To many the Israeli - Palestinian conflict is a quagmire, an incomprehensible tangle of history, politics, death, terror, agony, and religion. It has gone on for so many decades that each new clash is simply a continuation of the old. It seems an unending cycle that cannot be broken; A circle of violence and vengeance that will never rest.
Many people throw their hands up in defeat at trying to find a solution. Even the brightest minds cannot seem to negotiate a peace in the middle east.
US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, when explaining financial markets, once famously quipped, If you understood what I just said, I must have misspoken.
His patronizing words demonstrate how leaders purposefully try to blur and complicate an issue so much, that the average person begins to think the situation is beyond their understanding. Its unknowable. The ways and means are too much for us to discern, so we might as well give up and allow said leaders to make the decisions.
This conflict isnt unknowable. There are beginnings to it. There are reasons. There are explanations and rationales. And there can be endings IF we see through the propaganda.
This bloodshed MUST be challenged, but its not so simple because leaders, mass media, and special interest groups obfuscate, foment and agitate.
The exchanges of senseless killings between Israel and Gaza were intensifying between November 1 - 13 of this year.
On November 14, allegedly in response to increased Hamas hostilites, Israel launched a military action : Operation Pillar of Cloud (a name taken directly from the book of Exodus).
Rather than a news conference, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chose Twitter to alert the world to the start of its campaign.
As soon as the operation got underway, the official @idfspokesperson account announced that: The IDF has begun a widespread campaign on terror sites & operatives in the #Gaza Strip, chief among them #Hamas & Islamic Jihad targets.
Interestingly, the western press has taken to using the codename Pillar of Defense, dropping the biblical reference altogether. How Orwellian, considering it is clearly an offensive military campaign.
In English, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is calling its effort launched Wednesday November 14, 2012 to strike a blow to Hamas terrorist infrastructure Pillar of Defense, but in Hebrew the operations name has another, deeper biblical meaning. In Hebrew, the IDF named its operation Amud Anan, that is Pillar of Cloud, a clear reference to the flight of the Children of Israel from Egypt and how God protected them.
There have long been the tools of warfare associated with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: warplanes, mortars, Qassam rockets. Now that list includes Twitter, Facebook, YouTube.
This week the worldwide audience got a vivid look at conflict in the social media era as the Israeli military unfurled an extensive campaign across several Internet channels after conducting an air strike that killed a top Hamas military commander in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday.
the newest technologies, including Twitter and YouTube, have been embraced particularly by the Israeli government, which has perhaps waged an unprecedented social media PR campaign as the conflict escalated this week.
The Israel Defense Force (IDF) has established a presence on nearly every platform available. It launched a Tumblr account Wednesday, posting infographics touting how Israeli forces minimize collateral damage to Palestinian civilians. It prepared Facebook pages in several languages, and even has a bare-bones Pinterest page with photos of troops deployed in humanitarian missions.
On Twitter, the @IDFspokesperson account issued a torrent of tweets that carried hashtags like #IsraelUnderFire and what it said were videos of rockets fired at Israel from Gaza, as well as pictures of wounded Israeli children.
"They are very conscious how things are going to be viewed, perhaps more so because they sense that they are more and more isolated in world opinion, and they are less shouldered by U.S. public opinion," said James Noyes, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.
The IDF also posted on Twitter a picture of Ahmed Al-Jaabari, the Hamas commander who was killed, with the word "eliminated" stamped over his face.
The @IDFSpokesperson Twitter account, encouraging followers to show support for the strikes, tweeted Wednesday: More than 12,000 rockets hit Israel in the past 12 years. RT if you think #Israel has the right to defend itself. More than 5,500 people have complied. On Facebook, a flier-style image with a similar message has been shared 18,000 times.
But its hard to measure whether the IDFs campaign is changing minds or just reinforcing existing ideological divides. [...]
Hussein Ibish, a D.C.-based senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, tweeted, This is extremely damning: IDF cheerily live-tweets infanticide. (By the end of the week, the death toll in Gaza had reached 21, including a young child.)
The criticism has not been limited to Middle Easterners. Irish Twitter account @Ard_Macha said of the social media push, Probably more disturbing than the attack on Gaza is the apparent glee with which the IDF carries out its job.
A polished, edgy campaign cant overturn actual public opinion, which still rules social media. But it can remind people of what they already think, giving them an opportunity to sound off for or against, and to dig up the old debates theyve been having for years. Like a spree of attack ads in a political campaign, the effect has been polarizing,
When the public is polarized and traumatized, they dont focus on the underlying issues, and instead begin only to react - to respond emotionally to the situation rather than logically. Being caught in a horrified, angry, and hopeless state can make people forget how these things come about, how they probably could have been avoided, and how to stop them in the future. Rational thought ends, and suggestibility is high.
But the leaders are counting on this. It frees them to bombard the public with social media while brushing under the carpet the alarming fact that they were probably responsible for this conflict right from the beginning. Knowingly.
Freedom Fighter To Terrorist
The CIA created Osama bin Laden and the Mujahideen, the USAs freedom fighters against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s. They later became Americas ultimate boogeyman, and much blood and treasure was spent on dealing with the supposed unforeseen consequences of such an arrangement.
Islamist Hamas was also cultivated and supported by Israel to undermine the alleged threat of the day, the secular Palestinian leaders.
During in the 1970s, when the Russia was the biggest threat to America and radical Islam was not as a concern of the USAs, the USA began funding and training Islamic militants to fight our Russian enemies in Afghanistan.
These militants, known as the mujahideen would rebel the Russians out of Afghanistan and later become the Taliban, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.
One of the most prominent members of he mujahideen was a wealthy son of a Saudi Arabian businessman named Osama Bin Laden.
National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski visited Afganistan in 1979 and met with Bin Laden and even took a picture with him.
Surveying the wreckage of a neighbors bungalow hit by a Palestinian rocket, retired Israeli official Avner Cohen traces the missiles trajectory back to an "enormous, stupid mistake" made 30 years ago.
"Hamas, to my great regret, is Israels creation," says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israels destruction.
Instead of trying to curb Gazas Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafats Fatah. Israel cooperated with a crippled, half-blind cleric named Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, even as he was laying the foundations for what would become Hamas. Sheikh Yassin continues to inspire militants today; during the recent war in Gaza, Hamas fighters confronted Israeli troops with "Yassins," primitive rocket-propelled grenades named in honor of the cleric.
Whether through cruel indifference or by calculating design, Israel sowed the seeds of its own future sorrows. Higgins continues:
When Israel first encountered Islamists in Gaza in the 1970s and 80s, they seemed focused on studying the Quran, not on confrontation with Israel. The Israeli government officially recognized a precursor to Hamas called Mujama Al-Islamiya, registering the group as a charity. It allowed Mujama members to set up an Islamic university and build mosques, clubs and schools.
Crucially, Israel often stood aside when the Islamists and their secular left-wing Palestinian rivals battled, sometimes violently, for influence in both Gaza and the West Bank.
Walking back to his house from the rubble of his neighbors home, Mr. Cohen, the former religious affairs official in Gaza, curses Hamas and also what he sees as missteps that allowed Islamists to put down deep roots in Gaza.
He recalls a 1970s meeting with a traditional Islamic cleric who wanted Israel to stop cooperating with the Muslim Brotherhood followers of Sheikh Yassin: "He told me: You are going to have big regrets in 20 or 30 years. He was right."
Considering the above, it could be said that the Israel created Hamas - Hamas is the result of Israeli intent. So are the rockets that fly at Israel not simply returning from whence they came? And never to let an atrocity go to waste, Is Israel cynically using those rocket-strikes in an effort to expand their territory and eliminate civilians in Palestine?
Historians acknowledge the connections between the CIA and bin Laden. And those same connections exist between Israel and Hamas.
And yet those who are making history right now in the middle east are reluctant to let people see the connections, the historical context, the hidden manipulations, and instead prefer to wage a bombastic war on public opinion while spending the lives of the people of both Israel and Gaza.
The pattern is there and if we wish a different outcome, a ceasing of the deplorable violence and murder, we MUST recognize the pattern and CHANGE it, or well be forever doomed to repeat it.
By Elizabeth Leafloor, RedIceCreations.com
Tune into Red Ice Radio to hear much more about the history of the middle east, the current conflicts, and the role of Zionism in foreign policy:
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