Gaza prej­u­dice and per­fidy

What is Western sup­port for “Is­rael’s right to ex­ist within se­cure and rec­og­nized borders” worth if those borders can­not be de­fended?


In a prophetic piece of pun­ditry, penned in 2014 but or­dained for this week, Charles Krautham­mer wrote: “To de­lib­er­ately wage war so that your own peo­ple can be tele­geni­cally killed is in­deed moral and tac­ti­cal in­san­ity. But it rests on a very ra­tio­nal premise: Given the Or­wellian state of the world’s treat­ment of Is­rael, fu­eled by a mix of clas­sic anti-Semitism, near-to­tal his­tor­i­cal ig­no­rance and re­flex­ive sym­pa­thy for the os­ten­si­ble Third World un­der­dog – erup­tions fea­tur­ing Pales­tinian ca­su­al­ties ul­ti­mately un­der­mine sup­port for Is­rael’s le­git­i­macy and right to self-de­fense.”

“In a world of such Kafkaesque eth­i­cal in­ver­sions, the de­prav­ity of Ha­mas be­gins to make sense. The whole point is to draw Is­raeli counter-fire; to pro­duce dead Pales­tini­ans for in­ter­na­tional tele­vi­sion.”

And thus, it has been incredibly painful to hear global con­dem­na­tions of Is­rael this week.

It is un­mit­i­gat­edly mad­den­ing to see Western lead­ers – with the no­table ex­cep­tion of Amer­i­can and Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment lead­ers – suc­cumb with equa­nim­ity to Ha­mas’ ob­vi­ous crim­i­nal stunts­man­ship on the Gaza border.

By ac­qui­esc­ing in Ha­mas’ ex­ploita­tion of its own peo­ple’s blood in ser­vice of Pales­tinian re­jec­tion­ism, they dis­tance the day that peace might be pos­si­ble.

It is in­fu­ri­at­ing that demo­cratic lead­ers pro­fess to be con­cerned for Pales­tinian rights, yet ig­nore Ha­mas’ mur­der­ous in­ten­tions against Is­rael. They dis­re­gard its geno­ci­dal and anti-Semitic agenda, and its record of Is­lamist op­pres­sion and hu­man rights abuse. They over­look its ful­some back­ing by Iran. They take no heed of its kid­nap­pings, rock­ets, and terror at­tack tun­nels; and now, of its grue­some border-breach­ing bat­tles, with paid Pales­tini­ans as cal­cu­lated can­non fod­der.

They also take no no­tice of the es­ca­lat­ing at­tacks by As­sad’s forces on Pales­tinian refugee camps in Syria.

It is ex­as­per­at­ing that good peo­ple pre­tend that these as­saults on Is­rael’s sovereignty and se­cu­rity have any­thing to do with le­git­i­mate de­mands for wa­ter and elec­tric­ity or the de­sire for a two-state peace deal. Non­sense! Ha­mas has re­peat­edly blown up the civil­ian and hu­man­i­tar­ian sup­ply in­fra­struc­tures that Is­rael has built for Gaza, and spent hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars in aid funds on mil­i­tary in­fra­struc­tures in­stead. Is­rael uni­lat­er­ally with­drew from Gaza a decade ago, yet Ha­mas has launched three wars against Is­rael since.

In fact, it is vex­ing that those in the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity who in­sist on the im­por­tance of the 1967 lines are now sym­pa­thiz­ing with at­tempts to rup­ture that same line around Gaza. What is Western sup­port for “Is­rael’s right to ex­ist within se­cure and rec­og­nized borders” worth if those borders can­not be de­fended?

And why would Is­rael even con­sider West Bank with­drawals if it has no sup­port for a ro­bust de­fense of those shrunken borders? What if hun­dreds of thou­sands of Pales­tini­ans try this border-rush­ing trick around Jerusalem or in Sa­maria over­look­ing Tel Aviv?

It is mor­ti­fy­ing that ob­servers prat­tle about the “in­ex­cus­able use of force on both sides,” when there is no com­par­i­son be­tween Ha­mas’ gra­tu­itous use of force and Is­rael’s nec­es­sary and ju­di­cious use of force. It is pro­fane to equate Ha­mas’ abuse of civil­ians in revving-up vi­o­lence with Is­rael’s de­sire to avoid vi­o­lence and its care to dis­crim­i­nate be­tween ter­ror­ist ag­i­ta­tors and civil­ian pro­tes­tors.

How is it that foreign min­is­ters and foreign cor­re­spon­dents fail to note that 80 per­cent of the fa­tal­i­ties in April (26 of 32 dead) were known mem­bers of ter­ror­ist mili­tias, and that 85 per­cent of the Pales­tinian ma­raud­ers killed on Tues­day this week (53 of 62 dead) were clearly-iden­ti­fied Ha­mas and Is­lamic Ji­had mil­i­tary per­son­nel – by ad­mis­sion of the ter­ror­ists them­selves?! How is it that they dis­re­gard the fact that, had the IDF re­frained from pinpoint fire against those rush­ing Is­rael’s border, much broader con­flict and real “mas­sacre” would likely have en­sued?

It is galling that peo­ple pon­tif­i­cate about Is­rael’s re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, pre­judge Is­rael’s de­fense forces, and flip­pantly call to pros­e­cute Is­rael’s lead­ers. “They sit in air-con­di­tioned of­fices in Europe and think that we’re fac­ing demon­stra­tions in Brus­sels against the cen­tral bank, and then preach to Is­rael about how to han­dle the ri­ots,” Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror of the Jerusalem In­sti­tute for Strategic Stud­ies said an­grily this week.

It is stom­ach-churn­ing that peo­ple call the Gaza border death toll “dis­pro­por­tion­ate.” How many Is­raelis have to die for the sake of sym­me­try and er­satz Western scru­ples?

It is also an­noy­ing that Western do-good­ers seem to ac­cept Pales­tinian “Days of Rage” as tol­er­a­ble be­hav­ior. As if the Pales­tini­ans can’t help them­selves from throw­ing a tantrum. As if re­spon­si­ble and rea­son­able be­hav­ior, such as ne­go­ti­a­tion, demo­cratic dis­course and nor­ma­tive state-build­ing, can’t be ex­pected of the Pales­tini­ans.

This is the soft big­otry of low ex­pec­ta­tions, and the coun­ter­part hard big­otry of de­mands for im­pec­ca­ble-im­pos­si­ble con­duct from Is­rael. This stems, I sense, from an in­abil­ity to in­ter­nal­ize the fact that de­spite Is­rael’s Oslo Accord con­ces­sions and mul­ti­ple peace of­fers ever since, much of the Pales­tinian na­tional move­ment has not changed its goal of an­ni­hi­lat­ing Is­rael and re­plac­ing it with a Pales­tinian state. That is, of course, the mean­ing of Ha­mas’ so-called “Great March of Re­turn.”

It is incredibly hurt­ful when peo­ple who should know bet­ter fo­cus only on Is­rael’s al­leged short­com­ings and not on the ve­nal­ity of those who in­sti­gate the vi­o­lence so as to gen­er­ate a max­i­mum num­ber of ca­su­al­ties. This only en­cour­ages the ter­ror­ists to keep at it, be­liev­ing that use­ful id­iots in the West will act to iso­late the Jewish state until it col­lapses.

It is piti­ful that peo­ple im­ply causal­ity be­tween the cyn­i­cal Ha­mas of­fen­sive against Is­rael and the open­ing of the US em­bassy in Jerusalem this week. Again, this is non­sense. Ha­mas’ border provo­ca­tions have been un­der­way for years and the border rush­ing at­tacks for five weeks. (It seems that for some ul­tra-par­ti­sans, the chance to bash US Pres­i­dent Trump is worth white­wash­ing Ha­mas and de­mo­niz­ing Is­rael).

Most of all, it is so sad that Is­rael is once again be­ing placed in the po­si­tion where it has to cause suf­fer­ing in self-de­fense; where it has to, in grief, shoot at Pales­tinian in­trud­ers.

Golda Meir once fa­mously said “We can for­give the Arabs for killing our chil­dren. We can­not for­give them for forc­ing us to kill their chil­dren. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their chil­dren more than they hate us.”

To this I add that we Is­raelis can for­give the world for pro­mot­ing Pales­tinian rights. We can­not for­give them for al­low­ing Pales­tini­ans to be­lieve that Is­rael will al­ways get blamed no mat­ter what the provo­ca­tion. We will only have peace when global ac­tors love truth more than they pre­fer bat­ter­ing Is­rael and cod­dling the Pales­tini­ans.

The au­thor is vice pres­i­dent of the Jerusalem In­sti­tute for Strategic Stud­ies, His per­sonal site is davidmwein­

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