In Hamas’s Gaza Demonstrations, the Deaths of Palestinians Are a Feature, Not a Bug

April 5 2018

During the mass protests along the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel last weekend, sixteen Palestinians were killed. Western leaders like the EU’s foreign-policy chief, Frederica Mogherini, and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders responded as if the IDF had opened fired on peaceful protestors. But, writes Eli Lake, this was not at all the case:

It’s not just that the Israeli Defense Force claims to have video showing peaceful marchers interspersed with militants wielding Molotov cocktails and burning tires. The organizers of this civil disobedience, Hamas, are themselves devoted to bloodshed. As the Qassem Brigades, [a Hamas military unit], helpfully announced on Sunday, five of the sixteen marchers killed . . . were [its] members. [Israel identified five more as known terrorists.] . . .

Bernie Sanders . . . tweeted, [in reference to the demonstration], “it is the right of all people to protest for a better future without a violent response.” [But] the organizers of the march, Hamas, do not allow Palestinians to “protest for a better future.” As the sovereigns of Gaza, Hamas authorities arrest Palestinians for spreading rumors online. They have cracked down on male barbers for cutting women’s hair. If you are deemed a
“collaborator,” Hamas has been known to drag your corpse behind a motorcycle.

All of that aside, even if Hamas were committed to nonviolence—which it clearly is not—its aims should horrify Western progressives and conservatives alike. Hamas does not seek a two-state solution; it seeks to replace the world’s only Jewish state with one ruled by fanatics. The title of the weekend’s event, “The March of Return,” is a giveaway. The idea is that every Palestinian family and its descendants have a right to return to the Israeli territory that Palestinians fled during the 1948 war for independence. Such a return would overwhelm the existing Jewish majority.

And this is why it’s so dangerous to treat last weekend’s march like the Arab Spring or the brave demonstrations in Iran a few months ago.

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More about: Bernie Sanders, European Union, Gaza Strip, Hamas, IDF, Israel & Zionism


The Syrian Civil War May Be Coming to an End, but Three New Wars Are Rising There

March 26 2019

With both Islamic State and the major insurgent forces largely defeated, Syria now stands divided into three parts. Some 60 percent of the country, in the west and south, is in the hands of Bashar al-Assad and his allies. Another 30 percent, in the northeast, is in the hands of the mostly Kurdish, and American-backed, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The final 10 percent, in the northwest, is held by Sunni jihadists, some affiliated with al-Qaeda, under Turkish protection. But, writes Jonathan Spyer, the situation is far from stable. Kurds, likely linked to the SDF, have been waging an insurgency in the Turkish areas, and that’s only one of the problems:

The U.S.- and SDF-controlled area east of the Euphrates is also witnessing the stirrings of internal insurgency directed from outside. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, “236 [SDF] fighters, civilians, oil workers, and officials” have been killed since August 2018 in incidents unrelated to the frontline conflict against Islamic State. . . . The SDF blames Turkey for these actions, and for earlier killings such as that of a prominent local Kurdish official. . . . There are other plausible suspects within Syria, however, including the Assad regime (or its Iranian allies) or Islamic State, all of which are enemies of the U.S.-supported Kurds.

The area controlled by the regime is by far the most secure of Syria’s three separate regions. [But, for instance, in] the restive Daraa province in the southwest, [there has been] a renewed small-scale insurgency against the Assad regime. . . .

As Islamic State’s caliphate disappears from Syria’s map, the country is settling into a twilight reality of de-facto division, in which a variety of low-burning insurgencies continue to claim lives. Open warfare in Syria is largely over. Peace, however, will remain a distant hope.

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More about: ISIS, Kurds, Politics & Current Affairs, Syrian civil war, Turkey