A Hamas spokesman appearing on the BBC on the first day of the offensive explained that the Palestinian people had the right to defend itself, having lived under occupation these past sixty years. Let’s ignore for the moment the fact that Israel withdrew all its settlements and all its soldiers from Gaza in 2005. Though you really have to ignore that to understand how the Gazans have been struggling against “occupation”.But the better bit is this:
Instead, let’s focus on how long the occupation has been going on. From June 1967 until today, the Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza, plus residents of the Golan Heights and earlier on, Sinai, lived under Israeli occupation.
But that’s forty-one years. Not sixty years. Sixty years means that the “occupation” refers to the existence of Israel itself. Even under ferocious aerial bombardment, the Hamas regime tottering, its leaders still think that the very existence of Israel is the problem.
Soon they will run out of the well-worn analogies to Hitler, and then what? Will someone compare what Israel is doing to other mass slaughters?
Let’s see – an effective one might be to compare it to that much larger massacre of Muslims, the one that took place back in 1982. Ten thousand dead, maybe double that number.
I’m referring to Hafez al-Assad’s slaughter of his Muslim Brotherhood opponents in Hama. You will be forgiven if you thought I was referring to something Israel did in Lebanon.
No, the Left will probably not use Hama in its slogans. It would cause confusion to carry banners reading “No More Hamas!” That might be misunderstood.