Friday 22 December 2023

The Intruder.

“They fell here, first.”

ARIEL LEANED AGAINST the broken gate of the kibbutz and sighed. Better here, he told himself for the umpteenth time, than across the border in Gaza. No more bullets would be fired here. Everywhere Ariel looked, the evidence of how many bullets had been fired already could hardly be missed. In the pock-marked stucco of the dining-hall walls. Around the gaping windows of the nearest house. On 7 October there had been bullets flying everywhere, and far too many of them had been stopped by Israeli flesh and Israeli bone.

Ariel hunched his shoulders automatically as a fighter-bomber roared overhead. They travelled so fast that the human eye could hardly track them – not when they flew so low. In a few seconds, somewhere across the fence, bombs would be tearing apart someone’s home. All of the occupants’ most cherished possessions; all their tangible links to people and places long since swallowed by the past; everything would be reduced to a heap of charred debris and dust.

His gaze travelled back to the charred remains of the kibbutz’s implement-shed: to the blackened stumps of melted machinery. Behind what had once been a tractor, the Special Forces had found the bodies of an entire family. Ariel looked away. He felt the thump of the bombs through the soles of his army boots.

“An eye for an eye”, he muttered to himself, as the sun descended towards the Mediterranean, and the darkness under the trees thickened.

“Will leave the whole world blind.”

“Who goes there! Identify yourself immediately! I am authorised to employ deadly force!”

Ariel swung his rifle from right to left, and back again, squinting down the barrel into the shadows under the trees.

“Shalom, my brother, Shalom. You have nothing to fear from me.”

The face that emerged from the gloom was an unnerving mixture of youth and age. It’s owner’s raised hands were empty.

“I am Jeshua – though others have called me differently.”

“Your ID Card, please ‘Jeshua’, said Ariel, his rifle levelled at the stranger’s chest, “and an explanation for why you are loitering here in the gloom, so close to the Border Fence.”

“Where else would you expect to find me? With fear singeing the evening air, and death so close at hand? Where else should I be, if not among the falling bombs, the shattered homes, the broken bodies? Among so many lives cut short?”

“They fell here, first.” Ariel muttered darkly.

“Yes, they did”, the stranger replied softly. “They fell here first.”

“If you were here to see them fall, ‘Jeshua’, then you can only be Hamas.”

“Oh, I can be many more things than that, Ariel!” The stranger’s voice cleaved the darkness like an axe. And, with a barely discernible flick of his fingers, the rifle twisted violently in Ariel’s hands and clattered to the ground.

“I stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and watched as the Crusader knights butchered Muslim, Christian and Jew without distinction. I cowered behind a garden wall at Deir Yassin when the Jewish militia opened fire with their machine-guns. And yes, I watched as Hamas crept through this very olive grove, their eyes alight with the lust for Jewish blood. There is no cruelty of human devising that I have not witnessed, Ariel. If you would learn my identity, then consult the Torah, open the Bible, read the Koran.”

“Who are you?”, whispered the Israeli soldier. “What are you?”

“I am why this land is called holy.”, the stranger replied. “In just a few days the Christians will celebrate my birth – back in the days when Gaza was a thriving port city and Herod was collecting its custom duties. In a few months from now they’ll remember my death – just another crucified rebel. One of many. And you, you stiff-necked Jews, you will remember the destruction of the Temple and the long separation of God’s chosen people from their promised land.”

“And the Arabs? The Muslims? They also count this place holy.”

“Indeed, they do, Ariel,” replied the stranger, dissolving back into the shadows, “and you Israelis are making it even holier to them with every renewed assault, with every stolen life.”

High above Ariel, the last rays of the sun flashed upon the stubby wings of an F-35 Lightning as it stooped towards Gaza City’s shattered streets.

This short story was originally published in The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 22 December 2023.


Gary Peters said...

These are the words of an Hammas leader.

"We will come to you, God willing, in a roaring flood. We will come to you with endless rockets, we will come to you in a limitless flood of soldiers, we will come to you with millions of our people, like the repeating tide,"

I'd love those calling for a one sided ceasefire to explain to me how peace can be achieved through rhetoric like that.

David George said...

Yes Gary, I don't think many appreciate the Islamists Jew hate and bloodlust or quite how, given that, peaceful coexistence is likely or even possible. The persecution and ethnic cleansing of Jewish people in the Middle East and North Africa over many centuries is testament to that. There is now only one Jew left in Yemen (from 50,000 a hundred years ago) - he's imprisoned and regularly tortured.

That aside there is hope in some quarters - a fascinating recent essay:

Gary Peters said...

Merry Christmas Chris to yourself and family.

Thankyou for your blog. While we are not always on the same page I do feel we are usually reading the same book, just with slightly differently timted glasses.

Your blog has been a standout in a world full of biased, bigoted and ignorant writers. Long may it continue to entertain, educate and provoke.



John Hurley said...

Jordan Peterson: "I don't think you can have a war without a moral quandary; a war is the consequence of an unsolvable moral quandary".
I have tended to identify with Israel since my youth. Was it Exodus or Wilbur Smith or was it bible stories? I associate Islam with Charles Doughty getting hit on the head by a revolver because he was an infidel (as you do). I see Islam as a horde (Selly's No More Gaps).
The SJW contingent (it appears) are prone to think in a good/bad binary. The left believes in a melting pot (Bosnia occurred because of hate speech).

An interesting thing on The Platform. Winston was about to be interviewed.
When Winston chose Labour in 2017 he justified it by "all around the country people felt we could and should be doing far better; that there are far too many people living in degraded and poor circumstances in this country and too many people who are out of touch". On housing he said "well first of all I expect there to be fewer people coming here". There is your Farage and Trump.

Sean missed out the last sentence "I don't know what you mean by that. Ring in?"
Two days before was Bob Jones whose views are indistinguishable from John Key.
The next day a heart-rending call from "Disco" who is one of 90 people living on leasehold land owned by Ngai tahu.

Brendan McNeill said...

Genesis chapter 12: (About 4,000 years ago)

1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

2 “I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.[a]
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”[b]

4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, (Israel) and they arrived there.

.... Followed by Israel's disobedience and resulting captivity to Babylon, their restoration to their land of Israel, the rebuilding of the temple, Roman occupation, then 2000 years of dispersion amongst the nations, but always the hope of restoration to their land:

Ezekiel chapter 36: (written about 580 bc)

24 “‘For I will take you (the Jews) out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. (this took place in 1948)
25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 28 Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; (a 4,000 year old promise to Abrim (Abraham), you will be my people, and I will be your God.

Regardless of Hamas, Hezbollah the global jihad, the UN, the hatred of the nations, Israel is not going anywhere any time soon.

New view said...

If Ariel was one of the majority of Jews who follow God rather than Jesus he likely would change his beliefs after his encounter with Jeshua. The immediate hurt of the death and destruction is as real as the last clash between these peoples and will be kept alive by the next clash. It insures the conflict continues into the future. One wonders what would exist there today if the Arab nations and Palestinians had accepted the boarders and areas that were drawn up by the British after WW2. Regardless of the fairness of it I wonder if there would have been relative peace or whether Iran and the like would have made sure there wasn’t.

CXH said...

So the stranger only remembers back to the crusaders? He is just a pup yapping at the heels of life, with a similar understanding.

Jason Barrier said...

Merry Christmas Chris. You have carved out a niche as the most thoughtful and artful political commentator in New Zealand. Whereas so many others simply reinforce existing left and right prejudices, your articles consistently challenge and surprise and lead us out of our incarcerating thought-siloes. Thanks.

David George said...

Yes, Merry Christmas Chris. I've thoroughly enjoyed your writing and have real respect for your witty and courageous confronting of the questions we face.

A great new essay from Paul Kingsnorth concludes:

"Our crumbling culture can be so hard to navigate. Religion can be hard to navigate too. But maybe Christmas can help us understand what it is, and what part of us it services. Religion is not, as atheists often assume and I once assumed too, a set of beliefs to be adhered to, or arguments to be made and defended. It is an experience to be immersed in. The orthopraxy reveals the orthodoxy. Fasting makes no sense until you fast. Praying is meaningless, even embarrassing, until you start to pray. If the Christian path is straight and narrow, we can do nothing but try to walk it, even if we keep falling off. God makes no sense until you start to talk to him. Then, strangely enough, all sorts of other things start to make sense too. It is hard, if not impossible to explain, and yet it is the simplest thing in the world. We have always done it. We always will.

I remember the first time I tentatively stepped into an Orthodox church to attend a Divine Liturgy. I had no idea what to do, or what to expect, or whether I even really wanted to be there. From the outside, to the Western mind, it all looks intimidatingly Byzantine — not to mention extremely long. But something happens when you stand, immersed in it all. You come to feel as if you are being carried down a great timeless river to an almost unfathomable destination that you could never reach on your own. But of course, you are not on your own. Not now. You will never be on your own again. You have come home."

Anonymous said...


Quite frankly I will tell Kingsforth where to stuck his religion. Its just a tool for social control, to tell people what they can and cannot do, what they can and cannot think and who they can and cannot associate with. It represses women, gays and other minorities and seeks to deprive people of pleausure.

And I will gladly tell you where to stick yours.

BTW: All Orthodox women have to cover their hair. A religon that tell woman how they can dress or not to show any of their feminimity, is barbaric. Plain and simple. The Communists were quite right to ban it, and I wish that the USSR and Warsaw Pact never fell


David George said...

Thanks Millsy, and a Merry Christmas to you.

You're wrong about the modesty codes. I'm not Orthodox Christian though I am attracted and intrigued by it, largely thanks to two of it's modern disciples Jonathon Pageau and Paul Kingsnorth. Two finer gentlemen would be hard to find.

Paul: "I grew up believing in things which I now look on very differently. To put career before family. To accumulate wealth as a marker of status. To treat sex as recreation. To reflexively mock authority and tradition. To put individual desire before community responsibility. To treat the world as so much dead matter to be interrogated by the scientific process. To assume our ancestors were thicker than us. I did all of this, or tried to, for years. Most of us did, I suppose.

What happens, then, if you feast without fasting? What happens if your culture encourages you to feast every day, because your economy is predicated on endless, consumer-driven growth? Probably the same thing that happens if you decide that all borders, boundaries and limits, be they economic, social, sexual or cultural, must be torn down in the name of “freedom”. It’s like taking a child to a sweet shop and allowing him to eat anything he wants. For a while it’s fantastic, and then it isn’t. More, it turns out, is not actually better. More just makes you sick."

David George said...

There's a determination, in some quarters, to believe the lie that Hamas & Co are persuing the "liberation of Palestine". The demise of Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, Yazidis and Armenians throughout the Islamic world suggests something far more sinister. It's Cain and Able, the evil of resentment and hate promoted as a fight for justice.

So how do people justify their support for the cruelist murders and rapists imaginable?

"while left- and right-wing antisemitism are connected and both are very dangerous, it is the left-wing variety that poses the greatest threat. The reason is that left-wing antisemitism today is buttressed by a powerful, all-encompassing ideology that has significant support on social media and in the academy.

This ideology divides the world into oppressors and oppressed, and assumes that moral righteousness always lies with the latter. It assesses the moral value of an action not on its own terms but based on the identity of the agent, asking not “Is this right?” but “Does it help the victimized class?” What is worse, if an action is thought to aid the downtrodden, it becomes acceptable to violate the most basic rights of those deemed to be their oppressors, including the rights of free speech and physical security.

Before Oct. 7, these warnings were usually met with skepticism. How, I was asked, can you compare the Ku Klux Klan-like hatred of the far right with the vision of social justice warriors who want equality and inclusion just like we do? Even when I pointed out clear examples of antisemitism in the progressive movements that American Jews supported, I was told that these groups might have their problems, but that their dream was the same as ours and we had an obligation to help them.

Some people believe that as we fight against antisemitism, our goal should be to prove to progressives that Jews belong in the ranks of the oppressed. But why should we accept the premises of a corrupt and corrupting ideology?

Today, the ideological blinders of many progressives make them as insensible to Hamas’ atrocities as those naive liberals were to Stalin’s.

Now more than ever, Jews must both embrace our unique mission and reaffirm core liberal values. Without the former, we have lost our compass, our reason to carry on as a people. Without the latter, no one—not only Jews, but all individuals and minority groups—will be safe from the destructive effects of totalizing ideologies and the wishful thinkers who support them."

Tom Hunter said...

... I wish that the USSR and Warsaw Pact never fell.

Oh, now that's a keeper.

Still, it's always good to see how the Romanians celebrated their first Christmas in decades. Would that all such commie leaders, and their little Millsy helpers, end that way - although it's usually little Millsy helpers doing it to other little Millsy helpers.

Ian said...

@David George There is a determination among many white people to believe and invent the worst of non-white, non-Judeo-Christian people and to support, defend and arm those who take up arms against them, especially those with genocidal intentions like the Israeli government.

chris prudence said...

Man made God in his own image and succumbed to the illusion that God made Man.