Israel does a fine job in selling its brand as a tourist destination, yet it is failing to garner sympathy and support in its conflict with Hamas. It has been four weeks since Hamas brutally attacked Israel, killing nearly everyone in sight, bringing to mind the Einsatzgruppen (Nazi SS paramilitary death squads who shot more than one million Jews). Where is the outrage? Sadly, it is largely directed at Israel rather than Hamas.
THE WORLD “FORGOT” THE OCTOBER 7 MASSACRE
On October 7, Shabbat as well as Simchat Torah, Hamas slaughtered nearly 1,400 Israeli Jews and Arab Bedouins, wounded more than 6,000 and kidnapped at least 240, including elderly, Holocaust survivors and children, who are now being held hostage. The dead weren’t merely gunned down. Babies were riddled with bullets or burned to death, families were shot one by one, mothers and their babies tied together and set on fire, soldiers beheaded and young people attending a music festival hunted down and shot or burned in their hiding places or cars as they tried to flee the carnage. The terrorists made no attempt to hide their deeds. They shot videos and in at least one case, used a dead Israeli’s mobile phone to text family in Gaza, boasting how he murdered Jews. Another intercepted call from a Hamas terrorist on October 7 described how the severed heads of decapitated Israelis were gleefully kicked around.
Yet in the US and European streets and on college campuses, people are marching for the Palestinians, threatening Jews and chanting “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” a slogan which actually means destruction of Israel and killing Jews. Shouts of “Allahu Akbar” are calls for jihad or holy war and “Khaybar Khaybar Ya Yahud (jaish Muhammad soufa ya’oud”) references the massacre of Jewish tribes in and around Khaybar (near Medina, in the Arabian Peninsula) in the year 628 by Muhammad’s army. The quote translates to “Khaybar Khaybar, oh Jews, the army of Muhammad will return.” Do the non-Muslim marchers have any idea that they are chanting slogans to slaughter Jews; not only Israelis, but Jews? Do they understand how they would fare in an Islamic state governed by Sharia law?
ARE FACTS BEING IGNORED OR FORGOTTEN?
As definitively as their new ad campaign boasts “Take Me to Israel,” Israel must tell the world what Hamas’ media advisor, Taher El-Nounou, told The NY Times on November 8, 2023. “I hope that the state of war with Israel will become permanent and that the Arab world will stand with us.” Hamas, according to the Times, is “an armed force, unrelentingly committed to destroying Israel and replacing it with an Islamic Palestinian state.” Show all of the footage shot by Hamas terrorists (like the Nazis did and ISIS does) of their blatant atrocities, blurring only enough to spare families the grief of seeing their loved ones’ heads used as soccer balls.
ISRAEL NEEDS TO MAKE IT CLEAR THAT HAMAS IS NOT PALESTINE.
Hamas is a Sunni Islamic group (essentially an offshoot of Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood) which advocates destroying Israel and claims all of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza to be “Waqf” territory, Islamic land endowed in perpetuity by Allah to Muslims. In fact, the Jewish People are indigenous to the land 1,700 years before the advent of Islam. It is not the Palestinian National Authority (PA) which is headquartered in the West Bank city of Ramallah. In April 2018 Mahmoud Habbash, an advisor to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, declared that “Hamas is deliberately damaging Israel’s image in a war that has nothing to do with Palestine.”
ISRAEL IS NOT OCCUPYING PALESTINIAN LAND
Jews are indigenous to Israel and there been a Jewish presence throughout the land for thousands of years. The occupiers were actually Arab nations! Following the 1948 Israel War of Independence, Jordan claimed the West Bank area of the Jordan River and Egypt held onto Gaza. The UN partition plan which would have created Jewish and Palestinian states alongside one another, was spurned and then destroyed by the invading Arab armies that attempted to eradicate Israel. Despite trying to install a local “puppet government” in Gaza, Egypt had no intentions of withdrawing from that territory and prior to the 1967 Six Day War, Jordan’s King Hussein was constructing a summer palace in what is today the Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood of Jerusalem. Clearly, Jordan had no plan to establish Palestinian sovereignty over this territory either. The only country to withdraw from a portion of the West Bank is Israel, allowing the PA to establish its Authority in the West Bank in 1993-1995. Israel totally disengaged from Gaza in 2005, leaving it to the PA. In 2007, Hamas defeated Fatah (PA) in both an election and in factional warfare.
PALESTINIAN LEADERS VILLIFY ISRAEL BUT SEEK ISRAELI MEDICAL CARE FOR THEIR FAMILIES
PA President Mahmoud Abbas arranged to have his younger brother, Abu Louai, treated for cancer at Assuta Hospital in Tel Aviv. Abbas’ wife was also treated at Assuta and his brother-in-law had life-saving heart surgery in Israel. Former Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh’s daughter was hospitalized at Ichilov Medical Center in Tel Aviv after a routine procedure performed at a Gaza hospital went wrong and Haniyeh’s mother-in-law and baby granddaughter also received medical care in Israel. Before October 7, seriously ill Gazans were regularly admitted to Israel for treatment. Even Hamas fighters who were wounded and captured by Israel since the October massacre are being treated in Israeli hospitals. The nation accused of “genocide” is saving Palestinian lives.
ISRAEL WARNS GAZANS WHERE AND WHEN THEY ARE ATTACKING
Israeli forces drop leaflets warning citizens to evacuate, “knock” on the roofs of buildings to be bombed and make announcements for people to evacuate. Conversely, Hamas tells Gazans to stay. Regrettably, civilians have been killed, however Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have fired thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians without cautioning them to evacuate or take cover. October 7 showed the world that they are targeting everyone with deadly intent.
ISRAEL DIDN’T BOMB THE AL-AHLI ARAB HOSPITAL IN GAZA CITY
There is substantial independent proof that it was hit by a misfired rocket from Islamic Jihad. However, Barzilai Medical Center in Ashqelon, Israel was definitely struck by Hamas rockets in the first days of the war on three separate occasions.
STARVING GAZANS LOOTED FOOD WAREHOUSES; SEVERE SHORTAGES?
Contrary to reports, there was food, water and other urgently needed supplies in Gaza, however these were stored in Hamas’ warehouses. Food, concrete, water, building supplies, fuel and more that were sent to Gaza since 2005 should have been used to rebuild residences, feed civilians and construct bomb shelters. Hamas stole these supplies to feed their fighters and build tunnels from Gaza to Israel in order to attack its communities or to stockpile bombs, rockets, ammunition under homes, schools, mosques, refugee camps and hospitals. Red Crescent ambulances regularly transfer arms and terrorists, trusting that Israel will not attack them. Intelligence disclosed that Hamas has located its main command center under the Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Hamas and Islamic Jihad use the people of Gaza as human shields, hiding behind the abayas of Gaza’s women and playgrounds of its children.
WHILE GAZANS SUFFER, HAMAS LEADERS GROW RICH
Reports verify that Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Meshaal are each worth $5 million and Moussa Abu Marzook has $3 million. Reportedly, Haniyeh is living large in a Qatari hotel, not in embattled Gaza, as are many Hamas leaders.
ISRAEL NOT BLOCKING HUMANITARIAN AID TO GAZA
Although Israel has legitimate concerns that aid needed by Gaza’s citizens will be seized by Hamas, they agreed to a US plan to admit supplies to enter the territory. However, Israel does not control the Rafah Crossing between Egypt and Gaza, having withdrawn in 2005. Hamas and Egypt are responsible for the delays. The NY Times has also reported that Hamas attempted to smuggle wounded fighters to Egypt from Gaza through Rafah.
PALESTINIAN FAMILIES DENIED INCOME EARNED BY 18,000 GAZANS HOLDING WORK PERMITS FOR ISRAEL
Palestinian workers earned salaries up to ten times more than they could get for similar work in Gaza. Even more West Bank Palestinians have work permits to take jobs in Israel.
It is astounding that Israel needs to make the case to free Gaza’s citizens and end the constant, very real threat of Hamas from its own communities. Opposition to Israel’s response to the massacre is also fueling increased antisemitism around the world (which was never really gone). We need to go back to Journalism 101 and assume that the world is clueless, completely uninformed of the true nature of the situation and use every tool, image, video and audio clip to make Israel’s case. And we need to recognize that the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7 are considered as far in the past to the rest of the world as the Visigoths. However, for Jews, Israel and its supporters, it is still October 7.