Inspiring words to justify a democracy’s assault on Islamist Sunni terrorism

Below is an abridged version of the speech Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made on the eve of Operation Protective Edge.

Some background: Protective Edge was the Israeli military campaign to shield innocent civilians from the ongoing carnage of kidnappings, bombings, missiles, arson attacks and wholesale destruction of civilian infrastructure that Sunni Islamist Hamas terrorists from Gaza were raining down on Israel’s civilian population in summer 2014.

Hamas’s murderous assaults over the years included the murder of infant babies in their cots, the cold-blooded execution of young children strapped helplessly in car child seats, the kidnapping and cold-blooded murder of teenagers, the bombing of restaurants, cinemas, buses and malls, tying people’s hands behind their backs and hurling them to their deaths off the roofs of tall buildings, the butchering of heavily pregnant mothers, the lynching of adult men by ripping out their entrails while the victims were still alive, the summary and VERY public execution of suspected dissidents without trial, the systematic, officially sanctioned rape, torture and subjugation of non-Muslims as part of a drive of ethnic cleansing, and attempted beheadings.

It was on the basis of this speech that Israel launched its response to the ongoing assault on its citizens being carried out by the Sunni Islamist Hamas terrorists of Gaza, literally just a few metres away from Israel in the Gaza Strip.

I will not hesitate to take action against Hamas (in Gaza, as well as in Judea and Samaria). This is a core principle of my leadership: if you threaten (us), you will find no safe haven anywhere.


I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are.


In a region that has known so much bloodshed, these terrorists are unique in their brutality. They execute captured prisoners. They kill children. They enslave, rape and force women into marriage. They threatened a religious minority with genocide.


First, we will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists.


Second, we will increase our support to forces fighting these terrorists on the ground.


Third, we will continue to draw on our substantial counterterrorism capabilities to prevent (further) attacks. Working with our partners, we will redouble our efforts to cut off the terrorists’ funding, improve our intelligence, strengthen our defences (and) counter their warped ideology. 


Fourth, we will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians who’ve been victimised by (this terrorist organization). 


Now, it will take time to eradicate a cancer like (terrorism). And any time we take military action, there are risks involved, especially to the servicemen and -women who carry out these missions.


Our technology companies and universities are unmatched. Our manufacturing and (IT) industries are thriving. Energy independence is closer than it’s been in decades. For all the work that remains, our businesses are in the longest uninterrupted stretch of job creation in our history. Despite all the divisions and discord within our democracy, I see the grit and determination and common goodness of (our) people every single day, and that makes me more confident than ever about our country’s future.


That is the difference we make in the world. And our own safety, our own security depends upon our willingness to do what it takes to defend this nation and uphold the values that we stand for – timeless ideals that will endure long after those who offer only hate and destruction have been vanquished from the Earth.”

No wait, I made a mistake. These are not excerpts from a speech made by Israeli PM Netanyahu to justify Israel’s response to Sunni Islamist fanatics located literally just across the border, literally a few metres away from Israeli civilian population centres, after more than 1000 Israeli civilians had been brutally and indiscriminately murdered over a period of several years and more than 11,000 missiles had rained down on Israeli civilians over that period.

Instead, this was the speech made by US President Barack Obama after just two (2) US citizens, James Foley and Steven Sotlov, were murdered by Sunni Islamist Islamic State fanatics in the space of a couple of weeks, with these terrorists operating several thousand kilometres away from the US on an entirely different continent.

The crucial difference is that the US and the rest of the world community howled in protest when Israel launched Operation Protective Edge and convened a whole raft of UN Security Council meetings to lambaste the Jewish state for its defensive actions (usually headlined in the press as “genocidal”, “disproportionate”, “indiscriminate” and/or “deliberate targeting of innocent civilians”). Yet that same world community is united in support of the US as it sends bomber aircraft, drones and missiles to wage yet another war several thousand kilometres away from the US mainland.

We are now waiting for the body count of civilians killed in this US war on vicious Sunni Islamist terrorists. As indeed has been the case in US military engagements in countries such as former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Pakistan (see also here for casualties in Pakistan) and Afghanistan. That civilian body count will be met with a few cursory remarks on page 15 of one or two newspapers in the West, between an advert for anti-dandruff shampoo and a notice that Christmas Day this year will fall on a Thursday.

Don’t misunderstand: Islamic State needs to be wiped out, by military as well as diplomatic, financial, logistical and all other means available, before this vicious Sunni Islamist terrorist cult can perpetrate any further horrors. But the difference between IS and Hamas is … what exactly? Both claim territory as their religious right, both use indiscriminate terror to achieve their aims, both employ ethnic cleansing as a weapon, both are genocidal, both are misogynistic, both are racist, both are Sunni, both specifically target civilians to spread terror. They are two peas in a pod.

Now, apart from “United Nations”, does anyone have a good synonym for “double standards”?

About the Author
Served as deputy chair of the West Sweden branch of the Sweden-Israel Friendship Association. Written three political thrillers about Sweden-Israel-Gaza in The Hart Trilogy: "Bridges Going Nowhere" (2014), "The Threat Beneath" (2015) and "From the Shadows" (2016), where the action switches seamlessly between Samaria, Gaza, Israel, Sweden and Iran. Work has started on a fourth book, "Picture Imperfect".
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