You Don’t Know Ha­mas

Forward Magazine - - Forward Forum - By GIL LAINER Gil Lainer is the con­sul for pub­lic af­fairs at the Con­sulate Gen­eral of Is­rael in New York.

Ifeel the need to re­spond to a col­umn by J.J. Gold­berg in last week’s For­ward, “How Pol­i­tics and Lies Trig­gered an Un­in­tended War in Gaza.”

There are a se­ries of false as­sump­tions lit­tered through­out the piece, which un­for­tu­nately have lead Gold­berg to imag­ine a con­spir­acy the­ory that does not ex­ist.

First, Gold­berg quotes an Is­raeli mil­i­tary of­fi­cial re­fer­ring to his or­ders from civil­ian lead­ers in or­der to in­sin­u­ate that “politi­cians” are forc­ing the mil­i­tary to act against Ha­mas. This shows a lack of ba­sic un­der­stand­ing of Is­rael’s de­ci­sion-mak­ing ap­pa­ra­tus. The Is­rael De­fense Forces is not an au­ton­o­mous body, and any mil­i­tary de­ci­sion comes from the Cab­i­net, which com­prises the prime min­is­ter and sev­eral other min­is­ters. The Cab­i­net is Is­rael’s com­man­der in-chief.

Just as in the United States, the mil­i­tary’s ac­tions be­gin with the com­man­der in chief, in Is­rael any mil­i­tary de­ci­sion­mak­ing comes from the Cab­i­net. When Bri­gadier Gen­eral Moti Al­moz said, “We have been in­structed by the po­lit­i­cal ech­e­lon,” he was re­fer­ring to Is­rael’s stan­dard demo­cratic pro­ce­dure that has been in place for decades. The au­thor’s claim that what he re­ally meant is that Is­raeli politi­cians were ne­far­i­ously forc­ing the mil­i­tary’s hand makes no sense. The IDF is not and has never been a pol­i­cy­mak­ing body.

There was no con­spir­acy to hide the deaths of the three boys.

Gold­berg then claims that this is a war that “no­body wanted…not even the en­emy, Ha­mas.” This is dan­ger­ously naive. Ha­mas is a ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to the de­struc­tion of the State of Is­rael. There has never been a ter­ror at­tack against Is­rael that Ha­mas has not cel­e­brated or en­dorsed in some fash­ion. Not only does Ha­mas want to launch rock­ets at our civil­ians, they want Is­rael’s re­sponse, too. They want to use Pales­tini­ans as hu­man shields to drum up in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion.

To claim that Ha­mas does not want this war is to ig­nore what Ha­mas is: the phys­i­cal and or­ga­ni­za­tional man­i­fes­ta­tion of a century-old Pales­tinian ha­tred to­ward the Jewish people.

Per­haps one rea­son for the au­thor claim­ing that Ha­mas does not de­sire con­flict with Is­rael is that he is un­aware of who has been launch­ing rock­ets at Is­rael for years. Gold­berg claims that Ha­mas has not launched a sin­gle rocket at Is­rael since Novem­ber 2012. The truth is that from Jan­uary 2013 through June of this year, there was an aver­age of more than 13 rock­ets fired each month. All these rock­ets were launched by Is­lamic ter­ror groups that es­pouse the same ha­tred whether they call them­selves Ha­mas or not, and are com­mit­ted to the de­struc­tion of the State of Is­rael. Gold­berg’s claim that there was some sort of “dé­tente” be­tween Is­rael and Pales­tinian ter­ror­ists in Gaza since Oper­a­tion Pil­lar of De­fense is patently false.

The au­thor continues by claim­ing that the ab­duc­tion and mur­der of our three boys — Eyal, Gi­lad and Naf­tali — was com­mit­ted not by Ha­mas the or­ga­ni­za­tion but by rogue Ha­mas ter­ror­ists, es­sen­tially a group of “bad ap­ples” act­ing with­out the ap­proval of Ha­mas lead­er­ship. If this is the case, then why did the leader of Ha­mas, Khaled Me­shal, come out with a state­ment say­ing “Blessed be the hands of the kid­nap­pers”? If this is not di­rect ap­proval of Ha­mas lead­er­ship, then what is?

All these in­ac­cu­ra­cies are com­pounded by the au­thor to spin a tall tale of con­spir­acy that Is­rael hid the deaths of our three boys so that it could crack down on Ha­mas.

On be­half of the State of Is­rael and the Is­raeli govern­ment, I will not apol­o­gize for not giv­ing up hope that Eyal, Gi­lad and Naf­tali would be found alive. Fur­ther­more, whether the kid­nap­pers were hold­ing them for a long pe­riod of time or not would not have changed Is­rael’s re­sponse to find those who com­mit­ted this heinous crime and bring them to jus­tice.

If the au­thor truly be­lieves his state­ment “The last seven years have been the most tran­quil in Is­rael’s his­tory,” I in­vite him to speak to those liv­ing in Is­rael’s South. They could change his mind in 15 sec­onds with just one red alert.

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