Monday, March 03, 2008

Israelis attack Hamas

Once more the BBC is attacking the Israeli government for invading Gaza and killing 100 Palestinians, only 90 of which were terrorists (or as the BBC prefers to call them, "militants"). The provocation for the Israeli invasion was rockets fired into Israel hitting Ashkelon some 20km into Israel.

As I remember when I was a very small boy Germany fired rockets at London and the British response was to firebomb Dresden.

The Geneva convention declares it a war crime to use civilians as human shields behind which to fire on an enemy in the hope of deterring the enemy from returning fire. Hamas are doing this in Gaza just as Hezbollah did in Lebanon. There sems to be no cry from the BBC that the war criminals in Gaza be brought to trial in the Hague.

The Geneva convention also states that it is not a war crime to kill civilians when retuirning fire on an enemy who uses human shields - or at least the crime is committed by those using thr human shields and not by those returning fire. Yet Edward Stourton this morning on the 'Today' programme spoke of Israel coming under universal condemnation for its action.

It is certainly possible to argue that it was wrong to establish a Jewish state in Palestine 60 years ago. It is a complex argument, but it does not deal in present day realities.

In some ways my position is similar to what it was over the Iran/Iraq war - a plague on both your houses. I have no interest in who wins the argument. I do not see the return of the Jews to Jerusalem as a fulfillment of prophesy as some American evangelicals do. If it involved the conversion of the Jews, I might be more impressed. Nevertheless, If I were living in the middle east I should prefer to live under the form of government present in Israel rather than the one in Palestine. I fail to understand why the BBC endorses a criminal government in Gaza over a democratic one in Israel.


Anonymous said...

wasn't the Gaza government democratically elected also?

Terry Hamblin said...

More correctly, the government of Palestine was democratically elected. Having won the most recent plebiscite Hamas had to cohabit with Fatah who held the democratically elected Presidency. They then seized control of Gaza in an act of rebellion against the President.

However, it is arguable that Hamas was elected on a platform they could not fulfil. Palestine is totally dependent of foreign aid. Hamas was elected on policies that were designed to antagonize the donors of the aid and expected it to continue in spite of this. When aid was inevitably suspended they played the 'suffering poor' card while still having the wherewithall to obtain rockets to fire into Israel.

The terrible state of Palestinians in Gaza is entirely of their own making.

There are some democracies that I would not like to live in. Hitler was democratically elected and so was the Iranian President. So was Putin.

Anonymous said...

The old saw that Hitler was elected is inaccurate. He was never elected to anything. He was named chancellor under the ancient and ineffective Hindenburg, brought into the government under the idea that one 'keeps his friends close, and his enemy closer'.

The Nazi party was losing strength in Germany in the early 30s, and it was only by terrible luck that Hitler was able to seize power after being brought into the government.

As to the main thrust of the article, the Mid-East has been a mess for years, and will be a mess for years.

The best thing to do is to deny the terrorists money. That can be accomplished simply by achieving energy independence in the West.

An interesting book on the subject is 'Energy Victory' by Zubrin. His idea is to mandate 'flex-fuel' engines in all cars, making them able to run on M85, a mixture of 85% methanol (made from coal and/or natural gas) and gasoline.

Methanol can sell for around $1.90 a gallon. You do the math.

Terry Hamblin said...

I disagree with your interpretation of the events of 1932/3. In European 'democracies' it is quite common for leaders of minority parties to become leaders of their countries. Par excellence, this is seen in Italy, but also in France. Israel is always goverened by a coalition of smaller parties. Even Mrs Thatcher failed to gain anywhere near 50% of the popular vote in the UK.

To quote one of your links, "The July 31, 1932, election produced a major victory for Hitler’s National Socialist Party. The party won 230 seats in the Reichstag, making it Germany’s largest political party, but it still fell short of a majority in the 608-member body."

"in November 6, 1932. In that election, the Nazis lost two million votes and 34 seats. Thus, even though the National Socialist Party was still the largest political party, it had clearly lost ground among the voters."

"Hindenburg fired Papen and appointed an army general named Kurt von Schleicher as the new German chancellor. Unable to secure a majority coalition in the Reichstag, however, Schleicher finally tendered his resignation to Hindenburg, 57 days after he had been appointed."

With no-one else to turn to, "On January 30, 1933, President Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler chancellor of Germany. Although the National Socialists never captured more than 37 percent of the national vote, and even though they still held a minority of cabinet posts and fewer than 50 percent of the seats in the Reichstag."

I agree that the Nazis then consolidated power by political chicanery, but "Hitler requested the Reichstag to temporarily delegate its powers to him so that he could adequately deal with the crisis. Denouncing opponents to his request, Hitler shouted, “Germany will be free, but not through you!” When the vote was taken, the result was 441 for and 84 against, giving Hitler the two-thirds majority he needed to suspend the German constitution." Hitler was made a dictator through a democratic vote in a democratically elected parliament. Thus he was elected, even though his election was ivalid in today's terms. But we would probably say the same for many historical figures.

I agree with you that oil has made the Arab states of the Middle East artificially powerful. Such a commodity based influence is always sidestepped in the long run. A good example would be the French cultivation of sugar beet when their access to sugar cane from the West Indies was cut off by bockade by the Royal Navy.

The French, having no North Sea oil, have developed a major nuclear industry and Brazil has an ethanol-based fuel policy. Oil at over 100 dollars (though this is exagerated by the declining dollar) a barrel brings other fuels and other oil fields into contention. The market will find its level, and when the inconvenience of terror outweighs the convenience of Arab oil alternatives will come into play.

Anonymous said...

OK. Well, I have read that one of the motivations to bring Hilter into the government was indeed to keep close tabs on him.

You allude to the burning of the Reichstag, which Hitler probably had set, as a ruse to seize power.

I understand your point, as the government of Germany of the time did not directly elect the Chancellor.

In any case, I wish the British and/or French had killed the little dictator in the First World War and spared millions from the grave.

And your larger point is valid. The Islamic militants/terrorists are a problem that needs to be solved, sooner rather than later.

And then there's Pakistan...