The reason why the Gaza wars continue

Illustrative: Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli soldiers near the border fence east of Gaza City on December 22, 2017. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)
Illustrative: Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli soldiers near the border fence east of Gaza City on December 22, 2017. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)

Pretty much all the mainstream reporting on Gaza’s conflict with Israel misses the most important fact, leading the general public that relies on the mainstream media to totally misunderstand the situation: The reason why the conflict continues is because Israel does not hit Gaza hard enough to end it. Once it is said, the statement sounds obvious, yet journalists rarely say it.

Israel withdrew its military and its settlements from Gaza in 2005, and left it 100% in the hands of the Palestinians. At first, there was no blockade. The blockade by Egypt and Israel developed later, after terrorists started attacking Israel from Gaza, as even the anti-Israel Al Jazeera recognizes. The only purpose of the blockade, which is backed by the United Nations, is to limit the supply of weapons to Gaza terrorists.

Yet Gaza terrorists keep attacking Israel, knowing that the attacks result in a blockade. The terrorists themselves tell us why they make that choice, by using expressions such as the “Great March of Return” and “Raising the banner of Allah on every inch of Palestine [Israel]”. Their clearly stated objective is to invade Israel.

The Gaza terrorists are not a resistance force because there is nothing for them to resist. Israel would gladly leave Gaza alone if it could. The Gaza terrorists are an invasion force, regardless of the fact that they are not capable of invading Israel at this time, and while they cannot invade, they can kill and terrorize, and they do it at will.

When Gaza terrorists attack Israel, they are attacking a sovereign nation that they have no legal right and no moral justification to attack, and Israel’s duty is to protect its citizens and the integrity of its borders. As was written in the National Review, “The actual law of war would allow Israel to invade Gaza, utterly destroy Hamas, and occupy Gaza City until Israel’s safety is ensured, even if it [Gaza City] burned in the fight”. Yet, Israel chooses to only manage the attacks and not to stop them. It chooses to not burn down Gaza City.

Israel’s restraint exceeds any reasonable standard of human rights, including proportionality and avoidance of civilian casualties, and Israel even provides continuous supplies of electricity, goods, and money without which, Gaza would quickly face starvation.  Israel chooses to not use measures that would force the terrorists in Gaza to surrender and stop attacking Israel. Even Al-Jazeera admits that Israel deliberately chooses to avoid a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

In order to avoid civilian casualties, Israel has not destroyed terrorist facilities to an extent that would eliminate the terrorists’ ability to attack Israel. In order to avoid killing rioters who attack the borders of Israel, Israel has in almost all cases caused only injuries, therefore dramatically weakening any deterrence for more attacks. In order to avoid killing civilians, including children that terrorist leaders cynically surround themselves with, Israel rarely assassinates the terrorist leaders that are the central drivers of the conflict.

The reason why 14 years after its withdrawal from Gaza, the most powerful army in the Middle East still has not silenced the Gaza terrorists, and the reason why the Israeli people are still subjected to rocket attacks or arson attacks whenever the terrorists choose, is because Israel has so far placed the lives of Gazans above the safety of its own citizens.

Like every conflict, this conflict will end. Eventually, either the world will decide to deal with the Gaza terrorists, or Israel will run out of patience and decide that the safety of its citizens is more important than the lives of Gazans, which it is entitled to do. By remaining silent, journalists help tip the scale towards the latter rather than the former.

About the Author
Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of civil war. Fred supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and he supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities, including Palestinians, can co-exist in peace with each other and with Israel, and where human rights are respected. Fred is an atheist, a social liberal, and an advocate of equal rights for LGBT people everywhere. Fred Maroun writes for Gatestone Institute.
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