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After two consecutive weeks of incessant pounding of Israeli cities by Palestinian missile attacks – more than 150 in one six-day period – Israeli Defense Forces are back on the offensive. The IDF stepped up air attacks in the Gaza Strip, and promised to target the Hamas leadership in an effort to stem the wave of attacks on its cities.
National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer defended the action. He told Israel Radio, “I don’t distinguish between those who carry out the attacks and those who give the orders. I say we have to put them all in the crosshairs.” Thousands of Hamas supporters took to the streets of Gaza City vowing revenge one day after an Israeli air strike on the home of Hamas politician Khalil al-Hayya.
Seven members of Hayya’s family were killed in the strike, though al-Hayya himself escaped. The Palestinian press made much of the fact that al-Hayya’s family was killed, but no one seemed to begrudge the fact that al-Hayya went underground beforehand, leaving his family in harm’s way while he protected himself.
At the funeral service, Palestinian Prime Minister and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, said, “We will keep to the same path until we win one of two goals: victory or martyrdom.” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas planned a trip to Gaza Thursday to speak to leaders about maintaining law and order. Maintaining law and order? How can they maintain what doesn’t exist? He should talk to them about Establishing law and order!
Even more ridiculous is Abbas’ effort to blame Israel for the conduct of his government. He told reporters in Ramallah: “The Israelis are required to exercise restraint to stop their aggression against the Palestinian people or else they will be held accountable and responsible for the deterioration of the security situation in Gaza. ” Is he kidding?
It would be laughable had the media not duly reported his comments as if they made sense. In another incident, at least four members of Islamic Jihad, on their way to launch rockets at Israel, were killed in an air strike that destroyed their car near the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya. Abu Ahmed, the spokesman for Islamic Jihad, didn’t deny what the so-called victims were up to when they were killed.
Instead, he told reporters, “The Zionist attack will not stop rocket fire against Zionist towns. Leaders of the Zionist enemy will pay a price.” Once again, this illogical nonsense was repeated by the Western press without question. Let’s stop for a moment and make a few of the observations the journalists should have made. Since the Palestinians vow to attack Israeli towns anyway, what further price can Ahmed possibly be talking about?
Put another way, Ahmed is simply saying, “We vow to attack you at every opportunity.” But if you defend yourself, we’ll get so angry that we will attack you even more furiously because your defense causes conflict among us. And causing conflict among us will trigger more attacks. I’ve heard this kind of convoluted logic firsthand. Yet the vehemence with which such hatred-driven, illogical thinking is presented still staggers my mind. It also makes me question the qualifications or objectivity of the members of the mainstream media who repeat this stuff without question.
The Israeli online magazine DEBKAfile recently published a report by its military experts. They proposed that Israel must now revert to “unorthodox military tactics” against the Gaza-based terror organizations to halt the deluge of Qassam rocket attacks raining down on its civilian population. “Conventional warfare” is no longer an option in light of the massive amount of modern weaponry smuggled into Gaza since Israel’s withdrawal. It would be impossible for the IDF to effectively combat the huge store of weapons, ammunition, lethal anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles stored in and fired from the cover of a heavy civilian population without the use of massive firepower.
Those tactics and overwhelming firepower would result in the deaths of tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians in a conventional war. To complicate matters even further, Gaza is now swarming with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and al-Qaida operatives that have all mingled in the midst of the civilian population. Taken together, these factors make conventional war unacceptable in Israel’s present situation.
Furthermore, the Israelis themselves would never sanction such perceived brutality – even though their enemies would wipe out every Jewish man, woman and child without a second thought if they could. Debka intelligence sources report, “Iranian and Hezbollah advisers are telling them (Hamas) how to combat a substantial Israeli ground-tank incursion. They must go underground and wage a guerrilla-terrorist war equivalent to the Iraqi insurgent campaign against U.S. troops.”
This dilemma has caused some veteran Israeli military leaders to once again reach for help from a little-known Englishman. This British military figure from the past did more to develop the leaders and tactics of the IDF than any other person.
Debka quotes Israeli military sources: “Israelis have defeated Arab terror before. In the 1930s, the English military genius Orde Charles Wingate taught Jewish paramilitary defenders his Special Night Squads tactics for turning Arab guerrilla methods against them. Nothing much has changed in 71 years, except for the fact that today, Israel has a strong army of its own and does not need British or other international force to defend its sovereign territory. All that is needed is a government with resolve that lets the military do its job.”
Israeli military intelligence is reportedly using Wingate’s guerilla training doctrine to turn Hamas’ tactics against them. The plans call for inserting small, highly trained guerilla squads behind Palestinian lines on lightening-like hit-and-run missions.
These squads will use guerilla tactics adapted to a number of new, sophisticated technical weapons developed for this purpose. They will destroy ammunition dumps, weapons workshops, bomb-making facilities, missile manufacturing plants and command centers. The plans also call for around-the-clock ambushes against Palestinian fighters and their commanders.
The goal is to make them confused, anxious and exhausted. Fighting and decisively winning a conventional battle in Gaza now would result in massive civilian casualties. Israeli society will not accept that. That’s an object lesson in the difference between the moral integrity of the God of Israel and the god of Islam. The only other option available is to fight fire with fire – or in this case, guerrilla tactics with guerilla tactics. Hamas and its allies have opened Pandora’s Box. I’m afraid they’re not going to like what they find inside.
When I read DEBKAfile’s reference to British Maj. Gen. Orde Charles Wingate’s help to the Jews, I was immediately intrigued. He was a person who apparently greatly helped the Palestinian Jews at a critical time in their history. So I ran a search on his personal life. It proved to be a fascinating surprise.
I am indebted to Joseph M. Hochstein and Ami Isseroff’s excellent summary of his biography. I first wanted to know why Wingate helped the Jews at a time when the vast majority of British military officers and Foreign Ministry officials were pro-Arab and almost outright anti-Jewish. Here is the key I found to his incredible life.
Wingate was born Feb. 26, 1903 in India. His father was a British officer and his mother came from a missionary family. Both parents were members of the non-denominational Plymouth Brethren Church, founded by J.N. Darby. This was a movement – originating in Ireland and England during the 1820s and 1830s – that recovered the literal interpretation of Bible prophecy. Thus they firmly believed that all the unconditional covenants to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants were still binding and could not be given to the Church.
This refuted the doctrine that had been taught in the churches for more than 1,400 years – that Israel had forfeited its covenants and God had given them to the Church. Wingate was thoroughly schooled in these truths and believed in the restoration of the Jewish people to their land in the last days – as predicted by Moses, Isaiah, Ezekiel and most of the other prophets.
This movement also had a profound influence on some members of the British Parliament, including Lords Lindsay and Balfour. They introduced a motion to provide the Jews with a homeland in Palestine. In 1936, then-Capt. Wingate was assigned to Palestine as an intelligence officer. His first task was to seek to settle the Arab campaign of riots, massacres and attacks against both British Mandate officials and Jewish communities, known later as the “Palestine Arab Revolt. ”
He discovered that Grand Mufti Haj Amin El-Husseini, a friend of Adolf Hitler, instigated these. Because of his faith, he sought out the Zionist leaders and offered to help them. At first they were suspicious of him because of the traditional British disdain for the Jews. Wingate became fluent in Hebrew and finally convinced the Jews that he was a true and valuable ally. His genius as a military tactician soon impressed them.
He proposed and later received approval for a plan to create small and mobile units of elite volunteers. He wrote, “There is only one way to deal with the situation, to persuade the gangs that, in their predatory raids, there is every chance of their running into a government gang which is determined to destroy them. ” The units would carry the offensive to the enemy, take away his initiative and keep him off-balance – “and produce in their minds the belief government forces will move at night and can and will surprise them either in villages or across country.”
He planned a mix of British and Jewish commandos. Night operations would give them the advantages of shock and surprise. He would base his force in Jewish communities rather than at British bases. The Jewish police and the Haganah had good intelligence contacts and knew the land. The British had the formal training, the equipment and official support. In many respects his plan dovetailed with what the Haganah was already attempting to do.
After considerable resistance by other British officers, the brilliant Gen. Archibald Wavell approved his plan. Wingate’s guerrillas, known as the “Special Night Squads,” immediately had great success and destroyed the grand mufti’s terror campaign. Wingate trained such later Israeli generals as Moshe Dayan and Yigal Yadin. Perhaps his contribution to Israel can best be appreciated by the praises given him by leaders on the occasion of his untimely death at the age of 41 in a 1944 plane crash in Burma.
By the way, though a British officer, his accomplishments in the Asian theater in World War II earned him great respect in America, too. In fact, he is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Winston Churchill said, “There was a man of genius who might well have become also a man of destiny. ” Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, wrote, “Wingate would have been Israel’s first military chief of staff, if he had lived. ”
Heroic Gen. Moshe Dayan said, “Wingate taught us everything we know. ” Gen. Yigal Yadin said of Wingate, “His basic contribution – and it was a great one – was to teach us that warfare is a science and an art at the same time. He was the perfect example of the military man. …”
Gen. Orde Charles Wingate is recognized for laying the foundation for the Israeli Defense Force. Until his death, Wingate kept a Bible with him at all times.
As one Jewish observer said, “He seemed focused on defending the Jews with an intensity that the Zionists usually did not understand.” This man remains a great example of faith to us all.
He did not compromise his beliefs for personal advancement, and his military genius is still helping God’s chosen people, more than 60 years after his death.
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