An eye for an eyelash? Hamas and Israel…

I am no friend of Hamas—not all muslims are—but what is happening in Gaza is like a bad horror movie. Thousands are being sacrificed between the belligerent Israel and Hamas (and the two American presidents.)

palestine middle east israel hamas maze michele roohani

I remember when I was about ten years old, spreading the newspaper on the floor and reading with the naive curiosity of a child about the Palestinian conflict—and not understanding much of it. I still don’t…Robert Kaplan says “Israel has, in effect, launched the war on the Iranian empire that President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, in particular, can only have contemplated.”

gaza eyad baba associated press michele roohani

Hamas and Hezbollah both being fed by the Iranian government does not buy my sympathy for either one but let’s not forget that Israel used to support Hamas, because it undermined Fatah

gaza kids slingshots nytimes michele roohani

Israel has prevented international journalists getting into Gaza. Is “an eye for an eyelash”,  Israel’s appropriate response to Hamas’ rockets? 13 dead Israelis to 1100 dead Palestinians? I hated Yasir Arafat for what he did and didn’t do for his people but is Hamas much better? Can you really close the borders of Gaza and bomb them in front of the whole world? All I know is that the 2 state plan is barely alive and a thousand people are dead, so far…

War does not determine who is right – only who is left.  Bertrand Russell

Further reading:

Sara Roy’s If Gaza falls

Benny Morris’ Why Israel feels threatened.

Ehud Olmert’s very interesting interview.

David Samuel’s How Yasser Arafat destroyed Palestine.

Avi Schlaim’s How Israel brought Gaza to the brink of humanitarian catastrophe.


13 thoughts on “An eye for an eyelash? Hamas and Israel…

  1. I love your powerful maze image. It vividly illustrates the apparent hopelessness of the situation.

  2. For a more detailed analysis — 5 hours — see Zeitgeist on All a part of a larger plan.
    The specific reference is the following:

    You need five hours and your thinking cap. Not all of this is free from criticism, not all of it is lies. We need to discuss these things and we don’t. More is the pity for us all.

  3. Its pretty simple actually…stop firing rockets into Israel and the problem actually goes away! A child in grade school could figure that out.

  4. When Hamas recognizes Israel and stop shooting rockets then they will be safe. You know Muslims can’t cry wolf when be attacked but look the other way when Hamas is shooting rockets. Or Al Queade is using suicide bombers.

  5. It is most difficult to comment, when you have not lived in Israel and had to endure many decades of terrorist attacks by various militant groups. Our western media is biased whether they are left or right….

  6. Some Threads for the Mix,,,,

    bonne annee…

    Dennis Kucinich


    BILL MOYERS JOURNAL | Bill Moyers on Mideast Violence | PBS$

    Is Arab-Israeli Peace Possible?

    Is Arab-Israeli Peace Possible?

    Report: Israel Rejected Hamas Ceasefire Offer in December

    List of United Nations resolutions concerning Israel

    Gaza : Une Guerre Pour Quoi ? Tariq Ramadan Répond Les Juifs

    The Paradigm

    George Galloway | Stop Gaza Massacre protest London Saturday 3 January 2009

    The Machine

  7. I received this email this morning, quite an interesting summary of the rules governing the region: (Peace to all! but there is no peace without faireness)

    Rule #1: In the Middle East, it is always the Palestinians that attack first, and it’s always Israel who defends itself. This is called “retaliation”.

    Rule #2: The Palestinians are not allowed to kill Israelis. This is called “terrorism”.

    Rule #3: Israel has the right to kill Palestinian civilians; this is called “self-defense”, or “collateral damage”.

    Rule #4: When Israel kills too many Palestinian civilians, the Western world calls for restraint. This is called the “reaction of the international community”.

    Rule #5: Palestinians do not have the right to capture Israeli military, not even 1 or 2.

    Rule #6 : Israel has the right to capture as many Palestinians as they want (around 10,000 to date being held without trial). There is no limit; there is no need for proof of guilt or trial. All that is needed is the magic word: “terrorism”.

    Rule #7: When you say “Hamas”, always be sure to add “supported by Hezbo-Allah, Syria and Iran”.

    Rule #8: When you say ” Israel”, never say “supported by the USA, the UK, European countries and even some Arab regimes”, for people (God forbid) might believe this is not an equal conflict.

    Rule #9: When it comes to Israel, don’t mention the words “occupied territories”, “UN resolutions”, “Geneva conventions”. T his could distress the audience of Fox, CNN, etc.

    Rule #10: Israelis speak better English than Arabs. This is why we let them speak out as much as possible, so that they can explain rules 1 through 9. This is called “neutral journalism”.

    Rule #11: If you don’t agree with these rules or if you favor the Palestinian side over the Israeli side, you must be a very dangerous anti-Semite. You may even have to make a public apology if you express your honest opinion.


    (Isn’t democracy wonderful?)

  8. What I don’t understand,is, both the Old Testament and The Koran preach “peace; love; justice; brotherhood ; love your neighbor as you love thyself; share with others what God has given to you; do not murder.” yet Israelis and Palestinians do completely the opposite to one another.

  9. Dear Michele, let’s agree to disagree. There was a truce between Hamas, the terrorist organization, proxy of Iran, descendant of the Muslim Brotherhood, – and Israel. Hamas has broken the truce, fired missiles into a sovereign state. Now it get’s punished, and it is being responsible for all the death in the Gaza strip. Israel gave over these territories to the Palestinians, and they made a wasteland of the strip. Electing a terrorist group invites self-punishment. It is obscene now to obfuscate what happened with sidetracking one of the major tragedies of contemporary history by suggesting, like this former Trotskyte cynic and nihilist Christophet Hitchens does that the Israelis are bombing for votes. This man could only sell derivatives; he is a subprime intellectual of the British yellow press. Israel is going to lose this war, the Palestinians already lost it. Only the Mullahs are laughing. The majority of the assessments of the conflict shows the spiritual deprivation of our lives. It is so simple. You must stop the rocket launchers at any cost. These people are using mosques to disguise weapons, human shields to kill others, they are rigging civilian homes with explosives, and booby-trapping schools, while they are all sitting in bunkers, and do not dare to see the light of the sun. It will be not the first time that an aggressive leadership is going down together with the people they govern. The Palestinians are victims of their leadership. How ironic that this terrorist group is using the Israeli army to finish the job which they started. Incredibly sad events are unfolding before our eyes. Finish it somehow but do not stop it before there could be real peace.

  10. I do not agree with the tone of your post. You try to be balanced, but in the process you obscure some important facts, and end up one-sided.

    First of all, Hamas is an offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. It is a Sunni group. It receives some aid from Iran, but it is nowhere near what Israel and her allies allege. According to Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia provides much more significant financial backing to Hamas than Iran. In the present carnage, Iran supported Hamas only “morally,” meaning no guns or volunteers. In fact, after Iran stirred up the emotions of the devouts in Iran and caused 70,000 of volunteers to want to go fighting against Israel, Ayatollah Khamenei put a ban on it.

    Secondly, Hamas won the 2006 elections, which were certified by Jimmy Carter as democratic, fairly. It received the great majority of the votes. Interestingly, the PA wanted to ban Hamas from the elections, but George Bush and Rice insisted on it, gave $400 million to the PA to spend, hoping that Hamas would lose and be discredited. Alas! Hamas won! Condi Rice gave her usual stupid senseless excuse: “Nobody thought Hamas will win!” But, those who knew, knew better!

    Third, Hamas and Hezbollah are symptoms of what Israel has done to that region, not the root-cause of the problem. Hezbollah was formed in response to occupation of southern Lebanon, where most of Lebanon’s Shi’ite live, the inability of Amal, the main Shi’ite organization of the time, to fight and expel Israel, and all the injustice done to the
    Shi’ite by the Christians Lebanese with support of Israel, the US, and France. Hezbollah is not a terrorist organization. It is a social/political/military organization that has carried out some terrorist attacks. But it can also bring a million people out on streets on a short
    notice, in a country of 3 million. It is also the only Arab military that has defeated Israel TWICE.

    Hamas was formed in response to Fatah’s corruption, its inability to expel Israel from the occupied territories, and what Israel has done to Palestinians for over 40 years, if not since 1948, or 19356, when Israel had been de facto formed BEFORE Holocaust. Hamas has never carried out any military operation outside the historical Palestine (Israel included). It has only a single item on its agenda – get Palestine back. It receives aid from Iran, not orders. It has its own agenda.

    Israel commits collective punishment of the Palestinians which is a war crime. The present attacks had been planned for at least a year. Even when there was a ceasefire, Israel refused to allow food, medicine, oil, gasoline and other essentials to go through to Gaza, except for the bare minimum, which is against international laws. As it controls all of Gaza’s borders, it is still the occupying force according to international laws, even though it superficially evacuated Gaza, but created the largest jail on Earth. I condemn Hamas shooting at Israel’s civilians, but the root cause of the problem is Israel’s occupation of the land.

  11. I agree mostly with the person above me (Mr. Sahimi), however I do not get the point of you stating, “which were certified by Jimmy Carter as democratic, fairly.” Whether he certified it or not, who cares, since when did Carter become the source of legitimacy? HAMAS does not need the seal of approval by western leaders to make itself or its elections legitimate. After all, both Khatami and Ahmadinejad were democratically elected yet US continues to condemn its elections, while praising dictators like King Abdullah of Jordan’s “reforms.” (what a joke).

    Also, you state that Hizbollah is not a terrorist organization but has carried out some “terrorist attacks.” I don’t even accept the fact that Hizbollah has committed any terrorist attacks, you say so, but fail to cite any cases, because not 1 comes to my mind.

    The purpose in my post is to state you make good points, but I feel you suffer from an inferority complex (maybe unconsciously). You try to say that well Iran doesn’t back Hamas as much or Carter approved elections etc. No need to apologize. Iran will and SHOULD fund Hamas, because US funds Israel, I would say Iran is just leveling the playing field, but that too would make for a bad joke, because Israel’s weaponry is not just better than Hamas’ but better than even Iran’s haha.

    Either way one should never apologize (nor condemn) those who engage in legitimate resistance against occupying powers.

  12. According to some of the previous comments, you, Michele, are practically a radical Zionist. You probably didn’t know that about yourself, did you?
    One of those opining above writes that all poor harmless Hamas wants is to “get Palestine back” clarifying further that it includes Israel. Well, Israel is indeed just a small part of historical Palestine but it is not clear why Hamas should “get back” something they never actually had. The following contributor calls this position too moderate and declares that launching rockets for the purpose of killing innocent civilians (not on “occupied” lands, mind you) is “legitimate resistance”. In other words, the problem for them is not what Israel does but the fact of its very existence, and only complete disappearance of the Jewish State from the face of the planet can possibly satisfy this kind of crowd. It is highly ironic that one of them calls you, Michele, one-sided. What two sides does he represent – pro-Palestinian as well as anti-Israeli? In reality, those who truly want the best for Palestinians should be staunchly pro-Israeli, because only when Israel achieves its goal of being safe and secure will life for Palestinians have a genuinely good chance to improve.
    A brief look at the world map makes the situation pretty clear – a small country of about 7 million people with very few natural resources surrounded by nearly two dozen unfriendly oil-rich countries with combined population of several hundred million, many of which are openly hostile to Israel with particularly outspoken leaders regularly calling for the annihilation of the so-called “Zionist entity”. A couple billion bucks of US aid to Israel is small change compared to many trillions of petrodollars available annually to all those oil-exporting nations. The only thing Israel can possibly want in this kind of neighborhood is to survive. Unfortunately, this understandable desire remains to be unacceptable to far too many people all around the world.

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