Sheva and the Jordan Valley. As an aside, this would be the first Jewish nation since its destruction in 79 AD.

The Romans, tired of Jewish revolts and attacks on Roman soldiers and officials, decided that the Jewish state had to go. Accordingly, the main temple (allegedly built by King Solomon) was leveled as where a number of other institutions throughout Judea. Jews were rounded up and taken as slaves or executed (especially the priests and officials). The rest were scattered to the winds with a warning never to return. Thus began the Jewish Diaspora.

As for the remaining 2% comprising the areas around Bethlehem and Jerusalem, would become international zones to be administered by the UN. The Resolution also called for the gradual withdrawal of the British presence from the region. Authority over the respective territories would gradually  be transferred to Jewish and Palestinians officials to run. The actual partition was based primarily on Jewish and Arab population distribution.

When the vote came on November 29, 1947, just two years after the end of WWII, 33 nations, including the United States and the Soviet Union, voted in favor of the plan. 13 nations voted no, and 10 nations refrained. When the plan was submitted to the Jewish People represented by the World Zionist Organization and the existing Jewish communities (called the "Yishuv") it passed unanimously.

However, things weren't so upbeat on the Arab side. Nearly all of the Arab nations voted unanimously to reject the plan on behalf of Palestine (at this point it should be pointed out that Palestine was never a nation state. It was a territory without a central government. It existed mainly as a geographic area on a map).

So, here was the UN offering not just the Jews a state of their own, they were offering the Palestinians the chance to have their own nation as well, which was rejected by other Arab nations (later were known as the "Arab League"). Instead of putting the issue to a vote by the Palestinian people, the matter of a actual Palestinian state which arrogantly rejected by a group of unaffected autocrats.

Worse, these same Arab states, which consisted of Egypt, Transjordan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia,  along with two mercenary groups, the "Holy War Army" and Al-Najjada, emphatically said  they would snuff out the newborn Jewish state if it declared independence. So, on May 14, 1948, the State of Israel came into being after some 2000 years. The following day, May 15, the five armies of the Arab League invaded. While the Arab nations had a relatively modern military with tanks, heavy artillery, and fighter planes, the Israelis had virtually nothing.

At the outset, Israel's "tank corp" consisted on two WWII era tanks. Their air force was more like a "air farce".  It was made up of mostly WWII era surplus, including some German and British planes. It's army was mostly members of the various paramilitary forces such as Irgun and Haganah, and volunteers from elsewhere. What small arms they possessed either homemade from parts commonly found in hardware stores. Other were WWI and WWII vintage (and one small cannon which dated from the late 1800's!).

Nevertheless, after ten months of bitter fighting, a truce was finally agreed on...and Israel was larger than before. Egypt and Jordan retained control over the Gaza Strip and the West Bank but Israel's population also more than doubled.  The Arab League, despite its strength on paper, couldn't rid itself of Israel. However, what it did manage to destroy was any hope of there ever being a Palestinian State.

In 1956, the Arabs, under the leadership of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, decided to try it again. The "Suez Crisis" had mixed results. Prior to the war, Egypt had nationalized the Suez Canal, which had been jointly operated by the French and British. As a result of the nationalization, Egypt effectively controlled all traffic into and out of this vital waterway.  The nationalization was seen by the Arab world as slap in the face of France, Great Britain, and the United States for their support of Israel.

While Israel was attacked by Egypt and elements from other Arab nations, they found themselves defeated in a matter of one week and two days. Israel, along with the British and French and support from the U.S., defeated the Egyptian Army in the Sinai and seized control of Sharm al-Sheikh, thus gaining access strategic control of the Straits of Tiran and forced the Suez Canal to reopen.  It's worth noting that while Egypt had lost on the battlefield, it had won on the all important public relations front, especially among the other Arab nations.

President Nasser was viewed as not just an Egyptian hero, but as a Arab hero, creating what could only be called "Pan-Arabism", uniting all the Arab nations under one banner.  Egypt's loss also resulted in the creation of the "Fedayeen Insurgency Movement", which was a multi-national organization of Arab guerrillas. Their aim was to constantly attack and harass Israelis, particularly civilians, which only added to Nasser's fame and reputation as Israel's deadliest foe.

In June of 1967, Israel found itself at war again. This time it was the Arab states of Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq all contributed troops and equipment. By the time it was over six days later (and thus became known as the "Six Day War"), the Arab coalition had again been soundly defeated.

The Arab armies lost more than a war. As a result of their defeat, Israel gained substantial amounts of territory which included both the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, the strategic Golan Heights from Syria along with Gaza and the entire Sinai from the Egyptians.  Nevertheless, despite another loss, the Arab League weren't quiet finished yet. Later that same year began the "War of Attrition", which would continue for three more years.

The "War of Attrition" was a pseudo-war conducted by Egypt (with Soviet backing), Jordan, Syria, and a new player to the conflict, the Palestine Liberation Organization, better known as the "PLO"  and led by a civil engineer by the name of Yasser Arafat. The war was an intended to recover lost Egyptian land, yet  once again Egypt found itself on the losing end.

In 1972, a PLO splinter group, "Black September" seized a number of key facilities in the Olympic Village  during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany. Its goal was the capture and murder of the Israeli Olympic team. The credibility of Germany was at stake too. The 1972 Olympics marked the first time Germany had hosted the games since the 1936 Berlin Olympics under Adolf Hitler and the German Olympic Committee was determined to put Germany in a positive light.

The German police and special units of the German military made several botched rescue attempts (with the help of the media which was broadcasting live every movement of the German rescue attempt). 20 hours later, all 11 Israeli Olympians were dead along with the terrorists in what become known as the Munich Massacre"

In 1973 came the infamous "Yom Kippur War" which nearly resulted in not just defeat for Israeli forces, but the destruction of Israel itself. The war, led by Syria and Egypt and the usual compliment of multi-national Arab volunteers, attacked Israel on its most sacred day---the "Day of Atonement", or Yom Kippur.

After a frantic and bloody 20 days of fighting, Israeli forces were able to recover land taken in the earliest days of the fight and went on to decisively defeat their enemy, coming within miles of the capitals of both Syria and Egypt. While a victory for Israel, it was hard fought and Israel came to the razor's edge of defeat. The result was a complete reorganization of the Israeli government, its army and General Staff, and its intelligence services, the Mossad and Shin Bet.

Since then, Israel has continued to fight numerous wars and conflicts including the 1982 Lebanon War, the terroristic Abu Nidal Organization, two Intifadas, a second and third conflict in Lebanon, which included a new terrorist organization, the Iranian backed Hezbollah, and numerous military engagement in and around Gaza. 

There was some success however. In 1979, Egypt and Israel concluded a peace and trade agreement in exchange for Israel returning the Sinai. Jordan signed a similar agreement in 1994. By 2020, four other Arab nations---United Arab Emirates (UAE), Morocco, Sudan, and Bahrain agreed to recognize Israel and normalize relations. The "land for peace" policy seemed to be working.  Even the PLO mellowed.

That all changed on October 7, 2023, when some 3000 members of Hamas's paramilitary suddenly attacked and murdered thousands of innocent men, women, and children who were attending a concert. They beat, mutilated, incinerated, and brutally raped almost as many.  Then there's the bloody 252 hostages they took, intending to hide behind them like cowards and to use them as bargain chips. Hamas had previously been lobbing missiles into Israel on a weekly, if not daily, basis.  Who can truly fault Israel for trying to protect its people and rid the world of this plague?

But this is the Middle East, where peace is fleeting and hatred runs deep. It's where the cult of death is valued  more than the love of life. Somehow, it's coming here to our shores. Naive and  idealistic youth, coached by their professional protest organizers, spew  unimaginative slogans demanding a "free" Palestine and an end to Israeli's "genocide" at the top of their lungs while being totally unaware of the past.

Where were the protesters when Hamas, a recognized terrorist organization that even the Palestinian Authority dislikes, murdered, starved, and bullied the people of Gaza for years or when they used schools and hospitals as cover to launch rockets at Israel in the hopes Israel would retaliate so they can use their bodies as propaganda? Where's the outrage now against rape or threat of rape being as a weapon?  Where the anger for the innocent Israels murdered in cold blood or those taken hostage?

They say knowledge is power. I hope the facts presented to you in this article makes you one powerful individual. At least, I hope it opens your eyes. It will, at the very least, enlighten you about how the Arab League, not Israel,  allowed their hatred of the Jews to deny the Palestinians a homeland. How Arab nations repeatedly attacked Israel directly and indirectly.


If you enjoyed the article, please consider passing it along to others and don't forget to subscribe. It's free! Lastly please be sure to "like" us on whatever platform you use to read It helps beat the algorithms and keeps our articles in circulation. Thank you!


Partition of the Ottoman Empire


White Paper of 1939

British Mandate for Palestine

List of wars involving Israel

Suez Crisis


Casualties of the Israeli - Hamas War

Massacre at the 1972 Olympic Games



No comments: