World View: Hamas Says It Didn't Intend to Start the Gaza War

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Hamas says it didn't intend to start the Gaza War
  • Tunisia and Egypt cancel passenger flights to Libya

Hamas says it didn't intend to start the Gaza War

The current Gaza war was triggered by events following the abduction of three Israeli teenagers on June 10. They were the subject of an extensive manhunt throughout the West Bank, during which hundreds of Palestinians, mostly members of Hamas, were arrested. 

Israel was shocked three weeks later when the teens were found dead in a pit in the West Bank. Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the three were "kidnapped and murdered in cold blood by animals" and promised: "Hamas will pay." The abduction of the three teens started a spiral of violence that led to the current Gaza war, with no end in sight.

Now a Hamas official, Saleh al-Arouri, is confirming that Hamas was responsible for the kidnappings, but said that there was no intention to start a war. Here's Memri's translation of what he said: 

In all honesty, we in the Islamic resistance movement did not intend to start a large-scale war at this time. We know that the enemy was not ready to start a large-scale war either. But Allah decided that this large-scale war would rage, in order to achieve things in accordance with the will of Allah.

We wanted Gaza to serve as a strategic pillar, and to continue to amass strength in order to support the resistance all over Palestine. We wanted to activate the resistance throughout the land of Palestine: in the West Bank and in Jerusalem. ...

Our goal was to ignite an intifada in the West Bank and Jerusalem, as well as within the 1948 borders. The activity of the people has broadened to include all the occupied land, reaching its peak in the heroic operation, carried out by the Al-Qassam Brigades, in which three settlers were captured in Hebron.

There has been a lot of confusion regarding this operation. Some said that this was a conspiracy of the occupation. That's not true. Your brothers in the Al-Qassam Brigades carried out this operation to support their imprisoned brothers, who were on a hunger strike. The occupation wanted us to watch them die and to do nothing. The mujahideen captured these settlers in order to have a swap deal.

Then Israel wanted to strike a harsh blow to the resistance in the West Bank and Gaza, in order to shock the mujahideen and deter them from engaging in Jihad against the occupation. So it began to bombard Gaza, and to conduct arrests and wreak devastation in the West Bank.

But in these bombings, they killed six mujahideen. Thus, the fighting escalated. The mujahideen retaliated with missile strikes in the heart of the occupying entity. They were forced to escalate the fighting, and thus, an all-out war began.

So, according to al-Arouri, Hamas didn't want to start a war. They want to start an "intifida," like the ones that began in 1987 and 2000. They were characterized by Palestinians rioting, throwing rocks at Israeli police, and an occasional terrorist act. But there was no full-fledged war, because there were Israeli and Palestinian leaders who were committed to avoiding a war. 

This situation is exactly what generational theory is all about. 

Everybody -- politicians, analysts, journalists, etc. -- remembers the 1990s, and think that the 1990s were "normal," and that anything we do will work the same way as in the "normal" times. The belief is completely wrong. During the 1990s, the world was being run by people who had survived World War II and been traumatized by the war and vowed never to let anything like that happen again. Today, those survivors are gone. 

Here's what I wrote in May 2003, in "Mideast Roadmap - Will it bring peace?"

We are now in the early stages of replaying the extremely violent, bloody wars between the Jews and the Palestinians that took place between them from 1936 to 1949. So far the war has been little more than a series of skirmishes, as it was in the late 1930s. The full-fledged violent, bloody war is awaiting a generational change.

There's an incredible irony going on in the Mideast today, in that the leaders of two opposing sides are, respectively, Ariel Sharon and Yassir Arafat.

These two men hate each other, but they're the ones cooperating with each other (consciously or not) to prevent a major Mideast conflagration. Both of them remember the wars of the 1940s, and neither of them wants to see anything like that happen again. And it won't happen again, as long as both of these men are in charge.

The disappearance of these two men will be part of an overall generational change in the Mideast that will lead to a major conflagration within a few years. It's possible that the disappearance of Arafat alone will trigger a war, just as the election of Lincoln ignited the American Civil War. (It's currently American policy to get rid of Arafat. My response is this: Be careful what you wish for.)

So in the current situation, we have Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri saying that all they had wanted to do was repeat the "intifidas" of 1987 and 2000. Well, that's not how it works any more, because we're in a different generational era -- a generational Crisis era, quite unlike the generational Unraveling era of the 1990s, when the mood was to avoid conflict if at all possible. 

Today, the mood of the Palestinians and the Israelis is completely different. Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat are gone, and the leaders on both sides have no fear of violence and no appreciation of what's coming. 

It's worth noting that there's still one leader who is a survivor of the 1940s war between Jews and Arabs, and that person is Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas. It's no coincidence that this leader has for years tried both to negotiate peace with the Israelis and to keep Hamas under control. He's failed in both endeavors, because he's dealing with much younger leaders who have no fear of violence. 

Most people assume that the 2000s are like the 1990s, the 90s are like the 80s, the 80s are like the 70s, and so forth. If you believe that, then you're wrong. 

History is not similar from one decade to the next. History is driven by huge generational tsunamis that last for decades and even centuries. These tsunamis dictate what events are going to occur, and the politicians have little control over more than a few details. 

World War II launched a huge tsunami that's been traveling towards us for decades and is reaching us now. That's why there are trouble spots in one country after another, in Africa, the Mideast, in Europe, and in Asia. And every day there are fewer and fewer people around like Mahmoud Abbas who remember what it was like and want to prevent it from happening again. It's only a matter of time before one of these trouble spots explodes into full-scale war, and such an explosion becomes more and more likely every day, as the WWII survivors disappear. Memri and Reuters

Tunisia and Egypt cancel passenger flights to Libya

As we reported yesterday, warplanes bombed militia bases in Tripoli, the capital city of Libya, in the early morning hours of Monday. The problem is, it's not known whose warplanes they were. The laser-guided technology was too sophisticated for any Libyan warplanes, and France, Italy, Egypt, the U.S., and NATO have all vehemently denied having anything to do with it. There are even concerns that the warplanes will be part of an external invasion of Libya. 

Now on Thursday Tunisia and Egypt are halting passenger airline flights to and from Libya for security reasons. Egypt has canceled flights between Cairo and Libya, although flights between Alexandria and Libya would continue. AP and Reuters

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Gaza, Hamas, Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, West Bank, Mahmoud Abbas, Saleh al-Arouri, Arial Sharon, Yasser Arafat, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt 

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