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Hamas didn't kidnap the three Israeli teens after all

Dear Lord. Can't anybody here play this game? New York Magazine:

When the bodies of three Israeli teenagers, kidnapped in the West Bank, were found late last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not mince words. "Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay," he said, initiating a campaign that eventually escalated into the present conflict in the region. 

But now, officials admit the kidnappings were not Hamas's handiwork after all. 

Non-plagiarizing BuzzFeed writer Sheera Frenkel was among the first to suggest that it was unlikely that Hamas was behind the deaths of Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach. Citing Palestinian sources and experts the field, Frenkel reported that kidnapping three Israeli teens would be a foolish move for Hamas. International experts told her it was likely the work of a local group, acting without concern for the repercussions: 

[Gershon Baskin] pointed out that Hamas has earlier this month signed an agreement to form a unity government with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, bridging, for the first time in seven years, the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank and Gaza.

“They will lose their reconciliation agreement with Abbas if they do take responsibility for [the kidnappings],” Baskin added.

Today, she was proven right:

Repeated inconsistencies in Israeli descriptions of the situation have sparked debate over whether Israel wanted to provoke Hamas into a confrontation.

Remind me to onlly rag on Buzzfeed selectively. Frenkel got it right!

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quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

According to a BBC report, Hamas came to the agreement with the Palestinian Authority because they were running out of options. Their funding has dried up because Iran didn't like them backing the Sunnis in Syria, and the new Egyptian government is not an ally like the Muslim Brotherhood was.

They were completely out of cash and options, and if the BBC knew that I would think the Israelis did too. So the Israeli gov did its best to pick a big enough fight with Hamas to have an excuse to wipe them out while they were down.

Through that lens, everything kind of falls into place.

Submitted by lambert on

... It takes less money and it doesn't empower arms dealers.

However, as we saw in Egypt, an additional requirement for an aspiring political class is to know what to do with power when you have it. The Eqyptians, A6M and so forth, failed badly at that. (That's not a slam, I'm not sure how much we would succeed in this country. Look at all the governance issues Occupy had. Say what you will about the Bolsheviks, they knew how to plan.) I'm not sure the Palestinians know that. Lord Vetinari in Guards, Guards:

The Patrician steepled his hands and looked at Vimes over the top of them.

“Let me give you some advice, Captain,” he said.

“Yes, sir?”

“It may help you make some sense of the world.”

“Sir.”

' 'I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are the good people and the bad people,“ said the man. ”You're wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides. "

He waved his thin hand towards the city and walked over to the window.

“A great roiling sea of evil,” he said, almost proprietorially. “Shallower in some places, of course, but deeper, oh, so much deeper in others. But people like you put together little rafts of rules and vaguely good intentions and say, this is the opposite, this will triumph in the end. Amazing!” He slapped Vimes good-naturedly on the back.

“Down there,” he said, “are people who will follow any dragon, worship any god, ignore any iniquity. All out of a kind of humdrum, everyday badness. Not the really high, creative loathesomeness of the great sinners, but a sort of mass-produced darkness of the soul. Sin, you might say, without a trace of originality. They accept evil not because they say yes, but because they don't say no. I'm sorry if this offends you,'' he added, patting the captain's shoulder, ”but you fellows really need us."

“Yes, sir?” said Vimes quietly.

"Oh, yes. We're the only ones who know how to make things work. You see, the only thing the good people are good at is overthrowing the bad people. And you're good at that, I'll grant you. But the trouble is that it's the only thing you're good at. One day it's the ringing of the bells and the casting down of the evil tyrant, and the next it's everyone sitting around complaining that ever since the tyrant was overthrown noone's been taking out the trash. Because the bad people know how to plan. It's part of the specification, you might say. Every evil tyrant has a plan to rule the world. The good people don't seem to have the knack."

“Maybe. But you're wrong about the rest!” said Vimes. “It's just because people are afraid, and alone-” He paused. It sounded pretty hollow, even to him.

He shrugged. “They're just people,” he said. “They're just doing what people do. Sir.”

Lord Vetinari gave him a friendly smile.

“Of course, of course,” he said. “You have to believe that, I appreciate. Otherwise you'd go quite mad. Otherwise you'd think you're standing on a feather-thin bridge over the vaults of Hell. Otherwise existence would be a dark agony and the only hope would be that there is no life after death. I quite understand.” He looked at his desk, and sighed, “And now,” he said, “there is such a lot to do. I'm afraid poor Wonse was a good servant but an inefficient master. So you may go. Have a good night's sleep. Oh, and do bring your men in tomorrow. The city must show its gratitude.”

metamars's picture
Submitted by metamars on

Hamas' decision to rocket Israel is, IMO, idiotic. They're basically dishing out pinpricks to Israel. They should have taken their beating, to solidify in everybody's mind that the Israeli government was lying through it's teeth.

I think it's just stunning how they blew this.

Yes, of course, it's easier to say "just take your beating" when your not the one being bombed. Nevertheless, from a dispassionate, logical point of view (and in light of the fact that Israel holds the vast majority of military cards), I find it hard to imagine a more stupid response.

Because Netanyahu was doubtless made very happy by Hamas' actions, I was thinking of writing a diary wonder, out loud, if Hamas is controlled by Israel. Useful idiots are, well, useful, but not as much a sure thing as outright trojan horses.

quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

The BBC is not exactly perfectly non-partisan about the Middle East, but well worth a read compared to most US media. This is from the BBC report I was talking about in my earlier comment:

Israeli air raids at that point were carefully calibrated - training grounds and launching sites in Gaza were attacked. The target list was enough to persuade the Israeli public that Hamas was being punished for the rocket fire but not enough to push the militant group to step up its attacks.

There were even hints that a truce might be possible with both Israel and Hamas using the cautious but optimistic formula that calm from the other side would be met with calm.

Within hours, though, it seemed hostilities began to intensify

The point being that they have their tit-for-tat "normal" situation. Hamas' rockets did not change. What changed was Israel's level of response.

Just to be clear, I personally agree that Hamas would have gotten much further by now using massive non-violence. But even to say that sounds funny. That's not who they are. Nor is that a surprise at this point. So actions by Hamas, especially given that they had not kidnapped the poor teenagers, does not explain Israel's actions.

Submitted by lambert on

I agree, it's wankery. "Pass the popcorn" on both sides. And as we see from the outcome over 40 years, the form of resistance without the substance.

I've finally come to the conclusion that what Netanyahu and his cohort really do want is no Palestinians in either Gaza or the West Bank or Israel, not even as a captive population. "Into the sea" with them. And in their lifetimes. Netanyahu being 64 that means the next 10 or 20 years. That means that the Israeli hard right, the worst of the worst, won, but then they did win, didn't they? (Since Rabin's assassination, the dial kept swinging right, and it's not going to stop.)

Since the kidnapping was only a pretext for this latest escapade, that means it was planned, and on its own timetable. As, doubtless, is the next and the next and the next.

Personally, I think the Israeli leadership is delusional to think that the state of Israel is going to last any longer than the crusader castles did -- two hundred years tops, likely less.

I suppose the real question is whether Israel will ever use nuclear blackmail against the Western powers -- Paris, London, Berlin -- given a Masada scenario. That might be their best option, but the Israeli leadership that did that would, immediately after the borders were resecured, be decapitated by special forces. No great power could put up with that. So even that won't save them.

jo6pac's picture
Submitted by jo6pac on

is I have always felt this is a false flag. Just saying but it seems to follow a pattern?