Israel’s response to terrorist attacks spawned out of an ideology that openly calls for the murder of Israeli citizenry is inescapable, necessary and justified. Even more, because they are a moral army that understands the absurd double standard they are held to, the Israeli Defense Force tries harder than any army in the world to minimize enemy civilian causalities and goes through extraordinary risks to prevent such occurrences. The IDF makes thousands of phone calls and text messages, and drops thousands of pamphlets into Gaza, instructing the people how to stay out of harms way, and to let them know if an attack is coming in the area. They engage in roof knocking, meaning they use loud but non-lethal bombs to help civilians get to safety in anticipation of Israeli strikes against terrorists. They use missiles instead of rockets so they can accurately pinpoint terrorists with the least collateral damage possible, and they make life harder for themselves by aiming at specific building floors and rooms to avoid additional destruction. They’re one of the only armies in the world that will turn back their own air force missiles at the last second if they receive any evidence that civilians are in the area (regardless of how successful the operation would have been). The IDF frequently sends ground forces into dangerous situations, because it is a more precise way of killing the enemy, and only the enemy, than bombing from a safe distance. They do this at peril to themselves, as outright bombing would clearly be a more risk adverse strategy for their own soldiers.
British Commander Richard Kemp argued, when speaking about Operation Cast lead in 2009, “During its operation in Gaza, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare. In fact, my judgments about the steps taken in that conflict by the IDF to avoid civilian deaths are inadvertently borne out by a study published by the United Nations itself, a study which shows that the ratio of civilian to combatant deaths in Gaza was by far the lowest in any asymmetric conflict in the history of warfare.” He goes onto cite many of the same tactics that I addressed earlier, in more detail, to support this assertion. Even more transparently, Israel sends 120 truckloads of medical equipment and food into Gaza every week to help civilians unrelated to the terrorist activities (though this is a delicate distinction) receive humanitarian support. The continued humanitarian aid, which Israel has brought to the people of Gaza since it’s unilateral withdrawal in 2005, is a reflection of Israeli goodwill towards innocent people at extreme risk to IDF soldiers. When injured, Palestinians are attended to by Israeli doctors, in Israeli hospitals, as if they were IDF soldiers themselves. If Israel fought their battles with regard to civilian life the way even an average country does (not to mention their enemies), they would be capable of achieving much more military success at less risk to their soldiers. They don’t do so however because they are a moral and conscious nation, with a defensive military, and because, put simply, they are not their enemies.
Around the world, most prominently in the New York Times (which has lost any credibility it may have had in foreign affairs through their coverage of this conflict) I keep hearing words such as “invade”, “attack” and “destroy” as if Israel were voluntarily putting their soldiers into harms way to take over a place they WILLINGLY AND UNILATERALLY gave to the Palestinians. In 2005, the Ariel Sharon led government unilaterally gave the Gaza Strip to Fatah as a gesture of peace, and uplifted thousands of Israeli settlers from the area in the process. The Israeli government hoped that the Palestinians would use this political control to build a better infrastructure with more educational and economic opportunities for the residents of Gaza. If this happened, Israel would have had the evidence necessary to also leave the West Bank, and let the Palestinians govern themselves, without fear of it turning into a terrorist state. Instead, Hamas won elections, (meaning their citizens supported the platform of destroying Israel and killing Jews) and within a week removed prosperous Israeli greenhouses to make room for rocket launchers. Gaza became solidified as a terrorist breeding ground, with stockpiles of rockets all along the strip. As such, claiming Israel is trying to invade Gaza or is fighting on the offense is preposterous; they don’t want Gaza; they just want their citizens to stop being attacked by rockets.
Israel has not initiated anything and is merely responding in the best way they can to the rockets being launched at their people. Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense on Wednesday by killing Ahmad Jabari, the head of Hamas’ Military Wing and the most senior Terrorist in Gaza (the man responsible for Gilad Shalit’s capture). They then struck against Hamas’ long-range Fajr missiles, which if left unattended would be devastating to Israel as they have the range to reach Tel Aviv. (Unfortunately, Israel was unable to destroy all of these, as rockets reached the Greater Tel Aviv Area.) A week ago, Israel launched a precision air strike against four senior Islamic Jihad terrorists, who were hiding out in a civilian media office. Islamic Jihad, a terrorist group receiving direct orders, weapons, and money from the dangerous Iranian Regime, is an ally of Hamas bent on the destruction of Israel. In total, The IDF targeted over 1,500 terror sites in Gaza and was able to destroy 19 high level command centers, 900 rocket launchers, and over 60 smuggling tunnels. Finally on Wednesday, amidst a long week of rocket attacks, air strikes, and civilian casualties, the conflict reached a Cease Fire on Wednesday (mostly), though it is no less important now then 3 days ago to understand the key aspects of the fight between Israel and Hamas.
It is important to understand why the higher number of civilian deaths on the Palestinian side is not a reflection of Israeli aggression but rather an obvious result of Hamas’s terrorist agenda. Hamas is solely responsible for both Palestinian casualties and Israeli causalities, because they hide behind their own civilians while simultaneously shooting at Israel’s civilians. Most of Hamas’s weapons are kept in buildings in close proximity to schools, residential areas, hospitals, and other areas of civilian life. This is not an accident. Hamas intentionally puts “their own people” in harms way because doing so allows them to win a war politically that they could never hope to win militarily. By forcing Israel to operate in a densely populated area, and by putting weapons in the hands of children, Hamas is forcing the hand of the IDF. Hamas knows Israel would never blow up a hospital or a residential neighborhood, so they use the IDF’s morality and restraint to gain the upper hand. Hamas uses these citizens as protection, and ultimately as a weapon of propaganda.
Unfortunate Palestinian deaths are inevitable as Hamas has placed these innocent people into harms way, and Israel has no choice but to aim at terrorists and try to avoid citizens; Allowing deadly rockets to continually hit cities is not an option. In such a small area, with terrorists hiding among civilians, it is impossible for Israeli soldiers to be perfect all the time. When deaths do come about, Hamas and their radical brethren get to politicize the war to a blind media and use irrelevant statistics and false visuals to point fingers at Israeli aggression. Hamas wants as many deaths in Gaza as possible because they can capitalize on these deaths in the media (they took a video of a burning young girl last Thursday and uploaded it to Youtube) and then lie about supposed Israeli brutality and aggression. This behavior is appalling, and is the single most egregious tactic that Hamas employs. On the flip side, Israel’s lack of casualties is due to the incredible lengths the IDF goes through to protect their citizens. The Israelis do an extraordinary job, given the danger at hand, of defending their civilians from most of the rockets being launched at them every day, and only this limits the Israeli casualty numbers from being higher.
On Friday, Hamas even took to firing at Jerusalem, the holiest city in the world, and a highly populous community full of Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike. Because they are using rockets at such long distances, Hamas has no idea who the rockets will hit, showing that they truly do not care how many citizens die, nor who they are. Jerusalem is the third holiest city in Islam, and the Palestinian Authority has demanded that it be included in any future Palestinian state, and still it is not saved from Hamas aggression. As David Horovitz, the editor-in-chief at the Times of Israel writes, “In firing missiles toward Jerusalem – firing indiscriminately, pushing themselves to the very limits of their deadly capabilities – they showed utter indifference to the lives of their own brothers, sisters, parents.” Yesterday, another Hamas rocket landed near Jerusalem, in between two Palestinian villages in Gush Etzion. If this doesn’t speak to the nature and the clear intentions of Hamas, I don’t know what does. Hamas doesn’t care about the Palestinians, Islamic holy places, or any other pillar of moderation the world characterizes them as representing. Hamas’s claim to care about Palestinian self-determination is merely a strategy to defame and ultimately destroy Israel. Hamas has two goals: The destruction of Israel and the murder of all the Jews. In their mind, any price is worth having so long as they help to achieve these two “holy” pursuits. This is why they place their rocket launchers next to schoolhouses, and why they fire indiscriminately into Israel, occasionally hitting Arab villages near the West Bank. To Hamas, the murder of their own people can’t get in the way of the destruction of Israel.
This is a matter of right and wrong; defense and murder. Hamas openly calls for the destruction of the Jews, launches rockets into Israel, and hides behind their own civilians. Israel, on the other hand, defends their civilian population to the best of their ability, while simultaneously doing anything they can to avoid hitting innocent Palestinians. The numbers are skewered because Hamas wants them to be. It’s as simple as that. Hamas’s unofficial slogan is “We love death as much as the Jews love life.” Despite how obviously vulgar and horrifying this message sounds, it is exactly how the Hamas Death Cult operates. Celebrating death and creating a culture of hate allows them to score political victories, terrorize Israelis, and demonize Israel around the world.
We can’t let this continue to happen.