Middle East Problem, Well Explained in Three Minutes

I am resurrecting this thread to make a few more points about the (renewed) conflict over the Holy Land, and especially last week's "Fourth Gaza War". Forum member Ruby Gray called my attention to this video by Sky News Australia commentator Rowan Dean, featuring this "one photo which tells all you should know about the Israel-Gaza conflict":


The above photo appears at about 1:00 in the video, and is accompanied by this narration:

... this is what is called the iron dome at work in the skies above Israel. On the right hand side of the photo, you can see the deadly rockets being fired out of gaza in an aggressive and deliberately offensive act of war, designed to kill and maim as many innocent everyday israeli citizens as possible. [...] Now on the left hand side of the photo, looking like something out of star wars or close encounters, you can see the iron dome: a technological miracle that allows Israel to shoot those Iranian and Hamas rockets out of the sky in a purely defensive act designed to save citizens' lives.

Dean goes on to fulminate about the "insidious rubbish that the Palestinians are the victims" which is being "spouted by fools such as the creepy former leader of Pink Floyd, Roger Waters" (who was, ironically, featured in my above post from 2017).

But of course, this is not "all you should know". Aside from the thousands of years of history summed up in the Nina Paley video above, the current hostilities began with clashes between Palestinians and Jews in the areas of Sheikh Jarrah and the Al-Aqsa mosque, both internationally recognized as Palestinian territories. Jewish security forces escalated the confrontation in those areas, leading to an ultimatum from Hamas demanding that the Israelis withdraw. This ultimatum was ignored, and Hamas commenced rocket attacks against Israel. The Israelis continued the escalation, beginning a campaign of air strikes.

If Rowan Dean was meaning to give an impression that Israel's retaliation was purely defensive in nature, obviously that's ridiculous. In the end, casualties on the Palestinian side have been estimated at 248 dead, 1900 injured, and 72,000 displaced. On the Israeli side, the toll was said to be much lower.

Another video from Sky News, featuring Andrew Bolt, indirectly shows that the Palestinian cause is drawing vast support from around the world. And this includes some very blood-thirsty Arabs who clearly want to drive Israel out into the ocean. (However, this same thing is true on the Israeli side, as Jimmy Dore and Max Blumenthal discuss in "CAUGHT ON VIDEO: Israel Youth's Shocking Bloodthirsty Opinions".) Getting back to Bolt's video -- he makes the point, which is well-taken, that the Palestinians are using Iranian missile technology in this war. As Bloomberg explains:


Until recently, extremist and terrorist groups didn’t have long range rockets. In 2001, when Hamas first began to use projectiles, known as “Qassam” rockets, these had a range of several kilometers. But Iranian assistance, delivered by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, has been a game-changer. Hamas now regularly targets Tel Aviv, 66km from Gaza, and claims its “Ayyash” missile can reach 250km.
Israeli officials reckon Hamas now has some 15,000 rockets. Some were smuggled in from Iran but most are Gaza-made, with Iranian knowhow. Hezbollah is thought to have expanded its arsenal from around 15,000 rockets in 2006 to more than 130,000, despite Israeli attempts to interdict the IRGC’s supply line through Syria.

Bolt claims that liberal journalists and Palestinian supporters in general, are ignorant of this connection with Iran. And there are some easy-to-find instances of this. Such as this editorial by Chris Hedges, which is generally an excellent counterpoint to the pro-Israeli rhetoric from Sky News, but which sees Iran as ultimately playing for an alliance with the Saudis, who are in turn committed to US and Israeli interests. Hedges does not mention Iran's assistance to Hamas, and concludes that the Palestinians are "powerless and friendless, even in the Arab world." Similarly, Michael Lesher, writing in the Off-Guardian, focuses on Israeli crimes, while seeing the Palestinians as armed with little more than firecrackers.

I agree with Bolt, that the alliance between Hamas and Iran is central to understanding the 4th Gaza war. And, at least according to a story in Arab News, the Saudis are now joining Iran, Iraq, the UAE and Turkey in their support for the Palestinians.

Elijah Magnier explains that the Iranian missiles made the conflict far more dangerous for Israelis than before:


Palestinian resistance groups had introduced new long-range missiles and significantly increased firepower with a rhythm of more than 150 rockets fired daily and simultaneously. The Palestinians registered more than 100 buildings hit in Israel, and Gaza introduced a new equation by bombing from the first day Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. This is a fundamental change in the rules of engagement, of bombing gradual stages and avoid bombing Tel Aviv, to which the “Axis of the Resistance” is accustomed. For the first time, new missiles were launched, under the name “Al-Qasim” (named after the Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani responsible for supplying the Palestinians with weapons) which has a warhead of 400 kg and “Ayyash” (named after “Yahya Ayyash ») with a range of 250 kilometres.
Khaled Meshaal, representative of “Hamas” abroad, did not hesitate to say that “the resistance has benefited from Iran, its missiles and its expertise, and the organizations in Gaza have benefited from the smuggling of weapons and military technology.”
Israel claims it has intercepted 90 per cent of the total 3000 rockets and missiles coming from Gaza against different Israeli cities. This means that at least a few hundred missiles managed to escape from the Israeli interceptor missile network. These rockets force thousands of Israelis into their shelters and prevent everyday life continuing as usual unlike previous wars on Gaza.

With 90% of missiles intercepted, it would be interesting to know the relative costs of an Iranian missile and its Israeli counterpart. Is this symmetrical or (as I'm guessing) highly asymmetrical in cost? But more importantly, a 10% success rate is enough to create real terror in the Israeli population.

And, after the cease-fire, Magnier says that the Palestinians achieved their goals in the conflict: with hostilities halted, the Palestinians have retained control of Sheikh Jarrah and the Al-Aqsa mosque, and thus did not lose an inch of territory.


The Gaza war that recently broke out was due to the Palestinian militants’ awareness of the Zionist officials’ intention to Judaize Jerusalem and expel all Arab residents from the city. Israel began its campaign in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in Jerusalem to forcibly displace Arabs from their land and to settle a Zionist population in their place. The Palestinian resistance groups (mainly Hamas and the Islamic Jihad) in Gaza decided to issue an ultimatum to Israel to prevent it from deporting Arabs and Muslims from Jerusalem. Former US President Donald Trump unlawfully offered the city as a gift to his friend, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Hence, Israel’s goal was (and still is) to seize Jerusalem, heading in later years towards the West Bank in subsequent steps.
Israel will not be deterred from its goals but must rather postpone its plans to occupy Jerusalem for another term. Consequently, Gaza’s decision to link the cease-fire agreement – despite the heavy human and material losses – with the protection of the Palestinian inhabitants of Jerusalem is a decision that stems from the will to defend the holy city and the Arab population.
The Arab Palestinian people in Gaza seemed ready to accept the losses they suffered from this battle and future battles, a price considered by the Palestinians worthy for defending what remains of Palestine.
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Regarding ethics of Hamas and their Iranian missiles, Norman Finkelstein's viewpoint also deserves some consideration. Although if the war escalates, bringing the USA, Europe and Australia in on one side, and Iran, Russia and China in the end: we'll all be equally dead, regardless of who is ethically more correct. Which was the point of the Paley video.

Ruby Gray has been posting more about the Gaza conflict at her Facebook page, and I've been replying there. But, Facebook really doesn't have formatting to facilitate political discussions. So, I'm answering here.

I made the statement that the Arabs living in Israel are "second class citizens". Ruby questions that, but here's a Bloomberg article supporting that exact thesis.

Israel has one of the most unequal societies in the developed world, partly due to the plight of its Arab populace. On paper, the community enjoys equal rights with the Jewish majority, but nearly 40% lives in poverty rooted in a weaker educational system and poorer access to basic infrastructure. A proliferation of illegal guns and tribal violence has resulted in a 50% jump in the murder rate over the past four years, yet Arab neighborhoods suffer from a lack of policing.​
Also from the Economist:

Haifa is often hailed as a model of how two communities can live together. More than 10% of the city’s 250,000 residents are Palestinian Arabs. The two populations share public resources like hospitals and universities, though schools are segregated. The city hosts a vibrant political cultural scene for Palestinians.​
For all its superficial co-existence, Haifa is a racially divided and segregated city. No checkpoints or barbed wire demarcate the spaces, as in the West Bank, but everyday life for Palestinians in Haifa is a world apart from that of Jewish Israelis, blighted by systematic discrimination.​
The commercial relationship of Jewish-Israelis with the Palestinian side of the city is restricted mainly to buying cheap goods and services. You see them on Saturdays in the Wadi al-Nisnas neighbourhood devouring falafel and hummus.​
The Palestinian city is self-contained: I rarely speak anything other than Arabic. Most of the city’s Palestinian residents live in four impoverished neighbourhoods, which are also host to Palestinian-run schools. Palestinians typically work either in construction or as unskilled labourers in refineries, factories, at the port or in businesses owned by Jewish-Israelis.​
Those who want higher-status jobs at these firms face obstacles, not least the reaction that an Arab surname provokes during recruitment. Palestinians who do get better-paid industrial jobs receive regular “check-ins” from Israel’s security services.​

Ruby claims that Israel is not committing genocide in Gaza. What do you call it, when an entire population is being subjected to ruthless starvation and continuous bombing? As the Guardian explains;

“We have never seen a civilian population made to go so hungry so quickly and so completely, that is the consensus among starvation experts. Israel is not just targeting civilians, it is trying to damn the future of the Palestinian people by harming their children.”​

There is also a plan to move the entire surviving population of Gaza into Egypt. This is called "ethnic cleansing" which is another type of genocide...

Finally, Ruby posted a link to this interesting video about UN educational programs in West Bank palestinian towns.

The kids are being radicalized to fight for the Palestinian "right of return". So, obviously, one way to defuse the conflict would be for Israel to grant that right of return. It would be the progressive, democratic thing to do, right? To allow these people to return to the land stolen from their ancestors in 1948? But, Israel can never do that, because it would create something close to an Arab majority.

And, these Palestinian schools are also teaching the children to yearn for martyrdom in the process of killing Jews. This should beg the question, 'Why is the UN (which is overwhelmingly controlled by Western interests sympathetic to Israel) funding terrorist organizations?" The reason is the same as why Israel funded the creation of Hamas in the first place. By creating a nation of homicidal maniacs, Israel can justify characterizing them as sub-human, and then go ahead and eradicate them.

Does anybody here remember the phrase, "Divide and conquer"? How could it be more obvious?
Continuing to reply here, to Ruby's content posted on Facebook.

Her OP:
Ruby Gray said (on Facebook):

The truth about Hamas hiding weapons and artillery in schools and tunnels beneath civilian areas.
The truth about Hamas stealing financial aid donated for the welfare of Palestinian citizens, and using it to build weapons.
The truth about how Israel has been allowing twice as many food aid trucks per day into Gaza since 7th October as previously, and how armed Hamas terrorists hijack and steal this food.

My first reply, on FB:

Why is any of this surprising? Where else are they supposed to hide their weapons, except in tunnels? Hamas obviously need money, and food; and given the opportunity to requisition them, why wouldn't they? They have a war to win.​
If Israel wants to prevent this, maybe they should be more careful. Or maybe they don't mind supplying Hamas.​

Followed by Ruby's further reply, interspersed with my views:

Ruby Gray said:

What a perverse way of looking at this situation!!! I am shocked that you think this way!! We are not talking about what has been happening over the last few months, but at the entire history of the terrorist organization that has had a stranglehold over Gazan citizens since 2005 when Israel withdrew from its benevolent administration of Gaza.

First of all: if I give the impression that I'm entirely pro-Hamas, that wasn't my intention. They are Islamic fundamentalist religious fanatics, unwilling and unable to compromise their extremist views. They don't seem to care about the well-being of civilians in Gaza, any more than the IDF does. They are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

But: if we are talking about historical context, why are we starting in 2005? What about the entire history of the region since the first prehistoric settlers of the land, as covered in the Nina Paley "This Land is Mine" video in the first post of this thread? What about the Palestinian Arabs who have generally lived there, ruled over by various empires, since medieval times -- and up until the arrival of Zionist settlers in the 20th century?

And if we are going to start in 2005: the administration of Gaza prior to 2005 was neither benevolent, nor Israeli. The administration of Gaza Strip in the period from 1994-2005 was the Palestinian National Authority, or PA. The PA was formed by an agreement between the militant Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Israeli government, and is controlled by Fatah, a faction of the PLO. I don't doubt that the government of Israel has had its finger in the pie, as it does with Hamas. But the PA is certainly not synonymous with Israel, any more than Hamas is.

As I've mentioned before, it seems that Hamas was organized and/or strongly promoted by the Israeli government as a more radical, religious opponent to the secular PLO. Documentation of this has appeared in MSM sources, although admittedly without as much detail as one might like. Allegedly all this meddling hasn't worked out as planned, and both the PLO and Hamas are militantly anti-Zionist; which is generally blamed on "blow-back".

The idea that the PA is identical to the Israeli government, also appears to be strangely echoed in the video Ruby posted. They claim that most Gaza residents would like to bring back Israeli administration, when in fact what they say in public opinion polls is that the majority would like to bring back the PA. The "Palestinian Islamic Jihad" is far more popular than either Hamas or PA, as is the "Lion's Den" (whatever that is).

Ruby Gray said:

Israel left a thriving agricultural industry for the Gazans, which they promptly destroyed.
That's quite an oversimplification! Hamas didn't take control of Gaza in 2006 by means of a smooth, peaceful administrative hand-off.

Actually, the US, EU, Russia and the UN immediately cut off all direct aid to Palestine, redirecting some through NGO's. Fighting between Hamas and the PA erupted in 2007 and continued through June. In 2008 war erupted between Gaza and Israel, and Israeli F-16's eventually launched a series of air strikes. The war is said to have destroyed 10,000 family farms in Gaza.

But then, I guess according to Ruby, nobody but Hamas is to blame for Israeli bombing attacks.

Ruby Gray said:

Instead of using the billions of international aid donated for the welfare of the people and for building infrastructure to benefit them and improve their lives, Hamas hijacks all this money for itself and turns it into weaponry for its campaign of blind hatred. ... Where do you get the idea that Israel is "supplying Hamas"? Israel is in charge of the checkpoints on their border where international aid trucks pass into Gaza. Israel does not provide all this aid itself.

We've discussed this before, but perhaps I haven't been clear.

The billions of international aid, and the money for food trucks, is overwhelmingly coming from pro-Zionist sources, mostly Western governments and NGO's. Some of it comes from Arab countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, etc., which are all controlled by Western petroleum interests, and so ultimately pro-Zionist as well.

They must know exactly where this aid money is going, but they keep sending it anyway. Qui bono????

The video claims that food supplies to Gaza have actually increased since October. I'm not there to count the trucks, so I can't claim to actually know. But the Palestinian Red Crescent (branch of International Red Cross) (via CNN) claims that daily trucks are down from 500 pre-war to about 100 now, an 80% reduction.

Furthermore, according to Human Rights Watch: "Since the October 7, 2023, attack by Hamas-led fighters on Israel, high-ranking Israeli officials, including Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, and Energy Minister Israel Katz, have openly expressed their intent to deprive Gazan civilians of basic necessities." I remember seeing some of these specific quotes, I'm not going to track them down. Israeli officials have been as bloodthirsty as can be. Why would Israeli officers threaten this genocide, if not willing to carry it out?Virtually all indications are that genocide and ethnic cleansing are proceeding in Gaza at a rapid pace.

That is, aside from pollyannas on fundamentalist Christian Zionist sources like Trinity Broadcast Network, the source of Ruby's video. The announcer breathlessly proclaims facts that are completely opposite from any reputable source, without producing the slightest bit of evidence.

Ruby Gray said:

Up to 25% of the rockets they [Hamas] constantly fire into Israel civilians, misfires and lands on Gazan civilians, hospitals, etc instead.

I'm not sure what the complaint is here.

The rockets are generally said to be quite primitive, and not very successful at killing large numbers of either Israelis or Palestinians. However, this is not to say they don't cause enormous amounts of stress and PTSD. Apparently, the terrors of these rockets fall brutally on the Palestinians as well as Israelis.

If the complaint is that the missiles should be better designed and operated so as to only target Israelis, then I can see the logic in it. But what I'm seeing is that Hamas seems to be ineffective in doing anything except terrorize everyone. And the IDF has its tremendously expensive "Iron Dome" that might reduce fatalities, but are surely just as noisy and terrorizing as the incoming pipe bombs.

Again I ask, who benefits? Only the bankers and corporations who profit from manufacturing all these weapons, and stoking the conflict.

Ruby Gray said:

Its leaders are billionaires living in luxury in Qatar, well removed from the suffering of the common people in Gaza.

Claims that these people are "billionaires"seem speculative, but certainly they're wealthy enough to afford the best hotels in Qatar. Why, oh why does the Western world allow such a bizarre situation to continue? Why don't the Massad and CIA simply have these people arrested? It's not like the Zionists have zero influence in Qatar.

I confess to being as mystified as anyone, as to what's really going on here. The official story doesn't make any sense.

Ruby Gray said:

Israel is fighting this war expressly to destroy Hamas, and to free not only its own citizens, but also the suffering Gazans from its tyranny.

Hamas is conducting a sniper war from their shelter in the tunnels. They seem to be doing surprisingly well so far at holding back the IDF from making much progress on the ground.

Meanwhile the IDF continues its program of genocide and ethnic cleansing against the citizens. I suppose death is one way to free people from their suffering.
Hamas seems to be ineffective in doing anything except terrorize everyone.
They seem to be doing surprisingly well so far at holding back the IDF from making much progress on the ground.
Hmm, did I contradict myself? Perhaps I should have said "Hamas is effective at terrorizing everyone, and preventing the IDF from making much progress on the ground." That is, I think it's most likely that they're accomplishing exactly what they intend to do. As benefits the elitists and power brokers and bankers, from their perches in Qatar and other faraway places.