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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The meaning of the destruction of the synagogues of Gaza 

The Associated Press's caption reads:
Thousands of triumphant Palestinians poured into abandoned Jewish settlements early Monday, setting empty synagogues on fire and shooting in the air, as the last Israeli soldier left the Gaza Strip, completing Israel's pullout after 38 years of occupation.

One would think that if the Palestinians had a clue in the world they would realize that the burning of synagogues will not strengthen the political hand of those within Israel who support further withdrawals. The wanton destruction of these synagogues does not seem to advance the interests of the people doing the destroying. Why did the Palestinian Authority permit this barbarism, not just once but several times? It seems to me that there are several possible explanations, none of which reflect well on the Palestinians.

Perhaps the Palestinian Authority wanted to prevent the desecration of the synagogues of Gaza so as to strengthen the peace movement in Israel, but was unable. If so, one would be forced to conclude that the Palestinian Authority cannot secure a few buildings within its territory even when it is in its obvious best interest to do so. If the PA is unable to deliver even this, why should Israel negotiate with it? The PA's agreements would be worthless, and Israel's concessions would be for naught.

However, if the Palestinian Authority was able to prevent the destruction of the synagogues but did not, then we should consider why.

Perhaps the Palestinian Authority was worried that if it prevented the burning of synagogues (which Reuters views as an expression of "joy"), it would lose legitimacy among domestic Palestinian Arabs who believe that the burning of synagogues is entirely understandable. If that is the case, then Israelis are, similarly, entitled to wonder whether the Palestinian Authority will be able to deliver on any commitment that tramples on the sensibilities of Palestinian Arabs.

Or, perhaps the Palestinian Authority believes that if it prevented the burning of synagogues it might lose support from foreign regimes or extra-governmental groups that provide it with support. If that is the case, then the Palestinian Authority has decided to prefer support from foreigners even at the cost of undermining precisely those Israelis who are in the best position to deliver a defined Palestinian state with secure borders. This is evidence for the proposition that the Palestinian Authority is less interested in the establishment of a secure and defined Palestinian state than it is in destroying Israel. When Israelis realize this, it will further weaken the peace movement.

Or, perhaps the Palestinian Authority actually supports the burning of synagogues.

Is there another explanation that I have not thought of? If so, please offer it in the comments.

18 Comments:

By Blogger Patton, at Mon Sep 12, 11:58:00 PM:

You invited other possible explanations, so I logged in to leave one in the comments.

Uh, sorry, I've got nuthin.  

By Anonymous larwyn, at Tue Sep 13, 12:27:00 AM:

"Is there another explanation that I have not thought of? If so, please offer it in the comments."

Dear Tigerhawk,
As you suffer neither from "left stream media" head, nor "palestinian/islamist/terrorism apologist" head,
you have not the expertise
to think of the answers we
will be given.

Of course, now that Bush has murdered all those poor black people - this won't even make the news.

That will by your "explaination".  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Sep 13, 02:12:00 AM:

They were not synagogues anymore, they were just empty buildings (and a political land mine laid by Arik).  

By Blogger LMAE, at Tue Sep 13, 03:59:00 AM:

What an ugly filthy sionist liar you are! It was NOT Oppressed Palestinian Victims (TM) who did the synagogue burning, but Evil Agents of Zionism (TM)!
It's such an evidence and you fell for the trap laid by Great Evilmonger AriKKK Sharon! Fool! Zionist puppy!  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Tue Sep 13, 06:22:00 AM:

Anonymous, that's a very interesting idea -- that a religious building loses its significance once there are no people in it. If so, then why did the Palestinian Arabs burn them instead of converting them into restaurants, movie theaters, or (dare I suggest it) mosques?  

By Anonymous Ruth, at Tue Sep 13, 06:57:00 AM:

Tigerhawk,

although it goes somewhat against the grain I have to correct you: The synagoges were empty not only of people but of any sacred object.

With regard to your question I would like to guide you to Don Radlauer's analysis http://radlauer.blogspot.com/2005/09/great-gaza-strip-synagogue-wimp-out.html

The PA should have demolished the synagogue buildings in an orderly way. On the other hand it is quite obvious that the PA is more or less a fiction and that Gaza will be divided between feuding clans and terror organisations.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Sep 13, 07:12:00 AM:

Those were Mossad operatives.

As you can see, there were no Jews harmed in the destruction of those buildings.

Somebody must have told them to stay home. Who warned them?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Sep 13, 07:25:00 AM:

Even so, does this strengthen or weaken Israeli resolve to keep the West Bank?

My feeling is that when Gaza goes to hell, this will be the excuse to expel all non-Israelis from the West Bank. I'm thinking that Gaza is all they'll get.  

By Blogger Kerry, at Tue Sep 13, 08:27:00 AM:

As I read at Roger Simon, the Israelis did not destroy/demolish the buildings as "several prominent Rabbis argued, Jews cannot destroy synagogues." So despite removing all religious objects, the synagogues retained sufficient reverence to preclude their being destroyed. To the Hurricane Katrina looters, uh... throw a brick into Reginald Denny's head rioters, uh..., stand triumphantly having just beaten into unconsciousness and stomped on the head of just returned from Iraq soldiers in Seattle, uh...Palestinian criiminals, they had only one response to the places of worship of the evil Zionists.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Tue Sep 13, 08:54:00 AM:

The argument that the synagogues had been stripped of religious significance because they contained no sacred object strikes me as irrelevant. First, if that were universally obvious why would the arsonists have burned them, even if overcome with "joy"? Unused churches, synagogues and mosques are usually excellent buildings. Why not turn them into loft apartments? Or bowling alleys? Indeed, if they are devoid of meaning, then why didn't the Arabs burn down all the buildings? Second, does anybody think that the Palestinian Arabs would have been less likely to burn the synagogues if they contained sacred objects? Third, the primary point of my post was not moral (although I obviously condemned the arson as "barbaric," which it is), but that this was a brain dead political move if the objective of the Palestinian Authority was the peaceful recovery of the West Bank. Surely that is so obvious that it proves that the people who are really in control among the Palestinian Arabs have no interest at all in peace with Israel. They want the destruction of Israel.

I'd love to see a sound counter argument, but I have no come up with one yet.  

By Blogger leaddog2, at Tue Sep 13, 10:11:00 AM:

So, Now what?  

By Anonymous Paul H., at Tue Sep 13, 03:33:00 PM:

The synagogues could have been used for mosques; a not inappropriate use for a building that was formerly for sacred usage.

Anybody know if anyone in the PA made an announcement as to such a planned use ahead of time? If not, then I would say the PA authorities were clearly complicit in the destruction, if only by benign neglect.

A historical precedent for this is the Santa Sophia great mosque in Istanbul, formerly a Greek Orthodox church in the Byzantine empire. The Ottomans converted it to a mosque after they conquered the city (instead of destroying it).

I suppose though back then buildings were harder to come by. Undoubtedly the Palestinians are confident that the European Authority and their fellow Arab oil nations will lavishly fund all the new buildings they want; they're probably not wrong.  

By Blogger nellodee, at Tue Sep 13, 06:35:00 PM:

tigerhawk, i think the PA would have stopped the destruction of the synagogues if they could have--they seem unable to stop the destruction of the greenhouses that they negotiated for. Or perhaps the PA allowed the destruction of the synagogues to prevent the destruction of the greenhouses. Seems not to have worked.  

By Blogger Papa Ray, at Tue Sep 13, 09:52:00 PM:

Ah..the question was:

"The meaning of the destruction of the synagogues of Gaza"

The meaning is simple to me and known to almost any person, educated or not.

The Arabs hate the Jews and anything connected to them.

Forever and ever.

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA  

By Anonymous Ruth, at Wed Sep 14, 01:42:00 AM:

Of course, Papa Ray is correct.

The synagogues were burnt as symbos for the hated Jews. ("Reichskristallnacht" is an appropriate association.) Israel did not demolish the synagogues mainly (there also were rabbinacal opinions allowing it) to let the world see how the Palestinians really relate to anything Jewish (and how little control the PA has in the Gaza strip). Of course, the world aka Reuters, AP etc. prefer to close both eyes hard and to reinterpret the burning of synagogues as "joy"! That we were willing to use the synagogue buildings as bait in this trap shows that we do not regard the sacrilege as overwhelming. We took care to evacuate the dead because we could not have suffered the unavoidable desecrating of our graves.  

By Blogger Sabba Hillel, at Thu Sep 15, 03:22:00 PM:

I should point out that the MSM printed articles against the removal of the graves. They castigated the Israelis for the horrible assumption that the poor Palestinians would desecrate the grave sites.

I suppose that we should not say "We told you so", but ...

They also castigated the Israelis for not having torn down the synagogues in order to make the palestinians look bad when they (the Palestinians) would destroy them.  

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