I am having difficulty understanding much of the media and public response to the Gaza war.
Much of the attention is directed to a comparison of Israeli and Palestinian deaths consequent upon the conflict. But those figures largely reflect the disparity between the values attributed to civilian human life by the two sides, and the disparity between the two sides’ ability and willingness to defend themselves.
As of a few days ago, Hamas had fired more than 2850 rockets into Israel since the conflict began, intending to destroy Israeli civilians and their homes, and has equally shown no regard for Palestinian lives, as evident from its use of its civilian population as human shields and its location of rocket launch sites and tunnel openings in heavily populated and sensitively populated areas (schools, hospitals, etc.). Israel values the human life of civilians on both sides of the border, as evident from its “Iron Dome” defences in Israel, and from giving advance notice to Palestinians of military target areas in Gaza that also contain civilians, and has urged the civilian populace to abandon such areas. Hamas has prevented civilians from leaving such areas.
It is of interest that Hamas military leader Ahmed Jabari was quoted in the Saudi Arabian newspaper Al-Hayat as confirming that more than 1000 Palestinian prisoners, released as part of an exchange deal in which a single Israeli soldier was released by Hamas, were collectively responsible for the killing of at least 569 Israelis.
Per George Jonas in the 26 July National Post at fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/07/26/george-jonas-the-moral-illiteracy-of-israels-critics/:
“It seems to require a form of moral hypertrophy to find equivalence between Israel that uses its weapons to protect children, and Hamas that uses children to protect its weapons.”
Hamas has a long record of provocative violence, including sending rockets into Israel, and kidnapping, and attempted kidnapping. Israeli security forces have foiled at least 48 kidnapping attempts since January 2013. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is known to have encouraged kidnapping. A short time after the recent kidnapping of the three Israelis, Hamas encouraged Palestinian youth to embrace its ideology of hatred and terrorism. See www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.599648 and www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Hamas-leader-Ismail-Haniyeh-encourages-abduction-of-Israeli-soldiers-348596 and www.idfblog.com/blog/2014/06/22/hamas-indoctrinates-palestinian-youth-kidnapping/.
A good objective review of the overall situation is that of Margaret Wente in the Globe and Mail at www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/human-shields-are-hamass-pr/article19602451/.
One can be critical of the tactics and actions of almost any party to any serious conflict, and the Gaza war is no exception. But it is important not to lose sight of the fundamentals.
Fundamentally, Hamas, like all Islamist jihadists, seeks the destruction of Israel as a nation and encourages its people to kill Israelis, and in some cases, Jews in other countries as well. For many years Hamas has continuously built military installations (tunnels, rocket launchers, etc.) intended for destruction of Israel and Israelis. On the other hand, Israel has occupied or constrained Gaza for many years, and prevented Palestinians from acting as a nation, although it does not seek to destroy an existing nation nor an adverse populace.
Hamas, like all Islamist jihadists, sees Western values as incompatible with Islamist values and objectives. To most if not all jihadists, America is the Great Satan, to be fought by any and every means possible. America and Israel are allies. On the other hand, by and large, Israeli values are compatible with those of the West. Israel and Israelis pose no threat to Western nations nor their citizens.
Islamists everywhere seek to undermine Western nations and governments. Islamists constitute the most serious present threat to Western civilization, and the indications are that the situation will get much worse before it gets better, if ever. The warnings given six years ago by Geert Wilders (see, for example, http://www.thefirstorlast.com/AMERICA-THE-LAST-MAN-STANDING.html) are even more valid and pressing now than they were when first delivered.
I don’t care much for the present Canadian Government, but I do support its middle-east policy.
In the 27 July issue of the Atlantic, in an article entitled Why Is Israel Losing a War It's Winning? viewable at http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/07/why-is-israel-losing-a-war-its-winning/375116/, the author states “Hamas’s strategy is to bait Israel into killing Palestinian civilians, and Israel usually takes the bait.” Commenting on this point, the Washington Post observed at www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-us-should-push-for-the-disarming-of-hamas-in-gaza-israel-cease-fire/2014/07/23/7c2d1d9e-1284-11e4-8936-26932bcfd6ed_story.html
“The depravity of Hamas’s strategy seems lost on much of the outside world, which — following the terrorists’ script — blames Israel for the civilian casualties it inflicts while attempting to destroy the tunnels. While children die in strikes against the military infrastructure that Hamas’s leaders deliberately placed in and among homes, those leaders remain safe in their own tunnels. There they continue to reject cease-fire proposals, instead outlining a long list of unacceptable demands.”
The Atlantic article concludes:
“...the cause of a two-state solution would be helped, and Israel's standing would be raised, if the secretary of state, John Kerry, realized that such a solution will be impossible to achieve so long as an aggressive and armed Hamas remains in place in Gaza.”
Planet Earth, are you awake? The Islamist threat is much more urgent, acute, evil and serious than global warming or anything else that troubles us.
– Bob Barrigar