Enemies need to be defeated, not pampered.
That may sound harsh to many and leaves little room for peaceful resolution of armed conflict. But, it is a reality that in the long run may help to save thousands, if not tens of thousands, of lives on both sides of the border, as well as send a strong message to terrorists everywhere.
The modern State of Israel was founded with the consent of the world community, notwithstanding the objections from Arab states. The historical and legal arguments justifying our existence here have been expressed in the posts of The Week That Was many times in different settings. Yet, throughout the almost seven decades since 1948, the attempts to deny our historical and Biblical connection to this tiny stretch of desert sand have continued in ever-increasing intensity from many fronts. Along with that, anti-Semitism is rapidly spreading throughout the so-called civilised world, much of it in the guise of anti-Israel rhetoric, as demonstrated by the present Gaza War.
A week ago, after the strong comments of the government here, it was believed by many within the political arena here, from both the left and right perspectives, that we were going to finish the job, destroy the tunnel network and the military infrastructure that allowed and still allows Hamas to launch rockets and mortars from the Gaza Strip into residential communities in Israel. Then another cease-fire was agreed to, which was again violated by Hamas. Shooting continued again and yet another cease-fire was entered into and as soon as it was over, Hamas began launching missiles again. The present cease-fire brought Israel back to Cairo for more talks, indirectly of course, with representatives of terrorist organizations.
This on-again off-again war with Hamas and its affiliated terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip has wreaked havoc with the residential communities in the south. A good number of the residents left for points north or otherwise far away from the constant blare of sirens warning of incoming missiles. Then, during one of the latest cease-fire arrangements, residents were told that they could go back to their homes. Some returned, many did not, wanting to see what would happen. Within a short while, those who returned again experienced both the sirens and the incoming projectiles, causing some who had returned to leave again. All of this took its toll, as residents in the south expressed anger at the government and widespread frustration and a feeling of once again being abandoned. For them, after a month of fighting, the missile threats continued, property was damaged and young children learned, regrettably, how to tell the difference between an explosion from an in-coming missile and the explosion from an Iron Dome missile blowing a Hamas rocket out of the sky.
I’ve been here long enough to experience wars, intifadas, suicide bombers and falling missiles. Along with the entire country, I’ve seen the results of a unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon and a unilateral withdrawal from Gush Katif. After we pulled out of Lebanon, the Hizb’allah became stronger and, during the Second Lebanon War, it launched some 4,000 missiles into Israel, paralyzing one-third of the nation, as the north of Israel lived in protected shelters and sealed rooms for 33 days. After we forcibly removed some 9,000 Israelis from their homes and abandoned the area of Gush Katif to the “Palestinians” in the Gaza Strip, the people of Gaza elected a government headed by Hamas, an out-and-out blatant, terrorist organization, whose avowed purposed is to destroy Israel. Over the years since 2007, when Hamas came to power, it has launched missiles and mortars into our communities in the south, threatening to destroy communities in the north as well. It has dug tunnels under some of those communities and planned a mega-terrorist attack on the Jewish New Year. Its efforts were and are primarily directed against civilians, which is a blatant war crime. Hamas’ actions were and are intended to draw Israel into a military confrontation with it and it ultimately succeeded in this regard. During the course of this latest confrontation, Hamas was able to prove that it can convince people that evil is good and that good is evil.
It’s the media, stupid!
During the last five weeks, Hamas waged a second war against Israel, a war of words and pictures. It learned from past military encounters that the world quickly responds to pictures of blood and guts, particularly when the victims are women and children. Although the lives of Israeli men, women and children were endangered every time that Hamas launched a rocket or a mortar and targeted civilians, in violation of international law, the world media slowly, but steadily, bought the lie and saw Israel’s defense of its citizens as being overly aggressive. “Palestinians” have been working hard to perfect their propaganda war.
Demonstrations started to take place in different cities, accusing Israel of disproportionate response and of mounting civilian casualties, almost ignoring the behavior of Hamas, who continued to fire missiles and mortars into populated areas, while using civilians as human shields. What was right didn’t seem to matter any more. Protecting a democratic country from attacks against it by terrorists didn’t seem to matter any more. Truth didn’t seem to matter any more – only pictures and more pictures, showing alleged victims of Israel’s retaliatory measures.
The U.N. stepped in and expressed concern over the civilian casualties, overlooking the aspect of launching missiles from populated areas, from schools, from hospitals, from mosques. Then the U.S. expressed its concern over the rising number of alleged civilian casualties and pushed for a negotiated cease-fire that would be just for the people of Gaza and allow them to move about more freely. The argument in political circles became, “Israel has the right to protect her citizens, BUT …”.
It is the big “BUT” that the media is attracted to and latches onto. They bought into it with cameras rolling and with deadlines to meet. They reported on the devastation in the Gaza Strip and hung their hats on “disproportional responses” by Israel. When we are in a war, particularly against an enemy that is sworn to destroy us, an appropriate response, however disproportional it may seem to be, is one that puts an end to the threat, not one that is “tit for tat”.
One of the most absurd arguments of disproportionality came from the U.N., when it said that our use of the Iron Dome presented an unfair advantage over those who were attacking us and that we should provide them with similar protective measure. So, I am in favor of providing a certain type of Gaza Dome for the Gaza Strip. I am also in agreement with those who would like to find a way to dump the problem with Gaza at the doorstep of some of those who really don’t understand what is happening here.
Realistically, however, if anyone is to blame for the mounting death toll in the Gaza Strip, it should be the mainstream media (“MSM”), whose “disproportional” coverage has encouraged Hamas to sacrifice its own people for the sake of gaining world sympathy. It is like someone being put on trial for killing his mother and father and then pleading for mercy as an orphan. World opinion is in large measure an outworking of the news that people receive. World outrage is the result of a totally one-sided, morally and ethically deficient MSM, which has sacrificed journalistic integrity for the sake of a headline.
There are some who are seeing the double-standard of the MSM and are speaking out and speaking the truth, namely, that those who were once looked upon to present the story correctly are now blatantly failing to report the truth about the ultimate goal of Hamas. “The demands of Hamas are … and … and …”. It is amazing to see how the media has shifted its attention to the “demands” a terrorist organization. Even some of the Israeli media has fallen prey to that subtle shift in expressions, giving a sense of legitimacy to an evil and immoral gang of murderous thugs, who are willing to sacrifice their own people and pay whatever price is necessary in terms of loss of human life and property, if it will help to achieve their purpose of doing away with Israel. It seems that the more absurd the claim, the more people are willing to listen, and believe, those claims. There are, however, voices of reason, showing “why” Hamas wants to wage war against Israel. Other voices are being heard about the clear sign of media bias in the present war that people need to listen to, take to heart and share with as many other people as possible. There are still some in the media who think, who are dedicated to getting to the truth of a story and of approaching it without bias or prior prejudice. The questions of the day are: (1) is anyone listening; (2) does anyone care whether a news story is true or accurate or biased and (3) if people are listening and people still do care, is it too late to change the opinions that have been formed because of deceptive media reporting?
Whether or not we can still change the opinions of people and nations, we need to refuse to apologize for living, for thriving as a nation and for seeking better lives for our children and for the children of our enemies. We need to refuse to become a victim of Hamas’ hatred of us and of the media’s obsession with accusing us of wrongdoing. In short, not to give up, not to give in and not to give away any part of this land or the principles upon which it was founded.
Negotiating with evil – compromising our principles
As I read the news this morning, I was, for want of a more accurate word, appalled that we would not only be willing to negotiate with representatives of terror and to “hear their demands”, that we were not only willing to give in to some of those demands, but that we haven’t learned a thing about negotiating with the enemy.
It was reported that there was a “cautious optimism” being expressed in various circles in Israel over the possibility that there would be a permanent cease-fire. That is wishful thinking that belongs to LaLa-Land, not to Israel. If we have learned anything over the years and through the many military encounters that we have had with our enemies, we should have learned this: those who are sworn to destroy us cannot be trusted not to continue to pursue their goal. We need to simply remember the short story of The Scorpion and The Frog, namely, that “no change can be made in the behaviour of the fundamentally vicious“.
Early reports indicated that Israel was willing to release all of the prisoners who were freed during the Gilad Shalit deal, which resulted in our swapping 1,027 prisoners for one live soldier. Among that number were close to 300 who were serving life sentences for involvements in various terror attacks against Israeli citizens. During the search for the 3 youths who were kidnapped by Hamas, many of those who were released as part of the above swap were re-arrested by Israel. Now, it is said that all of them are to be re-released as part of a deal for the return of the remains of two of our soldiers, who were killed during the present Gaza War and whose bodies, or portions of them, were taken by Hamas militants. It was further reported that Israel was also willing to free the last group of prisoners, who were to be released as part of the deal to have the “Palestinians” negotiate with us for 9 months, which negotiations fell apart during the Spring of this year.
Negotiations were also taking place about a number of other issues, mostly demands of Hamas, while Israel had a few of its own. Later reports indicated that the parties were at an impasse and that Hamas said it would not further extend the cease-fire.
With all of these “non-war wars” going on, we can soon expect a repeat of the Mavi Marmara flotilla. The Turkish organization that organized the prior flotilla has officially announced that it is planning a repeat performance, with the intention of breaking the maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip. This time, there are expected to be pro-“Palestinian” activists from 12 countries who will join with them. They were in touch with the Turkish government and asked for “protection” for the flotilla and the activists, in light of the concern that Israel would again forcibly block the arrival of the ships to Gaza.
And that is the status of the Gaza War to date, well, maybe. It may change by the time you see this.
“You destroy those who speak lies; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.” (Psalm 5:6)
“Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings!” (Psalm 61:1-4)
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.