What the UN’s been Missing
Today, Hamas broke yet another ceasefire, only hours after Israel had agreed to extend the lull in the fighting. On Monday, the United Nations announced the creation of a special three person Human Rights Council panel that will review allegations of human rights and international law violations occurring in the current Israel-Gaza conflict. One of the members of this panel has openly stated that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be his favorite person to have tried in the International Criminal Court. This council is supposed to be unbiased. While the United Nations was busy focusing all its energy on these allegations, they forgot to discuss a few other crises occurring across the world.
Over the last year and a half, the terrorist organization known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, an Al-Qaeda splinter cell, has taken control of large swaths of territory via violent means. At a glance:
Over 13,300: is the number of civilians killed by ISIS since the beginning of 2013
6,000: is the number of Iraqi civilians butchered by ISIS this year
500: is the number of Yazidis (a Kurdish Iraqi minority) killed by ISIS, some of which were buried alive
0: is the number of practicing Christians left in Mosul, a city that is now controlled by ISIS; ISIS has made Christianity punishable by death, thus forcing all Christians to either convert or flee.
As ISIS is carrying out targeted killings against minority groups and Iraqi Christians, it is safe to say that they are successfully carrying out genocide in Iraq. Unlike the Israel-Gaza conflict, this crisis has gone almost unmentioned for the last year and a half, even though scores more people have been killed in Iraq than in the current Israel-Gaza conflict.
More than 170,000: is the number of people killed since start of the civil war
More than 54,000: is a conservative estimate of the number of civilians killed in the Syrian Civil War
More than 14,100: is the number of women and children killed in the Syrian Civil War
More than 1800: is the number of Palestinian-Arabs killed in the Syrian Civil War
The media scarcely reports on the ongoing civil war that is still raging in Syria; this past July was one of the deadliest months of the conflict thus far. It is of note that the United Nations has stopped updating its count of the Syrian death toll; it claims it cannot verify the sources behind the numbers. Essentially, they refuse to take the time to verify the sources and keep track of the death toll.
Last but not least, for the sake of comparison, in Israel:
Approximately 87,000: is the number of Palestinian-Arabs killed in the Israeli-Arab conflict since 1948. More people have died in the last three years alone in the Syrian Civil War, but these victims have largely been forgotten by the international community.
More than 3500: is the number of rockets launched at Israel since the start of Protective Edge, each one of which constitutes an attempt to murder Israeli civilians. This is a war crime.
Approximately 1900: is the number of Palestinian Arabs killed since the start of Protective Edge.
Approximately 900-1300: is the estimated number of Palestinian-Arabs civilians killed amongst the 1900 total. The lower number is that estimated by the IDF, while the higher number is that estimated by Palestinian sources, many of which are run by Hamas. There are varying other estimates that fall between these numbers.
Recently, reports have surfaced that disprove the claim that the majority of the people killed in this conflict have been Palestinian civilians. In fact, research done by both the BBC as well as an Israeli research group indicates that the numbers of civilians and militants killed may be closer to equal. This is not a means to justify the number of civilians killed, because loss of innocent life is reprehensible. However, it is unfair and unjust to inflate figures merely to claim that one party’s response is disproportionate to the other’s actions. If the validity of war was judged based on the number of casualties on each side, then the Allies would bear the blame for World War II.
As for the allegations Israel of committing war crimes, indiscriminately ordering strikes within Gaza and violating human rights:
4,762: is the number of terror targets the IDF struck between July 8 and August 5. Again, without trying to justify loss of civilian life and using the larger estimates for the number of civilian casualties, this works out to one civilian killed for every 3.6 strikes. If Israel was truly indiscriminately targeting Palestinian civilians, the number of civilians killed in each strike would be much higher.
Additionally, the mainstream media often states that the Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated areas on Earth, and Hamas only fires from civilian areas because of this fact. This is a distortion of the truth. Information recently released by the Gatestone Institute indicates that while the city centers of Gaza are very densely populated, there are additionally many emptier areas of Gaza. Mainstream media outlets never show these areas because there is scarcely fighting there. Additionally, maps that show the origin of rocket attacks show that almost none of the attacks originate in these empty areas. This begs the question, if Hamas was concerned for the lives Gaza’s civilians, why not fire rockets from these emptier areas? Why fire them from some of the most populated areas in the world? The answer is that as a terrorist organization, Hamas has no regard for civilians of any kind. Up to this point I have refrained from addressing the claim that Hamas uses the civilians of Gaza as human shields. There is real and jarring evidence to support this claim. Hamas hides behind the civilians of Gaza, by choosing to launch rocket attacks from densely populated areas and leaves the IDF no choice but to carry out strikes in these areas. Hamas does this knowing that images of deceased civilians will flood TV screens throughout the world, and that the international community will cry out in rage against Israel. Hamas has the option to set up their headquarters in empty areas of Gaza instead of in hospitals and homes, but has repeatedly chosem the latter. By making this choice, Hamas bears the blame for the loss of civilian life and is committing war crimes.
Lastly, during Operation Protective Edge, Israel provided the following supplies to Gaza:
40,550: is the number of tons of supplies transferred to Gaza
37,178: is the number of tons of food transferred to Gaza
1,694: is the number of tons of humanitarian goods transferred to Gaza
1,029: is the number of tons of medicine and medical supplies transferred to Gaza
1,856: is the number of trucks needed to carry these supplies
Many of these supplies were delivered via the Kerem Shalom crossing, which has been repeatedly attacked with barrages of Hamas rockets in order to prevent these aid shipments from entering the Gaza Strip. So, even though Israel has been more than willing to give assistance to the people of Gaza, Hamas will not allow them to have it.
Given the force with which the United States carried out its strikes against terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq, there is no doubt that they would have responded in the same manner to a barrage of rockets raining down on the United States homeland. Additionally, the United States has renewed airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and is being credited with not only further securing the homeland, but with saving the lives of civilians in Northern Iraq. These airstrikes serve to the same purpose to the people of Iraq as Operation Protective Edge serves to the people of Israel: to protect the lives of civilians against terrorist attacks. Throughout history, there have been numerous cases of countries striking back at terrorists in order to secure the safety of their people. In the larger majority of these instances, civilians have died, as war is mayhem. No other country in the world is forced to live under the constant fear that Israel lives with day in and day out, and yet no other country in the world has faced the amount of backlash that Israel continues to receive in the name of self-defense.
When the mainstream media reports on ISIS, they waste no time calling them a dangerous terrorist organization that must be stopped. ISIS and Hamas are incredibly similar; they are both extremist groups perverting the beliefs of a peace-loving religion to further their cause. It is truly mind-boggling that the mainstream media is willing to ignore this fact, as is the United Nations. Both the media and the United Nations are willing to legitimize Hamas while reprimanding Israel for defending herself against an existential threat. At the end of the day, all Israel wants is to live in peace with her neighbors; this operation must continue so that Israelis are able to do just that.