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

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

This morning’s key headlines from

  • 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 abductionof three Israeli teenagers on June 10. They were the subject of anextensive manhunt throughout the West Bank, during which hundreds ofPalestinians, mostly members of Hamas, were arrested. 

Israel wasshocked three weeks later when the teens were found dead in a pit inthe West Bank. Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the three were “kidnapped and murdered in cold blood byanimals” and promised: “Hamas will pay.” The abduction of the threeteens 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 wasresponsible for the kidnappings, but said that there was no intentionto start a war. Here’s Memri’s translation of what he said: 

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

We wanted Gaza to serve as a strategic pillar, and to continue toamass strength in order to support the resistance all overPalestine. We wanted to activate the resistance throughout theland 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 hasbroadened to include all the occupied land, reaching its peak inthe heroic operation, carried out by the Al-Qassam Brigades, inwhich three settlers were captured in Hebron.

There has been a lot of confusion regarding this operation. Somesaid that this was a conspiracy of the occupation. That’s nottrue. Your brothers in the Al-Qassam Brigades carried out thisoperation to support their imprisoned brothers, who were on ahunger strike. The occupation wanted us to watch them die and todo nothing. The mujahideen captured these settlers in order tohave a swap deal.

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

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

So, according to al-Arouri, Hamas didn’t want to start a war. Theywant to start an “intifida,” like the ones that began in 1987 and2000. They were characterized by Palestinians rioting, throwingrocks at Israeli police, and an occasional terrorist act. But therewas no full-fledged war, because there were Israeli and Palestinianleaders 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 anythingwe do will work the same way as in the “normal” times. The beliefis completely wrong. During the 1990s, the world was being runby people who had survived World War II and been traumatizedby 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 theextremely violent, bloody wars between the Jews and thePalestinians that took place between them from 1936 to 1949. Sofar the war has been little more than a series of skirmishes, asit was in the late 1930s. The full-fledged violent, bloody war isawaiting a generational change.

There’s an incredible irony going on in the Mideast today, in thatthe leaders of two opposing sides are, respectively, Ariel Sharonand Yassir Arafat.

These two men hate each other, but they’re the ones cooperatingwith each other (consciously or not) to prevent a major Mideastconflagration. Both of them remember the wars of the 1940s, andneither of them wants to see anything like that happen again. Andit 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 overallgenerational change in the Mideast that will lead to a majorconflagration within a few years. It’s possible that thedisappearance of Arafat alone will trigger a war, just as theelection of Lincoln ignited the American Civil War. (It’scurrently American policy to get rid of Arafat. My response isthis: Be careful what you wish for.)

So in the current situation, we have Hamas official Saleh al-Arourisaying that all they had wanted to do was repeat the “intifidas” of1987 and 2000. Well, that’s not how it works any more, because we’rein a different generational era — a generational Crisis era, quiteunlike the generational Unraveling era of the 1990s, when the mood wasto avoid conflict if at all possible. 

Today, the mood of the Palestinians and the Israelis is completelydifferent. Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat are gone, and theleaders on both sides have no fear of violence and no appreciationof what’s coming. 

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

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

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

World War II launched a huge tsunami that’s been traveling towards usfor decades and is reaching us now. That’s why there are troublespots in one country after another, in Africa, the Mideast, in Europe, and in Asia. And every day there are fewer and fewer people aroundlike Mahmoud Abbas who remember what it was like and want to preventit from happening again. It’s only a matter of time before one ofthese trouble spots explodes into full-scale war, and such anexplosion becomes more and more likely every day, as the WWIIsurvivors disappear. Memri andReuters

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 knownwhose warplanes they were. The laser-guided technology was toosophisticated for any Libyan warplanes, and France, Italy, Egypt, theU.S., and NATO have all vehemently denied having anything to do withit. There are even concerns that the warplanes will be part of anexternal invasion of Libya. 

Now on Thursday Tunisia and Egypt are halting passenger airlineflights to and from Libya for security reasons. Egypt has canceledflights between Cairo and Libya, although flights between Alexandriaand 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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