Sunday, July 20, 2014

Staying the Course in the Face of a Successful Tactic

Whose fault is it?
Early this morning I turned on the radio on my way to Shul to hear the latest on the situation in Israel. I heard a reporter say that there were a large number of Palestinian casualties in Gaza this morning. A missile had been fired by Israel into the densely populated area of Gaza City. PA President Mahmoud Abbas called it a massacre.

This is a tactic that works. At some point the nations of the world including the United States will not continue to tolerate the increasing numbers of civilian casualties. Even if they are not the target of Israel’s attacks the collateral damage will put pressure on Israel to stop. So far, thankfully, this is not the case.

It is indeed sad that any innocent civilians are being killed.  But do not be fooled into thinking it is the fault of the Israeli government. They have gone way out of their way to avoid civilian casualties. The city that was hit today had 2 days warning of a major strike. The population had ample time to leave the area. If they had done so, there would have been no casualties at all. They chose to stay.

Let us be clear. This is a tactic. Hamas knows that it has no other means of winning its war with Israel. Nor has it had any luck convincing other Arab nations that they are not themselves the ones at fault. Even Abbas blamed Hamas for the increasing casualties because of their refusal to accept an Egyptian brokered cease fire (which Israel accepted immediately).

Hamas has very few if any friends. They even broke with Iran over their policies with respect to Syria. To their chagrin their rockets have done little damage due to Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’. They did not expect that to happen at all.

And yet they keep on sending rockets into Israel  which assures an Israeli response. They need Israel to respond and kill as many of their civilians as possible. They realize that is the only way they can get any kind of world sympathy. They have been urging their population not to leave their homes even after being warned about an impending attack. They call these people brave defenders of the Palestinians cause. ‘Palestinians are defending their people with their bare chests’ one of their leaders said recently.

An attack happens. Mothers are seen crying. Severely injured people are seen bleeding in hospital beds. Dead babies killed when their home was blown up are laid out in front of cameras to show the world who Israel is ‘targeting’. Inadvertent killing of some Palestinian children playing soccer on a beach is filmed ‘proving’ that Israel ‘purposely targets’ people who have nothing to do with Hamas when in truth Israel was aiming at tunnels on that beach that Hamas uses to sneak into Israel and in no way targeted those children.

The more of their civilians get killed, the better they like it. Each crying mother carrying her dead baby – killed by an Israeli missile increases world sympathy for them. Who wouldn’t feel sympathy of a crying mother who just lost a precious child?! That is a tactic that works.

Before you know it the UN will meet and will censure Israel for their disproportionate response. (Translation: Not enough Jews are dying making it an unfair fight).

Israel has no choice to defend itself and take out targets they have determined to be a danger to the lives of their citizens. They are doing whatever is humanly possible to avoid innocent civilians from being killed in the process. But how do you do that effectively when Hamas does their level best to assure their civilians become martyrs for the cause?

Israel must not be deterred. They must continue to do what they have been doing for the purpose of reaching a sustainable ceasefire. They must continue to have respect for innocent human life even if the enemy doesn’t. Israel should not be deterred by the increasing criticism over the increasing casualties.

If the nations of the world  truly want to stop the carnage they should support Israel in that goal and realize that the casualties are the direct responsibility of Hamas itself.

I’m glad to see Secretary of State John Kerry this morning reaffirm Israel’s right to defend itself in the strongest of terms. I did not hear him use the word restraint. His goal is a sustainable cease fire. That is exactly Israel’s goal. I am equally glad to see that Senator Lindsay Graham this morning urged Israel to stay the course and get the job done and that the morality of a war is not to be judged by the number of casualties sustained by the enemy.