More than anything, Marie Colvin, who was laid to rest Monday, will be
remembered for sacrificing her life for the London Sunday Times’ circulation
figures (albeit pro forma in the name of intrepid reporting on the siege of
Homs). Her immortality in the annals of journalism is guaranteed.
that in mind, it’d be especially instructive for us to recall one of her
eyewitness accounts which is most pertinent to our own circumstances.
was published nearly six years ago – in April 2006, only a few months after we
disengaged from Gaza.
Colvin tossed the truth about our
self-bamboozlement directly in our faces. This perhaps was why that specific
item generated near-zero resonance among us. Why focus on the unpleasant even if
it’s the straightforward bottom line with profound implications for our possible
future follow- up follies? If there’s anything we dislike, it’s to be confronted
with evidence of our own inexcusable imbecility.
gave us the facts. It was left up to us to draw conclusions which our
establishment and Left-dominated media scoffed at. Therefore, Colvin’s
singularly unpalatable feature never made our headlines back in the
That in itself poses something of a riddle. One would expect our
agenda-driven press to lap up her material, because Colvin was never remotely
renowned for being a lover of Zion.
Having gone where few men dared and
promoted herself as dedicated to chronicling war’s worst, she covered conflicts
in Kosovo, East Timor, Chechnya and Sri Lanka, where she lost an eye. In March
2006 she boldly ventured a tad beyond the reinstated Green Line to see what
became of Morag, one of the spirited settlements razed by Ariel Sharon and
sidekicks – Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni et al.
“Four green flags of the
extremist Palestinian party Hamas were flying last week at the gate of a
military training camp built on the ruins of Morag,” she opened. “Inside the
camp recruits from the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas,
ran mock attacks over dunes covered in dry grass. One of them stopped to launch
a rocket-propelled grenade.”
Colvin stressed that “the base is no
makeshift encampment. A telecommunication tower rises from a dune; loudspeakers
broadcast from masts... the stones from the old homes have been painted white
and used to make guardhouses.
Even the settlement’s gate has been
cannibalized; now it swings to Toyota pick-up trucks bringing more armed men in
A senior Kassam honcho who showed Colvin around explained to
her that his outfit’s deadly aims vis-à-vis Israel haven’t changed one iota
since Hamas’s electoral victory.
The insolence of the unnamed hotshot
quoted by Colvin was underscored at exactly that same time by then-Palestinian
Authority foreign minister Mahmoud Zahar of Hamas (during the Hamas-Fatah
In an interview with China’s Xinhua News Agency, conducted
just when Colvin toured the ruins of Morag, Zahar waxed ecstatic about “dreams
of hanging a huge map of the world on the wall of my Gaza house which would not
have a trace of Israel on it.”
He exultantly gloried in the “dream to
have our independent state on all Palestine... This dream will become real one
day. I am certain of this because there is no place for the state of Israel in
Official Israel and its retreat-advocating mouthpieces
ignored Zahar, but he elaborated his comments in Lebanon’s Al-Mustaqbal
newspaper. The most the Hamas regime can grant Israel, he intoned just as Colvin
filed her report, is a “temporary cessation of hostilities,” in which “the
Zionist entity would be countenanced temporarily but gradually be pushed into
Borders can only be provisional,” because “there’s no
place on earth for the state of Israel.”
The very same Zahar was
instrumental in negotiating yet another cease-fire a few days ago.
might not have realized how in sync her Hamas guide was with his bosses, but she
obviously didn’t misinterpret the mood in what became of Morag. After what she
observed and heard, Colvin reckoned that “Israelis contemplating the evacuation
of West Bank settlements will shiver at the discovery that al-Qassam fighters
now live and train on the ruins of a place that was home to 37 Jewish
That, however, is where she got it all
Reasonable folks would indeed be shaken to the core and rebuff
those who uprooted the most dedicated of their compatriots in order to
facilitate genocidal preparations against the entire national
But Colvin misjudged us. It’s not that our nonchalance is born
of extraordinary courage in the face of adversity. Instead it’s the product of
denial of adversity. We pretend we’ve nothing to worry about except for the
price of cottage cheese and, more recently, of a commonplace chocolate-covered
Those who sway Israel’s public sentiment sanction our
featherbrained fixation on the trivial. It serves their purposes that we not
dwell on the existential dangers that loom ominously from every direction. It’s
better to preoccupy our petty plebeian minds with gobbledygook.
be fair, it’s not only us. Colvin’s coverage from Morag made no waves anyplace
in the world. This should surely show us that a correspondent’s output is rarely
treated on its merit and certainly not in light of the reality it might unmask.
Correspondents are far less influential than myth would have it. They either go
with the flow or are washed up.
It’s not veracity which counts but
whether what’s exposed meshes with the trends dictated to news consumers. If the
designers of popular political fashion are inimical to Israel – or just
apathetic about our minimal safety – they’ll keep the masses’ eyes wide shut
even when assorted Colvins present opportunities to enlighten
Conversely, when the Colvins of the world barely enhance common
knowledge, as in the Syrian slaughter narrative, their truisms are
sanctimoniously and unstintingly reverberated – if they suit the
That said, careless inattentiveness is foremost our sin.
Foreigners are hardly likely to bother about what predominantly imperils Israel.
That’s apart from the issue of fundamental morality.
democracies keep prodding us to risk our very survival in return for ephemeral
verbiage (in the best case) and often not even that.
They pressure us
arrogantly and condescendingly as if they do in actual fact know what’s best.
All the while, it’s no skin off their noses if dire consequences from their
non-too-friendly advice befall us.
The Iranian nukes-in-the-making are a
trenchant case in point. For much of the free world a nuclear Iran is an
inconvenience. Better it wasn’t so. Nevertheless, the real fly in the
international community’s ointment isn’t a potential genocidal strike on Israel
but a preemptive strike by Israel.
Hence the world’s energies are homed
in on stopping those troublemaking Jews from upsetting everyone else’s
For some, like US President Barack Obama, a deceptive calm is
way preferable to shattering the illusion. With an election campaign around the
corner, Obama has reluctantly put out the welcome mat for Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu. His seeming civility is quite a departure from March 2010.
Then, with no campaign to mitigate his unmistakable aversion, Obama heaped
unprecedented protocol-abuse on Netanyahu, going so far as to summarily walk out
on him mid-conversation in order to “have dinner.”
But two years later,
we get a rhetorical rampup against Iran to soften the sit-tight admonition
against Israel. The ostensible show of camaraderie isn’t merely geared to
hoodwinking Jewish voters. Diplomatic dawdling is essential for Obama to curtail
oil-price hikes ahead of Election Day (November 6) – even if this eventually
kills Israelis. Our life-or-death interests take a back seat to his political
It’s not that we’re trigger happy to hit Iran (We’d suffer the
vindictive backlash) but that the window of opportunity is narrow. Obama’s
political calendar precludes timely preventative action.
is plainly that we subordinate our sovereignty to his reelection schedule. The
cruel choice is either lose Obama’s backing (even if it’s merely nominal) or
forfeit our self-reliance.
No syrupy speechifying can cover this
It’s our self-preservation on the line, as distinct from that of any
professed well-wisher overseas.
We cannot afford to fall for the
insincerity lavished upon us – when expedient – by Obama or anyone
The disingenuous counsel liberally dispensed by talking heads and
scribblers here and abroad mustn’t distract us from this realization. Opinions
are drummed up not because of their objective unassailability but because of
This is as basic now as it was when Colvin visited
We don’t hear all the news. We get a glimpse of what those with
media clout choose to play up. They chose not to play up Colvin’s
Our media aids and abets our escapist penchants.
received no proper hearing in the country that surrendered Morag to cold-blooded
Hence it took countless rocket barrages, ambushes,
mega-scale gunrunning and violent clashes to impress average Israelis with the
truth – decidedly in defiance of opinion-molders whose latest line is to suggest
that Hamas is a tolerable interlocutor, despite explicitly preaching for our
They must be laughing out loud in Gaza – just like
they were during Colvin’s stopover. It was coincidentally just then that Hamas
chieftain Khaled Mashaal stated in a Lebanese TV interview that “Israel lacks
the stamina to withstand a protracted struggle.”
“Were Israel strong, it
wouldn’t withdraw,” Mashaal explained. “But Israel did withdraw and speaks of
more pullbacks. Israel is in deep crisis. It cannot defeat the Palestinians nor
break their spirit.”
This is the morale-boosting message Israel sends its
foes whenever it dithers and dallies on Iran or when it accedes to the premise
that it must cede strategic assets to still-viable enemies.
armies don’t give up vital holdings, especially in an unconcluded war. That’s
how conventional logic operates. Even Mashaal’s logic. You can’t fault him for
not figuring us out.
You can’t fault Colvin either. Her assumptions about
what should have sent shivers down our spines were based on the norm. Israelis,
though, are an anomaly. No one else like us in the
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