Fiamma Nirenstein

Operation Protective Edge: some points to make absolutely clear

Observing the Italian media, particularly television coverage, I feel the need to clarify some points:

1) Action conducted by the Israeli air force on Gaza has absolutely nothing to do with the unfortunate kidnapping and killing of the three Israeli students in the past weeks. When it was thought the boys were still alive, the IDF searched for them in the area of Hebron, where it is still looking now for the murderers, and Hebron has nothing to do with Gaza. There is no “cycle of violence”, but a continuing rocket attack from Gaza that Israel must stop in order to defend its citizens. This has nothing to do with “revenge” or “retaliation” as some journalists and politicians continue to suggest, leading to a completely distorted analysis. Instead, what we have before us is Israel’s attempt to block the launching of hundreds of missiles targeting its civilian population, and defend their lives. And to defend its citizens from deadly attacks is the essential task of every State.
2) Suppose that 35 million Italians had to run to shelters because of missile attacks from any of Italy’s neighboring Countries. Being a State like any other, what would Italy do? It would of course try to stop the missiles in every way possible.


3) It is true, unfortunately, that during air strikes against the terrorists and Hamas infrastructure, innocent people, including children, have become involved and killed. But Israel is not targeting civilians; its sights are set on Hamas leaders and military infrastructure, or more concisely, everything that is related to the missile launches. But Hamas places its missiles and its men as much as possible amidst the houses of the unfortunate Palestinians in Gaza, using them as human shields. So Israel has no choice in this asymmetric war: or it acts to stop the missiles, or it permits to be bombarded throughout the national territory, which would put an end to normal life, because everyone is running continuously to shelters (continuously, and this I can tell you from direct experience), and consequently the economy, culture, business, schools, etc. cannot function.


4) Israel continues to provide humanitarian services and essential goods to Gaza for the sick people and anyone in need of assistance and medicines. Also, electricity, water, gasoline continues to reach the Strip via Israel. It has been defined a humanitarian crisis, which certainly exists. However, one cannot help but think, judging by the number and type of rockets being launched at Israel – the Katiushe, the Qassam etc- that the billions of international aid money is going predominantly to arm the terrorists. This is a critical issue for a much needed reflection on the use of public money.


5) Israel’s aim is to stop the rockets, while Hamas’ is to kill as many Jews as possible, and destroy the State of Israel. Hamas has never accepted the Quartet’s principles, i.e.: the recognition of Israel, the renunciation of terrorism, and respect of previous diplomatic agreements. It is an extremist Islamic terrorist organization, part of the Muslim Brotherhood which insists on lighting the fuse to fuel enthusiasm of all Sunni decapitating extremists who we see in action in Syria and Iraq, and also receive help from Iran and Qatar, who in fact support it.


6) Israel is doing everything possible to avoid a ground offensive, which would be met with international disapproval and criminalization, and cost soldiers’ lives, and Israel certainly excludes the reoccupying of the Gaza Strip. But there is the problem of stopping Hamas, and it is a vital and inevitable issue, and all will depend on the insistence with which Hamas continues to bomb Israel.

7) Let us not forget that Abu Mazen, who today is considered a “good man” open to negotiations, is ready to condemn Israel with unbalanced terms among which stands out the use of the memory of Auschwitz; a few weeks ago his government made an agreement with Hamas, deliberately ignoring Hamas’ oath to destroy all Jews – which it is stated in its charter first of all – and its repeated choice of terrorism. Today, it is his turn to convince his allies to stop the shooting.


About the Author
Fiamma Nirenstein is a journalist, author, former Deputy President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and member of the Italian delegation at the Council of Europe.