Coffee House

Hamas has fallen out of favour with ordinary Gazans

11 July 2014

4:57 PM

11 July 2014

4:57 PM

Earlier this year, Daniella Peled suggested that Hamas had finally lost its grip on Gaza:

Gaza City

 

Tattered green Hamas flags still flap above the streets in central Gaza and posters of its martyrs hang in public spaces. But these are tough times for the Hamas government, and not just due to the recent flare-up in tensions with Israel.

In December last year, they cancelled rallies planned for the 26th anniversary of their founding, an occasion celebrated ever since they seized power here in 2007, and though usually secretive about their financial affairs, they revealed a 2014 budget of $589 million, with a gigantic 75 per cent deficit.

So, what’s gone wrong for Hamas? Just a year ago, it seemed to be enjoying a honeymoon here. It had not only survived the second major Israeli assault in four years, but had the backing of the Arab world’s largest state, Egypt. There was a rift with Iran over the Syrian civil war, but oil-rich Qatar was vying with Turkey over who could best boost the Gazan economy.

In a matter of months, all of this has been swept away. History has taken several unfortunate turns, as far as Hamas is concerned: Qatar’s leadership has changed, with a far less friendly new emir, and Ankara is stalling over Hamas requests to move their political bureau to Turkey. While relations with Iran are on the mend, they are not yet back to their previous warmth (of before the Syrian civil war), and Hamas still supports the rights of their Sunni brethren, the Syrian rebels, to depose Bashar al-Assad.

But the biggest problem for Hamas stems from Egypt’s military takeover last June. Cairo’s current administration makes no secret of its antipathy towards Muslim Brotherhood-allied Hamas and has set to work severing Gaza’s lifeline — the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt.

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‘They accused us of everything, assassinations, shooting, releasing prisoners, committing great operations everywhere, yallah, they made Hamas like a superpower,’ says Hamas’s deputy foreign minister, Ghazi Hamed. ‘They started closing the Rafah crossing and preventing people from travelling — and also they destroy the tunnels.’

The tunnels are vital to Hamas, who tax the smuggling industry; closed tunnels are costing its economy $230 million a month. But luxuries are, as ever, available for those who can afford them, and this makes for a very surreal city. High-end cars driven by the political elite share the streets with the jalopies and donkey carts. The smattering of fancy hotels along Gaza City’s so-called cornice look on to a beach silted with rubbish, but they offer fillet steak and sea bass.

Hamas members have become very fat, says one opposition activist, but ordinary Gazans are suffering as never before. At the food market in Gaza’s Old City, only a scattering of shoppers pick their way through the stalls selling old vegetables, spices and raggedy chickens. ‘No one has money,’ says one stallholder glumly. ‘Every time someone spends even one shekel it is like they are ripping it out of their own flesh.’

Nearby, gold vendors fill an ancient alleyway by the Omari mosque, but the joke here is that whatever jewellery is bought for a wedding gets sold again a week later.

If you want more than the daily allotment of eight hours of electricity, you need a generator in Gaza. This wasn’t so much of a problem when a million litres of smuggled Egyptian fuel arrived through the tunnels every day, costing less than half that supplied via Israel. Since last June, there’s been no Egyptian fuel and Gazans have been growing desperate — even turning on Hamas.

There were attempts by a group calling themselves Tamarod Gaza — modelled on the Egyptian protest movement — to organise mass demonstrations against Hamas on 11 November. But Hamas was all too clear about what would happen to anyone who turned up. It launched its own social media campaign against Tamarod Gaza, warning in one Facebook skit: ‘Come to the demonstration and get your free coffin or wheelchair. Our representatives will be waiting to assist you.’

This was not a joke. Sama Ahmed, a 33-year-old Fatah member, has personal experience of how Hamas treats its opponents. During the March 2011 demonstrations (which demanded Hamas and Fatah repair their political split), she was stabbed by a Hamas security officer. Even now, she says she is occasionally tracked by government agents. She flicks them the V for victory sign: ‘It means I know and don’t care if they follow me,’ she says.

Sama’s attitude is undoubtedly brave, but it also reflects a growing realisation amongst Gazans that Hamas is weak and growing weaker. ‘Nowadays we don’t document many violations,’ says Khalid Abu Shamala, the director of the al-Dameer human rights organisation. This is not because of a new Hamas policy of openness, he emphasises, ‘but because they have little power, and they know it’.

Any domestic strategy has dissolved, he adds. ‘Hamas live day by day, because of the lack of support, the lack of resources and as a result of the international community boycott.’

In the past, Hamas tried to justify the harsh conditions as the price of resistance to the Israeli occupation. It has PRed itself as the only political faction with the infrastructure to launch spectacular attacks and it’s true that in the last major round of hostilities, Hamas missiles reached as far as the Tel Aviv periphery.

But despite the recent skirmish, the ceasefire agreed with Israel in November 2012 has mostly held; last year saw the lowest number of casualties within Gaza since the beginning of the second intifada in 2000.

‘We have an understanding with all Palestinian factions to respect the ceasefire,’ says deputy foreign minister Hamed. ‘The situation here is fragile, there is no stability and from time to time you will find clashes. Israel will come and target people — you will find sometimes a missile fired from Gaza — but in general we are interested in keeping the situation calm and quiet.’ So now Hamas now finds itself in the peculiar position of outsourcing Israel’s security work, and it’s clear that its leaders miss the days of resistance. Hamed almost admits it. ‘Hamas first of all identifies itself as a resistance movement, and our only goal is to liberate our homeland and to end the occupation and to establish our state. Now, to be in power, in authority — it’s not easy.’

Could Hamas succumb to its perilous circumstances and fall? Before we get too excited about that, consider that many in Gaza, even those who detest the current regime, shudder at the thought of what would happen if one of the other armed groups took over. ‘If Islamic Jihad controlled Gaza, Hamas rule would seem like a paradise,’ says one resident.

Then there are the Salafists, with whom Hamas has battled with varying degrees of brutality. They are a growing threat over the border in the Sinai peninsula; and much as Israelis detest Hamas, they dread the prospect of global jihadists penetrating Gaza.

Gazans say they see no political solution and no prospect of a Hamas-Fatah reconciliation, or of genuine elections any time soon. Hope lies in escape. As one of Gaza’s most successful businessmen says: ‘When they stamp my passport to leave I feel 20 years younger’.

This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated 


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Show comments
  • Samir Halabi

    One day and not too distant from now you will see Hamas members hanging from posts in Gaza as the people there finally realise that their future doesn’t lie with terrorist organizations like Hamas, that there can only be peace when the people in Gaza wake up from their fantasy dreams and get to grips that the Jews aren’t going anywhere else, that the only way to resolve a resounding peace in that area is that they finally recognize the Jewish state, that not only they and their descendants were refugees but around one million Jews from all over the Middle east and North Africa were also made refugees by their Arab brethren the same time, and that it was the Jewish refugees from the Arab speaking world that outnumbered them by almost two to one.

  • Bonkim

    Hamas-No Brains – what do you expect? the Israelis are no angels and are occupiers but difficult to sympathize with a fast-breeding tribe of a medieval religion that appears to act thoughtlessly and fails to look after its people.

  • global city

    Does nobody every get suspicious about just how many of those ‘Jew’ bombs land in schools and disabled people’s centres?

    • Augustus

      Hamas intentionally uses civilian areas, including care homes, homes, mosques and schools, for cover during fighting. They admit this openly by calling Gazans publicly to act as human shields. Unsurprisingly, the MSM never mentions this.

      • Uncle Brian

        At the time of Operation Cast Lead, at the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009, the famous two prams cartoon was all over the comment threads. Not now – it isn’t news any more. Everybody knows now about Hamas and its so-called “human shields”.

  • Roger Hudson

    I notice Israel seems to know where everybody lives in Gaza by name, even having the phone number so they can give a quick call to try and get the children out a couple of minutes before a precision air strike. So Gaza must have amazing technical and human intel. penetration by Israel.
    It’s a pity all the Israeli effort doesn’t go to peace making.
    The external people like Obama , Blair etc. are totally useless, only the Jordanians have a useful position but the muslim extremists hate them, surprising considering the Hashemite ancestry.

    • zoid

      …and that palestinians in jordan make up more than 50 % of the population (making it the de facto palestinian homeland)…

      • The Masked Marvel

        Jordan was the homeland for most of them until their leaders decided to try again to destroy Israel in 1967. Before that the so-called Occupied Palestinian Territories didn’t exist. Now we’re meant to pretend that Arab Muslims would never hate Israel if only they would remove the settlements and roadblocks. Before 1967, however, there was no “occupation”, there were no roadblocks, no fences, and no “daily humiliation”, and yet the Arab Muslims still wanted Israel destroyed and to push the Jews out to the sea. And we’re expected to pretend that this still wouldn’t be the case.

        • Damaris Tighe

          Indeed. Jordan is eastern Palestine – just look at the old maps. The Two State Solution is actually the Two Palestinian State solution.

          • The Masked Marvel

            Palestinians and their supporters do not actually want a Two State Solution, though. They want a single state, preferably with no Jews in the entire region.

            • Damaris Tighe

              Yes, the idea of a bi-national state with everyone singing cumbya together is sheer lunacy.

          • Liberty

            Not really. The PLO charter states that they intend to take over ALL Palestine including modern Jordan to make one Palestine state from th sea to the Iraqi border.

  • Augustus

    The Gazans are part of a twisted culture that is indifferent to human life. One in which hundreds, or thousands, of people are gleefully murdered on a daily basis throughout the Middle East. Every rocket fired from Gaza is intended to kill civilians indiscriminately and mercilessly. Those who die fighting the Zionists know their family will be amply compensated and martyrs get a street or a square named after them. In fact they sanctify death. Hamas/Palestinian children are trained to fight against Israel. Children as young as twelve in camouflage clothing are taught to use deadly weapons. There are children’s TV series in which the hatred of Israel is instilled in them. It’s about time Hamas was made to understand what it means when the government of Israel decides to really put an end to this constant danger that has gathered on its southern border. The time is long overdue for Israel to bring Hamas to its knees. To say ‘no more’ to this brutal terrorism.

    • victor67

      You seem positively enthused by the killing of Palestinians. You have become what you despise.

      • Augustus

        A military incursion into enemy territory to destroy the terrorists’ military infrastructure in Gaza has nothing whatsoever to do with any enthusiasm to kill innocent civilians. In fact the Israeli forces, more than anyone, would take pains not to harm civilians, even though Hamas rejoices in indiscriminately firing into what is now perhaps half the Israeli population. Even Obama’s United States would not put up with such an escalating war of attrition. A strategic move to destroy the military infrastructure of these extreme terrorist groups in Gaza, such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, is what is now required to eradicate, or at least dramatically diminish, this rocket terrorism.

        • Blindsideflanker

          No, Israel has brutalised its self by its occupation of Palestinian territory.

          What the Israelis are doing to Palestinians with their settlements in the West Banks is appalling. It is a religious fascistic occupation.

          Israel has played on its anti Semitic victim hood to avoid criticism to what it is doing to the Palestinians, but having been a victim of ill treatment once doesn’t exclude you from being a brutaliser later, and with Israel we see with Zionism and religious fundamentalism a fascistic level intolerance.

          • Augustus

            “It is a religious fascistic occupation.”

            What else would you expect from a race of demons, a party of the Devil? Oh, and didn’t you know, Jesus was a Palestinian who preached Islam.

          • Augustus

            Talking of religious fundamentalism, here’s a reminder:

            “The enemies of Allah do not know that the Palestinian people have developed their methods of death and death-seeking. For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land. The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahideen and the children. This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahideen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine. It is as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: ‘We desire death like you desire life.'”
            – Fathi Ahmad Hammad, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (on Al-Aqsa TV, 29/2/2008)

          • Damaris Tighe

            If you go up in a helicopter it takes just four minutes to fly from Israel’s western coastline to its eastern border with the West Bank, from where several invasions have been launched in the past. It’s as much about security as about religion. Most Israelis see the religious settlers as nutters.

          • Penny

            When,exactly, did this become “Palestinian territory”?

            What are the Israelis doing to Palestinians with their settlements? And what has this to do with the current situation in Gaza?

            • Bonkim

              Everything!

              • Penny

                I’ve little time today, Bonkim – but how so?

      • Colonel Mustard

        And you seem positively enthused by the imperative for Palestinian terrorism.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Whereas you seem a very enthusiastic supporter of Palestinian terrorists laddie.

      • Penny

        What of those willing to fight to the last Palestinian? The armchair warriors, urging them on from a place safety several thousand miles away? What responsibility to they bear for the wounded and dead of Gaza?

        You cannot sit in London, New York, Paris – or anywhere outside Gaza – and cheerlead flotillas, flytillas, global marches and other physical confrontations and remain innocent. You can’t encourage violence and, when it happens, bleat on about Israeli action if what you have been encouraging all along – from a place of safety – is confrontation. The resultant outrage when Israel does act seems cynical to my mind.

      • global city

        You seem to be an apologist for Muslim Jew hate, which drives the conflict.

  • Winston Burchill

    Anyone who is offended by political bias should just stop watching the tv news.

  • Blindsideflanker

    The Israelis and Palestinians have been at each others throats all my life. The Israelis won’t stop invading and occupying Palestinians land, and the Palestinians won’t stop trying to kill Israelis. They are like a couple of squabbling juveniles, playing to the world claiming the other started it .

    As populations go the Israelis and Palestinians are pretty small, 8 and 7 million respectively. As such the World has already spent far too much time on them, when their time would be better spent sorting out problems where the people do want a solution.

    A case of a plague on both their houses

    We should build a wall round the lot of them, and tell the Israelis and Palestinians they will only be allowed to join the rest of the world when they have stopped trying to kill each other.

    • Liberty

      There is no such thing as Palestinian land because there is and never has been a state of Palestine. Old Palestine was divided up, 80% going to Jordan and the rest proposed to be divided into a Jewish and a second Arab state [that the Israelis accepted] but the Arabs refused. All the land acquired by Israel was from this unallocated land, it can be settled by anyone. Israeli settlements are on just 3% of this acquired land and it was either bought from its owners or was on unoccupied and uncultivated land. The remaining 97% is military or civilian infrastructure that would be vacated in the event of peace leaving the Palestininians with lots of high quality roads, services and homes.

  • Donafugata

    Both ITN and the BBC have foolishly been sucked, once again, into the crude propaganda of the Palestinians. They seem to be trying to get us to shed tears for the poor little Arab kiddies in hospital because, er, well we can’t really be sure but it is supposed to be nasty Israel’s fault.

    Every time we are reminded of the body count, Israel 100, Gaza nil, it doesn’t absolve the underdogs, their intention is to kill, it’s just that their technology is no damned good.

    • Damaris Tighe

      Perhaps the MSM would be more satisfied with scores of Israelis in hospital & bodybags. Those damn Israelis are just too good at protecting themselves from rockets!

    • Liberty

      The body count of 130 or so to one is because Israel uses its weapons to protect its people whilst Hamas uses its people to protect its weapons.

  • global city

    Is the no force for good in the Arab world?

    • MissDemeanor

      anybody?

      Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

  • swatnan

    Hanas is related to the Muslim Brotherhood, and that makes it a suspect organisation straight off. So I am not too concerned if I see the demise of it. But Fatah couldn’t run a whelk stall let alone a country. No. There should be One Palestine, and One Jerusalem, an International City rather like the Vatican, and London.

    • Patriccia Shaw

      Hamas posts difficult tracts daily:-
      “Posting in Hebrew, Hamas warned Israelis to “wait for suicide attacks on every bus, café and street.” “Start counting the number of coffins you’ll need,” it warned, accompanied by several Hebrew-language videos depicting stabbings and suicide bombings”
      And why?
      Could it be that the intransigence of the Israelis on the settlement question leaves them with no choice?

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …could it be that they’re islamofascist nutters?

        • swatnan

          … there is no doubt the Israelis have behaved and continue to behave disgracefully ever since 1948. But my fear is that as you point out we express sympathy for Hamas a bunch of islamofacist nutters rather like we expressed sympathy for the mujehedin and the syrian rebels, and etc at our peril. The truth is they’ll turn round and bite us. As alwaysits the innocent population of Gaza that gets it in the end, but they got the Govt they voted in, and probably deserve it.

      • Uncle Brian

        The Israelis are so intransigent on the settlement question that it is utterly inconceivable, isn’t it, that they might one day simply close down their settlements in the Gaza Strip. If they did that, then of course Hamas would happily sit down to negotiate a two-state solution, wouldn’t they?

        • Patriccia Shaw

          Yes, they would.

          • The Masked Marvel

            Only they didn’t…….

          • Uncle Brian

            The Masked Marvel got in ahead of me, I see!

            Patriccia, allow me to ask you what may be an indiscreet question. Does the name Ariel Sharon convey anything to you?

            Regards,
            Brian

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Stupidest comment so far. Do you have a degree in naive stupidity?

        • Damaris Tighe

          Bit too subtle Uncle Brian, many people don’t know this has already happened several years ago!

      • zoid

        sorry….you appear to have missed the bit where israel unilaterally left gaza in the hope that peace would follow…and the subsequent rocket attacks from that territory (around 15000 rockets into israel from gazza in the last decade…what other nation would have put up with that?)

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Or could it be that they are just murderous nutters?

      • Penny

        What have houses in West Bank to do with conflict in Gaza? They are on opposite sides of the country and ruled by different authorities: Hamas in Gaza, the PA in West Bank. They are hardly good friends.

  • andagain

    So what is the alternative? Fatah? Israel? Egypt? Which of those would be an improvement, from the viewpoint of an average Gazan?

    • Damaris Tighe

      Interesting question perhaps answered by Israeli Arabs when it was suggested that some of their towns be transferred to Palestine in a land swap. They were up in arms AGAINST the idea.

      • andagain

        Are you suggesting that the Gazans would welcome an Israeli dictatorship? Because that didn’t seem to be too popular last time it was tried. Or do you think that, like those Israeli Arabs, they should get to vote in Israeli elections?

        The Israelis have had forty-seven years since 1967 to suggest that, and never have. Which suggests to me that they are not too happy about the idea.

        • Damaris Tighe

          I have no idea what the Gazans want.

          • andagain

            And yet you claimed to have some idea in your previous post.

  • HookesLaw

    Gaza should be incorporated into Egypt and The West Bank become Palestine and Jerusalem should become an open city state under UN protection.

    • global city

      They should drop an atom bomb on it and sow the surrounding land with salt….and other Biblical/Koranic stuff. Maybe then the religious lunacy would end…..ah, but there would still be the small issue of ‘until the last Jew is no more’….. what are we to do?

      • Damaris Tighe

        Many Israelis are not religious, have no sympathy with the west bank settlements, & just want to live quietly within the pre-1967 armistice lines. They lost a lot of influence after the Oslo debacle which ended in mass suicide bombings.

        • global city

          Yes, true. I only meant the actual city, not all the people. Wipe it off the map, give the religious loons nothing to fight for….for a bit.

    • Damaris Tighe

      Very much doubt that Egypt wants Gaza back. They’ve enough problems with their own Muslim Brotherhood (Hamas is a MB offshoot).

  • The Masked Marvel

    So what? Ordinary Gazans have no say in the matter, and still dance in the streets every time a Jew dies. We’ve heard reports before of Hamas’ imminent demise, and they’ve always been greatly exaggerated. Seeing as how Hamas have more recently been brought into a public partnership with Abbas and the Palestinian Authority, this one is equally useless.

    In any event, before anyone gets too excited about a change, aren’t we always told by the BBC and the rest of the media that Hamas have little or no control over all those mostly harmless rockets being hurled into Israel’s civilian areas? If this is true, why would any new faction be able to stop them? Also, will this new faction stop the tv programming indoctrinating children into the death cult? The author doesn’t say.

    • Kitty MLB

      Oh yes those little harmless rockets being hurled into Israel’s civilian area’s.
      And wicked Israel that small country surrounded by savagery is very nasty when it defends itself according the BBC.
      All of them wish to blow Israel to smithereens and then continue slaughtering
      each other.. and the West also. But if they touch Israel we’ll make sure they wish they’d never been born.
      ‘ The indoctrination of children’ no they would not be able to stop showing this on TV and they should because this just encourages others.. but the fact
      they have no value for humanity.. to think children should murder shows
      this is a never ending war.. there will always be the next generation.

      • Shazza

        Just been watching that odious Jeremy Bowen on the BBC doing his normal Party Political Broadcast on behalf of Hamas.

        • Kitty MLB

          Well like the rest he happens to be somekind
          of defender for poor Muslims…regardless
          of the terror they inflict.Israel has the military
          Capacities to blow all of them to oblivion
          but show great restraint.

          • Shazza

            Oh yes Kitty. The difference between the civilised and the barbarian.

          • Damaris Tighe

            At one point during the Yom Kippur War is looked as if Israel was going to lose, & we all know what that would have meant. But the nuclear option wasn’t used & Israel in the end won by conventional means.

          • global city

            That point should be raised more often. What do the Hamas fetishists think would happen if they got their hands on weaponry like Israel’s?

        • The Masked Marvel

          Jeremy Bowen bears a personal grudge against Israel over the death of his associate, and is on record stating that he’s convinced to this day that Israel would have killed him as well given chance. As if Israel was deliberately targeting him and journalists. Yet even with this personal bias, he still remains as the BBC’s top man in the region. Any minute now, someone will chime in here telling us the BBC is run by Zionists anyway.

          • Liberty

            There are 100s of journalists based in Jerusalem because its only 4 hours away, good infrastructure, a nice climate, they can stay safely in nice hotels, meet in nice restaurants and hop off for a demo, interview or be welcome in some authentic Palestinian household or souk 10 minutes drive away. There are no western journalists based in any Arab capital.

            • Damaris Tighe

              They all congregate in the American Colony Hotel which, being in East Jerusalem, is a base for Palestinian fixers & politicos.

      • The Masked Marvel

        The BBC journalists would require a minimum number of dead Jews before Israel is allowed to retaliate. Mustn’t permit any “disproportionate response”.

      • victor67

        “Surrounded by savagery”
        One wonders why on earth would a bunch of European settlers want to forcibly remove the natives and set up a state surrounded by such savages and then wonder why all their neighbours hate them. It must be primitive, irrational anti-Semitism or something like that.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …well, at least your last sentence is correct.

          • victor67

            Are you American or do you just not get irony?

            • the viceroy’s gin

              I get irony, lad. I don’t get stupidity, however.

              • Inverted Meniscus

                Could he be yet another socialist nutter sock puppet?

            • girondas2

              Crikey! That must be the lamest riposte I have ever heard,

        • Kitty MLB

          The savages just hate, they believe themselves
          to be superior..Judaism and Christianity were
          In that region first. Then this cult appeared
          from a tent in the desert with a wish to
          predominate.

        • Colonel Mustard

          European settlers? That’s an interesting way to describe Jewish people. You clearly have no clue about Jewish ethnicities or their origin. They are more homecomers than “settlers”, Israel existing as a nation in that precise place long before Islam rode over the horizon.

          Around 20% of Israeli citizens are Arabs and the percentage of Jews in Israel has actually declined since 1950. Approx 10% of Jewish immigrants to Israel are from Asia or Africa.

          • Damaris Tighe

            Some old Palestinian families are descended from native Jewish families who were pressurised to convert to Islam. Up until recently they preserved one or two Jewish customs. An Israeli, Tsvi Misinai, has been interviewing & videoing these Palestinians.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          Uh the Jewish settlers were their thousands of years before Islam even existed.

        • global city

          Well, yes, it is. Their religious book (which was written centuries before the new state of Israel was created) tells them to hate Jews.

        • Liberty

          Jews have lived in what was Palestine [equal to modern Jordan, Israel, the WB and Gaza] for 1000s of years. They were a majority in Jerusalem for most of the 19c. Thereafter there was more Arab immigration than Jewish.

          After the 1948 war 850,000 Jews from other Arab lands [doubling Israel’s population] were expelled with nothing and had to settle in Israel – with no help whatsover from the UN. UNRWA gave the Arab refugees health services, schools, houses and food but their hosts did not give citizenship [other than Jordan] even though they should have been the easiest of the tens of millions of post war refugees to settle because they shaared a culture, religion and language with their hosts and there was plenty of room – maintained until now.

          The Jewish refugees got jobs, schools and tents plus citizenship. That is why today half of Israel’s Jews are either refugees from Arab lands or their descendents. Jews are as native to the middle east as Arabs and Christians. The Christians have almost all been driven out, the Jews completely – other than Israel. The Jews got their people and the Arabs got theirs. We should leave it at that.

          • Damaris Tighe

            Correct, & the partitioning of an area with an exchange of populations is hardly unknown in Europe, most recently in the former Yugoslavia. It was also done on an industrial scale after WW2.

    • Penny

      During the last Israel-Gaza conflict (Op. Pillar of Defence) I watched BBC’s Mishal Husain interview an Israeli spokesman. She dismissed the rockets with a snort of disdain as “home-made contraptions”.

      Not only was she wrong but her insensitivity towards so many victims of terrorism around the world was astonishing. What on earth did she think had blown up trains and a bus in London, the carnage of Madrid, the nightclub in Bali and the many other targets around the world if not “home-made contraptions”?

      The BBC has spent a small fortune bomb-proofing itself against these “home-made contraptions”. I trust Ms Husain objected to this use of tax-payers money.

      • The Masked Marvel

        The BBC has form on downplaying and even occasionally whitewashing the rocket attacks on Israel. Quite often a BBC journalist or editor will qualify them as inaccurate, random, non-threatening. If Husain was an outlier, a single anecdote, one could put it down to her personal background getting the way of professional impartiality and move on. But it’s everywhere at the BBC, in many, many reports and segments done by many, many different people over the years. There are no orders from the top to do it, either: it happens naturally because they all believe it already, and their personal biases make them report accordingly.

        Yet many people are still convinced the BBC is run by Zionists.

        • Penny

          Yes, I agree that the BBC has form here. Unless they’ve changed format in the last 24hrs they appear to be stating casualty numbers without any breakdown between civilian and combatant. Frankly, it beggars belief to think Hamas fighters, stationed as they are by rocket launchers, arms stores and other sites Israel is targeting, are escaping unharmed and all the injured/dead are civilians.

          There is also no way of knowing whether these casualties are arising from Israeli strikes or Hamas mis-fires – of which I’d heard there were some 150 to date. In the last conflict Israel was blamed for the death of the child of a BBC employee in Gaza. It was later found to be a Hamas mis-fire that killed the little lad – although I don’t recall the media trumpeting that in quite the same way it did when Israel was being blamed.

        • global city

          A ‘blame the Jew’ peacenik conference had to be abandoned this weekend because of incoming Hamas rocketry…..ironically.

      • Damaris Tighe

        It doesn’t matter how inaccurate the rockets are. They cause long term PTSD amongst hundreds of Israeli children, & not all of them are Jews. These rockets have also fallen on Arab villages.

        • Penny

          Oh, I agree. A couple of years ago I read a comment along the lines of these rockets causing “a bit of inconvenience”. As a mental exercise I imagined how this “inconvenience” would affect my wider family given that they would have 15 seconds to get to a shelter.

          I wondered how those of us with children would marshall them together in 15 secs, much less get to a shelter? And what would happen if we were out just doing a normal shop and the siren wailed? Do we run as fast as the most nimble child or as slow as the least fleet of foot? It’s a kind of Sophie’s choice. How would we cope when the children are at school and the siren sounds? How long would those minutes be until we knew for sure the school bus / school itself had not taken a hit?

          I thought of the elderly and disabled in my family who couldn’t get out of a chair in 15 secs, much less run to shelter. What do you do if you’re their carer or have just an able-bodied family member who happened to be ill?

          I though of my cousin – a doctor – who couldn’t just leave a patient and hightail off to a shelter. I thought of the nightly disruption to sleep and the daily disruptions that must surely affect businesses and contracts.

          It’s difficult to take a shower, hoover, drive with your windows shut, play music and so on.

          In short, you just can’t live like this day in, day out.

          • Damaris Tighe

            Thank you for understanding.

        • The Masked Marvel

          To the BBC and people like Owen Jones and fellow travelers, this is irrelevant, as all Israeli citizens are assumed to be military, and thus legitimate targets. In their minds, the blame for any children harmed lies squarely with the Israelis for causing the Palestinians to fight back against oppression.

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