What the Egyptians are about to do to Hamas

As you can tell from this blog's posters and badges, I am no fan of the HAMAS movement. The political capture of Islam by the forces of hate, exclusion and anger has been an ongoing process since the humiliation of the Arab world in the face of Israel's embattled and determined armies in 1967, if not since the Egyptian tortures of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1953. I am also not best convinced of a case often bruited about on the left that Israel is at the root of many of the Middle East's problems. Israel, after all, has a right to exist and a sovereignty to defend.

A traumatised country of 3% of its region with a relatively free press and elections that responds in the way Israel does to hatred and the physical threat of more bombs than the London blitz raining down from rockets on its cities and villages isn't the craziest or most unrestrained of places. 'Militants' even use google earth to target Jews. China bans youtube access when citizens look at pictures of sneezing pandas, apparently. Here are the regulations, which are legal and not unusual in the world, from the xinhua news agency.

Yet the consensus seems to have arisen that when surrounded by the likes of Syria, Saudi Arabia and Sudan, in its wider orbit, let alone Iran, Israel should somehow be ashamed of itself.

Consensus, of course, as the great Abba Eban once said, is a name for a proposition that people uphold collectively because they would never dare to try and defend it individually. Crucifixions are still legal punishments in Iran, as is stoning, hanging, beheading and amputation. There are credible reports of over 2000 crucifixions in Sudan as a consequence of the Jihadi war on black Christians there. Read me no lectures.

Nevertheless, I've been intrigued by the quiet from Israel at the destruction of the border between Egypt and Gaza this week. Egypt of course used to run Gaza until 1967. Were it to run the place again, or to achieve the sort of hold over it that Syria occasionally demonstrates over Lebanon, the first people to become product testers for semtex car seats will be Hamas leaders. There won't be any western media outrage about that, or BBC fulminations either. It wouldn't be the case that that is precisely what Israel's saner leaders are hoping for, would it?

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