The following essay by Henrik Ræder Clausen places the recent hudna between Hamas and Israel in its proper historical context. It has been adapted from an article published last Sunday at Europe News. See the original article for photos, maps, and a video.
November 21st, 2012: The day we lost the “War on Terror”
by Henrik Ræder Clausen
December 23, 2012
It may have escaped the attention of most, but on November 21st 2012, we suffered the final defeat in the War on Terror declared by President George W. Bush on September 20th 2001. After more than 11 years of fighting, 56,900 American casualties, cumulative expenses of between 1.2 and 2.7 trillion dollars and a very complicated series of diplomatic and military alliances, the aim to defeat terror was abolished in Cairo, Egypt on that day.
Here, the triumvirate of Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal announced a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel following a week of intense fighting between the terrorist organisation and the Israeli army.
Now, the word ‘ceasefire’ may take on different meanings for those who want peace as opposed to those who want war. For those who want peace, a ceasefire is a prelude to a permanent peace agreement, and makes sense in that perspective. On the other hand, for those who want war, halting the fighting is primarily an opportunity to regain strength to take up fighting again, and in some circumstances a protection against crushing defeat. Islam has a specific term, ‘hudna’, for this kind of ceasefire. Based on the example of Muhammad, it may last no longer than 10 years, and can be broken earlier if deemed beneficial for Islam.
Courtesy of Challah hu Akbar, let us have a closer look at the ceasefire agreement:
Understanding Regarding Ceasefire in Gaza Strip
1. Israel shall stop all hostilities on the Gaza Strip land, sea and air including incursions and targeting of individuals. 2. All Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel, including rocket attacks, and attacks along the border 3. Opening the crossings and facilitating the movement of people and transfer of goods, and refraining from restricting residents free movement, and targeting residents in border areas and procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire. 4. Other matters as maybe requested shall be addressed.
1. Setting up of the zero hour for the Ceasefire Understanding to enter into effect. 2. Egypt shall receive assurances from each party that the party commit to what was agreed upon. 3. Each party shall commit itself not to perform any acts that would breach this understanding. In case of any observations, Egypt — as the sponsor of this understanding — shall be informed to follow up.
First, and most important: This agreement blocks Israel from taking any military action against Hamas or other terrorist organisations in Gaza. Without a credible threat of military action, Hamas is now at liberty to rebuild its military infrastructure, its rocket launcher sites, and not least to replenish its somewhat depleted rocket stocks. Hamas will not voluntarily abstain from this.
Reciprocally, Hamas and the other terrorist organisations in Gaza shall stop attacking Israel. Given that their purpose in life is the annihilation of Israel, that can only be a temporary measure.
Then, Israel is to facilitate the movement of people and goods at border crossings. Given that the borders were never closed, not even during Pillar of Defence, that is a somewhat unclear requirement, and could easily become a bone of contention if either Hamas or Egypt deems it insufficiently fulfilled.
The hindrances to free movement in and out of Gaza came into place in June 2007 after extensive fighting between Hamas and Fatah, leaving over 600 Palestinians dead in the power struggle. After Hamas had gained undisputed control of Gaza, Israel and Egypt implemented stricter border control, blocking transport of materials deemed of military importance. That border control, however, has been perforated by an extensive set of tunnels under the Egypt-Gaza border.
The final clause of the ceasefire agreement holds another surprise — Egypt, not some neutral international institution like OSCE or the United Nations, is to oversee the implementation. Given that Egypt is now ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas is a branch of the Brotherhood, this does not seem fair, impartial or even reasonably reliable.
What makes Hamas a “terrorist organisation”?
The answer is trivially easy. Hamas is a terrorist organisation because it organizes terror. Anyone who has seen the images of Israeli children running for shelter or being protected by their parents for fear of incoming Hamas rockets will know this to be true. It is not rocket science (pun intended) to realize that a key aim of Hamas is to indiscriminately terrorize the citizens of Israel.
The aims of Hamas are not particular secret, except perhaps to some journalists and a few politicians who have not read the appropriate research papers. A Report on Hamas, presented to the US House of Representatives on October 14th 1993, has this telling quote about Hamas and its motivation:
Hamas relies heavily upon its use of violence. This is clear from the content of pamphlets regularly distributed throughout the occupied territories since the first month of Hamas existence. The pamphlets include statements such as: increase attacks with knives, grenades, and guns against the cowardly Jews in their houses and turn the day into darkness and the nights into intolerable hell.
Apart from the upgrades in rocket technology, the fundamental objective of Hamas has not changed significantly since 1993.
This is also outlined in their 1988 Charter. From the Introduction:
For our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave, so much so that it will need all the loyal efforts we can wield, to be followed by further steps and reinforced by successive battalions from the multifarious Arab and Islamic world, until the enemies are defeated and Allah’s victory prevails.
From Part I, article 7, about the anti-Semitic sentiment of Muhammad:
The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!
The Charter quotes many anti-Semitic passages from the Quran, as well as passages calling for Jihad, ‘holy’ war. Stunningly, the Charter in article 32 refers to the classical anti-Semitic pamphlet “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, as if it were factual, not a fabrication by the 19th century Russian secret police:
Their scheme has been laid out in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and their present [conduct] is the best proof of what is said there.
Unfortunately, Hamas does not restrict its terrorist activities to Jews, it also targets the citizens of Gaza if disagreement, dissent or un-Islamic behaviour is suspected. For instance, 6 men suspected of collaborating with Israel were shot in public on November 20th 2012, one of the dead bodies being then dragged through the streets of Gaza by motorcycles to instill terror in any Gaza citizen who might dissent with Hamas. Bystanders were quoted complaining that the brutality of the killings was insufficient.
Probably the most systematic description of the inside workings of Hamas has been provided by Mosab Hassan Yousef in his book Son of Hamas. Born as a son to one of the Hamas founders and known as the “Green prince” as he started revealing the inner workings of the organisation. He reported of prison camps, torture and executions of Palestinians, all for the “Greater good” of keeping up the fight against Israel.
Fortunately, not all is doom and misery in Gaza. While Hamas and other radical Islamist organisations stockpile rockets and build launch pads, living conditions in Gaza are not all that bad. Food is available in sufficient amounts, new houses and shopping malls are being erected, and commodities such as desalinated water, oil, electricity, and medicine are being supplied from Israel. Massive international support to Gaza makes for above-average living conditions compared to most of the Arab world. Poverty is a problem, but not more so than in many other places.
Iron Dome: A game changer
The main objective of any terrorist organisation would, by definition, be to strike terror into the hearts of its enemies. Unpredictable rocket fire used to be an excellent method to achieve this, and cheap rockets can be produced in neighbourhood workshops, as shown in this CNN news clip.
The arsenals of Hamas and associates, however, also includes advanced rockets delivered from Sudan, Iran and possibly elsewhere. These rockets are able to strike far into Israel, yet their lack of a precise guidance system makes them more suited for terrorists than for armies.
On the other side of the fence, in Israel, the situation is more complicated. Warning systems and shelters for the civilians do exist, but frequently the sirens sound a mere 15 seconds before impact, requiring everyone to stop whatever they are doing and scramble for cover.
Enter the Iron Dome, an advanced warning and interception system designed by Israel after the 2006 war in Lebanon. This system detects rocket launches from Hamas, and quickly determines the expected location of impact. If the incoming rocket can be expected to land in a populated area, it sends one or two interceptor missiles to destroy the incoming rocket, which then fails to cause the fear and damage intended.
Iron Dome has was first deployed in 2011, and saw sporadic use until the barrage of rockets in November 2012. At its first major test, it brought down 421 rockets, 80-90 percent of those targeted. While expensive, the system brings welcome relief to the civilians otherwise relying on entirely passive defence.
Iron Dome does not have any offensive capacity and does not change the methods required to uproot the rockets stockpiled in Gaza itself. But it does frustrate a core intention of Hamas, that of terrorizing the population of Israel.
Operation Pillar of Defence
The IDF estimates that up to two hundred thousand rockets are stockpiled by enemies of Israel, including Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. To entirely eliminate the threat from Islamist terrorists, these weapon arsenals need to be destroyed before they are fired against Israel. The recent addition of Iranian Fajr-5 missiles made that need urgent. To achieve that end, a more offensive strategy is needed. Thus Operation Pillar of Defence.
For, as the government as Israel states:
Despite Israel’s total disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Hamas continues to attack Israel, proof of the fact that they are not fighting against Israel’s (non-existent) presence in Gaza but against Israel’s very existence.
The international community should act to stop the attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip. Hamas and the other terrorist organizations cannot be allowed to act with impunity against the civilian population of southern Israel.
It’s quite simple, actually:
What sense does it make to attack civilians if you pretend to desire peace?
Thus, Operation Pillar of Defence started on November 14th 2012 with a targeted strike against the chief of the Hamas military wing, Ahmed Jabari: [video]
As can seen by the video, he suffered a clean hit on his car in a largely empty street, and was killed on the spot. At the same time, Israel targeted multiple Fajr-5 missile storage and launch sites, largely eliminating the novel threat supplied to Hamas by the virulently anti-Semitic Iranian regime, as discussed in this CNN news report.
With their military leader dead and their most potent assault weapons eliminated, Hamas had little choice but to display their strength through a barrage of lesser rockets against Sderot and other cities within range. That triggered an all-out race between Hamas and the IDF: The former would launch rockets in order to terrorize the civilian population, while the IDF would retaliate to destroy Hamas’ weapon caches and military infrastructure.
In a single week, Hamas managed to fire at least 1,456 rockets towards Israel, almost twice as many as during all of 2011. Among others, Hamas targeted Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, fortunately causing only superficial damage. It is particular ironic and embarrassing that Hamas would target Jerusalem, a city supposedly holy to Islam — but apparently not to Hamas. One wonders what would happen if one of their imprecise missiles were to hit the Dome of the Rock mosque?
In any case, the intended terrorizing of the Israeli population failed to materialize. While an estimated million Israelis would seek the shelters to protect themselves from the Hamas rockets, public opinion was firm. Call-ins to the Israeli radio encouraged the IDF to deal with the roots of the problem solidly, even if that meant staying a week or two in the bomb shelters.
From fighting terrorism to ‘ceasefire’
While targeted air strikes are impressive and effective for some purposes, to really eliminate the terrorist infrastructure, a ground invasion would be needed. Israel mobilized the army reserves and sent them to the border with Gaza, and everything was clear to go. At that point, however, world government leaders were scrambling to demand “Peace in Gaza”, and the ground invasion was kept on hold.
Egypt, in particular, had reason to be concerned. The Muslim Brotherhood had risen to power after the so-called “Arab Spring”, crowned by the election of Mohamed Morsi as president in June. Since Hamas is rooted in the Muslim Brotherhood and shares the goal of reestablishing the Caliphate, protecting Hamas from destruction became a top priority for Egypt.
It might seem paradoxical that Morsi, who refuses to even use the word ‘Israel’ or meet personally with any representatives of the country, would want to broker a peace agreement between Israel and Hamas. But the influx of foreign diplomats acknowledging his importance surely had an effect. Turkish prime minister Erdogan, the emir of Qatar, German foreign minister Westerwelle, UN chairman Ban Ki-moon and US secretary of state Hillary Clinton all rushed in to stop the fighting. Not all of these can reasonably be suspected of being driven by anti-Jewish sentiment or sympathy for the terrorists being hammered by Israel, but the end result was that the terrorist organisations were spared extinction and a ceasefire became active on November 21st, 2012.
While the Germans, the Arabs and the Turks may have their own motivations for supporting Morsi, and the ceasefire protecting Hamas, the participation of Hillary Rodham Clinton is peculiar. Since 1997 Hamas has been a US-designated terrorist organisation, and if we were to take the US commitment to conduct war on terror seriously, the US should not have any desire to prevent the Israeli army from defeating a major terrorist organisation. Pulverizing Hamas and liberating the Palestinians from its brutal rule could be declared a major victory for Israel, for peaceful Palestinians, and for international law.
Yet this didn’t happen, and thus the stage is being set for another round of fighting, more brutal and lethal than the one that was just interrupted. The reason for this lies in Islamic teachings, which do not recognize a ‘ceasefire’ in the sense it’s understood in the West, a preparation for permanent peace. Rather, Islamists like Yasser Arafat think in the terms of ‘hudna’, a temporary laying-down of arms in order to gather strength for further fighting.
Thus, when attention turns away from Gaza, Egypt, the nomads of Sinai will quietly transport more advanced missiles into Gaza, preparing for another assault on the ‘Zionist entity’, as anti-Semitic regimes designate Israel. That our own leaders do not comprehend this is a source of embarrassment. Worse, it shows that we have entirely lost our moral clarity in the Byzantine game of friends, foes, perceived prestige, deception and betrayal.
The root of the problem
How could the US government lose their moral clarity like that? The answer is probably quite sinister. The problem is likely that the Muslim Brotherhood has managed to infiltrate the White House as such, and that is Bad. That would involve organisations such as CAIR and ISNA, and names such as Huma Abedin, Rashad Hussain, Mohamed Elibiary, Dalia Mogahed, Ingrid Mattson, Kareem Shora, and Salam al-Marayati, all Muslims, and all advisors to the US government. The Center for Security Policy has detailed this problem in its video series The Muslim Brotherhood in America: A Video Course, and others have commented on the problems as well, including FrontPage Magazine, TheBlaze.com, Gates of Vienna, World Net Daily, RadicalIslam.org, NewsMax and others. Unfortunately, the report drew condemnation rather than investigation, thus any and all infiltration can proceed with caution.
Where do we go from here?
In a world without obvious moral compasses, it is good to stick with a few basic principles:
|1.||Aggression is bad, and not permissible under international law.|
|2.||Jew-hatred, also known as ‘racism’, is bad.|
|3.||Question those seeking power based on religion.|
|4.||While war is bad, some fighting may be required to uproot greater evils.|
As for Israel, there is every chance that she will deal with the threat of Hamas. For in spite of grandstanding and declaring victory, it has also ceased sending rockets against Israeli civilians. And if it did, there is every chance that the now-famous Iron Dome will intercept those, eliminating Islamic terrorism in mid-air, solidly frustrating their Quranic bid to “strike terror into the hearts of their enemies”.
For the Palestinian areas, the de facto elimination of moderate voices poses a problem. When moderate opposition to Israel and the Jews have not brought about material improvement for the Palestinians, radical voices argue that the elimination of Israel is a precondition for reestablishing the Caliphate. Such religious madness is best countered by frustrating the reaching-out for military victories, and of course by halting any and all Western support to the anti-Semitic Palestinians.
For Egypt, the glow of international prestige is fading rapidly, as secularists and Islamists battle in the streets about the future direction of the country and the role of Sharia. With any luck, the internal struggles will be so consuming that supporting or starting a war against Israel fades from the agenda.
For the US, the situation is a lot more complicated. Having gone all-out for the so-called “Arab Spring”, the US government has played a major role in the recent regime changes from Tunisia to Egypt, and currently arms the rebels and coordinates the war in Syria via Qatar.
While also supporting Israel with defence technology and other means, the US can hardly afford to severely upset the Arab governments, either, or the Federal Reserve might face severe financial trouble. It constitutes a significant fall from grace that Clinton protected Hamas from destruction, and it will be very difficult to climb back and return to principled behaviour and stand firm against terrorists.
If we had been serious about defeating terrorism, we would have applauded the IDF land offensive into Gaza. Instead, everyone rushed in to prevent Israel from defeating the terrorists, setting the stage for yet more rounds of terrorism and retaliation, rather than peace and reconciliation.
November 21st 2012 marks the final defeat in the War on Terror. This is going to hurt.