Melanie Phillips

23 November 2012

Yet more (real) news again

Published in: Melanie's blog

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Here is some more information about the Middle East which you may not have come across in the UK mainstream media.

  • Trouble at border

Well there’s a surprise – rioting in Gaza at the Israel border yesterday and today, when dozens of Palestinians hurled rocks at Israeli forces and tried to breach the border fence within the 300 metres-wide buffer zone within which no Palestinian can enter, established by the Israelis as a deterrent to cross-border terrorism. Palestinians reported that one man was killed and six injured after the Israelis opened fire.

This Palestinian violence was always on the cards given the way in which the people of Gaza were whipped up into a dangerously combustible state by being told they had won a great victory over the Israelis. One of the many things the west totally fails to understand is that, far from a cease-fire producing peace, to the Arabs it is on the contrary a signal for war since they believe it means the other side has shown weakness and that victory is therefore within their grasp.

The rioting was also on the cards given the immediate misrepresentation of the ceasefire memorandum by the Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who claimed that it stipulated the opening of all crossings between Gaza into Israel. In fact, it did nothing of the sort; the text says merely:

‘Opening the crossings and facilitating the movements of people and transfer of goods and refraining from restricting residents’ free movements and targeting residents in border areas and procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire’ (my emphasis).

‘Dealt with’ does not mean the crossings would be opened -- let alone the buffer zone destroyed or the border fence torn down! But this misrepresentation offers an excuse for the usual pattern: Hamas create a violent incident to which the Israelis respond by opening fire; Hamas can then claim Israel has broken the ceasefire terms, which entitles them to start firing missiles again. And so the whole thing starts up again.

  • Why did Bibi cave?

It is clear from remarks made by Israeli ministers that the real reason why the Israel government decided not to mount a ground invasion of Gaza but to ‘give the ceasefire a chance’ has not emerged. The latest theory, as reported in Israel Hayom, is that Israel would have faced the prospect not just of house-to-house battles with Hamas but of war with Egypt:

‘A senior diplomatic official claimed on Thursday that Netanyahu avoided a ground assault due to an Egyptian threat to cancel the peace treaty with Israel. According to the official, Egypt warned Netanyahu of that consequence via Mossad chief Tamir Pardo, who served as chief Israeli cease-fire negotiator in Cairo.

‘Although former U.S. special envoy Sen. George Mitchell confirmed that possibility, Lieberman said, “That is really inaccurate, to say the least. They did not threaten us and that was never a consideration.”’

Well, that’s a pretty strong denial. So we’re still in the dark about the precise nature of the threat that made Israel back away.

  • The glass half-full

Opinion polling in Israel suggests that Benjamin Netanyahu’s electoral prospects have taken a knock as a result of public fury over his decision to pull out of Gaza rather than going in with ‘boots on the ground’. However, there is no doubt that the Israeli air force managed to inflict significant harm on Gaza’s terrorist infrastructure.  Zvika Fogel, a reservist who was called up during Pillar of Defence, has emphasised in Israel Hayom that the criticism of the cease-fire should not obscure what was actually achieved:  

‘Hamas fired some 1,600 rockets at Israel throughout the operation, each time with the intent to kill or hurt innocent civilians. These rockets came up against Iron Dome, which saved lives and allowed decisions to be made using the head and not the gut. The Israel Defense Forces attacked more than 1,600 targets in precise and unexpected ways, obliterated dozens of years of cumulative Hamas and Islamic Jihad experience, dealt a devastating blow to Hamas’ force-building efforts, in which the group had invested all the Palestinian people's money (obtained by enacting a “smuggling tunnel tax”), and destroyed terrorist infrastructure on and under the ground that had been built since Operation Cast Lead.

‘When Hamas officials emerged from their bunkers on Thursday, they saw there was not a single victory they could present to their people. Hamas and Islamic Jihad are now banging their heads against the wall — how did they [Israel] know? How did they manage to attack the terrorists at every hide out? How did they manage to prevent almost every attempt to hurt Israeli civilians and soldiers?

‘In their great frustration, Hamas and Islamic Jihad summed up their failures by executing Palestinian citizens [suspected collaborators with Israel] in the center of town, as if they were the ones aiming the IDF’s weapons.’

  • A little less Spring in the Arab step?

Cast your minds back to the fall of Egypt’s President Mubarak. The demonstrations that helped force him out were, we were told, the joyful expression of the ‘Arab Spring’ that would usher in freedom, democracy and human rights for the Egyptian people labouring under the yoke of the dictator Mubarak. On that basis America’s Obama, the UK’s Cameron and France’s Sarkozy helped lever Mubarak out of power.

The US then helped lever in as Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. Never mind that he was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist organisation whose aim is to snuff out all freedom for Muslims and subject them to the slavery of Islamic sharia law, and also to conquer and Islamise the west. No, Morsi was to represent the brave new dawn of liberty for Egypt.

Oh dear. For two days ago, Morsi suddenly gave himself the powers of a dictator. As the Guardian reported:

Egypt's president, Mohamed Morsi, has granted himself far-reaching powers and immunity from legal oversight as he ordered the retrial of his predecessor Hosni Mubarak over the killing of protesters during the country's revolution.

‘In a surprise move, Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood leader who was instrumental in securing a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas on Wednesday, issued a series of measures preventing Egypt's courts from challenging any laws or decrees passed since he assumed office in June.

‘The decrees prevent the courts from attempting to dissolve the upper house of parliament or the constituent assembly which is drawing up the country's new constitution, both dominated by his Islamist allies.’

So now Egypt has replaced a secular autocrat by a fanatical Islamic dictator – and the Egyptian crowds are back in revolt.

So much for democracy then! And well done Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy for helping establish another theocratic dictatorship to enslave the masses at home and threaten the west!

This Islamist coup took place a mere 24 hours after the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was praising Morsi to the skies as the deal-maker between the Hamas and Israel, and the guarantor that weapons smuggling to the Hamas through Egypt would now cease.

As I wrote here previously, Obama’s main concern in establishing the ceasefire in Gaza appeared to be not so much to secure the safety of Israel as to cement his protégé Morsi in Egypt. This view was echoed today in the Times of Israel, which suggested that Obama had now given up on Israel and the Palestinians and was only interested in shorting up Morsi.

But puzzlement as to why Obama should thus want to promote in Egypt the Brotherhood, the mortal foes of the west, can only deepen into acute alarm in view of the signals from his administration that he is now also preparing to throw King Abdullah of Jordan to the Islamist wolves. As Khaled abu Toameh reports:

 ‘Deputy State Department Spokesman Mark Toner managed to create panic [and anger] in the Royal Palace in Amman when he stated that there was "thirst for change" in Jordan and that the Jordanian people had "economic, political concerns," as well as "aspirations."

‘The spokesman's remark has prompted some Jordanian government officials to talk about a US-led "conspiracy" to topple King Abdullah's regime. The talk about a "thirst for change" in Jordan is seen by the regime in Amman as a green light from the US to King Abdullah's enemies to increase their efforts to overthrow the monarchy.

‘The US spokesman's remark came as thousands of Jordanians took to the streets to protest against their government's tough economic measures, which include cancelling subsidies for fuel and gas prices.

‘The widespread protests, which have been dubbed "The November Intifada," have resulted in attacks on numerous government offices and security installations throughout the kingdom. Dozens of security officers have been injured, while more than 80 demonstrators have been arrested. And for the first time, protesters in the Jordanian capital have been calling for overthrowing King Abdullah. In an unprecedented move, demonstrators last week tried to march on the monarch's palace in Amman in scenes reminiscent of anti-regime protests in Tunisia, Libya, Yemen and Egypt.’

Just whose side is America now on in the great battle for civilisation?

About Melanie

Melanie Phillips is a British journalist and author. She is best known for her controversial column about political and social issues which currently appears in the Daily Mail. Awarded the Orwell Prize for journalism in 1996, she is the author of All Must Have Prizes, an acclaimed study of Britain's educational and moral crisis, which provoked the fury of educationists and the delight and relief of parents.

Read full biography

Books

  • The World Turned Upside Down
  • Londonistan
  • The Ascent of Woman
  • America's Social Revolution

Contact Melanie

Melanie Phillips
Daily Mail
Northcliffe House
2 Derry Street
London W8 5TT

Contact Melanie