Israel under Islamist siege

23 November 2012

1:27 PM

23 November 2012

1:27 PM

I have a piece in the Wall Street Journal (Europe) today on the pyrrhic ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Also – this week’s magazine carries a cover piece by me on the change that is happening in the region.

As though determined to prove me right, the new Egyptian President has – with the praise of Hillary Clinton and Ban Ki-Moon still ringing in his ears – made certain declarations of intent:

‘Egypt’s President Mohammed Mursi has issued a declaration banning challenges to his decrees, laws and decisions.

The declaration also says no court can dissolve the constituent assembly, which is drawing up a new constitution.

President Mursi also sacked the chief prosecutor.’


The President has also ordered that his own decisions ‘are final and cannot be contested.’

Other than that it is all turning out wonderfully, obviously.

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Show comments
  • rndtechnologies786

    Good view.

  • Origonal Tony

    It’s amazing how people like Marcus focus on segregation of peoples in Israel yet totally ignore the extermination of non muslims in Islamic states. How can this blindness exist in people? It’s satanic.

  • Origonal Tony

    The northern Shia arc is now in place facing Israel. It will have a leader one day, to be known as the king of the north. The southern sunni arc is still developing and jostling for a leader, who will become known as the king of the south. Both kings will ultimately attack Israel so we can rest and see who gains the most power in the sunni world

  • Derk Aderkaderk

    Feels a bit sad that I was right in my predictions of what the arab spring would amount to but if governments would have seen this coming maybe we would be so quick to ruin Libya

  • Simon Morgan

    I happen to be in China at the moment, and picked up a copy of the China Daily to peruse with my Starbuck cappuchino – I really wish I hadn’t. The editiorial page titled ‘All eyes on Gaza’ was the most one-sided editiorial I have EVER read. It concluded with the words ‘..and Washington must show that it is truly committed to peace’.

    When confronted by such bias, ignorance and monumental stupidity I can only resort to foul language. W**T***F!!!!!!!****!!!!?????

    I guess I shouldn’t expect anymore from a Chinese newspaper, and I should think it pretty much preaches to the converted anyway. I just hope that the Arab Spring does claim Syria and Iran, and these far eastern hypocrits lose all influence in the region.

  • Simon Morgan

    I had really hoped that the people of Egypt would not be dumb enough to jump from the frying pan into the fire, but it is clear they have done just that. As with Iran, they will be suffering the consequences for generations to come.

  • AY

    Britainis is under islamist siege, too.
    just look at these unmistakenly subcontinental bearded “workers” wearing orange (guantanamo) vests, always present everywhere in the London underground – in the very same 7/7 underground.
    symbol of islamization of Britain isn’t even anjem choudary’s thugs bragging “islam domination” signs.
    this is an octogenarian English lady coming to English airport, where uniformed pakistanis will take her water, or medication, or a sandwich, and throw to the garbage bin.
    Israel is simply fighting open hostility, the rest of the West is quietly subdued.

  • statman

    Let’s face it most Arab countries are despotisms of one sort or another.Corruption in the Arab world is endemic and their religion to people like me appears barbaric and primitive.Be that as it may they have a point .Hovever Israeli propaganda obfuscates Palestine was an Arab country taken from them by force with a million kicked out into the desert.SInce the initial recognition by Truman in 1948 the State has pursued aggressive expansion tempered by what they can get away with with respect to international cricisism.Hence the West bank settlements.We know all this and all the rest but what is unnaceptible is western countries carrying out policies in the middle East against their own national interest so that politicians particularly in theUS can garner Jewish votes ,money and support.American support of Israel against the interest of their own people has resulted in 3000 American dead in the twin towers des aster and 5000 dead in Iraq.For what.? aA bunch of crazy Zionists who believe God gave them a right to greater Israel.Until Israel thinks it can no longer automatically count on US support there will be no peace in the Middle East.And that is the central point.Additionally there is the problem that the US again against any national interest ,in collusion with France gave Israel the Atom bomb when clearly the middle East should be a militarily enforced nuclear free zone.If it was it would be much easier to use millitary force agains Iran if necessary.

  • Sarah

    Keep up the good work Mr Murray i am shocked by the response to Israel defending itself in this country. It seems that every Tom dick and Harry are regurgitating the “Israel is an apartheid state nonsense” that seems to be doing the rounds. No mention of the daily human rights abuses by Hamas and other Islamic governments etc etc. I haven’t heard much made of the fact that US’s closeness to the Muslim brotherhood in egypt coincides with Hilary clinton’s deputy chief of staff coming from a Muslim brotherhood family, is this now not an issue in the us, are questions not being asked anymore? I understand that Ms Clinton is very close to her, surely this is having an effect on policy?

    • Marcus

      Israel is an apartheid.
      Hamas is a far more vile regime that abuses human rights.
      Both of these statements are entirely correct.
      We should side with neither.

      • Simon Morgan

        You need to look up what ‘apartheid’ means before embarassing yourself further. What a risible statement.

        • Marcus

          Well unlike Israel I did not support apartheid so perhaps you know more about it.
          However, state sponsored racial segregation is practiced and well documented in Israel. What’s the queuing like for Israelis at checkpoints ? Do they still have the death penalty for gentiles?

          • AY

            there is ethnic segregation in Israel, and it is felt strongly among all population groups – secular people, religious Jews, muslim Arabs, Druze, Bedouine etc.
            many of these divisions were there for millenia.
            today, it is largely peoples’ free choice.
            Arab inhabitants of East Jerusalem don’t have full citizenship, and even less Arabs on “territories”. so they have different rights.

            these ambiguities are there because of conflict.
            yes there are elements of soft apartheid in Israel but one can find that in Britain as well. just don’t forget sharia courts, muslim areas in Tower Hamlets, and so on.
            people are inherently tribal, – so basically you accuse Jews of having five fingers on each palm, whereas for others you reckon it is natural. this is classic anti-Semitism if you still didn’t get it.

            • Marcus

              Having a law that favours one ethnic/racial group over another is apartheid. fullstop. I never said England is any better ! Far from it. That is classic paranoia !

              • AY

                you can nullify the subject this way, or you can look behind mantras.
                Take such principles and practices as individual freedoms, separation of powers, property rights, unity of law, rewarding by merit, women/minority rights, Kantian moral. no angels anywhere, but the West including Israel is one cluster, middle east is the other.

                • Marcus

                  Israel must deal with the threat of Islamic fundamentalism as must Britain, China and many other countries (not least Arabic countries).
                  This does not mean we should support either Israel or Russia in their fight against extremism as both sides employ methods and tactics that are not acceptable to us.
                  Ignoring aspects of a regime that you don’t agree with in order to fight a common enemy is a mistake we have made many times, not least in the middle east.

                  This article is wrong, we must not turn a blind eye to Israel’s shortcomings and Israel is not our friend any more than Russia is.

                  We are fighting against Islamic extremism, but we should support Israel’s domestic and foreign policy and by and large most people in this country don’t, whether or not Israel exposes more Western values than other countries in the middle east.

                • sarah

                  Nonsense. Israel is not a regime. Israel shares masses of intelligence with the western allies. Israel goes to huge amounts of efforts not to cause loss of life to civilians including text messaging, leaflet drops etc no other army on earth does that, not the UK not the US. Israel is nothing like russia, it is a democracy, it has a robust and outspoken opposition and a free press. Israel is fighting an irrational terrorist enemy. In the case of Gaza, israel withdrew in 2005, following the only elections that gaza have had hamas took power. It killed the opposition. It has gradually got more and more repressive, no mixing men and women, no dancing, very few women have businesses, gays are regularly accused on collaborating and beheaded etc etc. The people who have the most to lose from hamas’s intoerable REGIME are the palestinians of gaza but they live in fear. Hamas dragged so called collaborators through the streets after shooting them in front of children in the streets, no trial, NOTHING! I could go on. These are the people Israel is fighting, irrational barbarians. Israel has to be tough but fair. The lack of casualties on the side of Israel is not through the lack of trying by Hamas, it is because israel out of necessity has developed a defence that has assisted them. Israel is on the front line and is as fair under such circumstances as any western country. Israel is not russia.

                • Marcus

                  ” leaflet drops ” …… Good one.

                  The rest of what you say is right: by far and away the worst enemy of Palestinians is Hamas, they care nothing for their people.

                  Israel’s worst friends is America, as it allows them to live in a false world where they punch above their weight, unsustainably.
                  No enclave is sustainable in the middle east, just look at the Crusades, it may take 100 or so years but all castles eventually feel to the Arabs and the only places to survive where those that established good relations with them.

                  Israel is not ‘nothing like Russia’, they are both fighting suicide bombing fundamentalists. Israel and Russia are both democracies, but Russians can point to the fact their democracy is corrupt and their foreign policy is therefore largely out of their control.
                  Israel, if you are to be believed sadly can not, which makes their domestic and foreign policies all the more unacceptable, ” leaflet drops ” excluded, obviously.

                  If you are not a zealot and are rational and are also an expert on Israel, then answer these questions please:
                  What Israeli policies, if any, do you disagree with?
                  What sort of action by Israel would make them loose your support?
                  Have you ever come close to that?
                  How many other conflicts across the globe do you take sides on that are 1000 s of miles from your country?

                • sarah

                  What on earth are you talking about?!!! What complete nonsense. The words look like english but to misquote and paraphrase Eric Morcambe,; they are the right words but not necessarily in the right order!

                • sarah

                  Sorry AY, my remark below wasn’t meant for you!

              • sarah

                Sir i suggest you take a look at Islamic countries, like Iran for example, who impose a tax on being jewish, who only allow jews to vote for one member of parliaments, etc etc… What would you call that exactly? Israel doesn’t even come close to this, a country that has a thriving christian community, gay community and democracy. I would have more respect for your cliched, predictable , simplistic and one dimensional attacks on Israel if you got as angry about the atrocious injustices in the illiberal islamic countries. Not to mention the charter of Hamas, their barbarity, treatment of women…. Instead you focus solely on israel. Try attacking something that is really unfair, irrational and barbaric now that really would demostrate courage.

                • Marcus

                  I have clearly acknowledged that Israel is far and away the most Western country in the Middle East; up holding more Western values than any other country.

                  I have been expressly clear on this throughout and the fact that you ignore this is proof you are an irrational zealot.

                  I certainly do not only focus on Israel, I am far more focused on the threat of Islamic fundamentalism, particularly in the U.K. Which is a proven breeding ground.
                  But the article is not suggesting we should fight with Iran or Syria. It suggests we should fight with Israel, and we should not, any more than we should fight with Russia against Chechnya, even if Russia is fighting fundamentalism.

          • Simon Morgan

            The whole concept of ‘apartheid’ is ‘separation’. Do you know how many Arabs live and work in Israel proper, and why they are happy to do so? It is a deliberate lie to call Israel an ‘apartheid state’.

            • Marcus

              Arabs live and work and prosper in Israel, therefore there is no Apartheid?
              South Africa had the largest Black middle class in the world….under Apartheid.

              Arabs have a different number of places at university (fewer) and the word ARAB written on their driving licence for identification purposes. There is also capital punishment for Arabs and gentiles but not Jewish Israelis.
              There are countless other examples of imposed state segregation of Arabs.
              That Arabs get a better deal in Israel than any other country in the region is not the point. There are many black South Africans who voted for and still support Apartheid as they felt more secure and better off under that regime.
              Doesn’t make it right.
              Personally I would not generally call Israeli policy Apartheid, as this can confuse the issues as people star thinking about drinking fountains and voting rights.

              It is rather a state sponsored segregation that is entirely contrary to modern European ethics, as is shooting at children throwing rocks (look at the debate over the London riots re: rubber bullets and water cannons) and as such we should not support Israel in their fight against Islamic fundamentalism: we should fight it on our own terms.

              • T. Botham

                “Arabs have a different number of places at university (fewer) and the word ARAB written on their driving licence for identification purposes. There is also capital punishment for Arabs and gentiles but not Jewish Israelis.”

                This is crude propaganda. It is false. Five minutes of online research will demonstrate this – unless you confine yourself to anti-Zionist sites. If your theory that Israel is an apartheid state rests on this, you have been fooled. Why have you allowed this to happen?

                Your opinions are self-contradictory and inconsistent. What is morally good for Israel must be morally good for its enemies. If the “resistance” excuses the human rights abuses and war crimes of the Palestinian militants; then “defense” better excuses Israel’s war conduct and war-induced domestic policies (including have license plates of cars of Palestinians living in the West Bank – an Arabic-speaking autonomous jurisdiction – be identified as such – as French cars have French license plates when driving in England, or Oregonian cars have Oregonian license plates when driving in California. There is no distinction between Arab Israelis and Jewish or Christian Israelis in the Israeli license plate. For pete’s sake.)

                • Marcus

                  You are confusing (perhaps purposefully) license plate with diving license and I have seen a Palestinian Israeli’s driving license and it had the word Arab written on it. He was my room mate at University and he was an awful man.
                  Are you genuinely suggesting that if an Israeli policeman apprehended someone in Israel, it would be difficult for him to obtain the detainees religion? As difficult as it would be in England?

                  “What is morally good for Israel must be morally good for its enemies”.
                  What complete nonsense. Communist regimes also dislike religious fundamentalism, should Israel side with them? What ill thought out drivel.

                  Since when have I defended the Palestinian resistance? Never.
                  They are a pernicious bunch of murderous criminals who think nothing of the Palestinian people.
                  Why on earth have you devoted a paragraph to telling me about Palestinians abuses? I am fully aware of them.
                  Still does not mean we should spill British blood in defence of Israel, any more than Israeli blood should be spilt for us.

                • Sarah

                  I’m proud to say that the British fight for justice, and Israel I believe is on the side of justice hence why it believes that the palestinian people need good leaders, leaders who might one day focus on improving their peoples lives rather than distracting with mendacious accusations and pointless hatred. Prior to 1948 there were approximately 1 Million jews living in Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. They have gone from those lands. They have been terrorised out, as they were for centuries before that. Variously living as dependants in those countries and subject to the capricious will of disdainful vengeful muslim majorities. They have been discriminated against and murdered and forced to leave these countries, leaving their homes and property fleeing if able with just their lives. They returned to Israel, many of whom;s ancestors had in any event been driven out from Israel, or what is now Israel, by various arab and muslim conquerors, and of course the Roman etc. In the 19th century there were more jews living in jerusalem than arabs yet the arabs treated jews horribly. You bandy the word apartheid around and in the process diminish its true meaning. The christians in those same countries are suffering the same discrimination and will suffer the same fate. Throughout the arab world, in Syria, places like Aleppo, where there was once a strong jewish community which was chased out and murdered, muslim neighbours are now slaughtering each other, the lack of an external enemy means their battles will be acted on with an awful violent end until the limitations of their ideology become untenable. No justice exists in these countries. your talk of apartheid is an insult to those who are really suffering under discriminatory regimes.

                • Sarah

                  And just as a further note, you say the only ones to survive the Islamic regimes are those who made an accommodation with them. Not so. They were overcome by stronger opponents, there was no accommodation. what you are speaking of is in fact appeasement. In Iran, the approximately 9000 Jews that are left are dependants, they are subject to the capricious will of the regime, terrified for their family if they try to leave and living a half life if they don’t. That is the option ultimately.

              • T. Botham

                The idea that Israel executes Arabs and gentiles but not Jewish Israelis is utterly,absurdly, dangerously wrong. It is suggestive of the old blood libels: matzoh made with Christian blood, the stealing of Muslim and Christian body organs, Israel created AIDS… No accusation, it seems, is too absurd not to be believed of Jews, or the Jewish State. Any whopper can be floated to incite hatred against that despised people. Why? Why are “decent” people happy to believe blatant, ugly lies, for generation after generation? Don’t bother to answer.

                • Marcus

                  Your right, my mistake.
                  It is the Jewish religion that views murder of Jews only as a capital offence:
                  Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, ‘Laws on Murderers’ 2, 11
                  Not Israel. Israel it seems has only sanctioned one state execution in it’s history.

                  There are still plenty of differences in Israel domestic and foreign policy that conflict with those of the U.K. and we should not be allied with Israel as a result.

    • Safdar Shah

      “Keep up the good work Mr Murray i am shocked by the response to Israel defending itself in this country.”
      It is not defence if it’s on occupied land such as the West Bank. You cannot legally claim self-defence if you are illegally occupying someone else’s land in the first place. It’s the Palestinians who are defending themselves in law. They have a legal right to resist illegal occupation.

  • anyfool

    Israel is now in deep trouble it will soon have a state similar to Iran on its doorstep, it is beyond belief that the West can have been caught so flat footed, praising Morsi the day before he proclaims himself Lord of all he surveys in Egypt temporarily.

    That it will be a long temporary rule goes without saying, it might even turn hereditary but that is the new situation facing Israel, at the moment the US has a bit sway through its aid, but will Obama use it, does he have the inclination, time will tell but eventually Israel will have an Egypt funded mainly by the Saudis and then the real problems will become more apparent.

    Iran is a short term not a long term problem as long as the US sticks to its no nuclear weapons for Iran policy but that is still down to whether Obama will follow through, Egypt and Saudi Arabia will be on their doorstep with massive armies unlike Iran who cannot really threaten Israel conventionally as it could never get a long range military off the ground and near Israel without it being destroyed.

    Israel has a very short time left for action to secure its future, a few years maybe at most.

    • Daniel Maris

      Short term? Islamic Iran has been causing serious problems for about 35 years already.

      The economic throat hold on Iran should continue whether or not they give up on the nuclear programme. Their system, which is aimed at our destruction, needs to be destroyed and the Iranian people given a chance to bring in a democratic system.

      • Augustus

        Yes, if Iran’s jihadist rulers acquire nuclear weapons, will they use them in support of
        Hamas? Might they transfer one or two directly to Hamas, or perhaps to
        Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy which has thousands of missiles in southern Lebanon
        aimed at Israel? Would Jerusalem, the holiest city for Jews and Christians, be a
        target? If Israel adopts a MAD policy, as per the Cold War, will that be sufficient to deter Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah? Because, one nuclear weapon is all it would take to wipe it out, including the 20% of Arabs living there, enjoying rights, incidentally, denied to Arabs (not to mention non-Arab minorities) elsewhere in the Middle

        • Daniel Maris

          They don’t even have to transfer them. The knowledge that they might transfer them, is in itself a powerful psychological weapon.

          I am sure, though, that they would possibly think in terms of developing small nuclear weapons for terrorist attack in an ultimate showdown with Israel.

          However, I don’t think the plan is to wipe out Israel with nuclear weapons. I think the plan is to exert ever increasing pressure through conventional rocket attacks and other means. This is not 1967. There is no way Israel can conquer huge swathes of territory and hold down the Arabs, especially not after the Arab Spring.

          So I think we see the ratchet effect. Maybe next time it will be Hezbollah who test the Israelis with more powerful rockets.

          The aim will be to encourage mass emigration from Israel, to make it an unpleasant place to live in. That is the real threat. When most of the secular Jews have left, then we will be left with a bunch of religious nuts in Israel not v. different from their enemies.

          If democratic Israel wants to survive, it needs really to get behind the two state solution in principle (which doesn’t mean surrendering to its genocidal enemies), declare its readiness to stop the settlement building on the West Bank and its willingness to share Jerusalem.

          • AY

            more concessions cause more demands.
            another option is to break the will of enemies to continue the war.
            that is doable both military technology-wise, and in geopolitics.
            the West is awaking to islamic threat, so Israel has and will have allies.
            also don’t forget about wave of degradation and destruction overwhelming muslim/arab world (aka arab spring). the most powerful missile threat to Israel was even not from iran but from syria. now it all turns to rubble.

  • David Lindsay

    You can’t lay siege to yourself.

    Muhammad is now the single most common name for newborn boys within Israel’s pre-1967 borders. I was very pleased that Raed Salah was not allowed in my country, and I wish that he still were not, although I also wish that I could say the same about many, many others. But what is he fighting for? Be born into certain ethnic minorities within Israel’s 1948 borders, and you are automatically subject to Sharia law. Far more people ought to know that than do. Waving his Menorah passport and with the name of that State in the name of his organisation, Salah obviously knows it very well indeed.

    Israel’s Sharia courts are those of the State of Israel. Their rulings in relation to those born
    under their jurisdiction are the law of the land, and their judges are appointed and paid by that State. By contrast, although Israel treats family law rulings by entirely private Christian religious courts as a fait accompli, that is as far as any relationship goes. No wonder that Salah is such a proud and happy Israeli.

    He is not the only one. He was previously the Mayor of Umm al-Fahm, a 100 per cent Arab and 99.7 per cent Muslim city which has been run by his Islamic Movement for many years and where 83 per cent of the population recently voted against transfer to Palestinian jurisdiction. If you want to be the Islamic Movement’s fiefdom, then Israel will let you be it,a
    and will even pay your bills.

    The Knesset includes Ibrahim Sarsur, who campaigns for Jerusalem to be made the capital of the Caliphate. His oath of office, an explicit pledge of allegiance to the State of Israel, clearly does not preclude the furtherance of that objective, which is inconceivable on the part of any member of a British, French, Dutch or other Parliament in Europe even now where either Jerusalem, or any city in his or her won country, was concerned.

    But then, look at the governing coalition in Israel. If any other country had a government in which the party of the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister wished to denaturalise both the ancient indigenous Christians and the ultra-Orthodox Jews, while others around the Cabinet table held that every ethnic group apart from their own had been created
    as beasts of burden, then that country would rightly be treated as a pariah.

    • T. Botham

      Some Ottoman practices, including the law by which religious sects were allowed to administer their own constituencies (which, by the way, was what was meant by the reserved rights in the Balfour declaration) are still in effect in Israel. That this continues is partly due to the British, who administered the Mandate on the principle that people should be able to rely on the continuity of traditional rules governing day-to-day conduct. Israel continued this administrative practice and adopted other enlightened British laws, for example the principles of democratic governance, an independent judiciary, equality under the law and enjoyment of fundamental freedoms.
      I have elsewhere read your theory that certain Jews believe in biblical literalism concerning gentiles and their inferiority under Jewish law but it hardly rises to a historical and geopolitical explanation for or a psychological profile of the modern Jewish state.
      To be fair, British law from time to time as expedient, until fairly recently, placed Jews in an inferior position, barred from certain civil privileges (but the law did allow them to be beasts of usury – a job no Christian could do.) Islamic law too made Jews (and Christians) into inferiors to Muslims in various ways.
      It is also true that ancient Christianity believed Jews to be deicides and “pariahs”. I assume that you, as a Christian, believe this too?

  • Augustus

    In June, he won the Egyptian presidency, in August he fired the defense minister
    and strongest post-Mubarak figure Tantawi, and now he puts himself above the law. Is this a new pharaoh with a beard? But a lot of Egyptians aren’t happy with all this power, because they’ve already come out and demonstrated against this freezing of their Arab Spring. The MB’s offices in Suez, Ismailia and Port Said have already been destroyed by fire, and their office in Alexandria have been stormed. Thousand are amassing in Cairo as well. And in a nod to to revolutionary sentiment, Morsi also ordered the retrial of Mubarak, despite the fact that he’s already serving a life sentence. Welcome to the Arab
    ice age.

    • Daniel Maris

      No, he’s not a new Pharaoh. He has promised democracy. That means only one thing for a follower of Sharia: rule of the Umma, the faithful, as mediated by the clerics.

      Expect to see him institute full Sharia with some sort of convoluted Iranian-style system, though with a council of clerics taking on the role of the Ayatollah.

    • David Lindsay

      Egypt has never claimed to be a bastion of liberty, a beacon and haven for the oppressed of the earth.

      But President Morsi has obviously been most affected by at least two such, and is manifestly seeking to emulate them.

      Look up the Patriot Act. And look up the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act.

      Of course, he has yet to attain quite those levels of freedom and democracy. These things take time, you know.