Another week in Israel’s history

Sixty-two people were killed by IDF fire on Israel’s border with Gaza earlier this week.

The world is up in arms. Human Rights forums – the same forums currently taking a rain-check on the Syrian genocide – are beside themselves. Erdogan is threatening anything that moves. South Africa recalled her ambassador for consultations. The Europeans are demanding explanations. The media is castigating Israel for using “disproportionate means” to defend its territorial integrity and the armchair experts are insisting that Israel must certainly have some magic technology to protect her borders from those wishing to murder its citizens. Everybody who has something to say is saying it. Nobody wants to be left out. Neither do I.

So let’s consider the facts.

• In 2005 Israel unilaterally withdrew its armed forces and civilian presence from Gaza and returned to the pre-1967 internationally recognized border.

• The territory – supposedly a part of the proposed two state solution – is governed by Hamas, an acknowledged and accomplished terror organization with a track record to prove it.

• Since achieving its “independence”, Gaza has initiated three major military confrontations with Israel. Even during the relatively peaceful interludes between these confrontations, thousands of rockets fired from Gaza continued to rain down on civilian targets in Southern Israel.

• In order to limit the free flow of arms from Iran to Gaza, Israel and Egypt imposed a naval blockade on Gaza. This blockade was deemed legal by the UN appointed Palmer Commission. In the words of the Commission: “Israel faces a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza. The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law.”

• Gaza is apparently threatened with a humanitarian crisis. Nonetheless, its rulers have accumulated an impressive arsenal of missiles and invested millions of dollars to create an infrastructure of terror tunnels to enable commando attacks on civilian neighborhoods inside Israel.

• Hamas continues to hold two Israeli citizens hostage and the bodies of two Israeli servicemen killed in action in 2014.

• Earlier in the week, Hamas militants destroyed the power supply lines from Israel to Gaza.

• This is only some of what we Israelis have had to live with for the past 13 years and no, there doesn’t appear to be any realistic prospect for positive change.

Now let’s consider what Israel has done to counter this horrific state of affairs.

• Israel developed the Iron Dome air defense system to intercept the barrage of missiles being fired at civilian targets in Israel.

• Israel is currently constructing an underground security obstacle on its sovereign territory to effectively thwart the threat of terror tunnels on its civilian population.

• In an attempt to provide basic services to the Gaza’s civilian population, Israel provides both power and water to Gaza.

• Thousands of trucks transport food and medical supplies on a daily basis to Gaza.

• The accumulated debt of the Palestinian Authority in respect of these services is enormous. You’ve got it. My tax dollars are financing those seeking to kill me.

Now let’s consider what Israel hasn’t done.

• Israel hasn’t developed an effective technology to prevent destruction of certain of her security infrastructures.

• Israel hasn’t developed an effective technology to prevent the hostile infiltration of its borders.

If Israel had such technologies, she would certainly have used them. Had Israel’s objective been to massacre as many Gazans as possible, 62 casualties out of a target of 40,000 should be considered a dismal failure.

I know this is difficult to comprehend because Israeli technology is at the source of everything that opens and closes. From military innovations to cyber security, from medical technologies to life-saving pharmaceuticals, from communications to driverless vehicles, from wastewater recycling to water desalinization. You name it. Israel’s done it.

When other countries are confronted with security issues like these, they traditionally solve them by, for want of a better phrase, knocking the shit out of those wanting to harm their citizens. They wouldn’t waste time and effort developing technologies to minimize the loss of enemy lives.

Imagine if Israel reacted like other countries do. Imagine if Israel reacted like the Russians did in Ukraine, or like they did in Ossetia and Abkhazia, or in Afghanistan or in Chechnya. Imagine if Israel reacted like the Turks did in Kurdish Syria or in Armenia. Or like the Belgians did in the Congo, or like the French did in Algeria. And so the list goes on and on and on and on.

So in light of the above, let’s consider what happened last week:

• 40,000 Gazans demonstrated violently on Israel’s border in an attempt to destroy the security obstacles designed to protect Israeli civilians. In true Hamas tradition, their leaders led from behind while their women and children provided cover for their soldiers who focused on achieving the military objectives of the demonstration.

• In the absence of an effective technology to protect Israel’s territorial integrity, Israel’s Defense Forces killed 62 people – 53 of them Hamas or Islamic Jihad militants. That’s surgical by any standard.

• Not a single Gazan who went about his daily routine by going to work or to school was killed.

And so dear members of the UN Human Rights Council, Emperor Erdogan, President Ramaphosa, Ms. Federica Mogherini, esteemed members of the Press and all the armchair experts of this world, I must tell you that I’m proud of my country and the concern it shows for human life.

I salute Israel’s leadership and her defense forces. They risk their lives on a daily basis to ensure my safety. I salute the military ethic of the officers and the soldiers of Israel’s Defense Forces. I salute the resolve of my country to continue developing technologies for the benefit of all mankind despite our precarious security situation and the hostility and hatred displayed by our neighbors.

About the Author
Harris Zvi Green was born in Cape Town, South Africa. Aged 73, he made Aliyah 49 years ago. An accountant by profession, he served as the Chief Financial Officer of a number of Israel based hi-tech companies. He is married to Phyllis. They have 3 married children and 13 grandchildren. Harris Zvi Green is a founding member of Truth be Told, an organization engaged in public diplomacy on behalf of Israel.