Demonizing one’s enemies is as old as humans have had them. Not only human to human, but to all manner of creatures who might occasion us harm. Sharks for example are not ‘man eaters’. Their main diet isn’t man. Nor is man the diet of lions, tigers or crocodiles et al. It’s just that they’re hungry and we are sometimes, very rarely, a tasty morsel that happens to be in their environment at lunch time.
Why do we call them ‘man eaters’, when we constitute an immeasurably minuscule fraction of their diet? To scare the kids into being careful when they’re in the ‘man eaters’ domain at a guess. It is after all why we tell kids to be careful when they’re in or near traffic. Eventually, we learn. Don’t play in the traffic, don’t swim in the crocodile’s pool. Are people forever children when it comes to ‘man eaters’? Some people remain naive to either the actual diet of these beasties or to the actual proportions of the problem. With a little thought, most people come to the conclusion that it is only the occasional human venturing into the beasties domain who becomes a part of the beasty’s diet. Even children can understand that much. Out of this understanding grows a respect for the animal kingdom. A healthy respect, where we have our place and they theirs respectfully. Very respectfully.
When it comes to humanity though, a very different picture seems to emerge. Our human enemies are demonized when we are in their territory or they’re in ours or when we fear they might be in our territory. Much of it is just propaganda. Propaganda always has a hole in it somewhere. It’s either shown not to be true by prior events, like the trashing of the glasshouses in Gaza, or by contrary statements or some other information coming to light after the event, that shows it to be, well…..just propaganda or outright LIES!
For a starters, let’s look at one of the most commonly held beliefs about Hamas. “Hamas do not wear uniforms!” Is this true or is it a fairy tale from a fallacy factory? It is repeated over and over, as though it is a ‘fact’. So, is it? Seems not. From the mouths of Israel’s leaders, we have contrary evidence. Israeli Knesset :“You can see on television that most of those who died during the attack were wearing Hamas uniforms, either black or other uniforms of Hamas.” Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni on December 28, 2008 Israeli Knesset.
One would have thought that if Israel’s Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tzipi Livni, can see these uniforms, the public would too. Does believing propaganda make one blind?
The IDF also tenders contrary evidence. Dec 27: IDF operation against terror infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. “Since this morning, the IDF attacked dozens of targets affiliated with the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip. The targets included command centers, training camps, various Hamas installations, rocket manufacturing facilities and storage warehouses. The vast majority of the casualties are terror operatives, most of whom were wearing uniform and working on behalf of terror organizations.”
One might gather from this information that most do actually wear uniforms. Yet it is repeated over and over ad nauseum, that Hamas do not wear uniforms.
So just where is the legal requirement to wear a uniform stated? It doesn’t appear in any Laws or Conventions! In fact, an emblem is required. Not a uniform. The Laws of War – Article 1: ”To have a fixed distinctive emblem recognizable at a distance“. Common sense tells us why. For example, why are combat fatigues camouflaged? Even in the most law abiding militaries, Combat Fatigues are camouflaged. They’re camouflaged so that the enemy CAN’T see them! Who can see the uniform of a pilot in a fighter plane or combatants in a tank or a ship off of Gaza’s Coast? Added to which, enemy armies might have similar or even identical military fatigues. An army might have many different uniform configurations, depending on the conditions. A legitimate militia (per the Laws of War), may not have the resources to afford a uniform. That’s why there is no legal requirement to wear a uniform, but display a distinctive emblem.
Another requirement, is: “To carry arms openly”. Do any country’s undercover operatives A) wear a uniform OR B) carry their arms openly?
Are we to believe Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni a liar? Or the IDF liars? A search with google reveals that Hezbollah also wear uniforms. What are we to make of this? If the Hamas mantra is a lie or propaganda, what else is being spouted by either naive folk or propaganda meisters for Israel? Can we believe anything they say?
Not much actually. They’ve had 61 years of practice at the Fallacy Factory. A litany of fallacy litters history of the Israeli Palestinian conflict.