© Getty Images
The Middle East
Why Is This Gaza War Different From All Other Gaza Wars?

Though there are some important differences this time around, the solution to this recurring nightmare remains the same—and remains unlikely.

Published on: July 24, 2014
show comments
  • Andrew Allison

    I have read (sorry, I forget where) that what fell near Ben-Gurion Airport was debris from a missile intercepted by Iron Dome, a very different thing. If true, it makes both the FAA actions and that mass media reporting inexcusable.

    • Chicago720

      With all due respect, Andrew. It really matters where you read this.

      • Andrew Allison

        Duh! That’s why I wrote, “If true”!

  • wigwag

    In his interesting essay, the author of “Jewcentricity” neglects to mention one additional way that the current Gaza War is different from all other Gaza Wars; the paroxysms of hatred directed towards European Jews that this conflict has inspired is unprecedented in post World War II Europe. Watching European Islamists and their fellow travelers in the European left attack Jewish institutions in France and scream bigoted invective against Jews in Great Britain, Germany, Belgium and Austria should provide a wake-up call for all civilized Europeans; my guess is that it won’t. We may not be talking about an event of Kristallnacht like proportions just yet, but if Europe has experienced a more open or notorious display of rampant anti-Semitism in the past six decades, I would like to know when it was.

    In “Jewcentricity” Adam Garfinkle makes a point that has been reiterated by several other scholars; Arabs learned their Jew-hatred at the knee of European fascists around the time of the Second World War. How ironic is it that after working so hard to expunge their millennia long history of Jew hatred, that a boisterous anti-Semitism is being reincorporated back into Europe by the very Arabs (and other Muslims) who Europe taught to hate Jews in the first place. Jews everywhere, as well as all people of good will, should sit up and take notice.

    The left in both the United States and Europe has worked hard to convince themselves and everyone else that the real threat to European Jews comes not from the European left but from the European right. It is hard to know whether or not this is true. I can’t help but wonder what the anti-immigrant, Euro-skeptic political parties in Europe think about the riots that have taken place in Western Europe. If, for example, Marine Le Pen has commented on the French riots, I haven’t seen her remarks. What astute Europeans should realize is that the anti-Semitism being expressed by many European Muslim immigrant communities is merely a metaphor for their contempt for the nations that have given them refuge.

    Even if they get this in their heart of hearts, my guess is that European leaders will do exactly what they have gotten used to doing in the past few decades; averting their eyes and taking the Neville Chamberlin route.

    • Mriordon

      The whole crux of the matter is that when, not if, all the Jews leave Europe, Europe will be losing a large percentage of their most productive citizens. They will be replaced by the muslim scum who populate their ghettos and subsist on criminality and welfare. Europe is destined to become a part of the caliphate and is well deserving of that outcome.

      • Chicago720

        Again, we see liberalism as the road to hell – beautifully paved with good intentions. The European union, and it’s millions of guilty minions begged for this and they now shall reap what they’ve sown.

      • luke sampson

        You whine about hatred and wish for a continent’s worth of people to be destroyed! Jewish people call for open borders in Europe and then complain when those imports bring their “culture” with them. It seems with Jews Muslims attacking Europeans is a natural right but the same acts committed against them becomes abhorrent. The hypocrisy of people like you is breathtaking.

    • Justjean

      Where’d you get the idea the Muslims learned to hate Jews from the Europeans around WW II? They have been at odds since Cain and Abel, Esau and Jacob.

      • Oddstar7

        You are partly right, but also partly wrong. Anti-Jewish bigotry does have deep roots in Islam, particularly among Arabs. That being said, Islam did not exist in Biblical times, so has nothing to do with Esau.

        • luke sampson

          His hatred of Europeans surpasses facts.

  • Kizar_Sozay

    At the same time the last Christian has been expelled from Mosul in Iraq but there’s not a word of outrage from the Hamas apologists or any human rights organization. I’ve said it before. There may be moderate muslims but there is no moderate islam.

    • Peter Miller

      And notice as well that in Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine, we don’t hear a daily tally led by XXX number of children were killed or injured.

  • Corlyss

    The chronically revolting Palestinians’ underlying problem is they have exhibited zero comprehension of who their real tormentors are: their fellow Muslims. One suspects that even if they ever tumbled to facts, they would not be able to do anything about their realization. As a result, they are a danger everywhere they become a sizable block.

  • There are no civilian air raid shelters in Gaza. Why not? Given all the tunnels under Gaza, it’s not like Hamas doesn’t know how to build a civilian air raid shelter. Rather it’s that Hamas does not value live Palestinians more than dead Palestinians. Hamas is maximizing civilian casualties because the bodies serve as props for their “Israel is brutal” propaganda. Conservative Ruckus Blogspot

    • Dan-in-IN

      Yes, not only do they not value live Palestinians more than dead ones, they value the dead ones more than the live ones, because they can use them at least.

    • Peter Miller

      They didn’t have enough cement. It was either rebuild homes, build fighting tunnels or build shelters. Hamas values live Palestinians more than dead ones, but values dead Jews, whoever they may be, above all else.

      • Or rather, Israel blocks the cement. And people like you look the other way

    • The blockade includes a ban on concrete. How are Hamas, or anyone in Gaza, supposed to build air raid shelters if Israel prevents the required materials being accessed?

      • Hamas used an estimated 800,000 tons of concrete to build the tunnels it has used and planned to use to attack Israel. The well known shortage of building materials in Gaza was due to Hamas using almost all available building materials to build tunnels. The reason the blockade now includes a ban on concrete is that Hamas diverts any concrete it gets to military use. Conservative Ruckus Blogspot

  • thinkingman

    The PA has spent the last 50 years indoctrinating society in jihad and getting people to believe that sacrificing themselves to end the so called occupation is a religious obligation. Palestinian society is sick and values death more than life. Ask yourself what society names buildings for killers and not heroes unless your heroes are killers as in this case. The events in gaza are going to be repeated in the middle east and europe as these fanatics, such as hamas and isis spread their hate and become more embolden by the western press who encourages them by calling them freedom fighters and liberators as compared to the nazis they are.

    • Chicago720

      Well stated. It seems that the only way to stop this wave is for the vast majority of “moderate” muslims to stand up to these people. Anyone else who does is an infidel and only helps to foment more of the same. This gets much worse before it has any chance to get better.

      • LarryD

        I’m old enough to remember that the few times a moderate Palestinian spoke up, they were murdered by the PA or Hamas. The polls taken don’t show a majority of Palestinians to be moderates, and any moderates that survive have every reason to keep their mouths shut and their heads down. And it’s a little late to vote with their feet.

  • Mike CJ

    There will be no solution to the problem until one or the other side goes into apathy about their main goal.

    Israel–to have a Jewish state, Palestinians–to return to their lands that lie within the current Israeli borders.

    Two things cannot exist in the same space according to physics. As long as both sides feel there is a chance to achieve their main goal, the fight will go on.

    Real world–lots of help to Palestinians and pressure on Israel gives Palestinians hope that they CAN one day retake their lands. So, essentially, Europe and the US prolong the conflict. Sure, not giving the help might be terrible, but another 50 years of fighting isn’t much of a good thing either.

    How likely is it that Israel will give up having a Jewish homeland??

    For Palestinians, it is like having your girlfriend leave you. She might have no reasons, or bad reasons or be totally to blame, but it’s over. You can fight it and waste your life, or you can start a new life and build from there. The best revenge is to find a new, hotter girlfriend.

    Man, she might have done you wrong, been unjust, messed you up good, but it’s over.

    Get the best deal you can now. Use it to build a great country. THAT’s winning.

  • DonaldDucke

    Time to turn the entire Gaza Strip to dust. Problem solved in a couple days.

    • Chicago720

      Well, one problem solved. 1,000 new ones created by such action. you cannot forget the “what then?” factor.

  • azt24

    The Palestinians will never have “an Altalena moment” because it is not their goal to have a state, but to destroy a state.

  • dailypenny

    I think the author misses an important point, or maybe doesn’t emphasize it enough. The amount of anti-semitism that either has been released or revealed, especially in Europe, but also in the United States is really unprecedented. You can reasonably disagree with israel about what they are doing and not be anti-Semitic- but some of the comments-by responsible papers-I’m thinking here in particular of the New York Times- are just beyond belief. They have somehow come to the conclusion that Israel does not have a right to self-defense. The European papers are even worse-I think this is really a sad commentary not only on U.S. leadership. It is no wonder that Israel trusts no one but themselves.

    • Ellen K

      Much of the anti-Jewish feeling in France and the UK comes from foreign workers and their far left sympathizers.

  • rlhailssrpe

    Gaza was once a resort area, people came to enjoy themselves. For the last two generations it has been a h…hole. Why? There is enough land, water, talent and money to restore it to its former condition. The reason is that two different peoples have made a decision not to get along. Hamas survives on one axiom: Hate Jews, drive them away. Hamas is not powerful enough to accomplish this, but they have the power to kill and terrorize Jews, in their land. No nation would tolerate incoming lethal rockets constantly threatening random slaughter. Thus, when enough is enough, Israel lashes out, in futile attempts to stop their enemy. It is the nature of urban warfare, with today’s weapons, that civilians become the victims. Since Hamas does not wear uniforms, and purposefully fights within packed civilians, the number of innocent killings is known only to God.

    Only when the Islamic world condemns Hamas, accepts Israel’s right to exist, and works to solve human misery, will peace come to that cursed region. Until then, the agony will continue. Or one side uses an A bomb. Then the picnic will stop.

    • Nation-states don’t have a ‘right to exist’, that’s complete nonsense.

      • rlhailssrpe

        If there is no national right to exist, in peace, the sole alternative is “kill or be killed”, the extant situation. The more powerful destroy the weak. That is not nonsense, it is despicable. But you may be correct.

        • I think people are mixed up with the concept of recognition and diplomatic relations. Well, the Palestinians would need a nation-state of their own to send an ambassador from. So they can’t ‘recognise’ Israel. That’s supposed to happen later, anyway. And to insist, literally, you have you recognise a country has a ‘right to exist’, when no one in the world ever has, and AS a precondition to negotiations, is just absurd.

          • rlhailssrpe

            This is not a unique historical conflict; it is just today’s edition of killing. Your thoughts were institutionalized in the ancient Peace of Westphilia which defined nations, alone, as having the sovereign right to wage war. Or negotiate preconditions, our modern blockage to peace.

            Krauthammer says our current condition is conflict between Weapon States, parties who use RPGs, rockets (and perhaps A bombs) to kill civilians. America experienced centuries in which nations killed settlers, the US killed Indian tribes and both cheated. It effectively ended with Chief Crazy Horse’s Prophecy, which has not yet happened.

            Hamas rockets Israel while stating they do not have the authority to recognize Israel. Whatever they are, they are committing suicide in Gaza. It is both absurd and tragic.

          • Well if we’re talking about negotiations itself, Israel itself opposes them too. Only supports talking with third parties. So both sides have the same position on that issue.

  • Peter Miller

    The strategy as outline and summed up here is really all that is left. One way or the other, eventually Hamas must be crushed.

  • Justjean

    Seems like the best thing would be to help both “states” have an iron dome. If neither can significantly hurt the other after wasting loads of expensive war materielle perhaps they’d take a breather and go for a win win deal.

  • oakhill1863

    hamas deleda est.

    keevan d. morgan, esq., chicago

  • Ellen K

    When the Israelis left Gaza, they left working farms, orchards and greenhouses. Those could have been developed and used by the Palestinians for their own people. Instead orchards remained unirrigated, greenhouses were destroyed and the Palestinians refused to make good use of what they’ve been given. In a similar way they have invested “humanitarian” aid in weapons, tunnels and bunkers over food, medical supplies and educational supplies. Instead of accepting a brokered cease fire, five times Hamas has rejected all overtures. When the IDF has pinpointed weapons stashed in schools, hospitals and homes, they warn via all means possible of the time when bombs will fall. Hamas prevents their own people from leaving. Indeed IDF soldiers have told horrific stories of Palestinians rushing at them with a gun in one hand and a baby on their hips. What sane culture operates this way? Within the region Palestinians are generally despised, except when they fight Jews. They seem disinterested in invention or innovation or education or anything beyond killing Jews. Any nation having been forced to send two thirds of their population into shelters due to more than 1500 rockets being launched into their environs would be commended for their restraint. But instead the media launches onto manufactured media attacks using images of dead children from Syria and Sudan to stir the pot. There are certain levels of evil that must be punished. Hamas leadership should be executed for war crimes.

    • They didn’t ‘leave’ Gaza. They continued to control everything from the airspace to the population registry.

  • adk

    From the Oslo agreement on, there was no lack of various peace plans and initiatives. All failed because they were built on the wrong assumption: that the two parties wanted roughly the same, ie, “two states for two people”, and the real task was just to find a way to get there.

    Your “shock the casbah” idea is just another variation on that. No, Palestinians really don’t want a state alongside Israel, and they have proved it time and again. Clinton, Bush, and now Obama (the friendliest towards Palestinians of any US presidents) twice — all tried their luck and failed, each successive failure showing the parties further and further apart. The pattern was this: Israeli prime minister presents his peace plan (or says let’s negotiate), the PA head walks away. Then an intifada follows (Arafat) or Palestinians go to UN for some meaningless action to torpedo any negotiations (current Abbas.) Or, better still, they join in government with Hamas, Abbas again.

    So it’s well past time to recognize them for what they really are — the rejectionists (either violent like Hamas or currently relatively non-violent like PLO), and use that as a starting point for any further US plans for that part of the wider ME. And no, Israel really can’t make them to get there. Help, yes, where it can.

    • The Oslo Accords expired in 2000 and weren’t intended to provide the Pal.s with a state. To quote Rabin, to give them “a state-minus”.

  • philcic

    As the MUSLIMS negotiators have said TIME AND TIME AGAIN, they will never agree to give up the “right of return” of the descendants of the Muslims who fled Israel in 1948, and they will never recognize Israel as a JEWISH state. And at the same time they declare that the territories they receive in a settlement must be Judenrein.

    Do you think that a sane Israeli govt will agree to this?

    It’s called JIHAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • And how does one ‘give up’ a right? Rights are permanent, remember.

  • Jakareh

    The author may understand Israel, but he does not understand Muslims. There is a religious injunction in Islam toward Jew-hatred. Qur’an 5:82 says, “You will surely find the most intense of the people in animosity toward the believers [to be] the Jews”, and it is only one among dozens of verses that incite hostility against Jews specifically or Jews and Christians equally. Moral dwarfs will hasten to make a moral equivalency and offer what they believe are comparable verses in the Bible. However, while the Bible is descriptive (it narrates what happened once long ago), the Qur’an is descriptive (it is written in Allah’s own voice, and everything in it is an eternal and unchanging command). What is more, Muhammad himself robbed, raped, and murdered Jews at Medina and Khaybar and since Muslims are commanded to follow his example in all matters, they must seek to do likewise. Any peace accord will be a mere temporary truce that will last precisely as long as Israel’s Muslim foes perceive some advantage in it. In fact, Qur’an 9:1 endorses breaking treaties made with infidels: “(Freedom from (all) obligations
    (is declared) from Allah and His Messenger (SAW) to those of the
    Mushrikun (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness
    of Allah), with whom you made a treaty.”

    Moreover, ceding Judea and Samaria to Arab Muslims will cut out Israel’s historical and geographical and leave it as an indefensible eight-mile-wide shell of a country.

    Disloyal German minorities in Czechoslovakia and Poland seemed like a problem without a solution. As long as they remained, they would be a disruptive factor at best and a cause for future wars at worst. Those countries solved the problem, however, by compelling the Germans to resettle in the one place where they would be truly at home: Germany. “Palestinians” have over 20 countries to choose from where their ethnicity is the majority and their hateful religion rules, since, tragically, the predatory expansionism of Arab Muslims has won them a very large portion of the globe.

    Either there will be no Muslims in Israel or no Jews. At present, the choice is in the hands of Israelis; in the future it may not be.

  • Marc Yasskin

    Thank you for this excellent article. The insanity is so beyond my comprehension. You help to sort it out. The failure there is so devastating on the deepest levels to me as an American Jew and as a human being in the 21st century.

  • Steakman911

    I think you are on the wrong path. a 2 state solution is not going to work….the bottom line is this. The Arabs and all of ISlam for that matter could care less about the Palestinians,. They do, however care greatly to see Israel Annihilated-Obliterated and each and every Jew Killed. That is their stated aim and to date I have seen nothing over the past 61 yers to change my view about it.

    This battle has been raging for 2000+ years. Drawing an imaginary line in the sand is not going to change a damned thing.

    It ends at Armageddon….one day the nukes will indeed fly and that will be it for the Middle East….hopefully, NOT for the rest of the world.

  • “Nevertheless, they tried to start a war by kidnapping and murdering three Jewish teens;” Actually, no, that’s not true; http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/07/hamas-didnt-kidnap-the-israeli-teens-after-all.html

    I await correction.

    “Last time Israel had to suffer the insufferable Goldstone Report. This time it will no doubt suffer similar distortions and lies” 100% of the report regarding Israel was eventually accepted and implemented by Israel. Just as the HRW report on Israel’s actions was after the operation. The only ‘distortions and lies’ are yours.

  • Judit Catan

    Very interesting article and maybe the scenario described at the end for hidden negotiations and a hand over will still take place in this round of Gaza fighting.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2017 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.