A Search For the Truth
Islamist Hamas Terrorist Attacks and Israel’s Blowback: An Indian-Canadian’s analysis how the Islamist Jihadi terrorist organizations of all varieties around the world are working under the umbrella of the Muslim Brotherhood either openly or surreptitiously. A number of Muslim-majority countries are also hurt by them. Unfortunately, this hydra-headed demon could be supported selectively for geo-strategic reasons by Putin’s Russia and Xi’s China against the USA. An international coalition is called to fight and eventually defeat the violent Jihadi Islamism.
Following the heinous October 7th terrorist attack on Israel by the Islamist Hamas, Nicholas Kristof, a seasoned Liberal-Left leaning journalist with the New York Times, in his piece said unequivocally, “as a journalist who has traveled repeatedly to Gaza, I’m appalled by the sympathy that some Americans and Europeans have shown for a misogynist and repressive terror organization like Hamas. If you care about human rights, you want to see Hamas eliminated.” However, he warned Israel against engagement of troops in Gaza and civilian casualties.
In response, I wrote,
“Nick, in this horrendous time for Israel and the Jews, or those sane Gazans dragged into this crossfire, your counsel for caution is saintly. You sound equally fatalistic when you concede, “There will be no optimal solution in Gaza, any more than there was in Afghanistan or Iraq. We are fated to inhabit a world with more problems than solutions.” Should the Israelis then be advised to do nothing and wait for their fate already declared by the Ayatollahs and the Islamists of the world? Hamas, like Taliban, have never pretended to hide their commitment to the Islamist theological commands. It brazenly recognizes every Israeli citizen to be a soldier of the state, and a legitimate target to be eliminated. A terrorized Israel would definitely do everything for its survival.
The analogy of Afghanistan and Iraq doesn’t match here. In both places, the American objective of regime change was achieved with remarkably improved political and living conditions. However, politics and corruption have been spoilers everywhere: President Bush went into Iraq to settle scores with Saddam; Trump and Biden planned to pull back from Afghanistan to win the presidential election. In Israel too, the political turmoil was a great distraction that crippled the government and encouraged Hamas. Unprecedented massive failure of Israeli security and intelligence must be a consequence of some dereliction in duties somewhere. Otherwise, what explains a network of tunnels and smuggling of weapons in such a tiny fortified area, called Gaza?”
Since the Hamas attack, Israel, while incessantly bombing Gaza from the sky, decided to launch a ground invasion. A debate ensued more on what would be done after Hamas had been terminated than the chances of the Israelis victory on the streets of Gaza.
I endorsed the idea of regime change in following words:
“At 69 I have been a pacifist all my life. During the anti-Emergency movement in India (1975-77), we followed a Gandhian leader who proved the efficacy of non-violent methods of agitation and brought the authoritarian government to an end. When I watch the tragic events in Israel, I ponder what if the Palestinians, being the weaker side in a show of strength, had resorted to a peaceful path of co-existence with the Jews’ Israel, agreed to a two-state solution in the beginning, renounced violent terrorism and disavowed to wipe Israel out. There would have been perpetual peace and mutual prosperity. Instead, the Palestinian leaders kept feeding their people animosities based on theological divisions and ethnic supremacy causing one hostility to lead to another. Both the sides are now tangled in a perpetual fratricidal war. Now, things have come to a point from where the Israelis don’t seem to be turning back. Hamas has proven they are an outfit with a vicious objective, they don’t respect agreements or int’l law — they deserve to be removed from the seat of authority. ‘Regime change’ is not new to the world. The US did it recently in Iraq and Afghanistan. Israel, with the US assistance, must make a coalition of the willing partners, continue carefully with the siege of Gaza and help the Gazans free themselves from the clutches of the Hamas leadership. In history, belligerents have been defeated numerous times into submission. Violence is the way where all means of non-violence fail.”
Isabelle from Los Angeles, California, responded to my comment:
Binoy Shanker Prasad: I agree with your general sentiment of non-violence and anyone with a conscience can agree that these abhorrent crimes committed by Hamas could have only led us here, but why would Palestinians have agreed to the conditions forcefully imposed by British foreigners in 1917? From the modern beginning of this conflict, Palestinians have been treated like second class human beings.
I tried to explain:
Isabelle: Thanks for responding. Very legitimate question, only historians with philosophical leaning can answer. The Jews, persecuted and displaced all over the world, were given the land by the Balfour Declaration to settle down and create a Jewish state along the lines of neighboring Islamic states. Its justification can be debated as long as we have history. The then colonizers did a number of things unfair, discriminatory and cruel. In the Palestinian case, the other side of the argument is that the Jews inhabited that area in an overwhelming number before Islam came in, conquered and converted people. The Islamists even transformed the synagogues and churches belonging to the Jews and Christians into mosques. Now, the question in this 21st century is whether we will keep reviving wounds of the past or, as global citizens, we must find ways to make peace and pave the way for a better future for our kids and grandkids. When we look at the Israel-Palestinian situation, the Islamic world, unfortunately, has a very unsavory record of trying to resolve the issue permanently. They haven’t been helpful to the Palestinians as much as the rest of the world. The Israelis, on the other hand, have been willing to extend hands of friendship. However, they are sensitive about keeping their identity as a Jewish state. As Hamas or Fatah talk about wiping Israel off the world map, the Israelis believe everything is fair to defeat the sworn enemies. This eye for an eye will have to stop.
Politics and Corruption: Impediments to Fighting Islamic Terrorism
Thomas Friedman is a columnist with the New York Times. Himself a Jew and by far a lot more knowledgeable on the Middle East than many in the US Administration, explained the rage on the part of the Israelis but appeared to shudder at the prospect of engagement on the ground.
I wished to make a point that in addition to challenges in logistics, corruption and intervention of politics could cripple any military undertaking. I wrote:
“Martin Indyk, the US specialist on Israel, pointed out that Netanyahu had strategically been very restrained in the past not to get the Israeli army involved in a full-scale war with the Palestinians. The Generals are smart enough to know what it would mean to have the IDF marines surrounded by the Palestinians on their turf. In the current flare up, the problem seems to have been aggravated by politics. Netanyahu is under extreme pressure from the far-Right hawks, the public opinion is enraged, the voice of the saner Israelis is at a lower pitch. Everyone expects the government to do something radically different. They have seen this replay before. And, Netanyahu has to stay in power. He has also to stave off the close scrutiny of the disastrous failure of Israeli security and intelligence happening under his watch. He may therefore let the Israeli convoy enter into the thick of the Gaza strip. In politics, history has taught us, people at the helm do the harshest things to stay in power. Just as the Hamas strategists knew the level of push-back and vengeance their Sabbath-day attacks would bring to their people, Netanyahu should also be aware of the consequence of walking into Gaza. But, treading this path might appear to be yielding favorable political dividends. Besides Hamas and Hezbollah, Israel has also to worry about the threat of sabotage from the inimical Palestinian Muslims inside Israel. Some of their neighborhoods last time were sources of trouble.”
On the 9th day of the Hamas attacks, Thomas Friedman wrote an article wherein he advised the Israelis to give up plans to “finish Gaza once and for all.” Referring to the Islamist Jihadi elements (the variants of which can be found in India as well), he explained that “all these Islamist/jihadist movements — the Taliban, Hamas, ISIS, Al Qaeda, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, the Houthis — have deep cultural, social, religious and political roots in their societies. And they have access to endless supplies of humiliated young men, many of whom have never been in a job, power or a romantic relationship: a lethal combination that makes them easy to mobilize for mayhem.” He believed a war aimed at eliminating Hamas with the associated prospect of killing civilians wouldn’t be a good idea because this would inflame the Islamic world and alienate the US allies.
The following comments I sent to nytimes.com in response to Tom’s article weren’t published. This selective censorship should be viewed as an example of how gate-keepers at the New York Times control freedom of expression in favor of the Islamo-Left interests in the US.. Pointing out possibly the wavering attitude of the US, I said frankly:
“For Israel, American presidents like Trump and Biden are the wrong partners to take cue from. Both of them negotiated with Taliban on American withdrawal from Afghanistan yielding to the latter’s terms. In haste, Biden even left armaments worth billions and a ready-made militarized airport for Taliban. Look, the dilemma is you can’t have it both ways: Once you designate Hamas as a terrorist outfit like ISIS, Al-Qaeda or the rest, you can’t negotiate with them the terms other than their surrender. Another way of looking at Gaza is that this small strip of land is forcibly governed by the Hamas militias who perpetually indoctrinate the young Gazans with the theology of an Islamized version of their nation (from the River to the Sea) and elimination of Israel. If Hamas is allowed to have its sway, half the population of Gaza who we know are children would be potential enemies of Israel tomorrow and not peace makers. Imagine a country like Israel (its global composition was revealed by the fact that the victims of the Hamas attacks were from different nationalities!) living side by side a society that is filled with venomous rage and armed attacks against it. Liberation of Gaza from the clutches of Hamas is therefore a global responsibility. With global cooperation, liberation of Afghanistan from Taliban after 9/11 or freedom of Kuwait from Saddam’s occupation were the right things to do. The larger question is how do you reshape the ME once you have stamped out terrorists?”
International Coalition Against Islamist Jihadi Terrorism: A Pressing Need
On Oct 25th Tom Friedman cautioned that the 2023 war was unlike the Six Day War of 1967 when the Israelis confronted combined attacks from Egypt, Jordan and Syria and roundly defeated them. The Six-Front War this time around involved “non-state actors, nation-states, social networks, ideological movements, West Bank communities and Israeli political factions.” This new war could be won only when the USA and Israel were able to forge a global alliance. The French president, Emmanuel Macron, struggling with the Jihadi Islamists in his own country, had already proposed an “international coalition” to fight the “common foe” of Islamist terrorism. India must also endorse this proposal.
Underlining the unworkability of the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I sought to sum up as follows:
1. It sounds uncomfortable but outside the Islamic world, the popular impression is that Islamist terrorist organizations like Al-Fatah (PLA) and Hamas — staying in power by force for years, not holding elections and outliving their terms in the West Bank and Gaza — don’t really wish Israel to exist as a Jewish state. Their objective is to have an Islamic Palestinian Only State from ‘the Jordanian River to the Red Sea’ by ‘throwing the Jews into the Ocean.’
2. Pro-Palestinian demonstrations on City Streets and Univ campuses in the US also had slogans to the same effect. The Islamo-Left have done a better job of enhancing the ‘strategic value’ of their ‘dominant narrative.’
3. If you look at the map of the Islamic world — from Turkey to Bangladesh — non-Muslims have either been decimated or driven out by the Islamists. Ethnic cleansing on a monumental scale world-wide has been done only by the Islamists.
4. Jews in the West Bank fearing inevitable onslaught on them are pushing their boundaries by erecting new settlements; they are possibly making the circle around them (a security ring) more fortified and strong. The Rightist govt might be aiding and abetting them.
5. The ‘two-state solution,’ even if accepted by the Israelis and the Palestinians at this stage, would inevitably be a non-starter. The corrupt and inefficient authorities under the Palestinian Liberation Authority or Hamas in the WB and Gaza will blame Israel for all their dysfunction, just as Pakistan does to India. They will wage continuous wars against their neighbor to divert attention of the destitute and credulous Palestinians.
6. Yes, the illegitimate governments in the West Bank and Gaza would be assisted not only by hostile Islamic states in the region, but also by Putin’s Russia and Xi’s China. Stretching US resources thin will be in their geostrategic interest.
[Originally from Darbhanga, Bihar (India), Dr Binoy Shanker Prasad lives in Dundas, Ontario (Canada). He is a former UGC teacher fellow at JNU in India and a Fulbright Scholar in the USA. Author of scholarly works including a book, “Violence Against Minorities”, “Gandhi in the Age of Globalization” (a monograph) and a collection of poems”, Dr Prasad has taught at Ryerson University, Centennial College and McMaster University. He has also been the president of Hamilton based India-Canada Society (2006-08 and 2018-20)]