Annihilation of terrorists; no one protested. (No Jews involved.)

January 05, 2009

* How many missiles fired per day from Mexico into America would be an acceptable number?
* Would any other country put up with missiles raining down on its population year after year as Israel has done?
* The Guardian warns Barack Obama
* The Arab world’s most prominent movie star shocks fans as he says Israel is in the right

[This is a further dispatch on the ongoing Israel-Hamas confrontation. Previous dispatches can be read here.]

 

CONTENTS

1. Hamas kills, knee-caps its political opponents
2. Hamas accuses senior Palestinian aides of spying for Israelis
3. The quality of Israeli intelligence
4. Hamas attacks the Arab League stance as “pathetic”
5. Many in the international community, Arab world quietly rooting for Israel
6. Dutch PM makes statement sympathetic to Israel
7. Czech EU presidency: Israel ground op in Gaza “defensive not offensive”
8. Arnold Schwarzenegger: Israel has right to defend itself
9. Peres: Hamas must stop using children and hospital patients as human shields
10. “Your opinion is irrelevant”
11. Annihilation of terrorists; no one protested (No Jews involved)
12. Extreme left Israeli academic tells Germans: “Israel murdered 400,000 Palestinians last week”
13. Bernard Henri-Levy among Jews “listed for assassination” by Islamist group
14. IDF: Rocket that hit Beersheba school made in China
15. The Guardian warns Barack Obama
16. “Moral Clarity in Gaza” (By Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Jan. 2, 2009)
17. “Dear anti-war protestors, your opinion is irrelevant” (Ynet, Jan. 4, 2009)
18. “Hamas missiles must stop” (By Leonard Cole, Jan. 1, 2009)


[All notes below by Tom Gross]

HAMAS KILLS, KNEE-CAPS ITS POLITICAL OPPONENTS

Several papers, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, have reported that among the “civilian dead” in Gaza in recent days are Fatah supporters executed by Hamas in hospitals, schools and other locations. (Unsurprisingly anti-Israel media in Britain, France and elsewhere have misled readers and viewers to believe they are part of a death toll Israel is responsible for.)

HAMAS’S IDEA OF MEDICAL TREATMENT

For example, here buried in one Washington Post report from Gaza is the following: “On Sunday, doctors said, men believed to be Hamas fighters grabbed a patient, accusing him of being an Israeli collaborator. The gunmen shot him dead. ‘They took revenge,’ Khalaf said.”

And this New York Times report, for instance, mentions Hamas killed six people in one Gaza hospital alone in a 24-hour period:

“Armed Hamas militants in civilian clothes roamed the halls. Asked their function, they said it was to provide security. But there was internal bloodletting under way. In the fourth-floor orthopaedic section, a woman in her late 20s asked a militant to let her see Saleh Hajoj, her 32-year-old husband. She was turned away and left the hospital. Fifteen minutes later, Mr. Hajoj was carried out by young men pretending to transfer him to another ward. As he lay on the stretcher, he was shot in the left side of the head. Mr. Hajoj, like five others killed at the hospital this way in 24 hours, was accused of collaboration with Israel.” (This is catch-all excuse Hamas uses to justify the murder of all those who dare voice public criticism of it.)

Khaled Abu Toameh, chief Palestinian correspondent for The Jerusalem Post, who is himself a Palestinian (and is a longtime subscriber to this email list), and who has excellent sources in Gaza, reports that on Saturday and Sunday alone, Hamas executed 35 Fatah activists and shot around another 75 in the legs. Others had their hands broken or were placed under house arrest.

One example is that of Wisam Abu Jalhoum, a Fatah activist from the Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza, who was shot in the legs by Hamas militiamen for allegedly expressing joy over Israeli air strikes on Hamas targets.

Fahmi Za’arir, a Fatah spokesman, named two of the Fatah leaders in Gaza “executed” by Hamas on Saturday as Nasser Muhana and Saher al-Silawi.

Hamas seized the Gaza Strip from President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah forces in a bloody coup in June 2007 in which 400 Palestinians were brutally killed by Hamas, including people who were handcuffed and then thrown off Gaza high rises.

Hamas leaders fear Fatah members will exploit the current IDF operation to regain control of the Gaza Strip.

 

HAMAS ACCUSES SENIOR PALESTINIAN AIDES OF SPYING FOR ISRAELIS

In an interview broadcast on al-Jazeera, the pan-Arab satellite television station based in Qatar, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum accused senior aides of the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, of spying for Israel. The charge of spying has also been made on Hamas’s website. It was angrily denied by Fatah leaders.

Hamas accuses Abbas of ordering members of Fatah in Gaza to gather intelligence on the whereabouts of Hamas leaders to pass to Israel and to help give the Israeli Air force pinpoint targets for them to attack in Gaza.

 

THE QUALITY OF ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE

The New York Times acknowledges that Israel has been remarkable in its accuracy.

For example, the Times writes:

Muhammad al-Zarb said that the Israelis somehow seemed to know which tunnels were commercial and which were run by Hamas, and that they seemed to be selective in their bombing. “If someone has a tunnel for Chipsy, it seems O.K.,” he said. “When a Hamas guy has a tunnel for weapons, they bomb it.”

 

HAMAS ATTACKS THE ARAB LEAGUE STANCE AS “PATHETIC”

Egypt’s foreign minister Aboul Gheit has again criticized Hamas and said that Hamas must stop firing rockets at Israel after any truce deal.

Saudi Arabia is also becoming more openly critical of Hamas for provoking Israel by its incessant rocket fire on Israeli civilians, and for not returning to national unity talks with its rival Fatah.

“This terrible massacre would not have happened if the Palestinian people were united behind one leadership,” Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal said. “Your Arab brothers cannot extend to you the hand of real help, if you do not extend the hand of affection to each other,” he added, urging Hamas and Fatah to form a national unity government.

A furious Hamas attacked the Arab League stance as “pathetic”.

Rahman Abdul Al-Rashed, the general manager of Al-Arabiya television, has also publicly blamed Hamas for the crisis.

***

Unlike most Western TV networks who give Palestinian spokespeople free rein to spread their propaganda, some Fox News anchors actually call them on it. Watch here, for example.

 

MANY IN THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, ARAB WORLD QUIETLY ROOTING FOR ISRAEL

While the extreme left are becoming increasingly hysterical in their denunciations of Israel, some falling into outright anti-Semitism and Holocaust revisionism, mainstream international opinion appears not to be nearly as critical towards Israel as it has been in recent years. This is perhaps because it is becoming more widely realized that Islamic fundamentalism is a threat to many parts of the world, not just to Israel, and also because Israel did what the world wanted – remove all traces of Jewish life from Gaza – and yet this only led to a sharp increase in rocket attacks on Israeli civilians from Gaza.

Many, if not most, Arab governments are quietly supporting Israel, so fearful are they of an Islamic proxy Iranian state being set up in their midst.

Although European TV networks and news websites barely mention this in their countless hours of reporting, Fatah, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the government of Lebanon and many others are rooting for Israel to destroy Hamas, whom they loathe and fear.

Obviously they are not happy that Palestinian civilians have also died, any more than Israel is happy about it.

Israel is a liberal democracy so of course it can’t behave in a ruthless way like so many other countries have – Russia, Algeria, Burma or Syria, for example – or even in as heavy-handed a way as big powers like Britain, France and America have.

***

The Arab world’s most prominent comedian and movie star, Egyptian actor Adel Imam, has shocked many of his fans by expressing understanding for Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip.

 

DUTCH PM MAKES STATEMENT SYMPATHETIC TO ISRAEL

While British and French politicians, from both government and opposition parties, continue to make ignorant statements about Israel, based largely on the misleading information they are getting about the conflict from their own media*, other European politicians are more understanding of Israel’s position.

For example, Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said yesterday that Israel’s offensive against Gaza can’t be condemned as long as Hamas continues firing rockets.

“Condemning Israel is pointless because both parties have to be addressed,” he said in an interview with Dutch television. “As long as the rocket attacks continue, Israel will always say ‘we cannot accept this’, and I understand that.”

“It is always regrettable when there are civilian casualties. But at the same time, I see Hamas continuously firing rockets on Israel,” Balkenende added.

Yesterday Hamas launched another 45 rockets into Israel.

Another convoy of 80 trucks carrying humanitarian supplies was allowed by Israel to enter the Gaza Strip this morning.

***

A NOTE ON THE BRITISH MEDIA

* I should point out there are a few British correspondents, such as Tim Marshall of Sky News, who are professional, well-informed and able to explain fairly both the Israeli and Palestinian positions. But others, such as the BBC anchor who said Hamas rockets were only hitting “Israeli border villages,” and Jon Snow of Channel 4 – who I also criticized in my recent Wall Street Journal article on the Mumbai terror attacks, and who said a couple of days ago that Israel was “lucky to have Sderot to engender sympathy” – simply don’t deserve to be employed as news reporters.)

This morning’s (London) Times seems to me particularly one-sided against Israel – and I don’t just mean because they have a guest column by Rabbi Michael Lerner.

 

CZECH EU PRESIDENCY: ISRAEL GROUND OP IN GAZA “DEFENSIVE NOT OFFENSIVE”

As mentioned in the last dispatch, countries of what Donald Rumsfeld famously termed the “new Europe” – who understand the threat of the totalitarian ideology that Hamas adheres to – are much more sympathetic to Israel than the antiquated elites of Western Europe.

The Czech Republic, which assumed the European Union presidency on January 1, issued a statement on Saturday saying that the Israeli ground offensive in Gaza was a “defensive, not offensive” action.

Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg is a long time subscriber to this email list. (Following the last dispatch, some people wrote asking me if he is Jewish. He is not. His family was one of the most prominent aristocratic Catholic families of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.)

France has strongly criticized the Czech-EU statement.

***

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s strong support of Israel has prompted a rising number of attacks from her coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), as well as the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the Left Party.

 

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER: ISRAEL HAS RIGHT TO DEFEND ITSELF

Israel is also receiving statements of support from elsewhere. For example, California Governor (and former film star) Arnold Schwarzenegger yesterday expressed support for its ground operation in Gaza.

Schwarzenegger said: “Every nation has the right to defend itself against terrorism and cold-blooded attacks on its people. Israel is no different and is right to defend itself against the unceasing violence of rocket attacks launched by Hamas.”

U.S. President George W. Bush said that there is no point in having another “one-way ceasefire” that Hamas continually violates with its rocket fire and that the citizens of Israel deserve a real ceasefire.

 

PERES: HAMAS MUST STOP USING CHILDREN AND HOSPITAL PATIENTS AS HUMAN SHIELDS

Israeli President Shimon Peres has said that Israel’s operation was fully morally justified. He also called on Hamas to stop using children and hospital patients as human shields.

Below, I attach a piece by Charles Krauthammer that takes up this theme. It is well worth reading in full, but for those with limited time, here are some extracts. Krauthammer says:

Some geopolitical conflicts are morally complicated. The Israel-Gaza war is not. It possesses a moral clarity not only rare but excruciating.

Israel is so scrupulous about civilian life that, risking the element of surprise, it contacts enemy noncombatants in advance to warn them of approaching danger. Hamas, which started this conflict with unrelenting rocket and mortar attacks on unarmed Israelis – 6,464 launched from Gaza in the past three years – deliberately places its weapons in and near the homes of its own people.

Krauthammer continues: For Hamas, the only thing more prized than dead Jews are dead Palestinians. The religion of Jew-murder and self-martyrdom is ubiquitous. And deeply perverse, such as the Hamas TV children’s program in which an adorable live-action Palestinian Mickey Mouse is beaten to death by an Israeli (then replaced by his more militant cousin, Nahoul the Bee, who vows to continue on Mickey’s path to martyrdom).

At war today in Gaza, one combatant is committed to causing the most civilian pain and suffering on both sides. The other combatant is committed to saving as many lives as possible – also on both sides.

… The grievance? It cannot be occupation, military control or settlers. They were all removed in September 2005. There’s only one grievance and Hamas is open about it. Israel’s very existence.

Nor does Hamas conceal its strategy. Provoke conflict. Wait for the inevitable civilian casualties. Bring down the world’s opprobrium on Israel. Force it into an untenable cease-fire – exactly as happened in Lebanon. Then, as in Lebanon, rearm, rebuild and mobilize for the next round. Perpetual war. Since its raison d’etre is the eradication of Israel, there are only two possible outcomes: the defeat of Hamas or the extinction of Israel.

 

“YOUR OPINION IS IRRELEVANT”

I also attach a piece, “Dear anti-war protestors, your opinion is irrelevant,” by Israeli writer Hanoch Daum on the English language website of Yediot Ahronot, Israel’s highest circulation newspaper.

I attach this piece not because it has any particular literary brilliance, but because it sums up the views of the vast majority in Israel.

I also attach a piece by Leonard Cole, who writes “How many missiles fired per week from Mexico into southern California are an acceptable number? Fired from North Korea into eastern Russia? From the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip into southern Israel? The answer, of course, is none. Yet for most weeks since the Israelis withdrew entirely from Gaza in 2005, Palestinian rockets kept coming.”

“… Unlike the Palestinians who cheered when their missiles hit residences or schools, Israel has tried scrupulously to avoid hitting non-belligerent sites. But as the Israelis bombed, Hamas-fired missiles continued to land in Israeli cities. Strangely, even as the rockets kept coming, critics accused Israel of using disproportionate force to try to end their firing.”

 

ANNIHILATION OF TERRORISTS; NO ONE PROTESTED (NO JEWS INVOLVED)

Prof. Steven Plaut of Haifa University, who is a subscriber to this list, emails me the following:

The jets bombed the bejeebers out of them. The ground forces invaded. They at long last suppressed the terrorists, who had conducted a long campaign of suicide bombing and planting bombs, and put an end to any notion that the terrorists and their sponsors would be granted their own state.

Many civilians were killed and wounded, yet not a single protest was made against the invasion anywhere. I am of course referring to the conquest by the army of Sri Lanka over the past few days of the last hold-out city of the Tamil independence rebels.

Kilinochchi was the last town held by the Tamil “Tiger” Rebels, considered to be a terrorist group by the United States. With it fell the last Tamil hope of setting up an independent state or even of getting autonomy inside Sri Lanka. The Tamils have their own state inside India but were not satisfied with that manifestation of “self-determination.” Kilinochchi, 579 kilometers north of Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo, was until recent months the center of political power for the rebels.

Meanwhile not a single Solidarity-with-the-Tamil-Tigers protest has been organized on a single Western campus or in a single downtown square. Mobs and “academics” have not taken to the streets to demand an end to the war of aggression against the Tamils. Leftist web sites have not proclaimed every injury of a Tamil civilian to be a Nazi-like war crime and an act of genocide.

Eurocrats have not pontificated about how the Sri Lankan response to the terror was out of proportion. The International Solidarity Movement has not sent in protesters from the West to try to defend the terrorists. Communists and fellow travelers have not organized flotillas of boats carrying aid to the terrorists. Israeli politicians have not lectured the Sinhalese of Sri Lanka about how the whole problem is that they are insensitive to the needs of the “Other.”

None have proposed dividing Colombo and handing over half to the Tamils. Virtually no one knows that 65,000 civilians have died in the fighting and the media have no interest in covering the story.

 

EXTREME LEFT ISRAELI ACADEMIC TELLS GERMANS: “ISRAEL MURDERED 400,000 PALESTINIANS LAST WEEK”

Organizations responsible for monitoring and combating anti-Semitism in Germany, have criticized state-owned Deutschlandradio for its interview on Friday with extreme-leftist Israeli historian and sociologist Prof. Moshe Zuckermann of Tel Aviv University. Zuckermann told a widely-heard radio program that Israel had killed 400,000 Palestinians last week.

The radio interviewer, Birgit Kolkmann, has also been criticized for failing to interrupt or counter Zuckermann.

Likewise the BBC World service has been criticized for allowing Palestinian spokespeople to claim that Israel is “starving” Palestinians and doing “exactly” what the Nazis did.

Zuckermann also writes for the extreme anti-Israel German paper Junge Welt.

I don’t understand why Tel Aviv University continues to employ Zuckermann to teach young people. He must know the deep wish of so many Germans and Austrians to hear that the Jews are no better than the Nazis.

8,000 protesters marched in Berlin and 10,000 in Frankfurt on Saturday, claiming Israel was carrying out “a second Holocaust”

Columnist Ari Shavit of Ha’aretz wrote of Zuckerman and other fellow travelers yesterday: “There is no call for hating the Israel-hating Israelis. At the end of the day, their position is a pathetic one. Their self-righteousness is not at all righteous, and their moralizing has no morality.”

 

BERNARD HENRI-LEVY AMONG JEWS “LISTED FOR ASSASSINATION” BY ISLAMIST GROUP

The leading French philosopher Bernard Henri-Levy was among those on a list of leading French and Belgian Jews drawn up for assassination by a Belgium-based Islamist group, the Belgian daily La Derniere Heure reports.

According to the paper, Belgian authorities found the list during a raid on homes of local Muslim community members last November.

 

ROCKET THAT HIT BEERSHEBA SCHOOL MADE IN CHINA

An Israeli army intelligence officer said the rocket that struck a school in Beersheba on Wednesday was manufactured in China, and smuggled into Gaza after the Sinai border wall was blown up by Hamas in January. The Chinese-made weapons are heavier than the Qassam and can potentially cause much greater damage. They are even more sophisticated than the Iranian-made Grad-model Katyusha that is also in Hamas’s arsenal. The Chinese rocket contains metal pellets that can spread out across a radius of up to 100 meters (about 328 feet) from the point of impact.

The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) believes these Chinese-made weapons were delivered to Yemen, Eritrea and Sudan, then bought by Hamas and smuggled through Egypt into Gaza.

 

THE GUARDIAN WARNS BARACK OBAMA

The British newspaper The Guardian is warning U.S. President-elect Barack Obama that his silence regarding Israel’s incursion into the Gaza Strip is destroying his “chances of making a fresh start in U.S. relations with the Muslim world.” The paper claims that “evidence is mounting” that Obama is “already losing ground among key Arab and Muslim audiences” because of his failure to speak out against Israel. (The Guardian doesn’t explain what this “evidence” is.)

His silence, the paper alleges, is being interpreted as sign of a continuation of the policies of President Bush. The paper terms the silence of Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden “uncharacteristic.” The Guardian and others charge that Obama defers to Bush as the “only president” when it suits him, but has spoken out on international issues, and economic issues, “when it suits him.”

What The Guardian doesn’t seem to understand is that Obama’s Iran diplomacy needs a Hamas defeat. Obama knows (as does Bush) that for America’s intended Iran diplomacy to have any chance of working – for the U.S. to be able to press the mullahs to back down on their nuclear project without having to resort to military force – Tehran has to be shown that its regional militarism has a cost.

[All notes above by Tom Gross]


FULL ARTICLES

“FOR HAMAS, THE ONLY THING MORE PRIZED THAN DEAD JEWS ARE DEAD PALESTINIANS”

Moral Clarity in Gaza
By Charles Krauthammer
Washington Post
January 2, 2009

Late Saturday, thousands of Gazans received Arabic-language cell-phone messages from the Israeli military, urging them to leave homes where militants might have stashed weapons.

-- Associated Press, Dec. 27

Some geopolitical conflicts are morally complicated. The Israel-Gaza war is not. It possesses a moral clarity not only rare but excruciating.

Israel is so scrupulous about civilian life that, risking the element of surprise, it contacts enemy noncombatants in advance to warn them of approaching danger. Hamas, which started this conflict with unrelenting rocket and mortar attacks on unarmed Israelis – 6,464 launched from Gaza in the past three years – deliberately places its weapons in and near the homes of its own people.

This has two purposes. First, counting on the moral scrupulousness of Israel, Hamas figures civilian proximity might help protect at least part of its arsenal. Second, knowing that Israelis have new precision weapons that may allow them to attack nonetheless, Hamas hopes that inevitable collateral damage – or, if it is really fortunate, an errant Israeli bomb – will kill large numbers of its own people for which, of course, the world will blame Israel.

For Hamas, the only thing more prized than dead Jews are dead Palestinians. The religion of Jew-murder and self-martyrdom is ubiquitous. And deeply perverse, such as the Hamas TV children’s program in which an adorable live-action Palestinian Mickey Mouse is beaten to death by an Israeli (then replaced by his more militant cousin, Nahoul the Bee, who vows to continue on Mickey’s path to martyrdom).

At war today in Gaza, one combatant is committed to causing the most civilian pain and suffering on both sides. The other combatant is committed to saving as many lives as possible – also on both sides. It’s a recurring theme. Israel gave similar warnings to Southern Lebanese villagers before attacking Hezbollah in the Lebanon war of 2006. The Israelis did this knowing it would lose for them the element of surprise and cost the lives of their own soldiers.

That is the asymmetry of means between Hamas and Israel. But there is equal clarity regarding the asymmetry of ends. Israel has but a single objective in Gaza – peace: the calm, open, normal relations it offered Gaza when it withdrew in 2005. Doing something never done by the Turkish, British, Egyptian and Jordanian rulers of Palestine, the Israelis gave the Palestinians their first sovereign territory ever in Gaza.

What ensued? This is not ancient history. Did the Palestinians begin building the state that is supposedly their great national aim? No. No roads, no industry, no courts, no civil society at all. The flourishing greenhouses that Israel left behind for the Palestinians were destroyed and abandoned. Instead, Gaza’s Iranian-sponsored rulers have devoted all their resources to turning it into a terror base – importing weapons, training terrorists, building tunnels with which to kidnap Israelis on the other side. And of course firing rockets unceasingly.

The grievance? It cannot be occupation, military control or settlers. They were all removed in September 2005. There’s only one grievance and Hamas is open about it. Israel’s very existence.

Nor does Hamas conceal its strategy. Provoke conflict. Wait for the inevitable civilian casualties. Bring down the world’s opprobrium on Israel. Force it into an untenable cease-fire – exactly as happened in Lebanon. Then, as in Lebanon, rearm, rebuild and mobilize for the next round. Perpetual war. Since its raison d’etre is the eradication of Israel, there are only two possible outcomes: the defeat of Hamas or the extinction of Israel.

Israel’s only response is to try to do what it failed to do after the Gaza withdrawal. The unpardonable strategic error of its architect, Ariel Sharon, was not the withdrawal itself but the failure to immediately establish a deterrence regime under which no violence would be tolerated after the removal of any and all Israeli presence – the ostensible justification for previous Palestinian attacks. Instead, Israel allowed unceasing rocket fire, implicitly acquiescing to a state of active war and indiscriminate terror.

Hamas’s rejection of an extension of its often-violated six-month cease-fire (during which the rockets never stopped, just were less frequent) gave Israel a rare opportunity to establish the norm it should have insisted upon three years ago: no rockets, no mortar fire, no kidnapping, no acts of war. As the U.S. government has officially stated: a sustainable and enduring cease-fire. If this fighting ends with anything less than that, Israel will have lost yet another war. The question is whether Israel still retains the nerve – and the moral self-assurance – to win.

 

“WITH ALL DUE RESPECT…”

Dear anti-war protestors, your opinion is irrelevant
By Hanoch Daum
Ynet (website of Yediot Ahronot)
January 4, 2009

Dear protestors, Arab Israelis, and citizens of the world:

We are in favor of the democratic right of every person to rally in favor whatever he or she feel like, even if we are talking about Israeli citizens demonstrating against their country at a time of war.

After all, we no longer have too many expectations of the Arab-Israeli leadership, headed by Knesset Member Muhammad Barakeh.

Yet nonetheless, and with all due respect, we wish to tell you something at this time: Your views do not really make a difference to us right now. At this moment, when we are fighting for the wellbeing of southern residents, the level of support we receive from you does not matter to us too much. It is irrelevant.

The important thing is that tens of thousands of Israeli citizens will be able to live a normative life; the kind of life where no Grad or any other kind of rocket would be landing on their heads in the middle of the street.

This may sound a little odd, yet if in order to secure this kind of normative life we need to turn the lives of Gaza residents into hell, then with great regret this is precisely what we shall be doing.

We would of course be happy to only hurt Hamas terrorists in surgical strikes, yet this is a little difficult to achieve when the terrorists are operating in the midst of the civilian population in Gaza.

You may be surprised about this, yet when it comes to a choice between the option of allowing southern Israel residents to continue being hurt and the option of hitting the terrorists with full force, while realizing that innocent civilians in Gaza will be hurt too along the way, we choose to side with our own citizens. How weird indeed.

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot something else: We already withdrew from the Gaza Strip. A long time ago. Perhaps you repressed this minor detail, yet we uprooted settlements, just the way you like it. We expelled Jews from their homes, in line with our own decision, just in order to get out of Gaza. We carried a brutal transfer to the residents of Gush Katif just to secure some peace and quiet.

So next time you ask us to evacuate settlements, ask yourselves what we’ll be getting in return.

 

WOULD ANY OTHER COUNTRY PUT UP WITH MISSILES RAINING DOWN ON ITS POPULATION?

Hamas missiles must stop
By Leonard Cole
NorthJersey.com
January 1, 2009

Unlike the Palestinians who cheered when their missiles hit residences or schools, Israel has tried scrupulously to avoid hitting non-belligerent sites.

How many missiles fired per week from Mexico into southern California are an acceptable number? Fired from North Korea into eastern Russia? From the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip into southern Israel? The answer, of course, is none. Yet for most weeks since the Israelis withdrew entirely from Gaza in 2005, Palestinian rockets kept coming.

During the years of assaults, a handful of Israelis were killed, though tens of thousands have been traumatized. Finally last week, after repeated warnings to end the attacks, Israelis began to heavily bomb Gazan missile launchers and other military and political targets.

Unlike the Palestinians who cheered when their missiles hit residences or schools, Israel has tried scrupulously to avoid hitting non-belligerent sites. But as the Israelis bombed, Hamas-fired missiles continued to land in Israeli cities. Strangely, even as the rockets kept coming, critics accused Israel of using disproportionate force to try to end their firing.

The Israeli action, which began on Dec. 27, has killed more than 300 Palestinians. As acknowledged by Hamas, most victims were police, security personnel or otherwise part of the rocket-force infrastructure. Innocent Palestinians were also killed, many because Hamas set up launching pads next to their homes. Still, the death of innocents must be a matter of sorrow for every person of conscience.

But failure to acknowledge the right of any country to stop rocket attacks against its homeland, as some have done, violates both common sense and civic morality.

To understand the contentious situation regarding Gaza requires some historical context. This sliver of land, about 25 miles long, lies between Israel and Egypt and is home to 1.4 million Palestinians. Like Israel and the area known now as the West Bank, Gaza was once part of the Palestine Mandate under British control.

In 1948, in accord with a U.N. resolution, the Jewish state of Israel was established. In 1967, Israel gained control of Gaza and the West Bank, territories that have since become a basis for negotiation toward a Palestinian state.

But the attacks from Gaza, now run by Hamas, have become an impediment to that end.

Israel is challenged not only by the murderous rocket assaults, but a cacophony of falsehoods about the intentions and effects of its response. Hamas spokesmen have described the Israeli actions as a “massacre,” and they have accused Israel of causing mass starvation. In fact, the Israeli bombardments have been directed at military targets and Hamas personnel, period.

Moreover, while engaged in a campaign to destroy the Hamas arsenals, Israel has simultaneously continued to permit the shipment of food and medicines into Gaza. Allegations of starvation are belied by news photographs and TV videos.

A DIFFERENT STORY

The images of Palestinian casualties as well as passersby, whether children or adults, invariably tell a different story. None of them are reduced to the skin and bones of starvation. Life surely has become more difficult for Gaza’s residents, but conditions are far short of a humanitarian crisis.

The emotional trauma of Palestinians as a result of Israeli bombardments may be no less than that suffered by Israeli victims of Palestinian rockets. But to make this observation does not mean equivalent responsibility for the havoc.

One of the most deceptive, though common descriptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that both parties are caught in a “cycle of violence.”The implication is that the governing behavior in the conflict is tit-for-tat and that the Israelis and Palestinians are evenly responsible.

In fact, unless one believes, as does Hamas, that the existence of Israel is itself an unacceptable act of violence, the notion of equivalency evaporates. If one morning Hamas were to recognize Israel’s right to exist and end assaults against the Jewish state, the violence from both sides would be over before lunch.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and other respected leaders who have condemned Israel’s actions as disproportionate must explain further.

If three Palestinian rockets are launched into Israel, does proportion mean that an Israeli response must be limited to three rockets?

In the context of rocket and mortar attacks randomly fired across a national border, the proportionate response should be obvious to any fair-minded person: Whatever it takes to stop them.

President-elect Barack Obama said it well during a recent visit to Israel. If somebody were sending rockets into his house where his two daughters slept, he would do everything in his power to stop those attacks. Further, he said, he expected the Israelis to do the same.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.