Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Lessons from Gaza 2008

  • If you are poking a bee's nest with a stick, better be sure to have protection for when they come out. One has to question the tactical necessity of firing rockets at residential areas in Israel. What objective, military or otherwise, did they achieve?

  • "Only 13 Israelis dead, is it justice?" is not what one should be asking. While it may be sadistically stimulating on some base human emotional level to see thousands of dead Israelis that does not accomplish anything nor does it offer long lasting peace or even justice. Same is true for the dead on the Gaza side. Killing thousands of Gaza residents will not give Israel peace for any notable duration of time.

  • Words can only take you so far. The Hamas had thousands of good words but Israel is still the superior military power. Hezbollah 2006 was an anomaly. This time, they did not hesitate to kill civilians. This is actually how war is supposed to be if you want to achieve your military objectives. Hamas stupidly gambled on the war being "nice". War is never nice and innocent civilians die. Question is - who cares? Neither side, it seems.

  • Israel clearly has the support of the world's only superpower. Gaza does not even have the support of fellow Palestinians. Abbas criticized the Hamas while the Gulf Arab dictators would clearly prefer Israel demolish Hamas. A populist, democratic movement in Arabia? Allah forbid!

  • Women leaders clearly have three balls. In an attempt to prove they are tougher than the men they replaced, they are often more militaristic, aggressive and eager to project power. Whether it's wise to do so is another question. Think Golda Meir, Hillary Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, and now Tzipi Livni. Clearly, Sheikh Haseena and Benazir Bhutto are exceptions.
So what should the Muslim community world wide (and the Arabs) do to prevent another round of genocide?

First, short term ceasefires achieve nothing. You want peace, stability and economic prosperity. Even thought of emulating the Prophet? The Hudaibiya treaty, signed with terms very unfavourable to the Muslims, changed the game forever. Go to the Israelis and ask for a 20 year peace treaty.

Yes, it would have been nice to go to them BEFORE they pummeled you black and blue but still, 20 years of peace is not something they will ignore. Technically they are not talking to you but er, you also are committed to wiping them off the face of the earth. Both should moderate their tones a bit.

Think about it. 20 years of peace. No economic or naval blockade. Israel would have to dismantle all checkpoints. They can't build settlements (get international UN soldiers to see this). 20 years to build up yourself economically, politically, militarily and peacefully. Have what other people around the world take for granted.

Second, accept the fact that Israel is going to be around for sometime. How about competing with them on education? On knowledge? On achievements?

In the entire Muslim world, there are only 500 universities (none of them make the top 500 in the world). In USA alone there are 5,758. Literacy in the West is 90%. Israel has 100%. Muslim world - 40%. Arabs - 20%. Gaza - 5%.

Export of high technological products from Pakistan is 0.9% of its exports. In Saudi Arabia it's 0.2%. Singapore's exports comprise 68% of high-tech products. In the UK, the average number of books published per million residents is 2000. Egypt, leading the Muslim world, comes up with 17.

"Read" is the first revealed word of Quran. "Ink of a scholar is holier than the blood of a martyr" said the Prophet. The Muslim world has a surplus of martyrs and a deficit of scholars.

Third, and final, think for a moment.

All of Israel's tanks, planes, Jeeps and ships need fuel. Oil.

Where are they getting it from?


tee dimensionist said...

Best thing I've read on this issue. Thank you, really, a whole lot.

Anonymous said...

sigh, I just hope and pray things improve.

'liya said...

I love the part about "Read" -so true. I wish more Muslims overseas (and here) would see the value of a good education. Excellent post!

Iftekhar said...


But I think it's really not as simple as telling the Palestinians to go to Israel and ask for a 20-year peace treaty.

Hamas honoured the ceasefire until it expired. They asked to renegotiate the terms of the ceasefire, but received no favourable response and so did what they do best: fire rockets into Israel.

And let's not forget, Israel was very "flexible" with its end of the bargain. Blockading supplies of food, medicine, spare parts for their sewage treatment plant, fuel oil to fuel the homes of people in the Strip. Gazans were living on "load shedding" for no apparent reason.

They were doing it to discredit Hamas. Dissuade people from supporting them, although they were democratically elected. Show them how the Palestinians on the West Bank are having a swell time.

So it's not really as simple as asking for a 20-year peace treaty.

Your points, however, are correct. The OIC countries read like a list of the poorest countries in the world.

Suroor said...

If Palestinians had accepted Israeli occupation even 10 years after it happened today Palestinians would have been in clear majority (we know how they breed) and democracy would have ensured a Palestinian leader. But did that happen?

So a 20-year peace treaty sounds appealing to people like you and me, Mezba who have seen massacres and their results in India and Bangladesh, but Arab pride will never let that happen and all this will continue forever and ever.

I love this post. It is precise and says exactly what should be said.

I have banned myself from thinking about the whole issue.

Anonymous said...

your third point on Israelis needing oil was bulls-eye.


Safiyyah said...

"they are often more militaristic, aggressive and eager to project power.

I do not think Benazir Bhutto is an "exception." She, who declared herself "chairperson for life" of her political party.

Anisa said...

Amazing post. Thank you so much for this...really a lot to think about.

Anonymous said...

all but your first bullet point. Maybe this youtube clip will answer your own question:


mystic said...

Classic post. 100% marks. Best post I read during whole episode.

In urdu we say: "Cha gaya bhai" (you conquered)

Anonymous said...

"Read" is the first revealed word of Quran. "Ink of a scholar is holier than the blood of a martyr" said the Prophet. "

This is never said in Quran. It is a fabricated verse. Prove me wrong.

Yawar said...

@Anonymous 1:55

You've misunderstood what Mezba is saying. Just to be clear: '"Ink of a scholar is holier than the blood of a martyr" said the Prophet.' This means this was said by the Prophet. Not in the Quran.

Anonymous said...


"You've misunderstood what Mezba is saying. Just to be clear: '"Ink of a scholar is holier than the blood of a martyr" said the Prophet.' This means this was said by the Prophet. Not in the Quran."

whatever Prophert said is documented in Hadees. Please quote the book, chapter and verse where he said this. thanks.

Yawar said...

@Anonymous 6:32

Here you go. Now, I know what you are going to say to this. It's unreliable, therefore it must be false! Well, the point still stands, the Ummah has always been at the height of its power wherever and whenever it has placed the most emphasis on education. It's simple really. You don't even need to be Muslim to realise that education is a better path to the improvement of our condition than waging war.

mezba said...

Tee Dimensionist: thanks for reading.

Geeki: I would like to think it's possible but pragmatic enough to realise this is some conflict that has been going on since, er, a while.

Iftekhar: Not too many people know it was Israel that broke the ceasefire. As always, their blockade (aided by Egypt) and settlement activity goes unreported and is the instigation for Palestenian action. Jimmy Carter said so himself on the Jon Stewart show tonight.

Suroor: we can always dream and pray, can we not?

Behbood: you need to see the investors in Gulf countries - especially UAE. Many of them have ties to Israel (for example the Atlantis hotel).

Saffiyah: atleast the other leaders left their countries better off. Bhutto? :-D

Anisa: you are welcome.

Anon (2:43): will take a look at the clip later.

Mystic: thank you for reading and commentating. It's so common sense but unfortunately the leaders won't see sense.

Anonymous (1:55): Tambi Dude, is it? Boy, you are still here? I would have answered you but Yawar got to it.

Yawar: thanks for answering him. I don't think Anon (or Tambi Dude) is interested in Islam or peace for that matter. Isn't it interesting that the ones who criticise Islam for being a warmonging
religion are the ones always ready to start a war?

Iftekhar said...

From what I read, the ceasefire was allowed to expire, and hostilities began only after it was no longer legally binding. But I'm sure Jimmy Carter knows a lot more than me.

That being said, Hamas isn't guilt-less, they did fire rockets onto Israeli settlements and illegally killed Israelis (even if they had valid grievances). But the reality is that the operation was being planned for months ahead of time by the Israelis.

Asking for a 20-year peace treaty is assuming Israel wants peace. Some elements within the Israeli government actually wants hostilities to continue, and the US has (under Bush) done nothing to override those interests. So it really isn't as simple as asking for peace.

There's no point asking someone for something they simply won't give.

And Suroor's point is over-simplistic. Hindsight, as they say, is 20-20.

And bunching the "Arabs" together in "Arab pride" is as wrong as bunching all "Muslims" together in "backwardness," I hope you will agree. Arabs are no more a monolithic entity as Muslims are, and we really need to have a more granular resolution than that to appreciate this problem.

mezba said...

Iftekhar: I just saw the news and it seems they are fighting again.