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A Braveheart Christmas in the Holy Land

December 29, 2008

In the big battle scene in the movie Braveheart, terrified whispers ran up and down the ragged ranks of sword-waving Scots that the English were ranged before them with “500 heavy horse” – armoured cavalry of devastating power in those days.

But the wild-haired hero-general William Wallace (actor-director Mel Gibson) rode his pony up and down the front ranks shouting: “We don’t have to beat them. We just have to fight them!”

That was in the 14th century. But 700 years later it seems to be the same cry  from the Gaza Strip, where Palestinian fighters allied to the Islamic fundamentalist cause led by Hamas pursue a lopsided battle against Israel, pitching erratic, homemade rockets into nearby Israeli lands, until they trigger a major offensive and start taking the heaviest casualties in 60 years of conflict, from Israel F-16s and Apache helicopters.

The warplane is today’s ‘heavy horse’, of course, but it can represent a far, far superior advantage. The Israelis fly with virtual impunity over the crowded Gaza enclave, picking out designated targets in their own good time, capable of selecting individual apartments in a block if they need to. Should it come to ground fighting, Israel has equally advanced tanks with state-of-the-art optics and sensors, plus plenty of modern armoured personnel carriers and artillery that the Islamists do not possess.

The score in Gaza, to state the facts in the crudest terms, was 300 to 1 dead in the first 48 hours.

Monday was day three of the air campaign. In 1999 NATO found itself in its first war, against Serbia over the conflict in Kosovo. The air campaign was conducted at the safety altitude of 22,000 feet because the Serbs, unlike Hamas, did indeed possess anti-aircraft missiles and cannon. A committee of 19 states, the 45-year-old alliance was a nervous newcomer to actual fighting. It gambled that air power would inflict just enough pain to persuade the Serbs to capitulate. But when that did not happen in the first five days, NATO was in a panic, and facing the unthinkable – an invasion.

Some generals had warned the allies that, if you start a war, you must be ready to go all the way and ‘put boots on the ground’. But they had preferred wishful thinking.

Israel, of course, is no newcomer to war, does not need lessons in the limits of air power, and knows that a ground offensive in Gaza cannot be ruled out. Even if Gaza’s Islamist militants number 35,000 as estimates say, there is little doubt who would be likely to come out on top. But it would probably be on top of a land of rubble, with a storm of Arab and Muslim defiance gathering above the entire region.

As the smoke rises from Gaza, anger and defiance seems to be spreading across the Arab world, fuelling protests and violence in the occupied West Bank, stoking anti-Israel sentiment in the wider Arab world, where the young, especially, despise seemingly weak, or complacent regimes unwilling or unable to do something. Islam is their “rock n roll” now, as one writer recently put it, and the militants of Islam have no moral problem with “asymmetric warfare” — the return of the suicide bomber to Israeli cities, the weapon no Apache or F-16 can stop.

If this is what the defiance of Gaza’s puny rockets begets, then Braveheart’s romantic injunction that “you just have to fight them” could prove to be correct.

(Smoke rises after an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip December 28, 2008. Israel launched air strikes on Gaza for a second day on Sunday, piling pressure on Hamas after killing more than 270 people in one of the bloodiest days in 60 years of conflict between the Palestinians and the Jewish state. REUTERS/Baz Ratner)

Comments

to the bloggers in this blog,I find in intereting how you like to call out the moderators and writers of this article on how they are moderationg this blog and what they are writing in order to get your opinions posted in here. I don’t know if most of you have realized that majority of the stuff posted in here by you is nonsense, baseless, and made up facts.most people in here trying to give justifications for the events that are currently taking place for what they have a biased for and not what is really happening. let’s state the facts and call it what is is:
1.) israel is waging a war on a helpless population. they are determined to cripple the palestinains more then they already were before.
2.) hamas did not help the situation at all by choosing to fire rockets and continuing to do so.
3.) israel has been violating every human rights accord ever written for decades now, with the U.S’s approval and the UN incapable of doing anything about it.
4.) israel is the “super power” backed by U.S tax payer dollars and U.S made weapons. hamas is a rag tag street gang with home made rockets. so who has the “power” to put an end to this?
5.) this is not the first time israel has done anything like this and it won’t be the last.
6.) actions like this will only create more resentment in the arab/muslim world, giving iran, syria and other to aquire more weapons and another reason to pursue nuclear weapons.
7.) these “islamist” terrorist groups were created based on the actions of the U.S and Israel to the people livign in these areas. the terrorits groups are a product of decades of oppresion and discrimination. so therefore the terrorist groups are a product of the creation U.S and israel.
8.) the egyption, jordanian, and saudi governments do no speak for the middle eastern countries. let’s face it, they are western stooges set in place and do not represent the people, and are part of the problem in this region
9.) iran exploits the palestinian situation do a certain extent and this type of chaos only benefits them.
10.) this situation will be the cause of WW3, with millions who will die because of it.

7.)

Posted by raymon | Report as abusive
 

Alan

My comments were not intended to justify anything, merely to describe the current situation as I see it.
I don’t feel a need to justify the right of my people to defend itself against unprovoked, indiscriminate, interminable rocket attacks that have been going on for the last six years, just as I don’t see the need to justify the existence of Israel, or my own very existence. As far as I’m concerned, vis-a-vis Hamas, it’s either them or us. We don’t deny the Palestinians’ right to exist in peace. Hamas denies the right of Israel to exist at all.

Now if you want to actually conduct a dialog based on the truth you will have to start reading something else beside Hamas propaganda on which to base your claims.

Firstly Israel does not target civilians. In fact Israel when possible has WARNED civilians about impending attacks on buildings CONTAINING WEAPONS by calling them by phone and urging them to escape. It is the custom of Hamas when forewarned to force their own civilians to stand on the rooftops of buildings to protect their weapons from being destroyed. Now that’s what I call priorities!!!!

Nizar Rayyan, the “cleric”, as called so sympathetically by a Reuters correspondent, who was targeted yesterday by Israel was killed along with his family, because he PREVENTED them from leaving his home after he was warned by his own Hamas friends that he was in danger. So who is “murdering babies”????. This top Hamas terrorist has been one of the major architects of the rocket attacks against Israel and even SENT HIS OWN SON ON A SUICIDE MISSION against Israel. What kind of religion has “clerics” who think nothing of dispatching their own children in the name of GOD?

No one has asked the Palestinians to “sacrifice” anything to give Jews a home. It was actually the leaders of the free world who saw the need to reinstate Israel in its historical homeland after the Holocaust. Our ties to this land are absolute, but still, in the Jewish tradition of peaceful coexistance we were prepared to “split” what was then called “Palestine” between ourselves and the Arabs. In return we were attacked by every Arab nation with which we share a border.

Unfortunately the Arab nations have made countless errors in their dealing with the existence of Israel, ordering up pointless wars, but leaving the Palestinians with the tab. It’s time moderate Palestinians let their voice be heard and put an end to being victimized by the Arab “brethren”

Posted by Koushnir | Report as abusive
 

Dear misguided Ali,

I ask you indeed “How is Israel a bully?”

Are you referring to the countless times that Israel has been attacked by its neighbours?

Or could it be the ridiculous and unprovoked shelling of Israel and kidnapping/murdering of Israeli soldiers By Nasrallah which provoked the war in Lebanon?

Or perhaps might it be the 6,464 rockets directed at Israel over the last three years?

Wake up and smell the smoke! It’s the Arab nations who put us where we are, not our need for expansion.

Please explain, does withdrawing from Gaza make us expand or shrink? Please take a look at a map of the Middle East. We were actually very lucky to win the war of 1967 between Israel and its Arab “neighbors” Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. (Not very “Neighborly”) especially since Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria also contributed troops and arms to the Arab cause.

But since then we have made a peace of sorts with Egypt and RETURNED SINAI, and also made peace with Jordan, also making territorial arrangements with Jordan.
So it is only the Palestinians who have a gripe with us. Perhaps the should go back a couple of years and blame Arafat, was offered about 95% of Palestine for peace and in return offered us ………….the Entifadah! One more brilliant decision by a Palestinian leader.

Israel has been far less than perfect in its relations with the Palestinians since 1967. There are indeed hugh moral issues involved in dealing with mostly innocent people at cticical junctures such as border crossings, checkposts, the enabling of religius practice etc. It is sad that the Palestinians are being misled by their leaders into thinking that violence is the solution to all their woes. The difference between the Israelis and the Palestinians is that we constantly put ourselves under a magnifying glass and debate our actions. We have not only freedom of thought but the need to think.
Many people here in Israel believe they have the solution to the Middle East crisis, but most will agree that someone else might actually be right. There is no such debate among the Palestinians. There is no moral dilemma in the sending of Rockets over Israel, no questions asked about the legitimacy of sending suicide bombers to explode in crowded malls or buses. The moral ground of the Palestinians is no higher that the depth of the tunnels used to smuggle rockets to be fired at Israel.

Posted by Koushnir | Report as abusive
 

Raymon

It’s so easy to throw words like “nonsense” “baseless” and “made up facts” without an iota of substantiation, (unless you are referring to your own unsubstantiated claims).

You say “Israel is waging a war on a helpless population. they are determined to cripple the palestinains more then they already were before.”

Absolutely untrue. Israel pulled out unilaterally from Gaza over two years ago. She had no choice but to do so as there was no-one on the other side prepared to negotiate a bilateral agreement. Since then the rocket attacks against innocent civilians have been unrelenting (unless you consider the population of Sderoth and other towns non-civilians). This started from day one after the pullout. Israel’s biggest mistake was not taking firm action with the first rocket, because by not doing so she lost the deterrent. The price both sides are having to pay because of this has escalated for this reason. I am truly sorry that there are civilians in Gaza who are picking up the tab run up by Hamas. However this is the only way to return the deterrent, and possibly by doing so finally sit down at the negotiating table to reach an agreement beween the two peoples. Hamas violence is not the solution.

You say “hamas did not help the situation at all by choosing to fire rockets and continuing to do so.”

Now here is something we can agree upon, but I must commend you on your excellent use of understatement. Hamas has knowingly and deceitfully to its own people provoked this situation. The only thing they want more than casualties on the Israeli side is casualties on their own side.

You say “israel has been violating every human rights accord ever written for decades now, with the U.S’s approval and the UN incapable of doing anything about it.”

Human rights issues are definitely a severe problem but I would like to ask you to come up with a solution that does not create the infrastructure to support human rights problems in the interim period till a solution is found. At least Israel acknowledges the problem and has High Court to which Palestinians can appeal and often receive solutions. This is true to the extent that many Israeli criticize the High Court for being too sympathetic to the Palestinians.

You say “Israel is the “super power” backed by U.S tax payer dollars and U.S made weapons. hamas is a rag tag street gang with home made rockets. so who has the “power” to put an end to this?”

Can we paraphrase to “The US is the “super power” backed by U.S tax payer dollars and U.S made weapons. El Quaida is a rag tag street gang with home made rockets. so who has the “power” to put an end to this?”

You say “this is not the first time israel has done anything like this and it won’t be the last.”

True, As long as we are attacked we reserve the right to defend ourselves.

You say “actions like this will only create more resentment in the arab/muslim world, giving iran, syria and other to aquire more weapons and another reason to pursue nuclear weapons.”

The demonic Arab states such as Iran and Syria have their own agenda and if they didn’t have Israel they would create a reason to aquire weapons and nuclear capability, probably to shoot at each other.

You say “these “islamist” terrorist groups were created based on the actions of the U.S and Israel to the people livign in these areas. the terrorits groups are a product of decades of oppresion and discrimination. so therefore the terrorist groups are a product of the creation U.S and israel.”

Islamic terrorism is based on an extreme and fundamentalistic interpretation of the Koran, which espouses zero tolerance towards all non-Islamic religions.

You say “the egyption, jordanian, and saudi governments do no speak for the middle eastern countries. let’s face it, they are western stooges set in place and do not represent the people, and are part of the problem in this region”

I suppose you think that Iranian and Syrian governments best represent the will of their people. Well if so thank God for the “Western Stooges”.

You say “Iran exploits the palestinian situation do a certain extent and this type of chaos only benefits them.”

Did you say “certain extent”? How about the possibility that Middle Eastern unrest is the Iranian cause d’etre? That Iranian wants only one thing, to institute Shariy’an law all over the world, including in your own back yard! Look over your shoulder, they’re just waiting for the opportunity.

You say “this situation will be the cause of WW3, with millions who will die because of it.”

Interesting prophecy, and if I read you correctly the Jews will be the ones held responsible again just like WW2.

Posted by Koushnir | Report as abusive
 

*As the rest of the world protest…
… the US voted a few hours ago to Block UN Condemnation and Sanctions against Israel .

Protester all over Europe by the thousands are Braving Freezing cold tempters and protesting the Deliberate Slaughter of unarmed civilians trapped and denied to flea the onslaught….Watch Live coverage at http://www.presstv.ir/watch_live3.aspx

All the Hospitals will run out of Fuel in a few Hours and all the Babies and Wounded Patience on Life support will Die.
_
Gaza

Obama, “WILL BE TESTED IN HIS FIRST 90 DAYS IN OFFICE”, THIS IS THE TEST……….. will he condemn Israel, will he pass the Test?

What an How he does and doesn’t reply to over the Gaza situation will be referenced and revered to by the other Middle East Nations and Political factions .

It will set the tone and mindset of the rest of his presidency, It Will Effect how our troops will be able to? operate even in Afghanistan .
_
UBUIBIOK
Have a Better Day !

 

Let me see if I’ve got this right, 400,000 black men , women, and children are murdered in Darfur in the worst genocide in recent memory,we do nothing. Four hundred Palestinians are killed and the world is coming to an end, wonderful.

Posted by eyeman1 | Report as abusive
 

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