30/07/2014 Newsnight


30/07/2014

News stories with Robert Peston. Middle East special including fracturing borders in Iraq and Syria, continued violence in Gaza, and the social media propaganda war.


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killing continues unabated in the Middle East tonight. Over 13 more

:00:08.:00:11.

Palestinians have died in Gaza and three Israeli soldiers have lost

:00:12.:00:15.

their lives. As shells hit a market and a UN school in Gaza, the US said

:00:16.:00:19.

it was extremely concerned about the safety of Palestinian civilians. It

:00:20.:00:24.

has pressed again for a ceasefire. Tonight we look at the crumbling

:00:25.:00:27.

borders of countries across the Middle East. How much more chaos can

:00:28.:00:32.

the region withstand before whole states such as Syria and Iraq

:00:33.:00:38.

fracture completely. We will hear live from Tel Aviv and Dubai, and

:00:39.:00:42.

voices from Lebanon and Egypt are here in our London studio. As

:00:43.:00:50.

ununeasy truce leaves more dead on both sides in Gaza, we are in Israel

:00:51.:00:54.

hearing from those living in the midst of war. How can I make my

:00:55.:00:58.

children, grandchildren living here, how can I allow them, give them a

:00:59.:01:05.

safe life? If I don't do what they are doing now in Gaza.

:01:06.:01:12.

And Twitter as instrument of warfare, ISIS is ruthless leaks

:01:13.:01:19.

exploiting the power of social media to terrorise its enemies. We report

:01:20.:01:27.

on the propaganda and ideas but social media being used to

:01:28.:01:34.

increasingly to spread fear. Now the great hope of the Arab

:01:35.:01:38.

Spring that began more than three years ago was that democracy and

:01:39.:01:42.

stability would break out all over the Middle East. It didn't happen.

:01:43.:01:45.

Instead there has been turmoil, bloodshed and atrocities on a

:01:46.:01:50.

terrifying scale. With an elected leader turfed out in Egypt, Libya

:01:51.:01:54.

apparently disintegrating and a new and extraordinary bloody Jihadist

:01:55.:01:59.

group, ISIS capturing swathes of Iraq and Syria. In this mess old

:02:00.:02:09.

friendships and emnities are being replaced. Rereport tonight on where

:02:10.:02:14.

the state boundaries of the new Middle East will be drawn, if, that

:02:15.:02:32.

is, this chaos ever ends. The Middle East is a house designed

:02:33.:02:38.

by Europeans but sat on the foundations of the ottoman empire.

:02:39.:02:46.

Its Monarchies and ministries aped those of Europe, and for several

:02:47.:02:51.

decades it provided stability, now the region is in crisis. It is the

:02:52.:02:55.

chaos caused by a new mutation of political Islam that is the first

:02:56.:03:13.

point in understanding this. Arab regimes across the region have

:03:14.:03:18.

failed, economically, politically, on the security front, they have

:03:19.:03:23.

failed to form a regional structure, any form of permanent stability.

:03:24.:03:31.

Absent some form of channel where the Arab public can get involved in

:03:32.:03:36.

governance, Islamism has been the only gateway. Are the old

:03:37.:03:45.

ideologyists of ba'athist and others have failed and will a caliphate

:03:46.:03:51.

sweep before it. We know this new wave of Islamist politics is a

:03:52.:03:55.

threat to elites and states across the region.

:03:56.:04:08.

There is another thing that's become clear too, that trying to drop

:04:09.:04:15.

another western construct, liberal democracy into the current cauldron

:04:16.:04:19.

of the Middle East simply isn't going to work. For now, at least,

:04:20.:04:23.

the called Arab Spring is going nowhere. In some placeses, like

:04:24.:04:32.

Iraq, it has been trumped by the politics of identity. While the old

:04:33.:04:37.

authoritarian ottoman model, ruled by the Pasha or general, has shown

:04:38.:04:42.

its resilience in Egypt and Algeria. Where the old strong men are swept

:04:43.:04:46.

away, Gadaffi or Saddam, fragmentation has followed. That

:04:47.:04:51.

means old borders coming into question too.

:04:52.:05:04.

The most obvious example has been the disappearing bordered between

:05:05.:05:15.

Iraq by ISIS, it is a new Sunni state, the Kurds have gotten in on

:05:16.:05:19.

the act pushing forward their quest for statehood, Libya is in danger of

:05:20.:05:28.

fragmentation with the east, and the ancient lines Cyrenaica. Don't

:05:29.:05:39.

forget that even in Iraq or Libya, there are still leaders who aspire

:05:40.:05:46.

to control of the whole, not just some rump statelet. You find a

:05:47.:05:50.

tenacious commitment to the state as the unit of primary identity. Now

:05:51.:05:56.

there are a lot of other identities going on, religious, ethnic as well,

:05:57.:06:02.

but the state survives, and the state survives as the unit of

:06:03.:06:05.

primary identity across the whole of the region. And don't forget that

:06:06.:06:09.

other hangover of British rule, Israel. There has been a 100 year

:06:10.:06:16.

argument about its existence and borders. And that times like now

:06:17.:06:20.

that conflict can inflame the whole region. But new forces are coming

:06:21.:06:37.

into play. New alliances in fact emerging in the Middle East, and

:06:38.:06:41.

where as outsiders are happy to sell weapons to these power brokers,

:06:42.:06:51.

regional players are key. So Iran has made itself the guardian of the

:06:52.:06:55.

Shia, forging a power block with Hezbollah in Lebanon, President

:06:56.:07:00.

Assad's regime in Syria and increasingly the rump state of Iraq.

:07:01.:07:06.

Saudi Arabia champions the Sunni Arabs, pouring resources into the

:07:07.:07:10.

Syrian opposition, and its cache has made a client of Egypt too. The

:07:11.:07:16.

Saudis are not necessarily fighting the Iranians, based on religious

:07:17.:07:21.

foundations. In part this is a traditional conflict between two

:07:22.:07:28.

very important regional powers which have a very significant influence,

:07:29.:07:31.

fighting over controlling the Middle East at a time when the US is

:07:32.:07:36.

disengaging. But this isn't just a simple binary soweddy Iranian

:07:37.:07:42.

contest. Saudi Arabia's will has been flouted by Qatar, also Sunni,

:07:43.:07:47.

backing Islamists in Egypt and Gaza. Israel too makes its own rules.

:07:48.:07:52.

Some, dare I mention Tony Blair, say the west must take sides and ally

:07:53.:07:57.

with the Saudi block. The more general western attitude is to steer

:07:58.:08:14.

well clear. Should we in the west be worried? Yes and deeply. Because

:08:15.:08:19.

there is turmoil in the Middle East and it is likely to stay that way

:08:20.:08:23.

for the foreseeable future. And whether or not we want to get

:08:24.:08:29.

involved we will be affected. This will come back to bite you. If you

:08:30.:08:35.

think of the huge trouble of turning, of the United States and

:08:36.:08:37.

the international community turning its back on Afghanistan, leading to

:08:38.:08:45.

the birth of Al-Qaeda and a transnational Jihadi movement, it

:08:46.:08:48.

took days for a young Jihadi tourist to move across, it days hours to go

:08:49.:08:53.

across the border and get into Syria. Clearly this problem will

:08:54.:08:57.

come back and bite Europe especially hard, and also the United States.

:08:58.:09:02.

Growing chaos in Libya or Iraq could raise energy prices and hit economic

:09:03.:09:07.

recovery. Refugees from Syria or Libya flee to the EU, airspace is

:09:08.:09:12.

becoming unsafe for the big chunks of the region. As for the ungoverned

:09:13.:09:17.

space that is also opening up in several countries, it provides a

:09:18.:09:22.

potential home for piracy, extremism and perhaps even the next 9/11. So

:09:23.:09:30.

why are the boundaries that have been relatively firm for the best

:09:31.:09:34.

part of a century now being redrawn. Is there any hope of a return to a

:09:35.:09:38.

more peaceful settled region, what does it mean here for us in the

:09:39.:09:43.

west. With me to discuss this are my guest, the cofounder of the Shark

:09:44.:09:49.

Forum, and former Director General of Al-Jazeera, the television

:09:50.:09:55.

station, and we have the longest continuously serving American

:09:56.:09:58.

official in Iraq, and from Tel Aviv we have the former director of

:09:59.:10:02.

Israel's Intelligence Service, Mosad. In the studio here with me is

:10:03.:10:09.

a professor from the London School of Economics and Egyptian activists

:10:10.:10:11.

and author. Good evening to you all. If I could

:10:12.:10:19.

start by asking you do you believe that the Middle East is entering

:10:20.:10:23.

perhaps its most unstable and dangerous phase for many decades?

:10:24.:10:29.

Actually I do believe that, and I do believe maybe this is the phase of

:10:30.:10:35.

real transformation, maybe this is the most difficult time that the

:10:36.:10:39.

Middle East is going through since 1917, since the First World War when

:10:40.:10:44.

the boundaries and the borders of the so called Middle East were

:10:45.:10:49.

drawn. I think right now there are trends that are combined together

:10:50.:10:53.

that might change and reshape the region. One of them is the rise of

:10:54.:11:00.

generals and military versus the decline of politics. The other one

:11:01.:11:04.

is the fact that the regional system is collapsing and the boundaries and

:11:05.:11:10.

the borders amongst countries in the region are becoming more irrelevant

:11:11.:11:15.

than ever. The third is the delegitimisation of the state,

:11:16.:11:19.

because the state is not seen as an actor that can represent the hopes

:11:20.:11:30.

and dreams of the nation. And the fact that democracy doesn't exist

:11:31.:11:36.

any more. Three years ago we tellrated Tahrir Square, and thought

:11:37.:11:39.

we were going into a new values-centered system that would

:11:40.:11:43.

restructure the Middle East on democracy, but democracy has been

:11:44.:11:47.

murdered in Egypt and across the region, and that is to the silence

:11:48.:11:51.

of the International Society and the collaboration of regional powers, I

:11:52.:11:55.

think we are going through this phase where ISIS has become an actor

:11:56.:12:02.

and more and more people are moving towards an alternative out of this

:12:03.:12:08.

and feeling betrayal. This sounds like total disaster. Is this

:12:09.:12:18.

unstoppable chaos? It is indeed a disaster generally speaking. The

:12:19.:12:24.

fact is the region is more unstable now than it has been in a century, I

:12:25.:12:30.

agree on that front. These historic trends are not easily predictable.

:12:31.:12:34.

It is hard to say whether it is unstoppable or not. Certainly the

:12:35.:12:40.

forces of history are moving very quickly and we all have to be very

:12:41.:12:44.

careful, particularly in the west to preserve our strategic alliances and

:12:45.:12:49.

be on guard for strategic foes like Al-Qaeda, ISIS and other radical

:12:50.:12:54.

Islamist groups which are clearly gaining momentum across the region.

:12:55.:12:58.

If we could move on to this question of borders and whether the map is

:12:59.:13:02.

being redrawn. Now there are those who simply argue that the existing

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borders were an imposition of colonial powers like Britain, and

:13:09.:13:11.

that therefore they were always at some point going to collapse,

:13:12.:13:15.

because they don't reflect the cultural, racial economic realities,

:13:16.:13:21.

is that your view, Professor, that what we are seeing is inevitable?

:13:22.:13:25.

The modern Middle East was invented by the colonial powers. The modern

:13:26.:13:32.

state system is not and was not economically socially viable. It is

:13:33.:13:36.

not viable, period. We simplify it great deal if we say it is a matter

:13:37.:13:42.

of boundaries. Even though the modern state system was seen as I

:13:43.:13:47.

will imate it has taken deep root since the 1920s. The crisis is

:13:48.:13:50.

bigger, what we are witnessing in the Middle East now is a

:13:51.:13:53.

revolutionary moment. A moment that really is comparable to the great

:13:54.:13:57.

revolutionary moments in history, whether you are talking about the

:13:58.:14:00.

French Revolution or the Russian revolutions. What we are witnessing

:14:01.:14:05.

unfolding before our eyes is fierce social and political struggles,

:14:06.:14:09.

bottom-up politics, the system has been turned upside down, you have

:14:10.:14:14.

Civil War, ideolgical wars, the old system is resisting, the counter

:14:15.:14:17.

revolutionary forces in the region, a new system is not born yet. It

:14:18.:14:21.

would be a mistake to say this is the end of the story. It will take

:14:22.:14:26.

many years for the dust to settle on the battlefield in many countries in

:14:27.:14:30.

the region. You were a great supporter, indeed activist in the

:14:31.:14:37.

Arab Spring, but given the chaos we are now seeing and atrocities on a

:14:38.:14:41.

really terrifying scale, do you think that actually what we saw then

:14:42.:14:44.

has turned out to be a rather dangerous and bad thing? No, I

:14:45.:14:50.

don't, not at all. I would say that I was an activist on behalf of the

:14:51.:14:55.

Egyptian revolution, I think the Arab Spring as a term is very

:14:56.:14:59.

problematic. Even in Egypt we have had democracy over, well an elected

:15:00.:15:03.

President thrown out. It hasn't worked has it? It hasn't worked so

:15:04.:15:10.

far. I think that the example of Dr Morsi being dethroned is

:15:11.:15:14.

problematic, because it was certainly done in the wrong way. But

:15:15.:15:19.

it was actually reflective of the will of the people. The people will

:15:20.:15:23.

probably live to regret it, but we were in the process of a revolution.

:15:24.:15:27.

I think it is really strange how people talk about historic processes

:15:28.:15:32.

taking place in the region, as though they were talking about

:15:33.:15:36.

natural phenomena. While in fact there are actors making things

:15:37.:15:44.

happen, what is happening in Gaza now is from Israel, it is the will

:15:45.:15:49.

of the people, it is not an inevitable historic process, it is

:15:50.:15:52.

very much a part of what is destablising the region and making

:15:53.:15:55.

life difficult. We have to remember that the Islamist movements all

:15:56.:16:00.

started as protest movement, all started as dissident movements

:16:01.:16:04.

against autocratic, dictatorial regimes, and then of course they

:16:05.:16:10.

take the path that they take and in the long absence of victory, I think

:16:11.:16:15.

also Iraq. Again talking about an historic process in Iraq and how it

:16:16.:16:20.

is breaking up and talking about racial ethnic religious divide,

:16:21.:16:24.

let's remember what the United States there. Let's just remember

:16:25.:16:28.

that this entire region, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine,

:16:29.:16:34.

was all a unit that worked and that worked for hundreds and hundreds of

:16:35.:16:40.

years with this entire... We are where we are now and we have to move

:16:41.:16:44.

on to the issue of shifting alliances. And if I could talk to,

:16:45.:16:53.

it is pretty widely recognised that what ISIS is doing in fracturing

:16:54.:16:59.

Iraq, fracturing Syria, committing terrible atrocities is pretty

:17:00.:17:06.

appalling. Was the west simply mistaken in turning against

:17:07.:17:13.

President Assad in Syria? Can you hear me? I think that the west, I

:17:14.:17:19.

said I think that the west miscalculated on Syria. Like almost

:17:20.:17:27.

everybody else miscalculated on Syria. I don't think that the Assad

:17:28.:17:33.

regime would have survived today without the support of three outside

:17:34.:17:41.

elements, one is Hezbollah from Lebanon, who are fighting on Syrian

:17:42.:17:46.

soil and are carrying much of the brunt of the battle. The other is

:17:47.:17:51.

Iran, which also has boots on the ground today, and the third is

:17:52.:17:57.

Russia which is supplying the Assad regime with the necessary weaponry

:17:58.:18:02.

in order to maintain its supremacy in the battlefield. And that, I

:18:03.:18:06.

think, is something which we have to take into account today, no less

:18:07.:18:09.

than what you have mentioned up until now. We have a situation in

:18:10.:18:14.

the Middle East where on the one hand we had known state actors, like

:18:15.:18:21.

Hamas and the Hezbollah, and we have other non-state actors which are

:18:22.:18:27.

becoming semi-independent, like the Kurdish region in northern Iraq. So

:18:28.:18:34.

the situation is varied in the Middle East. Many things are

:18:35.:18:39.

happening simultaneously. It would be wrong to lump everything

:18:40.:18:43.

together. If I could just ask you, do you think we have to in a sense

:18:44.:18:46.

simply accept a sort of new caliphate is being created by ISIS

:18:47.:18:54.

and accommodate it? I think it is a something that has risen out. Sorry

:18:55.:19:01.

go on? I think this is a phenomena that has risen out of this kind of

:19:02.:19:04.

chaos and despair, and the feeling of lack of hope in the future and

:19:05.:19:07.

the feeling that the channels of real change and reform have been

:19:08.:19:12.

blocked and the feeling of humiliation. Actually it is not only

:19:13.:19:17.

ISIS and the caliphate, it is what is happening in Gaza that is going

:19:18.:19:22.

to even radicalise the Arab world further, and maybe accumulate all

:19:23.:19:26.

that kind of anger and feeling of humiliation and direct it towards a

:19:27.:19:30.

cause that resides in the hearts of the Arabs and Muslims and unify

:19:31.:19:35.

them. So what I see right now in Gaza is actually what might become

:19:36.:19:38.

the beginning of a new trend in the region where all these kinds of

:19:39.:19:44.

problems might be directed towards the cause which we call the cause of

:19:45.:19:50.

Palestine, the Israelis at the moment are committing maybe suicide

:19:51.:19:55.

in provoking a nation that is going through transformation and the

:19:56.:19:59.

Israelis who are now bombarding our images, our TV screens, our mobile

:20:00.:20:05.

phones with images of civilians that have been killed, I think this is

:20:06.:20:08.

going to be even much worse than whatever we have experienced in Iraq

:20:09.:20:11.

and any other place. We will come back to that in a second. Before we

:20:12.:20:14.

move on to the issue of the threat to all of us. I have one further

:20:15.:20:18.

question on this issue which is to you Mr Kadaire, America appears to

:20:19.:20:26.

have shown itself utterly powerless, John Kerry's attempts to broker

:20:27.:20:30.

peace over Palestine have failed miserably, what should America be

:20:31.:20:38.

doing in this situation? Indeed we have noticed a remarkable series of

:20:39.:20:42.

American foreign policies over the last 15 years or so, obviously

:20:43.:20:48.

President George W Bush was an ultra activist and now President Obama is

:20:49.:20:52.

essentially an isolationist, essentially withdrawing from most

:20:53.:20:55.

parts of the Middle East in favour of what is essentially an

:20:56.:21:01.

isolationist policy. I think it is critical for the United States and

:21:02.:21:05.

for Washington to actively reengage with the region, with all of our

:21:06.:21:10.

regional allies, the Israelis, the gulf Arab countries, the Egyptians,

:21:11.:21:15.

the Turk, in Baghdad and in Erbil, because what is clearly evident over

:21:16.:21:21.

the past several years that with the American vacuum that's been left

:21:22.:21:27.

under the Obama registration in the region -- administration in the

:21:28.:21:30.

region. World powers and regional powers trying to fill the vacuum. In

:21:31.:21:34.

Iraq there is a proxy war being waged between Iran, some of the gulf

:21:35.:21:42.

Arab countries or individuals, for example Turkey, the same thing is

:21:43.:21:46.

occurring in Syria. As was said there is a proxy war being waged

:21:47.:21:51.

again between some gulf money and clearly the Russians, Hezbollah and

:21:52.:21:54.

the Iranian Revolutionary Guards are involved. So it is a very unstable

:21:55.:21:59.

situation and one thing I can continue to hear from frankly all of

:22:00.:22:06.

our regional allies, our historic allies, they feel that the Obama

:22:07.:22:11.

administration has disengaged and many regional leaders are counting

:22:12.:22:15.

down the days for Obama to leave office hopeful that a future

:22:16.:22:19.

American President will reengage in the region and support its allies

:22:20.:22:22.

and go on the offensive against historic foes like the Iranian

:22:23.:22:26.

Revolutionary Guards or Al-Qaeda. I have to move us on to the issue of

:22:27.:22:30.

the general threat, both within the region and to the rest of the world.

:22:31.:22:34.

I would therefore like to pick up with you professor, do you agree

:22:35.:22:39.

with what was said that broadly what we are seeing in the Palestinian

:22:40.:22:45.

territories has the potential to spark a really devastating wider

:22:46.:22:50.

Middle East configuration? It really does. I mean one point we must make

:22:51.:22:57.

very clear is that the Palestinian tragedy resonates deeply, not just

:22:58.:23:00.

in the imagination of the Palestinians, in the imagination of

:23:01.:23:04.

Arabs and Muslims and worldwide. What is happening with Israel's

:23:05.:23:09.

savage attack in Gaza has already made Hamas a popular movement in the

:23:10.:23:13.

eyes of millions of Palestinians. That is a major shift in Palestinian

:23:14.:23:17.

public opinion, it is seen as a symbol of defiance, resisting

:23:18.:23:22.

Israel's massive military machine, resisting Israel's occupation of

:23:23.:23:25.

Palestinian lands. In many ways we are witnessing the making, not only

:23:26.:23:32.

of a third Intifada, but a wider regional conflict as a result of the

:23:33.:23:35.

massacres and slaughters in Gaza. Where do you see this going in terms

:23:36.:23:44.

of the impact on the west? Well it depends what attitudes the west has,

:23:45.:23:50.

I suppose, the west has a huge role and a huge responsibility and it has

:23:51.:23:55.

been engaged, we have had the quartet, we have had Tony Blair

:23:56.:23:57.

flying in and out of the region quartet, we have had Tony Blair

:23:58.:24:08.

like that. The thoughts are that there should be no intervention?

:24:09.:24:13.

Unless they would like to put a no flight zone and military embargo on

:24:14.:24:17.

Israel that would be really useful. There is a strong call for that from

:24:18.:24:21.

all sectors of civil society now. If I could ask for a second, what do

:24:22.:24:25.

you think the terrorist threat might be from all of this outside of the

:24:26.:24:35.

region? Allow me just a minute to comment and to reply to some of the

:24:36.:24:40.

comments which have just been made because I think it is only fair to

:24:41.:24:44.

allow me to say something about some of the statements just made. First

:24:45.:24:48.

of all I would like to make it clear that the Hamas which controls Gaza

:24:49.:24:54.

is a terrorist organisation. It is not an organisation which has been

:24:55.:24:59.

pronounced terrorist just by Israel, it has been were you nounsed by the

:25:00.:25:03.

-- pronounced by the Government of Egypt which you know has a border

:25:04.:25:08.

with Gaza. It has been pronounced a terrorist organisation not only by

:25:09.:25:11.

the United States of America but many states in Europe. Secondly

:25:12.:25:17.

Hamas are using method which is are supported amongst others by Iran

:25:18.:25:21.

today, just as Iran is active in Syria. So I don't think that this is

:25:22.:25:27.

simply a question of the Hamas being the mouth piece of the Palestinian

:25:28.:25:33.

movement. I'm sure President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority would

:25:34.:25:40.

not take this line of thinking and neither do I. I think, therefore,

:25:41.:25:46.

that we should not discuss the Palestinian issue in this manner as

:25:47.:25:52.

an adjunct to all the other problems. If we want to focus on the

:25:53.:25:56.

general problems in the region that is fine. If you want to turn to the

:25:57.:26:04.

other issues I'm willing to discuss it in detail. You have to discuss

:26:05.:26:08.

whatever it is you want to discuss. But make sure we know what we are

:26:09.:26:12.

talking about. We have to move on at this stage. I really just want to

:26:13.:26:18.

ask whether at this particular juncture you see any hope for

:26:19.:26:23.

stability returning to the region? Absolutely i think we are going

:26:24.:26:29.

through a phase in our history whereby we are trying to find some

:26:30.:26:34.

kind of consensus, political consensus. You should remember that

:26:35.:26:38.

this region has been deprived from having this kind of dynamics for

:26:39.:26:43.

decades. We have been ruled by authoritarian regime, we have been

:26:44.:26:50.

ruled by wrong system, by legitimised states that have never

:26:51.:26:53.

lived up to the hopes of the public. Right now we find we have that

:26:54.:26:56.

space, there are many issues to be settled, the issues of identity and

:26:57.:27:00.

sectarianism, the issues of democracy and the issues of

:27:01.:27:04.

Palestine, I emphasise it is at the heart of the change. I cannot talk

:27:05.:27:07.

about a new Middle East without speaking about the location of

:27:08.:27:11.

Palestine in it. It will go on for some time this debate. Thank you

:27:12.:27:15.

very much to all of you, we have used up our allotted time, which

:27:16.:27:18.

doesn't surprise me it was fascinating, thank you very much.

:27:19.:27:21.

Today over 100 Palestinians and three Israelis died in the on going

:27:22.:27:25.

fighting in Gaza. The biggest outrage of the day was an attack

:27:26.:27:29.

before dawn on Gaza school where hundreds of Palestinians, displaced

:27:30.:27:33.

by the violence, had sought refuge. 16 people died and over 100 were

:27:34.:27:37.

injured as they slept in what they thought would be a safe haven. We

:27:38.:27:40.

can talk now to our correspondent who is in Jerusalem, Tim, what's

:27:41.:27:45.

been the international reaction to this incident? Well the White House

:27:46.:27:51.

tonight has strongly condemned the attack on the school. Although it

:27:52.:27:57.

has also condemned people who are hiding weapons in UN facilities. The

:27:58.:28:02.

UN itself has described the attack as reprehensible and said it warned

:28:03.:28:06.

the Israeli military authorities 17 times about the location of the

:28:07.:28:11.

school in the refuge camp. Israel, for its side says it is

:28:12.:28:20.

investigating, although it says initial indications show there was

:28:21.:28:23.

in coming Palestinian fire from the school. Tonight a statement from the

:28:24.:28:25.

Government saying that the operation in Gaza will continue as long as is

:28:26.:28:32.

necessary to destroy what it calls all terrorists infrastructure. I

:28:33.:28:36.

have spent the day at an Israeli village right on the border with

:28:37.:28:39.

Gaza to find out why the public here still so strongly backs their

:28:40.:28:45.

Government in that aim. On the edge of warzone, they are trying to bring

:28:46.:28:52.

in the harvest as normal. Israeli farmer grows her tomatoes yards from

:28:53.:28:56.

the border fence. She can hear the boom of Israeli missiles falling on

:28:57.:29:02.

the other side. There are regular in coming shells from Hamas in Gaza,

:29:03.:29:06.

already one of the Thai workers she employs has been killed. It is

:29:07.:29:09.

definitely dangerous. I don't have a safe place to run to, I know that

:29:10.:29:14.

all I have to do is lie here on the ground and with my face down and

:29:15.:29:20.

cover my head with my hands. I'm afraid. She and her husband are

:29:21.:29:27.

sticking it out here, along with two volunteer workers from the north of

:29:28.:29:30.

Israel. Though half her village has fled. She has long been a peace

:29:31.:29:34.

activist, trying to build connections between Israelis and

:29:35.:29:38.

Gazans. But now, particularly since the discovery of Hamas tunnels

:29:39.:29:42.

leading to the village, she reluctantly supports her country's

:29:43.:29:48.

operation in Gaza. When I say violence begets violence, they think

:29:49.:29:51.

it is just a saying, but it is so true. Because it brings up hatred,

:29:52.:29:59.

it brings out the worst in people. But how can I make my childrens my

:30:00.:30:05.

grandchildren living here, how can I allow them, give them a safe life if

:30:06.:30:11.

I don't do what they are doing now in Gaza. Across the border it has

:30:12.:30:17.

been another day of death and destruction for Gazans, but the vast

:30:18.:30:21.

majority of Israelis think the operation is justified. The Prime

:30:22.:30:25.

Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has told people to prepare for a long

:30:26.:30:30.

operation in Gaza, and for now public opinion here is

:30:31.:30:33.

overwhelmingly behind him. The questions from the point of view of

:30:34.:30:36.

Israelis are how long it will actually take to completely destroy

:30:37.:30:41.

Hamas's military capability and whether the problem of das STAE, as

:30:42.:30:46.

they see it, can ever be solved by military means alone. Israel

:30:47.:30:52.

unilaterally withdrew forces from Gaza in 2005, that subsequently

:30:53.:30:56.

allowed Hamas to build up its stockpiles of weapons. The man who

:30:57.:31:01.

was then national security adviser believes Israeli forces must now

:31:02.:31:04.

destroy those stockpiles for good. We are not that concerned about the

:31:05.:31:09.

possible high-risk as some people suggest. It is not that is what we

:31:10.:31:15.

want. But as long as Hamas resist and reject any idea of a ceasefire,

:31:16.:31:19.

and we are left with only two military option, either to stay

:31:20.:31:22.

where we are or to try to move forward in order to gain more

:31:23.:31:27.

military achievement, I believe the latter is more visible. But day

:31:28.:31:33.

after day it is Palestinian civilians who are being killed, as

:31:34.:31:37.

well as military targets destroyed. Today at least 17 died in an Israeli

:31:38.:31:43.

strike near a market. Earlier 15 lost their lives when a UN school

:31:44.:31:47.

was hit. Israel says its forces were responding to mortar fire from the

:31:48.:31:52.

school. The UN says it had warned that civilians were sheltering

:31:53.:31:58.

there. After a strike yesterday on Gaza's only power plant Israel has

:31:59.:32:02.

been accused by some human rights organisations of deliberately

:32:03.:32:07.

targeting civilian infrastructure. Critics say that is the doctrine, a

:32:08.:32:12.

reference to Israel's attacks on the stronghold of Hezbollah militants in

:32:13.:32:19.

Beirut in the Lebanon war of 2006. Israeli leaders say its forces

:32:20.:32:23.

always try to avoid civilian casualties, that was easier in

:32:24.:32:27.

Beirut than Gaza. In southern Beirut Hezbollah concentrated the vast

:32:28.:32:31.

majority of its leadership in a few small streets, where we could really

:32:32.:32:37.

target them and exact a very dear price on Hezbollah leadership. In

:32:38.:32:42.

Gaza the situation is different. Hamas leadership and terrorists are

:32:43.:32:45.

dispersed both above ground and underground in residential

:32:46.:32:49.

compounds, in schools and clinics and so on, therefore we cannot

:32:50.:32:53.

concentrate the same fire power and achieve the same outcome. By

:32:54.:32:55.

definition in such a crowded area achieve the same outcome. By

:32:56.:33:04.

will be collateral damage. As that collateral damage mounts and

:33:05.:33:08.

international pressure grows for ceasefire, some say there will have

:33:09.:33:13.

to be a political deal to disarm Hamas, removing weapons in return

:33:14.:33:17.

for massive investment in Gaza. I think there is a chance to achieve

:33:18.:33:24.

something that can endorse, it could surprisingly be from Hamas on one

:33:25.:33:29.

hand, if not Hamas, those who support Hamas, Qatar, Turkey and

:33:30.:33:36.

others. I will not exclude any possibility of huge investment of

:33:37.:33:41.

money in order to rebuild Gaza to build the infrastructure and to

:33:42.:33:47.

bring some better hope, better future for the people of Gaza. The

:33:48.:33:51.

only Israeli demand as part of this package deal is that Gaza will be

:33:52.:33:57.

demilitarised as far as heavy weapons are concerned. And there has

:33:58.:34:02.

been a lot of fighting where we can see?

:34:03.:34:05.

Back on the border Roni knows any such deal is a long way off. She too

:34:06.:34:10.

thinks in the end only talking will bring a solution in Gaza. They are

:34:11.:34:16.

leading us on, Hamas. They are bringing us to this, to the point we

:34:17.:34:25.

are at at the moment, I will never forgive them for that. But on the

:34:26.:34:35.

other hand I think that unless we do talk to them and understand where

:34:36.:34:43.

they are coming from we're not going to OK get any where. A little

:34:44.:34:50.

earlier I spoke to the Israeli Government spokesman. I started by

:34:51.:34:54.

asking him why Israel's bombardment of Gaza is killing so many innocent

:34:55.:35:00.

civilians? First of all there is a war going on between us and Hamas.

:35:01.:35:07.

And in every conflict unfortunately you have a situation where innocent

:35:08.:35:10.

people get hurt. That is part of history. What we are doing is making

:35:11.:35:15.

a maximum effort to avoid civilians getting caught up in the crossfire

:35:16.:35:18.

between us and the terrorists. I think a very genuine effort by

:35:19.:35:22.

Israel to be as precise as we can in hitting terrorists. But I can't

:35:23.:35:28.

promise, as no army can promise that innocent people get caught up and

:35:29.:35:31.

hurt in a conflict. Have you looked at these cases, the bombing of the

:35:32.:35:35.

market took place when a truce was supposedly in place, do you know

:35:36.:35:41.

what went wrong? Well, to be fair, we announced that for our

:35:42.:35:46.

humanitarian truce, and Hamas immediately declared there is no

:35:47.:35:50.

truce, and they continued shooting rockets at Israel. A truce is a

:35:51.:35:54.

two-way street, it is not just Israel holding its fireworks it is

:35:55.:35:58.

Hamas also holding its fire, and its public record that Hamas rejected

:35:59.:36:02.

the truce. That particular place in the market was an area of combat

:36:03.:36:06.

today. I don't know exactly what happened at the market yet, we are

:36:07.:36:09.

still investigating. We will get to the bottom of it. But in the case of

:36:10.:36:15.

the school, the UN itself has declared it as a violation of

:36:16.:36:20.

international law, and has also pointed out that the people in the

:36:21.:36:25.

school were people who had been evacuated from their homes because

:36:26.:36:28.

you had warned them to get out of their homes and they had gone to

:36:29.:36:31.

where they thought was a place of shelter and it turned out they were

:36:32.:36:36.

not safe there. Surely that embarrasses you? It is a tragedy

:36:37.:36:41.

what happened at the school and we simple thighes with all the --

:36:42.:36:45.

sympathise with all the international outrage, we didn't see

:36:46.:36:48.

what happened at the school happen. It is not clear to us that it was

:36:49.:36:52.

our fire, but we know for a fact there was hostile fire on our people

:36:53.:36:56.

from the vicinity of the school. We do know for a fact that there have

:36:57.:37:00.

been three documented cases that the UN has spoken about, not Israel,

:37:01.:37:04.

where weapons, rockets have been stored in UN facilities in in UN

:37:05.:37:09.

schools. It is clear that this demonstrates Hamas has a deliberate

:37:10.:37:14.

policy of brutalising UN facilities, using UN facilities as a human

:37:15.:37:20.

shield, violating UN neutrality, violating the humanitarian essence

:37:21.:37:23.

of a UN body and they should be condemned for it. I know that the

:37:24.:37:26.

secretary-general of the United Nations has ordered an investigation

:37:27.:37:31.

how this has happened, and if the particular agency involved can do

:37:32.:37:34.

more to prevent its institutions being turned into part of the Hamas

:37:35.:37:38.

war machine. But the problem in this case is that Ban Ki-Moon has said

:37:39.:37:42.

that all the evidence does point to you having bombed the school? That's

:37:43.:37:47.

what he said today? We will investigate that, and if we find it

:37:48.:37:52.

was fire from Israel we will apologise if that is the case. When

:37:53.:37:57.

it is shown that we have mistakenly killed civilians we have apologised.

:37:58.:38:01.

There was the terrible story of the four boys on the beach, President

:38:02.:38:09.

Perez himself -- Peres himself got up and apologised. We don't want to

:38:10.:38:14.

kill Gazan civilians we have a policy not to target civilians. What

:38:15.:38:19.

I find striking is the perception in much of the outside world in Israel

:38:20.:38:23.

has changed. There was a poll of British people and it showed that

:38:24.:38:27.

more than 60% of British people think that Israel is guilty of war

:38:28.:38:34.

crimes. It is only marginally less than the people who think Hamas is

:38:35.:38:38.

guilty of war crimes. Doesn't that embarrass you? It is a bit strange,

:38:39.:38:42.

on the one hand Israel is a democracy, imperfect, but a

:38:43.:38:46.

democracy, we have representative Government and a free press and

:38:47.:38:50.

institutions that are transparent and so forth. And we're up against a

:38:51.:38:54.

brutal extreme terrorist organisation, Hamas. Which is in the

:38:55.:39:00.

mode of Boko Haram in Nigeria, or ISIS in Iraq, or Hezbollah in

:39:01.:39:05.

Lebanon. Radical and extreme organisation that rules Gaza with an

:39:06.:39:09.

iron fist. One of the problems with the pictures coming out of Gaza, and

:39:10.:39:13.

I dare to challenge even the BBC reporters there, that Hamas can

:39:14.:39:17.

control the message much more than we can out of Israel. Because if you

:39:18.:39:21.

walk down the street in Gaza with a camera of the BBC, even a Newsnight

:39:22.:39:26.

camera if you allow me, you ask were there Hamas people outside the

:39:27.:39:30.

school shooting at Israeli soldiers, what can people say? Of course they

:39:31.:39:34.

can't say because Hamas doesn't allow criticism. I think in many

:39:35.:39:38.

ways Hamas can send out a very warped picture of what is going on

:39:39.:39:43.

in Gaza. How many pictures have you seen of dead Hamas... There may be,

:39:44.:39:49.

to an extent, a distorted picture of the sort that you describe, but it

:39:50.:39:55.

is a fact that 22 Palestinians are dying for every one Israeli and this

:39:56.:39:59.

is shocking much of the world. Do you care what the world thinks about

:40:00.:40:04.

your behaviour in this war? Of course I do, that's why I'm staying

:40:05.:40:08.

up here in the middle of the night doing Newsnight. Of course I care.

:40:09.:40:13.

But let's be clear, we don't have moraly casualties, not because Hamas

:40:14.:40:18.

isn't trying. We have had now 2,700 rockets fired at Israeli cities. But

:40:19.:40:23.

you have the Iron Dome which protects your cities, you are more

:40:24.:40:26.

or less invulnerable to these rockets? So we have, I think

:40:27.:40:30.

invulnerable is too strong a word, Sir. We have invested millions of

:40:31.:40:35.

dollars in protecting our people in bomb shelters and in sirens I'm sure

:40:36.:40:40.

the British Government would do the same for the British people. We

:40:41.:40:43.

can't allow people to shoot at our cities and trying to kill our people

:40:44.:40:46.

with impunity, that is clear. We cities and trying to kill our people

:40:47.:40:50.

have had now this onslaught going on for weeks, we have been told that

:40:51.:40:56.

part of the aim is to close down these tunnels. When will you have

:40:57.:41:03.

done the job that you want to do? Ultimately our goals are defensive,

:41:04.:41:07.

I would even say defensive in the extreme. We just want to have piece

:41:08.:41:10.

and quiet and a bit of security for our people. So if we come out of

:41:11.:41:17.

this and the Hamas military machine is diminished and they understand

:41:18.:41:21.

that they cannot shoot rockets at Israelis with impunity, that would

:41:22.:41:26.

be a good thing. And what could it be, even better if Hamas comes out

:41:27.:41:31.

of this weakened both militarily and politically, that could give a bit

:41:32.:41:36.

of oxygen maybe to Palestinian moderates to move into the vacuum

:41:37.:41:39.

and maybe have a more energetic peace process. The world woke up to

:41:40.:41:44.

the power of social media to effect huge political change with the way

:41:45.:41:49.

Twitter and Facebook were used in the Arab Spring. Now in the

:41:50.:41:53.

conflicts proliferating throughout the Middle East the Internet has

:41:54.:41:58.

become an instrument of terror, with ISIS releasing horrific footage of

:41:59.:42:02.

the ISIS releasing horrific footage of

:42:03.:42:06.

frighten its enemies so they flee before a bullet is fired. We report

:42:07.:42:10.

on the new propagada war, this film contains very disturbing images.

:42:11.:42:16.

Conflicts in the Middle East run along very old lines. The Israeli

:42:17.:42:23.

Palestinian conflict goes back decades. Tensions between Shias and

:42:24.:42:27.

Sunnis go back centuries. And they are boiling over in Iraq and Syria

:42:28.:42:33.

and beyond. But a new fault line has emerged in recent years. Social

:42:34.:42:38.

media. Cyber battles are now changing the age-old conflicts

:42:39.:42:42.

between the people in power and the power of the people. Most of us use

:42:43.:42:48.

these tools now, for some they are weapons. To start a revolution or to

:42:49.:42:53.

wage a war. The power of social media was mobilised in 2009 in

:42:54.:42:58.

Iran's failed Green Revolution, and then in the historic uprisings

:42:59.:43:04.

called the Arab Spring, they started in Tunisia, Egypt and across the

:43:05.:43:09.

region. It is not just activists who have recognised this power.

:43:10.:43:14.

Governments, regimes use it too. In Syria, for example, the Syrian

:43:15.:43:18.

electronic army is described as the first virtual Arab army. It hacks

:43:19.:43:23.

into websites of the opposition, western media, and human rights

:43:24.:43:27.

groups. In real wars social media has become a weapon in every

:43:28.:43:33.

armoury. In the Gaza war Israel is turning to it to take the high

:43:34.:43:37.

ground. To deny they targeted civilians in a school. To make it

:43:38.:43:43.

clear Hamas is the agressor. There is even a clever app that allows you

:43:44.:43:49.

to imagine the range of these rockets. Wherever re wherever you

:43:50.:43:53.

are. The narrative is carried by many people on many fronts.

:43:54.:43:56.

University volunteers joined the effort. A large portion of our

:43:57.:44:02.

efforts is trying to comment and talk back on articles and posts that

:44:03.:44:07.

are pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel. We do it on Facebook and Twitter and

:44:08.:44:13.

websites and articles that we find. Right now the war is not only in the

:44:14.:44:20.

front it is also a lot in the media. But Hamas is on this frontline too.

:44:21.:44:25.

Videos from their tunnels are widely available on video sharing sites

:44:26.:44:29.

like you YouTube and they are active on Twitter too. They have even

:44:30.:44:34.

released guidelines on how Gazans should use Twitter to report Israeli

:44:35.:44:39.

assaults. But Israel is an old hand in this information war. With an

:44:40.:44:44.

army of savvy spokespersons, coached by the best in the business.

:44:45.:44:50.

Persuadables won't care how much you know until they know how much you

:44:51.:44:55.

care. Show empathy for both sides. But as the old saying goes, a

:44:56.:45:00.

picture is worth a thousand words. In the Gaza war, so strong are the

:45:01.:45:05.

images, they are worth millions of words. Buts the images used by the

:45:06.:45:12.

most violent groups that have no compare. That is That's the points.

:45:13.:45:16.

Videos released by compare. That is That's the points.

:45:17.:45:20.

Iraq, they are meant to shock, and they do. Images like young Shia

:45:21.:45:27.

soldiers in Iraq being led away and executed en masse are the latest to

:45:28.:45:31.

emerge. On the one hand they are doing it to scare a target audience

:45:32.:45:36.

which in this case is specifically Iraqi soldiers, trying to fight

:45:37.:45:39.

against them. On the other hand it is an element of recruitment, you

:45:40.:45:43.

are trying to attract people and showing you are strong and you

:45:44.:45:46.

control the territory and does these things to people. The final note

:45:47.:45:51.

which is more to ISIS is the idea of showing extreme brutality and using

:45:52.:45:55.

it to draw people in. Across the Middle East conflicts are merging in

:45:56.:45:59.

some ways, remaining distinct in others. But when it comes to the

:46:00.:46:05.

battle for hearts and minds, even the most asymmetric wars are being

:46:06.:46:10.

fought with at least one weapon now available to all.

:46:11.:46:17.

With me to discuss who is winning the Middle East battle of social

:46:18.:46:29.

media is my guest. These images of ISIS slaughtering Iraqi soldiers in

:46:30.:46:33.

this brutal way. I mean they are obviously deeply shocking. They do

:46:34.:46:37.

remind me a bit, I don't know if you remember during the Chechen conflict

:46:38.:46:42.

there were images released of Chechens slaughtering Russians, does

:46:43.:46:48.

this represent, in your view, a stepping up of and a change in the

:46:49.:46:52.

way the Internet is used to get a message across? ISIS is doing what

:46:53.:46:56.

many other groups have done, it is doing it fundamentally more

:46:57.:47:00.

effectively, more effectively than competitors and its ex-parent

:47:01.:47:04.

organisation Al-Qaeda. What is the point of it? The point is simple, it

:47:05.:47:08.

is two fold, one to show how strong they are, to intimidate their

:47:09.:47:12.

enemies and it has worked. Iraqi soldiers surrender without a fight,

:47:13.:47:15.

because they have seen those videos, and the second point is to show

:47:16.:47:19.

other groups why they should join ISIS, that is also, to some extent,

:47:20.:47:24.

not to the extent ISIS hoped is working. Why join us rather than

:47:25.:47:29.

Al-Qaeda, well Al-Qaeda is sitting in Pakistan in a house doing

:47:30.:47:33.

absolutely nothing, where as we have taken over half of Iraq, here is the

:47:34.:47:38.

video to prove it. Do you think these image, these brutal images

:47:39.:47:43.

actually work to an extent to recruit potential new soldiers? I

:47:44.:47:46.

think they do, although of course we have had many cases where Jihadists,

:47:47.:47:52.

wet behind the ears, have turned up in Syria and Iraq and found the

:47:53.:47:57.

reality of combat is far worse than evidenced by the glamorous videos

:47:58.:48:03.

that they had seen on-line. It has a dual effect. The other factor is the

:48:04.:48:07.

more brutal they appear the more they can shock some people into

:48:08.:48:11.

surrender but the more they scare Iraq's Shia majority into resisting

:48:12.:48:17.

their brutal sadistic form of rule even more vociferously. There is a

:48:18.:48:23.

slight oddity, if you look at Hamas that released film of their

:48:24.:48:26.

competence of going through the tunnels and attacking Israeli

:48:27.:48:32.

soldiers, that broadly reinforced the Israeli case that Hamas is a

:48:33.:48:38.

brutal terrorist organisation. To an extent therefore may well have back

:48:39.:48:41.

fired in terms of world opinion? I think it will backfire more than the

:48:42.:48:45.

images of the tunnels, which were effective in showing that Hamas were

:48:46.:48:50.

still in the game and their ceasefire conditions need to be

:48:51.:48:53.

taken seriously, with the images of syringes and handcuffs broadcast

:48:54.:48:58.

within those tunnels is a chilling image to Israelis who understand the

:48:59.:49:01.

history of kidnapping that those tunnels were used for. The fact that

:49:02.:49:05.

Hamas is still able to inflict a cost on Israel, that rephoners their

:49:06.:49:09.

point that -- reinforces the point that the ceasefire has to be on

:49:10.:49:13.

their terms too. Does social media and the Internet broadly now level

:49:14.:49:17.

the playing field between the state and terrorist organisations when it

:49:18.:49:24.

comes to propaganda? No, I would say, part of the reason is the same

:49:25.:49:28.

medium that is used as propaganda by both of these competents, state and

:49:29.:49:33.

non-state, is also used very, very effectively by reporters on the

:49:34.:49:37.

ground who can connect immediately viscerally to use and cancel out

:49:38.:49:41.

both of those claims. I'm very grateful, we have one run out of

:49:42.:49:46.

time, that is all we have time for tonight on the Middle East special.

:49:47.:49:48.

Good night.

:49:49.:49:55.

On Newsnight, a Middle East special, including fracturing borders in Iraq and Syria, continued violence in Gaza, and the social media propaganda war.


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