Sat. Feb 24th, 2024
alert-–-peter-hitchens:-bombs-haven’t-worked-–-but-there-is-one-thing-israel-can-do-to-avoid-a-trap-by-hamasAlert – PETER HITCHENS: Bombs haven’t worked – but there is one thing Israel can do to avoid a trap by Hamas

Last week, I said here: ‘Israel’s attack on Gaza is a mistake, mainly because it will probably not work, and because it will allow millions of people to start loathing Israel again. They cannot do this at the moment. As long as the memory of Hamas killers striding into peaceful villages and slaughtering unarmed civilians and even babies still lingers in the public mind, Israel will have the support of millions and most of its opponents will keep their voices down.’

I did not realise how quickly my prediction would come true. As soon as Israel began its bombardment of Gaza, the superbly cynical global anti-Israel propaganda machine whirred smoothly into action. And Israel was transformed in a few hours from victim into villain. The Hamas murders are already starting to be forgotten. Yet maybe something may still be rescued. If the retaliation against Gaza cannot be undone, perhaps it can be reversed and halted. But is there any true statesmanship or political courage to be found in Israel?

TERROR IN THE DESERT: Young Israelis flee during an attack by Hamas killers at a music festival two weeks ago 

This picture taken from Israel’s southern city of Sderot shows a smoke plume erupting during Israeli bombardment in the northern Gaza Strip on October 19, 2023

Palestinians run for cover as tear gas canisters fall during clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank city of Nablus, 13 October 2023

According to Hamas, Judith Raanan and her daughter Natalie were released for ‘humanitarian reasons’, sparking hope that more of the 200 people kidnapped during their raid of southern Israel two weeks ago would follow suit 

I do not myself join in the easy, modish condemnation of the Israeli premier, Benjamin Netanyahu. He is an unusually intelligent and experienced man, one of the very few major figures in world politics who has actually been wounded in combat. This is perhaps the most profound form of experience available, in a world where most Western leaders have never faced anything tougher than a selection meeting or a university final exam.

He must know he has not much time left at the top of Israel’s political dunghill. Why then not crown his long career with a gesture to astonish the world?

Why not say: ‘We have seen enough blood. Nothing is to be gained by shedding more of it. In fact, we are sure that our enemies want us to do precisely that. We will cease to bombard Gaza, and will abandon attempts at a ground invasion which will, in truth, bring only grief, much of it to innocent people. Most will understand our national rage at what was done to us and our initial desire to hit back. But our considered response to the Hamas murders is to turn to the world – and remind everyone in it exactly what Israel’s enemies did on October 7.

‘These murders and kidnappings were not, as their apologists claim, responses to oppression or maltreatment. They were vindictive acts of racist hate. They were driven by a high-octane version of a much wider anti-Jewish phobia which is still all too common in the world. It was this phobia which led to the desperate measure of creating a national home for the world’s Jews, a place of last resort for those fleeing mass murder.

The aftermath of the October 7 attack on the Supernova music Festival by Palestinian militants, near Kibbutz Reim in the Negev desert in southern Israel, pictured on October 8

A large rally in support of Gaza and Palestinians takes place along the Avenue Habib Bourguiba heading to the French embassy in Tunis, October 21 2023

An Israeli army Merkava battle tank deploys with others along the border with the Gaza Strip in southern Israel on October 13, 2023

‘It is this shameful and bigoted phobia which has stood in the way of general acceptance that Israel has as much freedom to exist as any other state. Look this hatred in the face. See what Hamas did on October 7. Look at those who have excused it or tried to offer apologies for it. And cease to help them. We in our turn will not please these fanatics by walking into the trap they have tried to set for us. We will seek out and punish known individual culprits. But we are not in the business of harming the innocent.’

Just try it. The bombs and the missiles have not worked. Perhaps this will.

Evil lurking behind dope lies

One of the most thumping lies you will ever hear is the repeated claim by marijuana fans that legalising their poison will ‘take it out of the hands of criminals’. When they first started saying it, it was plainly false. Legal dope would obviously be taxed. And criminals would try to undercut legal sellers, by avoiding that tax.

Now news comes from Canada of the failure of its five-year-old marijuana legalisation scheme. Thousands of workers are being laid off as ambitious new dope companies fail. As anyone could have foretold, the criminal gangs, largely untroubled by defeatist police, can undercut the legal suppliers on price, because they do not pay tax. They can also ignore the pitiful attempts at ‘regulation’ which the legalisers always go on about.

As Professor Michael Armstrong, of Brock University in Ontario, puts it: ‘The big trade-off in legal cannabis is: how do you make the legal market attractive enough to get all the existing users to go with the legal weed, but not so attractive that you get a whole bunch of new users starting up.’

Even the Canadian government, one of the most naive bodies in the universe, estimates that 33 per cent of the trade was still in the hands of crooks four years after legalisation. How can they be sure it isn’t much higher? They can’t.

Meanwhile in California, another pioneer in legal dope, the Los Angeles Times has uncovered severe corruption in the granting of licences for cannabis businesses in the state.

Once, the claim that legalising this pestilent, life-ruining drug would remove it from criminal hands was just ill-researched propaganda. Now it is a proven lie, and you should bear this in mind every time you hear anybody saying it.

Evil always tries to advance behind a phalanx of lies, for otherwise people would see it for what it is, in time to defeat it.

Call time on this absurd meddling 

This time next week, the clocks of this country will once again be allowed to tell the correct time, instead of madly fooling us into living according to the Berlin meridian. I – and many other early-risers – will no longer have to get up in the dark, and the evening will come on a little sooner.

Idiots will claim that the change has deprived them of light, though the amount of daylight will remain exactly the same.

The shortening and lengthening of the days is a natural process which would happen gradually and rather pleasantly if we did not engage in this pointless fiddling.

The evenings have been drawing in for weeks. On September 23, sunset in London was at 6.59pm. Tonight it will be at 5.53pm. Next Sunday, after the clocks go back to where they should be, sunset will be at 4.39pm GMT.

Why not just leave them there for good? Are we so ill-educated that we cannot see that this violent twice-yearly changing of the clocks has only one effect – it forces everyone to go to work and school an hour earlier than they need to during the period when we are on Berlin (or ‘Summer’) Time?

What for? What good does this do?

We rightly want our food to be natural, organic, etc. Why then do we agree to have our time adulterated for months of every year?

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