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Danse macabre - Paul McGeough's 'Kill Khalid' and the rise of Hamas

After a long conversation about Marilyn Shepherd's review, Webdiarist Eliot Ramsey has submitted his own interpretation. Thanks, Eliot!

Danse macabre – Paul McGeough's 'Kill Khalid' and the rise of Hamas
by Eliot Ramsey

Miriam Farhat, "otherwise known as the Mother of Martyrs", was on a high.

She’d just been elected on the Hamas ticket to the Palestinian Legislative Council, Palestine’s parliament, in the upset 2006 landslide election which saw the radical Islamist faction overturn Fatah as the dominant political force in Gaza.

It had not been an easy path to victory for Miriam, but doubtless that was part of her electoral appeal.

As author Paul McGeough explains:

[Miriam ] had seen off three of her sons as suicide bombers and had produced a campaign video of herself helping her seventeen-year-old boy into his bomb vest before he went off to kill five Israelis.

Miriam was part of the wave of the future for Gaza as she and her Hamas colleagues, under the leadership of Khalid Mishal, swept to power in the Strip with 44 percent of the votes against political opponents who were poorly led, hopelessly divided and notoriously corrupt.

In the surreal, bizarre and frequently deadly world of Middle Eastern politics, and against a backdrop of decades of compromise, incompetence, failure and corruption by secular movements like Fatah, the rise of ultra-conservative, ultra-nationalist Islamist factions such as Hamas and its Lebanese counterpart Hizbolla have signalled a tectonic shift in power relations in the region.

That such movements are liberally funded and otherwise supported by both Sunnis (including the Wahhabist Saudis) and Shiites (such as the Islamist Iranian regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad), reflects major change in the fundamental regional political and cultural bedrock of the Middle East.

Paul McGeough new book, Kill Khalid: Mossad's failed hit... and the rise of Hamas (Allen & Unwin, 2009), provides an engaging, fast paced account of the rise of Hamas from its origins as an offshoot of the fundamentalist, gradualist Muslim Brotherhood, the world's oldest and largest Islamic political group, through to its newfound role as the thrusting, aggressive vanguard of Islamist Arab nationalism in the Middle East.

McGeough recounts the founding of Hamas at a "council of war" in Amman, the capital of Jordan, in 1983, ostensibly as a reaction to the events of the First Intifada.

But the official mythology had always pinpointed the legendary meeting on the evening of December 9, 1987, at the Gaza home of Sheikh Yassin, as the occasion on which the wheelchair-bound preacher and six other had spontaneously given birth to Hamas in an effort to channel outrage over a fluke traffic accident [involving an Israeli truck driver] in which several Palestinians had died.

But according to Khalid Mishal, the current head of Hamas, the plotting had begun much earlier, first during his exile in Kuwait and subsequently at the secret conference in Jordan.

"The plan for the creation of Hamas had been locked into the Muslim Brotherhood’s strategic planning as much as four years before the fatal traffic collision, near the Erez border crossing, that heralded the onset of the first Intifada," says McGeough.

McGeough’s hook into his fast-moving, highly readable account of the rise of Hamas is the botched 1997 attempt by Israel’s Mossad security service to assassinate Mishal, then a comparatively unknown backroom functionary of the movement.

The assassination attempt itself came in the aftermath of two horrific Hamas suicide bombing attacks in Israel, calculated by Hamas to upset the Oslo Accords, the 1993 agreement between Israel's Yitzhak Rabin and Fatah’s Yasser Arafat intended to provide a framework for the future relations between Israel and the anticipated Palestinian state.

To Hamas, the Oslo Accords were a betrayal by Arafat and a treasonous abdication of the Palestinian cause.

By the time the suicide attacks took place, though, an inexperienced Benjamin Netanyahu had taken control of Israel’s government, and it was his fateful decision to order the assassination of a senior Hamas figure to avenge the bombings.

For reasons that are not clear, second-ranked Khalid Mishal was to be the intended target of the Mossad operation.

Complicating matters was that Mishal was based in Jordan, which only recently had signed a peace treaty with Israel, becoming the second only Arab government to that time to recognise the Jewish state.

Critical to the rise of Khalid Mishal to his present role as commander of the combined military and political arms of Hamas was the immense celebrity that he gained in the Arab world by his surviving the failed assassination bid.

He had become a household name on 'Arab street' because of the sensational events surrounding the capture by Mishal’s bodyguard and Jordanian police of two of the Mossad agents despatched to kill Mishal, and the controversy of the subsequent deal struck by Jordan’s King Hussein to exchange the captured Israeli agents for Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Yassin who was at that time a prisoner in Israel.

The book is, of course, more far reaching than some mere account of a failed Mossad operation against a Hamas official.

McGeough takes the reader on a revealing tour of Hamas’s global fund raising efforts which finance its extensive social, political and humanitarian activities as well as military operations, including the roles played by Mishal's brothers, successful businessmen in the USA.

He explores in some detail the political intrigues within Hamas, and its deadly ever spiraling confrontations with Fatah.

The book also explores the various power plays by governments in the region, including the Jordanian, Syrian, Kuwaiti, Saudi and Iranian regimes, to bring Hamas under their aegis - and control - and to capitalise on its new-found political momentum.

The strength of McGeough’s book is its concise, reader-friendly style, giving a comparatively detailed account of the emergence of one of the more intriguing, some say loathsome political an military machines of the post-Cold War era.

The journalistic, even chatty reportage of McGeough’s book may jar some readers, especially when it purports to reveal detailed, intimate conversations held behind the closed doors of Mossad or within King Hussein’s private chambers.

However, for many readers, 'Kill Khalid’ will be a quick-paced, informative and interesting introduction to the complex world of Middle Eastern politics generally, and the grim danse macabre that is the relationship between the Arabs and the Jews in particular.

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Who started the Six Day War

Marilyn Shepherd: "It was Israel who launched the 6 day war. Iraq didn't have much to do with it."

No, but Egypt had a part to play, didn't it?

Nasser would have preferred that UN troops not be withdrawn from Sharm-el-Sheikh. He could hardly be seen to regret U Thant’s strange decision which, in practice returned all of Sinai to Egyptian control, but it put him in a predicament. He was obliged to move Egyptian armies forward to the Israeli border and down to Sharm-el-Sheikh, which he duly did: but with Egyptian soldiers now stationed across from the island of Tiran, Nasser could not resist the temptation, on May 22, to announce that once again the Straits were closed to all Israel-bound shipping, as they had been in the early 1950s.

From this point on, as Nasser probably realised, war would be hard to avoid."

 - Source: 'Dark Victory: Israel's Six Day War', Appraisals, Tony Judt, Vintage 2009, p274

Why would Nasser think that, Marilyn?

Would you consider suddenly closing off a neighbouring state's in-bound shipping - combined with the unilateral forward deployment of an Army into a UN supervised de-militarised zone - a normal, friendly act between countries??

Or just when the neighbouring state is Israel?

Eliot, Israel knew they were not in danger

The US told them over and over again that closing the Straits made no difference to Israel.

Business will always trump the rest

John Pratt: "Surely we must take the criticism on the chin and get on with the job of building a decent new world."

Amhedinijad isn't some sort of cult hero (not in reality) - he's a politician. He has bigger worries than Israel. Like is own political survival.

Tehran is a tale of two cities. One part, people favored, and the plebs in all other parts. Wealthy Iranians enjoy a good life - a very western life at that. And they love American products (it's not a secret most of the largest American companies trade there through Dubai). And it's big, big, business. And it's business in America's favor (so it's not going to be stopped).

Amhedinijad is merely using "look over there" moments. Lest the plebs catch on. Moral arguments by either side are meaningless to those in a position to make any difference. That's business.

Warren Mundine denounces racist speech at Durban conference

Marilyn, you'll be interested in this:

"An Indigenous leader says the Australian race discrimination commissioner should apologise for his decision to attend an anti-racism conference where the Iranian President spoke.

A number of countries, including Australia, refused to send official delegates to the conference in Geneva, because its forerunner ended in uproar over the anti-Semitic comments of some of the delegates."

The former president of the Labor Party, Warren Mundine, says it was naive of Tom Calma not to realise that the latest conference would go the same way."

Mundine is a fool

The speech was not racist. It took a long swipe at the west for invading, bombing, blasting and slaughtering human beings right back to the days of Indians.


Mundine disgraced himself and all of us. He dares to say we should pander to Jews who might be upset by an Aboriginal Australia for supporting Aborigines at an anti-racism conference.

Which part of what Amhedinijad said is not true?   It was a whipped up frenzy by Zionists all over the world as he said, here the AJN gleefully gloated that they lobbied their own two Jews for two years to stop Australia going.

So while Gazans live in abject destitution we grovel to Israel.

JB Bury and EP Thompson worth a read

Marilyn Shepherd: "The speech was not racist. It took a long swipe at the west for invading, bombing, blasting and slaughtering human beings right back to the days of Indians."

Odd then that he would leave the Persian and Ottoman Empires out  of his narrative.  But he's not very bright, is he?

The West doen't like to hear the truth

Marilyn, I have just read Amhedinijad's speech. It contains nothing to warrant a walk out. I have copied part below.

Dear friends, be aware that to move in the direction of justice and human dignity is like the national rapid flow in the current of a river. Let us not forget the essence of love and affection, the promised bright future of human beings is a great asset that will serve our purpose in keeping us together to build a new world and to make the world a better place full of love fraternity and blessings; a world devoid of poverty and hatred, [inaudible] the increasing blessings of God Almighty and the righteous management of the perfect human being. Let us all join hands in amity in playing our share in the fulfillment such a decent new world.

The arrogance of the West is astonishing. We have become the fascists that our parents fought to save us from.

Surely we must take the criticism on the chin and get on with the job of building a decent new world.

Racism fatigue

Ahmadinejad's speech was the disgusting filthy stew of racist lies and dangerous war-loving taunts that one has come to expect from this figurehead of modern extremist right wing bigotry. Most of civilised decent humanity weren't there to walk out. To their credit they had already absented themselves.

John Pratt, you should be ashamed of yourself. Shame.

You invoke the names of our parents in their war against fascism at the very same moment you celebrate the very same odious notions and brutal threats our parents had to sacrifice so much to put done. It is 1938 and you are on the wrong side.


The reality of history

Try getting in tough with the reality of history, mate. It is the west who destroyed South American nations, who blasted Europe to bits, who murdered the Jews and so on.

We also need to face another reality. The so-called good guys after WW11 murdered between 9 and 13.7 million German civilians and ethnically cleansed another 15 million were ethnically cleansed from all over Europe into Germany where they starved to death.

The British, the French, the Czechs, the Russians, the US in particular and even Australia murdered all these people AFTER WW11 when we were supposed to be protecting them.

In those same years Zionist and Stern terrorist gangs were ethnically cleansing Palestine of 80% of the population and stealing the land.

Since then we have helped the US in Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq (twice) and Afghanistan, and all can be considered miserable failures with millions and millions of deaths.

Israel has invaded and occupied Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Jordan and Palestine over and over again for 61 years, the persecution and murder of Palestinians is OK with Israeli's and thugs like Lieberman get elected while Bibi is a terrorist who got re-elected by a place that is more and more racist while pretending to be a Jewish state.

Their own census shows that 25% of the state is not Jewish, and it never has been no matter how often they try to boot out the Palestinians.

Precisely when did Iran invade anyone?


Marilyn Shepherd: "The so-called good guys after WW11 murdered between 9 and 13.7 million German civilians and ethnically cleansed another 15 million were ethnically cleansed from all over Europe into Germany where they starved to death."

Where do you get these figures from?.

28.7 million people wiped off the face of the earth in Europe.

Israel  invaded and occupied Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Jordan and Palestine to stop the murdering Arabs from killing Israelis, and Israel will do it again if they have to. There is no way you can talk to the Palestinians about peace. They just do not understand the concept, they understand sending their kids out as suicide bombers.

I cannot wait to see what Lieberman and Bibi do next time the Palestinians start to play games.

Ahmadinejad's speech

Geoff, which part of Ahmadinejad's speech do you object to?

Did you actually read it?

Which civilised decent humanity are you referring too?

Is it the ones who have recently invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, bombing the hell out of a third world civilian population? Or the ones who have openly used torture and assassination as tools of war?

Or could it be the country that recently used phosphorus on civilian targets?

The point that I am trying to make is that we all have blood on our hands and to turn our backs on UN forums is no way to encourage change.

We must cope it on the chin. The West has been exceedingly arrogant in its dealings. Now is the time to admit our shortcomings.

I come from a military background. My parents and grandparents were soldiers. If ever we are to have peace we must admit we have on occasion been wrong.

We have fought wars for the wrong reasons and we have killed innocent civilians and we have lied to gain advantage over others. 

We promised freedom to the Arabs and we promised nationalism to Ho Chi Min and we broke our promises. As a result millions have died. Yes we all have blood on our hands.

I am not ashamed of myself or of my military background. I just think we need to be open to different versions of history. 

Wrong speech

John, as the ABC report mentions "A number of countries, including Australia, refused to send official delegates to the conference in Geneva, because its forerunner ended in uproar over the anti-Semitic comments of some of the delegates."

It wasn't against against Amhedinijad's speech at the recent conference, but its 'forerunner', that the protest was made.

Although, it's noteworthy that even in this recent speech, Amhedinijad's remarks about Israel were intemperate and hypocritical given his own Government's record of persecution against religious minorities.

Bullshit still Eliot

The first resolution was perfectly fine, Israel and Palestine both only got mentioned twice in the context of peace during the intifada and Africa and Asia both got mentioned many times.

The walkout by the West was planned in advance for the moment Ahmedinijad opened his mouth.

The problem with the West is that they don't like the truth.

Marilyn is correct. But John was more correct earlier.

Marilyn Shepherd: "The walkout by the West was planned in advance for the moment Ahmedinijad opened his mouth."

That's right, Marilyn. In protest over Amhedinijad's earlier, racist remarks. As the ABC journalist noted:

"A number of countries, including Australia, refused to send official delegates to the conference in Geneva, because its forerunner ended in uproar over the anti-Semitic comments of some of the delegates."

Do you know what the word 'forerunner' means?

John, can you see what's going on here? Earlier you said this on Marilyn's thread reviewing 'Kill Khalid':

"Eliot, I am not defending Hamas, I think they are extremists"

- John Pratt on March 27, 2009 - 10:30am.

Yet, Ahmedinijad 's racist regime is the principal backer of Hamas. Along with Syria, the Ba'athist hereditary Assad dictatorship of Syria.

Can you see the irony of them, Syria and Iran, calling Israel "racist" and Israel's enemies in the West calling it "fascist"? All the while defending the likes of Assad and the execrable Ahmedinijad monster?

It is a staggering hypocrisy, not unlike the worst moral cowardice and intellectual bankruptcy of the political Left during the depths of Cold War era Stalinist Russia.

In fact, it's much the same intellectual and political current at play there.

I was reminded of this recently when I came across this stunning parallel from 1967, on the eve of the Six Day War. This from the then President Abd' al-Rahman Muhammad 'Aref of Iraq:

"Our goal is clear - we shall wipe Israel off the face of the map."

- Source: 'Dark Victory: Israel's Six Day War', Appraisals, Tony Judt, Vintage 2009, p276

Ahmedinijad's recent threats to do the same (clearly documented despite the shrill denials of his eager apologists in the West's "peace" movement), are clearly and deliberately a promise to set right the failed undertakings of 1967.

Ahmedinijad is Hamas. He is Hizbolla. They are the same as him. They are proud of it. As were the "peace" activists proclaiming in London recently that "We are all Hizbolla now".

They should be taken at their word regarding the Jews just as much regarding homosexuals, women and the many other subjects of their fear and hatred.

Telling the truth

It was Israel who launched the 6 day war. Iraq didn't have much to do with it.

Try and read Tom Segev's 1967, or don't you want to believe any Israeli historian with the guts to tell the truth?

Our goal is clear

So, what was President Abd' al-Rahman Muhammad 'Aref of Iraq talking about when he said:

"Our goal is clear - we shall wipe Israel off the face of the map." ?

Or was he "mistranslated", too?

And counting...

Marilyn Shepherd: "Hamas has not launched a suicide attack in over four years so why do you continue to carp on and on about one incident in the 61 year history of the illegal occupation of Palestine by Jews?"

No suicide attacks in over six years? That must be because of the Apartheid Wall the "peace" movement is so opposed to.

Also, there was more than one suicide bombing attack in 61 years, it might be pointed out.

Still, if there were still suicide bombing attacks, there may be no rocket attacks, hey? So, look on the bright side, Marilyn.

A bikini in Gaza. Is Hamas a totalitarian regime?

I cannot show it here, but someone has sent me a photograph of themself as a toddler on the beach in Gaza, his mother holding him up by his hands as they wade ankle deep in what passes for waves on the Mediterranean seashore on the Strip.

The picture was taken in 1971.

What is immediately striking about the picture is his mother's swmsuit. It's a two-piece.

A bikini on the beach at Gaza!

Admittedly, it's quite modest, with an underwired bra top and the bottom half is ample, with a good six inches of fabric covering his mum's upper thighs and hips almost to her waist.

But it wouldn't look out of place in a '60s beach movie, and not too old fashioned even by Sydney standards today.

But a two piece swimsuit in Gaza! That would be unthinkable today.

That's because Hamas, like any totalitarian regime, strictly regulates even the non-civic, non-political details of people's lives.

If women go to the beach at all in Gaza today, it's in burkha almost.

Hamas has closed down cinemas, closed down record shops, fusses over what people do at home, what they wear to the beach, how they pray, what they think and believe.

In that sense, Islamism is like those other great totalitarianisms of the last century, Communism and Nazism.

No details of a subject's life are considerred too personal or too much a choice of the individual to escape the interest and attention of the State.

Webdiarists will be already familiar with the video on You Tube of the Hamas militia arriving at the wedding and beating the groom to death - for singing at his own wedding reception. Singing about non-revolutionary subjects is not acceptable, it seems.

Is Hamas a totalitarian regime, then?

That might explain part of its appeal to certain political fringe elements in the west.

There might be a thread in that.

I'll do some research.

Richard:  A look at a Hamas-controlled society would be a cracker of a threadstarter, Eliot.  Looking forward to reading it!


According to this Encyclopaedia Briannica link:

"In the broadest sense, totalitarianism is characterized by strong central rule that attempts to control and direct all aspects of individual life through coercion and repression."

The extent to which Islamist regimes attempt to direct "all aspects of individual life" woud be the decisive factor.

Although, compared with Stalin's Russia, Hitler's Germany didn't concern itself so much with the centralised control of every aspect of economic life in Germany, we still regard Nazi Germany as being totalitarianism.

Also, like Hamas, the Nazis were voted into office. Though, like Hamas, they were elected with a minority of the vote.

So, I guess the litmus is the extent to which a government seeks to control individual life within the non-public social sphere. The home. Belief systems. Access to media and culture. To the exclusion of alternatives.

That sort of thing. It's more than mere dictatorship, for example.

All-embracing "systems" of thought - and rule

Just came across this line by Tony Judt in his Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century:

"...they would be well advised to ask sooner rather than later just what it is about all-embracing "systems" of thought that leads inexorably to all-embracing "systems" of rule."

- p 143

That might be a clue to why totalitarianisms play out the way they do.

As for an Islamist totalitarianism under Hamas, possibly it could be something between Afghanistan under the Taliban and Iran under the mullahs.

It depends, I suppose, on how all-embracing Hamas's "systems" of thought aim to become.

They think they're solving the problems of mankind in a single stroke and bringing history to its climactic conclusion under God. So, it's big.

I mean, they're planning to get rid of Jews, for starters.

Only in Islam

A newspaper, not a state

The exercise of editorial policy by a conservative religious newspaper is not the same as "totalitarianism", Marilyn.

The Catholic Weekly does that, but it doesn not make Kevin Rudd's Australia a totalitarian state. Not yet.

The Palestinians of the Old Testament

Marilyn Shepherd: "Palestinians under different names have been in Palestine for 3000 years."

For example, some of the names they used were The Jews, The Israelites, and The Judeans, amongst others. Oh, and The Jordanians.

That was until the "Arabs" invented "Islam", as Marilyn would say. About 1400 years ago.

Marilyn Shepherd: "And I have quoted McGeough's book - you chose to ignore it."

Marilyn, not once did you quote Paul McGeough in your entire review of Kill Khalid, nor once in the hundreds of comments on that thread, and once only in this thread, and even then that was in an attempt  to support a statement which does not appear anywhere in Paul's book, and was in fact made by someone else!

John Fuller: "Once again everybody is wrong except Marilyn Shepherd. It is getting boring."

So, European "Jews" were invented 1,000 years ago in the Khazars!

I'll be darned.

Next thing, you'll tell me the Roman Emperor Hadrian named Palestine.

Well be damned then

Shlomo Sand

Being as how I didn't do the work I will be buying the book in October when it is released.

And Richard, you have to stop believing the tripe written by Eliot, he has misrepresented everything in McGeough's book.

If Hamas were so totalitarian then there would not have been any women in their free and fair elections would there?

If Hamas were so totalitarian the women of Gaza would not have crowded to the mosque to save them would they?


Eliot would read this report from the doctors, look at the shocking pictures and then blame the victims.

The "invention" of a people

This from Marilyn's link about how the "Jews" were "invented":

"According to the Tel Aviv University historian, Prof. Shlomo Sand, author of "Matai ve'ech humtza ha'am hayehudi?" ("When and How the Jewish People Was Invented?"; Resling, in Hebrew), the queen's tribe and other local tribes that converted to Judaism are the main sources from which Spanish Jewry sprang."

Look at that, Marilyn. They converted.

Read the book

Marilyn Shepherd: "And Richard, you have to stop believing the tripe written by Eliot, he has misrepresented everything in McGeough's book."

Not only do I urge everyone to read the book for themself, I'm even prepared to quote from it.

Not many people here can make that claim, can they Marilyn?

People of the Book

Seeing as it's Passover, here's a few more names for the Palestinians of the Old Testament: The Pharisees, The Sadducees, and The Essenes.

Anyway, regarding the "invention" of the "Jews" in Europe by the Khazars "1,000 years ago", you'd better not tell that to anyone doing the Julio-Claudian emperors for their HSC Ancient History paper:

"Toward the Jews in Italy, Tiberius showed some intolerance. In 19 AD all the Jews were expelled from Rome according to Josephus (Ant., XVIII, iii, 5), from Italy according to Tacitus (Ann. ii.85), and 4,000 Jewish freedmen were deported to Sardinia to reduce bands of brigands. Philo attributes this severity to Sejanus, and says that after Sejanus' fall Tiberius, recognizing that the Jews had been persecuted without cause, gave orders that officials should not annoy them or disturb their rites. They were therefore probably allowed to return to Rome (see Schurer, III, 60 f., 4th edition)."

Look at that, Marilyn. European Jews in 19AD. Nearly 1,000 years before they were "invented" by the Khazars. How odd.

And here's an awkward possibility for anyone wanting to play "I was here first" in a land as old as Paletine/Israel:

"Most present day Gazans descend from 1880s settlers, are ethnic Syrians, Jordanians and Egyptians..."


In any case, they are all there now and nobody seems set to run away.

Weeping for Israel

Dan Goldberg, who once edited the Australian Jewish News, writes in today's New Matilda:

The bitter truth — hard as it may be to write, horrible as it is to admit — is that the occupation has brutalised us, corrupted our children and tarnished our image in the international arena.

The very debate raging in Israel right now about whether the Israel Defence Force is the "most moral army in the world" (as its military brass declares), or whether it was guilty of "war crimes" during its recent offensive in Gaza (as the United Nations will now investigate) is a snapshot of the morass we have been dragged into.

Israel's miraculous military victory in 1967 saved the Jewish state from oblivion. But the consequences of that victory — the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza — may not save our souls. The quicksand is rising.

The Palestinians, for their part, are far from blameless. What they have done to us is and what we have done to them is, tragically, written in blood. But as the bulk of the world's Jews sit down to remember our march to liberation thousands of years ago, far too few of us will admit our march of folly today.

For the narrative we are re-telling our children is not a just a biblical tale but a tragic modern-day moral of how a people called upon to be a "light unto the nations" has been dragged into dusk by an occupation whose shadow stretches 42 long years.

Eat bitter herbs and weep, indeed.

Eat bitter herbs and weep, indeed

I'm sure the leadership of Hamas reflect from time to time on the harvest they are sowing, too.

I believe in what Hamas says. Why should we not?

Actually, Fiona, that raises a very important point about the whole, dreadful conflict between the Arabs and the Jews.

A central plank to the Hamas project is the elimination of Israel in total.

As Hamas co-founder, current Foreign Minister and former head of political and military operations, Mahmoud Al-Zahar said in October 2006:

"We [aim to liberate] all our lands. If we have the option, we will establish a state on every inch of land within the 1967 [borders], but this does not by any means imply that we will relinquish our right to all the Palestinian lands. We want all of Palestine from [Ras] Naqura to Rafah, and from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river."

Anyone either under the illusion, or seeking to propagate the illusion that Hamas is interested in coming to terms with Israel based on its 1967 borders is mistaken (or lying).

Paul McGeough in his book makes several references to Hamas and its senior leadership making occasional offers of 'truces' with Israel, even a mooted 30 year truce on one occasion, but there's no more prospect at this stage of Hamas's history and stage of development of it  making a lasting let alone permanent peace with Israel than their Islamist paymasters in Tehran.

That's why Paul keeps needling Hamas's leadership about the Charter, and their truculent refusal to reform it. As Mishal says over and over, the Charter is not up for negotiation.

A big worry for Hamas and Hizbolla, of course, is that their Ba'athist paymasters in Damascus might make a peace with Israel along the same lines as Jordan and Egypt. That could well happen, subject to the territory Israel captured from Syria in 1967 being returned to Syria.

That would force Hamas into even greater dependence on Tehran, undermining its credibility with Arab states (not something Hamas wants), and transforming them into little more than a complete tool of Iran.

Which, of course, virtually ensures there would never be peace between Hamas and Israel. Even if there's peace between Israel and other Arab states.

Hamas is a nihilist, racist, apocalyptic ultra-Right revolutionary force, with a clearly stated agenda. And it doesn't involve peace with Israel.

They're very clear about that. Hence their appeal with the apocalyptic, nihilist Left. And neo-Nazis of various sort.

Their apologists in the West might play down that element of Hamas's agenda, or rather like Pol Pot's western apologists of the 1970s and '80s (Chomsky, Windschuttle, etc, etc), they might argue that Israel has "made Hamas that way".

So therefore "it's really the fault of the Jews or the Great Satan" that Hamas are that way, and it "serves the West and Israel right".

But even that doesn't alter  the way Hamas actually is.

That's why their Left supporters, such as the International Solidarity Group and other such "charities" and "aid organisations"  peddling Hamas propaganda, roll out the mirror rhetoric of the "evil" Israelis " eally" wanting to "exterminate the Palestinians".

Because they need to divert from actual, clearly stated purpose of Hamas - to "exterminate the Jews".

They just keep saying it.

Hamas came into existence for the express purpose of overthrowing the Oslo Accords. Paul repeatedly points this out in his book, Mishal kept saying it over and over, and they succeeded.

I take Hamas at its word. Why should we doubt them?

Goldberg is wrong about 1967

Tom Segev's book 1967 successfully and resoundingly debunked the bullshit about Israel fighting for her life in 1967.

She started planning the attack on Egypt four years earlier and the plan was cemented by November 1966 to wipe out all the region's air forces in one swoop - this was done without warning on the morning of 5 June with 400 Egyptian planes blasted to bits.

Johnson had told Israel not to do this, the CIA had plants in Dimona keeping an eye on the nuclear plant and the statements by the IDF after the six day "war" are identical to the statements today and the brutal disregard for human life is identical.

Anyone who says differently lives in la-la land and it is time this rubbish was debunked.

Many still think the Leon Uris story of Exodus is the true story of the heroic little Jewish David fighting the goliath Arabs - here is what Segev reveals:

Footnote page 122 of 1967.

Nativ ( the Israeli propaganda machine): Leon Uris, the author of Exodus, looked favourably on an Israeli suggestion to write a novel about the plight of Soviet Jews, according to a Nativ agent's report to one of PM Eshkol's assistants. The request was made under a heavy cloak of secrecy. "Uris is interested in a cover for the operation, so that it cannot later be claimed that his inspiration for the book was the Israeli government." reported the go-between, Dr Yoram Dinstein.

Footnote page 140:

The Altalena reached the shores of Israel in June 1948, carrying some 850 immigrants as well as arms. PM Ben Gurion demanded that Etzel hand over the arms to the newly formed IDF (the remnants of the Irgun and Stern gangs) .


Negotiations were conducted by Menachim Begin and Levi Eshkol among others. When talks failed Ben Gurion saw the affair as a test of the state's sovereignty and ordered that the ship be bombarded.

+ Otto Preminger filmed the story of Exodus, the ship of illegal immigrants. The movie starred Paul Newman. It was perhaps the greatest achievement of the Zionists propaganda efforts, even greater than the actual sailing of the Exodus . United artists distributed the film and the Weitzman Institute shared in the profits of approx. $1 million.

In his book Segev outlines the brutality of driving around injured people in Syria's Golan Heights rather than help them, he details leaving Egyptians in the desert without water to die of thirst and the exaltation of the IDF in their killing spree.

He details the house demolitions with people still in the houses, the deportation of Palestinians to their deaths, the taking of Gaza as being too good to stop - it is a long and brutal book.

Perhaps those whining now that the IDF have suddenly lost the plot ought to read it.

According to Marilyn Shepherd

Once again everybody is wrong except Marilyn Shepherd. It is getting boring.

"She started planning the attack on Egypt four years earlier and the plan was cemented by November 1966 to wipe out all the region's air forces in one swoop - this was done without warning on the morning of 5 June with 400 Egyptian planes blasted to bits."

I can well imagine that Israel has a plan for when Iran, Syria or Jordan try something against them. It will be quick and more precise than the seven day war.

The Diaspora - come home, all is forgiven

I still cannot get over your apparent admission that European Jews really belong in, I can only presume, Israel.

I can forgive you for everything, now.

I said no such thing

European Jews don't belong in Israel and never have.

And I have quoted McGeough's book - you chose to ignore it.

Now she can quote....

It's a pity you cannot with such alacrity quote from Paul McGeough's work?

Why is that?


Palestinians under different names have been in Palestine for 3000 years.

European "Jews" were invented 1,000 years ago in the Khazars.

Pure invention

Hi, Marilyn. I was wondering if you could elaborate on that statement?

Are you speaking of the Ashkenazi Jews, descended from the medieval Jewish communities of the Rhineland in the west of Germany, which in modern times encompasses the country of Germany and German-speaking borderland areas?

Because the Ashkenazi Jews were there in the 800s CE (Common Era)

Or are you talking of the Sephardi Jews who arrived in Spain with the Roman occupation? In the second century Common Era ?

Or are you saying they were not really "Jews" (hence the inverted commas) at all, and so European Jews are "invented"?

Hence, the real Jewish homeland is where? Israel, perhaps?

Oh, no. Wait. That would be inconvenient, wouldn't it?

Also, why would the Khazars, a semi-nomadic Turkic people "invent" European Jews?

According to this source, the Khazars converted to Judaism during the eigth of ninth centuries in the Common Era.

Is that the same as "inventing" Jews?

Who "invented" the "Muslims" of Palestine, do you think? 

And when were "Muslims" invented?

Before or after the Khazars "invented" the "Jews"?


Paul Walter: "Suicide bombers, from what  I can seen are usually young adults similar in age to young  people sent off to fight and die in, other seemingly more conventional wars elsewhere.".

Hamas minister Miriam  "Mother of Martyrs" Farhat's child was 17 when she strapped the bombs to him and sent him out to kill himself.

And he was the third she'd sent that way.

Too young to vote, but never too young to blow yourself to pieces to help mum.

The propaganda of war

I’ve sometimes wondered why we seem to hold suicide bombing in such special abhorrence, compared to, for example, Rumsfeld’s “Shock and Awe” bombing of Baghdad. The former are at least putting their life into what they believe, while Rumsfeld’s actions are a second-hand, almost computer game approach to atrocities.

True, the suicide bomber specifically targets “civilians”, while the Rumsfeld approach is to use the more abstract term "collateral damage", a type of damage so unimportant it doesn’t require monitoring. Furthermore, in that we are a democracy, aren’t we the head of state, those who ordered the war.

True, in general, we condemn suicide itself. But don’t we give our highest medals to those who undertake missions with little likelihood of survival? Doesn’t 007 carry a suicide pill – be prepared for the "supreme sacrifice"?

From a military point of view, suicide bombing makes excellent strategic sense – by far the biggest effect is indirect, troops and energy are redirected towards shoring up defences, the war may become unpopular with the public. A far greater impact than going up against a significantly better armed and trained army – a higher casualty rate for lesser returns.

Yes, suicide bombing, like any act of war, is terrible. But any claim that it should be treated with special abhorrence seems to me just propaganda.

Fiona: Jay, could you please type comments directly into the comment box? If you must cut and paste, please delete all formatting first, then reformat using the handy buttons that Webdiary provides. This comment took me 30 seconds to fix – and it should have taken 5 seconds max. I know that that doesn’t sound like much, but when one is editing in between bites of a sandwich, so to speak, it all adds up.

Peace activists for Hamas

Jay Somasundaram: " I’ve sometimes wondered why we seem to hold suicide bombing in such special abhorrence, compared to, for example, Rumsfeld’s “Shock and Awe” bombing of Baghdad."

That's a fair question, Jay.

I think in the case of Miriam "Mother of Martyrs" Farhat, the disgust people feel is due not just to her slaying three of her own children, but that she exploited video of her under-age son setting out to blow himself to pieces (at her urging) by including the footage in her election campaign television ads, getting herself elected as a member of parliament for Hamas.

Strangely, Miriam herself is presently in hospital in Egypt getting treatment for a potentially life threatening illness.

Clearly, she doesn't want to die herself. But she's happy to kill other kids' mothers by strapping a bomb onto her own children, three of them so far, and killing them into the bargain.

Perhaps her work as a member of parliament makes her too valuable to waste on a suicide bombing mission of her own.

After all, she represents Hamas and its values on the world stage now, and without her, we may not fully appreciate what our support as peace activists for Hamas really means.

So, thank Heavens for Miriam, hey?


What on earth is the difference between bombing innocent people to bits and them bombing themselves to bits?

One is a free choice, the other is murder from the sky and the victims are all dead.

Hamas has not launched a suicide attack in over four years so why do you continue to carp on and on about one incident in the 61 year history of the illegal occupation of Palestine by Jews?

Let's be clear about this...

Marilyn Shepherd: "What on earth is the difference between bombing innocent people to bits and them bombing themselves to bits?"

Well, the people bombing themselves to bits are usually also bombing 30 or 40 other, typically innocent, civilians to bits along with them.

Also, when the person bombing themselves (and others) to bits is a member of Hamas, it is called "resistance" by "freedom fighters".

When whoever strapped the bomb to the suicide bomber is called, oh I dunno? Khalid Mishal or something, and he is in turn killed by Mossad, it is called "Zionist murder".

If the the suicide bomber is 17, slightly retarded and his mother straps the bomb to him, she is called a "Hamas Member of Parliament".

If the bomber is completely intellectually disabled, and about fourteen years old, it is Tuesday.

Palestinian mother and politician gets Sydney Peace Prize

Paul Walter: "What enjoyment does it give you, disrupting threads - do you suffer from a personality disorder?"

I actually started this thread, Paul, not you. But thanks for asking.

And when it comes to personality disorders, what are we to make of a woman who not only straps kids to suicide bomb belts (not unusual for Hamas admittedly), but straps her own kids to them?

Are we to praise such a person? Are we to rationalise her actions as justifiable and necessary?

Why do "peace:" activists support someone like that? Do they have a personality disorder?

Do you remember how a few years ago, the Sydney Peace Foundation gave a Sydney Peace Prize to Dr. Hanan Ashrawi? If I'm not mistaken, until she resigned in protest over Fatah corruption, Ms Ashrawi was a Fatah minister. Now, it seems, she was one of "Fatah's terminal, bone-deep corruption and feckless leaders" all along. Oh, well.

So, what next? A Sydney Peace Prize for the 'Mother of the Martyrs'? Maybe we should give a Sydney Peace Prize to her kids? Any that she hasn't blown to pieces yet, that is.

Anyway, I highly recommend Paul McGeough's book.

Humour: the antidote to a crazy world

I actually started this thread.

That gave me a chuckle. 

Motherhood statement

Marilyn Shepherd: "You have misrepresented the book, misrepresented McGeough and taken the entire thing out of context."

I strongly urge all to read the book for themselves, and certainly not to rely on the "review" of someone not prepared even to quote from McGeough's excellent, interesting narrative.

Marilyn Shepherd: "And John Fuller, mothers all over the world send their sons and daughters to kill or be killed."

They don't as a rule usually strap the explosives on to their children themselves - and then videotape the result for others' interest. Do they?

I think that that anyone has to defend to obscene conduct of Miriam  "Mother of Martyrs" Farhat, perhaps out of some misguided sense of loyalty to Hamas of all things, shows the predicament arising for the political Left from its flirtation with Islamo-Fascism.

What about other suicide bombers?

Eliot, you whine on and on about Palestinian suicide bombers, but they did not start the fact of suicide bombers - that was the Japanese with their hara kiri missions.

There are suicide attacks now in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pakistan where there had never been such a thing until we attacked their countries.

Are you only pissed off with Palestinians using the method because they kill Jews?

And you still have not cited Michael Scheuer, that well known pinko, commie, Jew hater.

"Paul McGeough's Kill Khalid masterfully examines the Palestine-Israel war at the micro and macro levels. His detailed analysis of Israel's attempt to MURDER Hamas chief Khalid Mishal is unlikely to be surpassed, but more important is his evaluation of the attack's lasting consequences on Israel-Palestine affairs.

Here is McGeough's key contribution: He provides an irrefutable picture of the zero-sum game that is the Palestine-Israel war. He shows Fatah's terminal, bone-deep corruption and feckless leaders: the arrogant ignorance of US and western diplomats and the fool's role they play in Palestine and Israeli hand: the growth of Mishal's political and Hamas's military power which is obscured by western thinking and Fatah's slow death: and Israel's implacable intent to destroy Palestine by whatever means necessary: Starvation, steadily expanding settlements, military force, and/or assassinations.

Above all McGeough illuminates the West's bankrupt belief that the Palestine-Israel war is about nationalism or humanitarian issues. Kill Khalid indelibly proves the war is about religion and power and that it will not end until either Israel or Palestine is the last man standing."

Now Scheuer actually bothered to read the bloody book, he actually bothered to critically analyse the thinking and cultures and apart from parts of the last sentence he has nailed it to the mast.

This review alone is why I know Eliot has not bothered to actually review the sum total of the book as he attempts to portray it as evil Arabs trying to kill peace loving Jews.


Marilyn Shepherd, the Japanese airforce flew kamikaze missions not hara kiri, and they flew their planes into American warships not civilian targets.

No it's the Palestinian mothers who strap explosives on their kids and send them on suicide missions against civilians, the Palestinians taught the Afghans, Pakistanis and Iraqis.

I would think anybody would be pissed off when a lunatic Palestian suicide bomber kills anybody.

OK, a quote from a peace loving Jew

Page 277:

When it came, Defensive Shield was a raw, grinding display of Israeli power and force. Starting in the first days of April (2002)) Israeli tanks and armoured personnel carriers churned the West Bank into a bleak humanitarian disaster as thousands of troops reoccupied much of the territory that had been ceded to Palestinian control under the Oslo accords. More than 1 million people were locked down under blanket curfews. Thousands were detained amid complaints of wide spread human rights abuses.

Ariel Sharon revealed himself to be the equal of Ahmad Yassin and Khalid Mishal in his judgement of the military or strategic value of human suffering "The Palestinians must be hit, and it must be very painful" "We must cause them losses - victims - that they feel a heavy price...

Starting on April 3, the Israeli attempt to take the camp met fierce resistance from an estimated 200 Palestinian fighters.

By the time this attack finished on April 11, it's demolition was reminiscent of the destruction of Dresden. Its alleys were silent - bent and broken.

In one, two human feet protruded from a low mound of rubble. In another an aid worker interrupted an interview to point out a human foot that lay on the ground between the reporter's feet.

The shredded leftovers of a woman's orange skirt blew in a lump of fractured masonry, which dangled like a macabre mobile held by a thread of reinforcing steel.

A green shirt was caught on the edge of a jagged hole that once held a window. A stack of mattresses was splayed like a hand of playing cards, in what was left of a bedroom. And on a cardboard box, half buried in the fresh rubble, there was a printed label; SAVE THE CHILDREN.

When the shooting stopped, 52 Palestinians and 23 Israeli's were dead. About 150 buildings had been demolished, and an estimated 4000 people were homeless. The scene, flashed around the world, that was the most damaging for Israel was what Palestinians named their ground zero. The centre - perhaps 10% - had been razed. There was nothing. Just rubble, the smell of rotting flesh, and complaints from humanitarian agencies that the Israeli authorities needlessly restricted their access to 3000 Palestinians civilians still huddled elsewhere in the camp.In his book Manhattan to Baghdad McGeough describes what he found when he was the first western journalist into the place and how the Israeli's tried to shoot him down.

Would you like some more, Eliot?

It's not there, is it Marilyn?

Sure Marilyn, where's the bit where Paul McGeough alleges "Israel's implacable intent to destroy Palestine by whatever means necessary"?

He never said any such thing, did he?

Pinko reviews

No Eliot, that old pinko Michael Scheuer of CIA fame said it in the reviews.

Anything else?

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