Double meanings and weasel words are how Israel’s enemies in the Middle East play their propaganda game. The code games work very well with lazy media and producers yelling talking points into the earpieces of presenters on a TV near you. The aim is to skew realities about the Israeli-Arab conflict or the average news consumer in North America and elsewhere. But if one cares about Israelis — and Palestinians — the facts should be known.
1. One of those salient facts is what Hamas is about. That is made abundantly clear in Hamas’s charter or founding covenant — to which these Islamist extremists hold to in a steadfast manner. It calls for Israel’s destruction, rejects completely the Jewish state’s right to exist and is full of hate and anti-Semitic nonsense. The Hamas charter in all its hellish miasma can be found here: http://www.thejerusalemfund.org/www.thejerusalemfund.org/carryover/documents/charter.html?chocaid=397.
Simply playing defence against Hamas’s dead-baby strategy is not nearly enough.
2. “Lifting the siege of Gaza”: A prominent coded mantra used by Hamas and its friends these days. The translation: allowing an unimpeded flow of weapons to Hamas. It does NOT mean, as Hamas spokesmen tell the gullible, allowing the Gazans to live a normal life. Hamas does not want Gazans to live a normal life.
Lifting the siege to Hamas is Iranian ships unloading weaponry in Gaza. (And Turkish ships, too, the way that country’s prime minister is behaving.) The truth about lifting the siege bears much repetition in the coming days as Hamas and its allies assert its conditions for a ceasefire.
3. Then there’s the term “ending the occupation” which may sound reasonable to those not code savvy. But what is meant is something rather larger than withdrawing Israeli soldiers from the West Bank and Gaza (even when there are no Israelis in Gaza).
There was a time when enemies of the Jewish state used the term “Zionist entity” because they wouldn’t utter the hateful word Israel. Now Hamas in its propaganda refers to Israel as, “the Occupation” because to that terror organization, all of Israel is occupied territory down to the last grains of sand on the beach in Tel Aviv. Rejection of Israel’s right to exist is ever present in Hamas’s charter including Article 13 which declares “renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion”. Spokespersons for the Palestinian Authority, which too often carries on like Hamas Lite, have also come to refer to Israel as “the Occupation”.
4. A constant line heard from many Western politicians these days is “Israel has the right to defend itself but . . .” Israel’s foes in the Middle East and elsewhere don’t even get as far as the “but”. Since the Jewish state is illegitimate and all of Israel is occupied territory, any defence of occupied territory is illegitimate. Therefore anything Israel does to defend its people and preserve its existence must be, by this perverse definition, illegal.
5. Hamas, like Hezbollah, calls itself as the Islamic Resistance or the Resistance. So just what is it “resisting”? That would be “the Occupation”. But once you comprehend what’s meant by “the Occupation” is Israel itself, then it becomes clear. What these Islamist terror groups are really resisting is peace.
6. Israel is a vibrant democracy and there are certainly Israelis who claim their government is not doing enough to achieve peace with the Palestinians. But where are their counterparts on the Palestinian and the Arab side in general? It’s not that such people do not exist. But Palestinians in Gaza or the West Bank are well aware that if one morning, they were to state publicly that the Palestinian leadership is not doing enough to achieve peace with Israel, by the afternoon they will be in prison (if they were lucky) or far more likely, dead.
7. A few more topical buzzwords: disproportionate, asymmetrical conflict and even-handed. If Israel is guilty of any disproportionality, it is the disproportionality of forbearance. And yes, it is an asymmetrical conflict. Israel stands for life. Hamas stands for death.
Knowing the above, it becomes apparent what is needed by those outside the area who favour genuine Arab-Israeli peace is not an even-handed approach, but an even-headed one.