Amir Taheri (Image: Twitter.com/AmirTaheri4/photo)

Iranian Journalist Comes Out Against The Demand To End The Gaza War Before It Has Been Decided, Attacks Hamas: No Organization Has The Right To Kill At Will

In his March 22, 2024 column in the London-based daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Iranian journalist and author Amir Taheri, who resides in the U.S., came out strongly against the solidarity with Hamas expressed around the world after the October 7 attack on Isael, and against the calls to end the Gaza war before it has been decided. Noting that October 7 was a “razzia” – a surprise attack aimed at eliminating the enemy – Taheri states that claiming to be a “freedom fighter” shouldn’t mean a license to kill at will, nor does it exempt one from observing minimal standards of morality. Other razzias in history, he says, such as the attack on Pearl Harbor or the 9/11 attacks, led the U.S. and the West to retaliate harshly yet did not prompt protests or displays of solidarity with the perpetrators.

Taheri adds that the international elements now trying to stop the Gaza war forget that defeating armed organizations is a lengthy affair. Moreover, treating the Palestinian issue as idiosyncratic, and the unprecedented perpetuation of the Palestinians’ refugee status for four generations have only harmed the Palestinians and have not contributed to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Taheri concludes by stating that holding indirect negotiations with Hamas and presenting it as a legitimate partner, as the Biden administration is doing, is a grave mistake that legitimizes attacks like the one of October 7.

The following is his article, as published in the English edition of Al-Sharq Al-Awsat.[1]

Those Who Demand A Speedy End To The War Forget That Defeating Armed Organizations Is A Lengthy Affair

“Although the tragic narrative that started with Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel isn’t yet completed, do-gooders and virtue-signalers are rushing to write their postscripts. British and European Union leaders say the time has come to formally accept the creation of a Palestinian state. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and EU foreign policy tsar Josep Borrel even suggest that the Security Council pass a resolution to make that mandatory, adding to the 230 resolutions already passed on the issue. Meanwhile, Major-General Ismail Qaani, chief of the Quds Corps of the Islamic Republic in Tehran, promises to ‘rebuild Gaza stronger than before as an advance post against world Zionism.’ The Biden administration in Washington is making favorable noises about the two-state ‘solution’ while musing about regime change, albeit in Israel.

“Some pundits assert that the Gaza war has already lasted too long and should be brought to a speedy end before it produces a definite winner and loser… Pundits in the Parisian daily Le Monde advocate the two-state solution as if it were a newly discovered flavor. They forget that the so-called ‘solution’ has been there since 1947 and has led nowhere because those directly involved don’t want it. As a reporter, I covered the so-called ‘peace talks’ from the Madrid Conference in 1991 until it petered out as a sorrowful farce. For over a decade, the two-state solution was on the agenda without anyone telling us where those imaginary states would be located.

“British and European pundits are also ‘concerned’ about the length of the Gaza war and urge unspecified action to shorten it. They forget that fighting armed groups that wish to impose their agenda by ‘irregular warfare’ – to put it in a politically correct manner as the BBC does – cannot be conceived in terms of a short theatrical sketch. It took the British 11 years to extinguish the fire of ‘irregular fighters’ in Malaya. The fight against [the communist guerilla organization] Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) in Peru took almost 30 years. In Colombia, the M19 took 20 years to die. The FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) did better by hanging on for almost 40 years. Uruguay managed to kill the Tupamaros in five years. India partly calmed down the ‘freedom fighters’ of Nagaland after a 40-year war while it continues to face an even more tenacious adversary in Kashmir. Turkey has been fighting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) for more than 30 years. In Burma Karen ‘freedom fighters’ have been at war with the Rangoon junta for almost half a century.

“Claiming to be a ‘freedom fighter’ shouldn’t mean a license to kill at will. Even the ‘oppressed’ have certain duties and must observe some rules while, as history has shown, the tyranny of the underdog could be as deadly as that of the oppressor…

“The question today is why, when no time limit is imposed on conventional war until a victor emerges, should war against an insurgent group [like Hamas] be subjected to calendar-based shenanigans?

“The 7 October attack on Israel was a razzia, an Italian word that has entered most European languages. In fact, the origin of razzia is the Arabic word ghazwa which means a sudden no-holds-bar attack on a single-set of targets in the hope of knocking out an adversary. The sinking of the cruiser Lusitania during the First World War in May 1915 was a razzia as was the Pearl Harbor attack on 7 December 1941. Those two razzias pushed the United States into two world wars. The 9/11 attacks of 2001 on the US were four coordinated razzias. Each of those razzias led to the destruction of perpetrators, sometimes, as in the case of the August 7 attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki or the carpet-bombing of Dresden [during World War II], with far greater fury.

“Payback after those razzias didn’t produce sympathy for the perpetrators. People in the so-called democracies didn’t march to stop action against those who had sunk Lusitania, bombed Pearl Harbor, and turned part of London into heaps of rubble. Harvard and Princeton luminaries didn’t protest when the US launched its ‘war on terror’ to avenge 9/11.

Perpetuating The Palestinians’ Refugee Status Makes No Sense

“No one denies that for over seven decades Palestinians have suffered a great deal. But is the way to end or a least alleviate their suffering to exempt their self-imposed political organizations from observing a minimum of ethical rules even if their adversary didn’t always reciprocate? Treating the Palestinian issue as if it were an exception to all rules has done great harm to Palestinians. They have become the first people in history to have four generations frozen in the status of refugees. World War II produced over 30 million refugees all of whom acquired new abodes within a decade. The partition of India produced 14 million refugees, again, seeing all of them re-settled in less than a decade. Since 1959 more than 10 million Cubans have been driven out of their homeland and settled in a dozen countries notably the United States.

“Does it make any sense to have refugee camps even in Gaza which was free of Israeli occupation for two decades? Or in the West Bank governed by the Palestinian Authority? Is it humane to turn being a refugee into a profession with UNWRA as the franchise holder?

“Do those who encourage Hamas by marching in its support know what percentage of Palestinians it represents and, more importantly, whether those who do support it also approve of the 7 October razzia? The Biden administration is making a big mistake by implicitly upgrading Hamas as a legitimate partner through regional allies, thus creating the illusion that razzias like the October 7 one could still produce at least a lollipop for perpetrators”.

[1] English.aawsat.com, March 22, 2024.

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