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The backstairs door into the evil of Gaza

Who oppresses Gaza? ‘Magic words’ provide the answer

What is the truth about life in Gaza between 2005, when Israel withdrew unilaterally, and Oct. 7, 2023? Two phrases answer the question.

Can a few words convey the mental set of a large population? Consider the insight of the late Yale historian, Carl Becker, who noted that “magic words” disclose how people formulate and respond to large issues. Here is Becker:

“If we would discover the little backstairs door that for any age serves as the secret entranceway to knowledge, we will do well to look for certain unobtrusive words with uncertain meanings that are permitted to slip off the tongue or the pen without fear and without research; words which, having from their constant repetition lost their metaphorical significance, are unconsciously mistaken for objective realities. . . . In each age these magic words have their entrances and their exits. And how unobtrusively they come and go out! We should scarcely be aware either of their approach or their departure, except for a slight feeling of discomfort, a shy self-consciousness in using them . . . ”

We might substitute and say: “ . . . a slight feeling of discomfort in hearing others use them.”


Here is the first phrase, a mere two words, that is revelatory of the hold of Hamas barbarism over Gaza. The phrase appears in one paragraph of an Associated Press story (printed locally on Nov. 6) about Israel’s alleged bombing of the Maghazi refugee camp, in which, according to Hamas, 40 people were killed. An AP reporter, not on the scene but at a “nearby hospital,” quoted a resident of the camp:

“It was a true massacre. All here are peaceful people. I challenge anyone who says there were resistance (fighters) here.”

For our purposes, we shall ignore the lack of credibility in Hamas’ report of casualties and also take the camp resident at his word that he and others in the camp are peaceful people. But who else lives in Gaza? “Resistance fighters.”

Here is an example of the unobtrusive phrase — a mere two words — unconsciously mistaken for objective reality in Gaza. The fighters in Gaza who murdered and mutilated Israelis on Oct. 7 were “resistance fighters.” What this resident took to be objective reality slipped off the tongue without fear or research.

How so? Research shows the objective reality to be very different from the justification of “resistance” against Israel. Israel withdrew from all of Gaza in 2005 in recognition that there was no Palestinian partner with whom to advance toward a negotiated settlement over Gaza.

Further research shows that Israel blockaded Gaza only in response to the terrorism that emanated from there — tens of deadly attacks in the very months leading up to Israel’s withdrawal, including a suicide bombing at the Karni crossing that killed six Israelis (followed by attacks on ambulances coming to rescue the 10 to 20 wounded). The Karni crossing was the exit point for Gaza farmers to export their crops to Europe. By launching terror attacks there, Palestinian Gazans (and Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah) undermined their own economic prospects.

According to this self-professed peaceful resident of the camp in Gaza (again, taking him at his word), the only people whom Israel should have targeted were fighters who “resisted” Israel, as if the objective reality were that Israel, not Hamas, oppressed Gazans. However:

• It is Hamas that absconded with foreign aid to help build “the metro,” the network of Gaza’s terror tunnels.

• It is Hamas that artificially restricted the amount of humanitarian aid that could enter Gaza.

• It is Hamas that did not build a viable Gazan economy, preferring to focus on Israel’s destruction (while not building bomb shelters to protect Gazans against Israel’s self-defense against Hamas terror).

• It is Hamas that confined many Gazans to refugee camps.

• It is Hamas that broke the ceasefire of Oct. 6, 2023, inviting war.

All this is absent in the unobtrusive, revealing reference to “resistance fighters” against Israel.

There it is: According to this self-professed peaceful resident of a camp in Gaza, the people in Gaza are divided in two: nonviolent residents, and others who resist Israel rather then their oppressor, Hamas.


Here is the second phrase that reveals the mindset in Gaza: “Western nations.”

A essay in the Los Angeles Times by a 26-year-old resident of Gaza is a cri-de-coeur of a pregnant woman terrified of giving birth in Gaza. Conditions are terrible. All she can do is to pray for “the safety of my unborn child and for a cease-fire and end to Israel’s attacks on Gaza.” We feel sorry for her plight. What caused it? She writes:

“Why have Western governments abandoned us?”

Western governments. Her own government, Hamas, did not abandon her. Her own government did not bring down all this destruction on itself by launching a savage attack on Israel in an attempt to wipe it out.

Her plight is a matter of Israeli attacks and international indifference. “Western governments”: Carl Becker’s “unobtrusive words . . . that are permitted to slip off the tongue or the pen without fear and without research; words which, having from their constant repetition lost their metaphorical significance, are unconsciously mistaken for objective realities. . .”

Yes, it is possible to discern the truth about life in Gaza since 2005 from the little backstairs door that serves as the secret entranceway into this evil and totalitarian kingdom called “Hamas,” the sole rulers of Gaza since 2007, oppressing Gazans to this day, indeed, especially today.

Copyright © 2023 by the Intermountain Jewish News

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