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Just a couple of weeks ago, I was clear about what was going on. We had Israel reeling, Sharon was back to shooting up empty buildings and waiting for Abbas to rein in the terrorists. So we were in position to do a lot more to damage Israel even in the short run. And it was good training. We still have to perfect some of our techniques: bombing public transportation, psyching up potential suicider-homiciders and keeping them from crapping out prematurely (that includes monitoring the druggies, so they can get to the target without reeling), blasting tanks, terrorizing the locals, disrupting necessary services, making people afraid to congregate, kidnapping people not in a crowd, kidnapping the children of people we haven't been able to persuade, blasting rich people making merry at fancy hotels, outfitting mosques as weapons supply depots, giving payoffs for cooperation, shooting traitors who cooperated with Israel, training the kiddies to throw stones and molotov cocktails, march, yell, shoot and cry on cue. You know, even spontaneous intifadas and riots have to be meticulously planned to look natural. And of course we continued to complain Israel wasn't serious about peace. And when I say training and preparing, I'm not just talking about a couple of house factories and training centers. Important players like Hamas and Fatah-Tanzim right down to puny splinter groups -- everyone's in training. And now that Al Quada can work without hinderance in Gaza, we expect serious coordination in the near future. Naturally, we'll use these techniques elsewhere, not just in Israel.
Things could not have been going better in Gaza itself. We were bringing in as much munitions and weapons in a few weeks as we did in a year of going through the tunnels from Egypt, and let me tell you those tunnels are so big you could rent them out as living quarters. And Egypt was willing to be more public about helping us against the Jews, while acting as great white father to the media -- Egypt's special troops are guarding the Philadelphi border route between Sinai and Gaza. Sometimes, I wonder if Israel is truly dumb enough to entrust its security to Egyptian hands. But maybe she is. Leaving Gaza wasn't exactly a smart move.
Meantime, even Israel's other friend Jordan was doing PyschProp,
accusing the Jews of slurping Arab blood, on its TV. And Iran flatly
declared that Israel should drop dead.
But something tells me that we are in a bit of trouble. It used to be we'd float a story and it would take our enemies a while to counter it with what they called "facts." As if facts matter. Sometimes they didn't even bother -- they knew they'd never catch up. We had it fixed so that even some Jews were saying the international law said the Jews were occupying Palestine. This was a good thing. It drowned out those sticklers for the "truth" who kept insisting that International Law said that Palestine -- all of Palestine -- belongs to the Jewish State. I mean, who's got time to read all that dry garbage they wrote around the time of the first World War?
Anyways, even when the Jews decided to challenge us, they'd pick a small thing and research it to death. By the time they put it into print, it was old news. Nobody cared. Especially since most of the media sided with us.
But I fear we've become complaisant. I don't mean we've done badly. Scratch most TV viewers and they will be glad to tell you that Palestine belongs to the Palestinians. Heck, we've got people questioning whether the Jewish State has the right to exist. And you know as well as I do that when you ask the question, the answer is already built in.
And we're doing a very good job conditioning people to react to some words. Now admittedly, this next quotation was said by a Palestinian, not a Jewboy, a philosophy student at -- of all places -- Tel Aviv University. But nobody shot him for saying it.
Omar Barghouti, the student, called his article "Israel's breaches of human rights and international law give moral force to the argument for an international boycott." Now for those of you who want to learn to do things right, observe he didn't argue whether they had breached human rights, he didn't bother telling us which international law they broke. He ASSERTED it boldly and strongly. That's like the warrior's yell. Most people will back off immediately. He won't be challenged. Then he wrote,
"Israel's systematic violation of international law, its denial of Palestinian refugee rights, its continued occupation and colonisation of Palestinian land and its entrenched racist system against its own Palestinian citizens demand an effective response from concerned citizens of the world. Institutional boycotts similar to those applied to South Africa are what are called for, not censorship of this or that progressive Israeli writer or academic!"
It's like music. You keep using variations on the same chords. We Palestinians are a people. (Well, we certainly deserve to be.) We own the Land now occupied by Israel. You know, my cousin Daud once said that we were like dogs -- once we peed on a tree, it belonged to us. Crude, but he has a point. Once we conquer a piece of land, it is ours forever. And that goes for Spain as much as it does for Jerusalem and the rest of Palestine. Once we get it back, we'll sort out who among us Arabs controls it. But it isn't the time yet for that.
Now, once all the stupidos at the TV studios and the "experts" in the news rooms believed completely that the land belongs to us Palestinians, we taught them other lessons. Again, Bargouti is instructive. He got in occupation and colonisation of Palestinian land and its entrenched racist system. Had he used apartheid he'd have a perfect score. Nobody really knows what these words mean -- but you'd better believe they know that these are nasty things to be. It's like saying somebody has fleas and ticks -- people don't go stick their noses into his hair, they move away from him. As a journalist for more years than I want to count, I gotta say, this boychick has talent.
So we have the Jews in Israel all tied up worried sick the world won't think they are the nice people they think they are. I admit that we had some help here. I'll be the first to admit we couldn't have done it without good old, fat old Ariel Sharon and his handler, Shimon Peres.
So now, we've got Israel tied in knots. The Saudis -- who maybe don't respect us but know we deliver -- have Washington pinned down. Bush is waging a very limited war because his father and his godfather Baker tell him he mustn't rile up the Muslims. There are too many of them. And Sec-State Rice isn't going to give us any more trouble that Colin Powell did. She doesn't even pretend to have integrity. I loved the way she was able to tell us we had to stop terrorists -- sure sure, do we look suicidal? -- and at the same time praise us for working to stop terrorism. And right she was. After all, didn't we disarm some of the Al-Aqsa Brigades? We made them part of the Palestinian security forces. They will even train with the regulars.
And then there is the splendid work being done by a couple of front organizations. CAIR, for one, is superb. They got a talk show host fired for saying some Muslims are terrorists. Shocking. How dare he! They stopped him. And they've got businesses who hire Muslims falling all over themselves making the workplace as homey as they can. To date, they let the workers do their prayers ad lib. And that don't come out of their coffee and hookah break time. I think next -- when the companies are relaxing and congratulating themselves on having fielded that one -- we should demand the companies supply the Muslim workers with prayer rugs. There's no end to what can be extorted. Remember the ancient adage: let a company just once appease me, and he is my mark for life.
Let me tell you something. I don't think we need to waste bombs on America. We will lawyer it to death, sue it into catatonia and use Ford Foundation money to yell for freedom of speech Muslim-style. Anybody saying anything negative against us is just preaching hate. They should be punished.
Europe? They are slick. The European Union -- that's the half a hundred politicians who are keeping it going when the common folk are so unenlightened they'd rather be French or English or German. Anyways, the EU "condemned" the Hadara martyr's attack end of October. So what? You think the 5 people killed are going to rise up from their graves? But -- and this is important because only if it hasn't happened yet, can you influence what will happen -- they asked Israel not to be nasty. After all, the Israelis didn't want to hurt a poor innocent Palestinian, did they?
And those of us Arabs who live directly under Israel's foot -- the so-called Arab citizens of Israel -- did well. One of the Arab ministers in the Knesset immediately condemned the attack in Hadera and then said that if Israel wanted the violence to end, she'd have to withdraw from Palestinian land. See, it's all Israel's fault.
So that left one possible set of players that might try to thwarth us. The American Jews could read that Sharon's military and intelligence advisors recommended that Israel not leave Gaza. And they weren't numb from years of being shelled and eons of being told they were dirty Jews and responsible for the ills of the Palestinians. Here again, Sharon helped. He had it spread around he had the country with him in his desire to leave Gaza. So OK, he had to fire a few cabinet members, but he certainly spoke the technical truth when he said the cabinet backed him.
But even so, I gotta admit -- I cover the American scene -- and I was nervous. But the weirdest thing. All those rich guys who run big businesses and massage their egos running Jewish organizations -- not a peep from them. I admit it was weird. Numbdumb doesn't begin to describe it. It was like Gaza didn't exist. There were signs in front of synagogues condemning the slaughter in Darfur. They talked sports and the stock market. And if anyone timidly said he didn't see what leaving Gaza would accomplish, we constructed a wonderful story for them to believe. It goes like this.
"People are all alike.
Everyone wants good things for their children.
Everyone wants freedom of thought and action."
I gotta admit I laughed myself sick at this last one. Dear Readers, no one seems to understand that most of us Arabs live in a tribal hierarchy. We do what we're told -- which of course that is why worrying about Arabs rioting is a hunk of it. We can erupt, sure -- it's more entertaining than watching television and is good after-breakfast exercise -- but we take our orders from our chieftains and mullahs. Rioting for us is like burping. It relieves the gas but it doesn't mean anything.
But all the guys who'd read through Chapter 5 of a sociology text kept saying, "Give people a decent place to live and a way to earn money to feed their families and maybe even give them a few treats, and they'll settle down. Especially if they have a state of their own."
Is that true? Don't be silly. We know our mission is to test out new ways of killing the enemy. We know we must become as strong as our steel knives, as subtle as swaying snakes, as unflinching as those that behead the infidel. But the sappy stuff works. It works so well that a bunch of rich American Jews bought the Gaza greenhouses for us. Cost them millions. Now those greenhouses are supposed to have been top of the line. Cleverly constructed. Yielding first quality fruits and vegies and flowers. Organic yet. No pesticides. Whoopie Doo.
Anyways, we knew they were of no importance. We aren't about to let the Palestinians forget their mission. Before you know it, they swarmed over the greenhouses. This one dragged away some irrigation hoses. That one wrapped up some plastic sheets and ran off with them. The skyline was lit with the fires of the burning synagogues. They pulled out the support beams. They grabbed pots, bathtubs, tables. They toodled off with whatever was portable.
People could understand us burning infidel synagogues. But why, some asked, destroy the greenhouses?
I have to admit it was embarrassing. And I freely admit we had help stifling the story. The New York Times assured its readers that we had just taken usable stuff home with us. Made us seem downright sensible. Most of the news outlets just shut up about it. Thanks to them, it didn't really grab the public's attention.
But between you and me and the burning rafters, I'm worried. A lot of people do know. I noticed this at a dinner party I went to just before I left the States a couple of weeks ago. When I reassured people that it didn't mean much -- these just plain folk Palestinians were just a little giddy at having chased the Jews out of Gaza -- some talking woman asked if it wasn't stupid to destroy property that would give "you Palestinians" jobs. So I smiled. After all, she wasn't my wife -- I didn't have to be the one to teach her manners.
I gave her my best bullshit. "It is important," I intoned "that we Palestinians create our own. We can't just take what the Jews created. We are not charity cases." And that's when I knew we were in trouble. An older guy, someone I've known for years, a genuine believer, was puzzled. He asked, "So we can stop sending you money? It doesn't much get spent in humanitarian projects anyways, does it?"
"Are you going to let your people starve for another 50 years
rather than take a finished product that can benefit them?" asked some
snot nose wearing a fancy tie. I heard one twit mutter to his
neighbor, "From now on, all I'm going to send the Palestinians is
condoms." And then came the deepest cut of all. The talking woman
asked, "it would seem to me that if you wanted to start developing the
infrastructure for a state of your own, you'd use the greenhouses, not
burn them." I swear by Allah, if I'd had my wife's burkah handy, I'd
have stifled the bitch.
But it did point up one thing. We are going to have to do more PR -- we've got to stop this brushfire before more people catch on that we don't want a productive state -- whatever that is. We have a mission. We are the shock troops to destroy Israel. Then the Arab world will have to respect us.
But now besides this backlash post-Gaza, we suddenly are changing direction. I don't understand why Europe is suddenly a hot spot. I thought we'd be doing low level stuff around the world and honing our skills against Israel. No one in the world gives a damn about her -- except to make sure she doesn't clobber us freedom fighters. And as I said, Israel's so demoralized, we could probably get them to flee the West Bank with some well-timed biggies. So I don't understand what looks like a new game plan.
Right now it looks like Europe might seriously erupt into one big shitmatch, which will scare the EU bigtime. Maybe it won't. I'm not privy to the Muslim Brotherhood's plans -- all I can tell you is that they are surefooted and plan far into the future. Maybe they were just testing the water, getting the lay of the land. Or maybe they figure, after the London bombings and Gaza and the world's non-reaction, that things are ripe for the picking.
Worst case in France and maybe the rest of Europe: everyone's going to be falling all over themselves uplifting the Muslim masses from their low economic status. I don't mean that the Sanitation Dept administrators are going to empty the garbage cans and the workers sit at their desks, but I do expect welfare will become even more generous than it has been.
The only mystery to me is how did they get the media reading out of the same book so fast. There's no mystery about why the media is all for the Palestinians possessing Gaza -- we've been training them for years. And every so often we'd feed them some new "fact" to keep them from going stale. I enjoyed it a while back when shrill Eleanor on the McLaughlin show yelled how awful it was that the Israelis -- less than 10 thousand people -- were living on 30% of Gaza's land. So I looked at a map. It's clear the Jews were all jammed into a cluster that was maybe 10% of the area. And some of that was private land -- the Jews had bought Kfar Darom in the early 1920's before we chased them out in 1948. None of the other "experts" on the show challenged her -- but that's to be expected.
What I don't understand is how the press was whipped into the correct mode about the rioting in France so quickly. You'd expect a scattering of explanations before one opinion -- our opinion -- wins out. Yet here, almost immediately after it started, the "explanation." was set. I saw an American TV -- one of the talk shows where they have "experts" rigged to mouth the right words. This was the Lehrer show and both speakers earnestly pontificated that the problem was that France didn't want to integrate the Arabs so they felt left out. I had to chuckle -- anybody with half a lira's worth of brains knows France has tripped over itself trying to bring the Muslims into their polite society. They keep trying -- or, in the 'burbs where it gets too dangerous for a French policeman to wander in, they just leave us to run things our own way. But the French are so small-minded, they keep thinking the French way of doing things is the best way. They just don't want to admit we won't take anything less than being in charge. Why shouldn't we want to control our society by ourselves? The Koran interpreted by the Mullahs and dictated by the chieftains really is the best way to live. Eventually, we will control the way the rest of the country lives.
But like I say, it is mysterious that the media were feeding people the poverty card so quickly. Does somebody at the TV station murmur the party line and it's just written into the script? Who tips that somebody on what to promote? I'd sure like to see Saudi Arabia's PropAgit Visa card bill for last month.
I guess we'll just have to wait and see what comes next. But whatever it is, we Palestinians are ready to do what is needed.
Mr bin Hookah is foreign correspondent and roving reporter for the Gaza Gajeera.
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