An excellent editorial from the Dom Post:
But Hamas’ leaders and those who unquestioningly side with them overlook a simple fact when they deplore Israel’s assault on Gaza, The Dominion Post writes. Hamas, an organisation that is committed to the destruction of Israel, provoked the Israeli attacks and it has it within its power to stop them. All it has to do is stop firing rockets into Israeli territory.
Yes. Ask yourself this. If Israel stops it air strikes, will Hamas stop its rocket attacks? No – it will carry on. But if Hamas stopped rocket attacks, would Israel stop its strikes – absolutely.
In the past eight years 16 Israelis have been killed by rockets launched from within the strip. Israel’s response – air attacks and now a ground assault – is disproportionate. But what is Israel supposed to do? Would its critics prefer it to send a rocket back every time one landed in its territory? No other sovereign nation would tolerate a neighbour indiscriminately targeting its citizens, and anyone who thinks a people who pledged “never again” after the Holocaust would do so, has rocks in their head.
As David Cohen (currently in Israel) points out, there have been more than 9400 documented rocket attacks in the past five years, and in the last year almost 10 a day.
Hopelessly outgunned militarily, Hamas cannot hope to defeat Israel in a conventional war, but it can compete in a public relations battle for hearts and minds. The Israeli attacks are producing images of dead and wounded Palestinians that damage Israel’s international reputation.
They also serve as rallying posters for future Hamas foot soldiers.
That the strategy has cost hundreds of Palestinians their lives and condemned Gaza’s population of 1.5 million to even greater hardship does not appear to concern Hamas’ leaders.
In a column published in yesterday’s Dominion Post, Fania Oz-Salzberger, professor of modern Israel studies at Monash University in Melbourne, likened Hamas’ behaviour to that of a “poor and traumatised” man who sits with his daughter on his lap taking pot shots at a neighbour’s house packed with women and children.
That is a great analogy. And yes it is a deliberate strategy of Hamas to try and maximise civilian casualaties on both sides. Meanwhile as Whale Oil points out, Israel is going so far to minimise civilian deaths it is actually ringing neighbours of targets and giving them time to evacuate. This is why of 600 destroyed targets, there have been less than 100 civilian deaths (and around 400 non civilians). Israel is meant to have made more than 9,000 warning calls.
None of this justifies the wrongs done to Palestinians dispossessed of their ancestral lands, the unconscionable conditions in which millions of Palestinians live, or the excesses of the Israeli military. As Professor Oz-Salzberger writes: “Gazans are worse off than Israelis in every single way.”
Palestinians have reason for being poor and traumatised and bitter and vengeful.
But one simple fact remains. If Hamas’ leaders really want to end the suffering caused by the Israeli attacks they can do so.
All they have to do is stop firing rockets into Israeli territory, acknowledge that Israel has a right to exist and start negotiating.
The problems with Hamas go beyond Israel. They recently voted to bring back crucifixion as a punishment. Now think about how many pages have been devoted to the US water boarding, and how the middle east media have almost totally failed to cover this vote to legalise this most barbaric way to kill someone.
And for those who think all these problems would disappear if Israel was wiped out, reflect on this fromMr Cohen again:
While the military campaign by the Israelis is against the Hamas death-cultists who are sworn to Israel’s destruction, there is no denying it is also aimed at sending a severe message to the Islamist group’s Iranian sponsors, whose to-do list of countries to eliminate after they’re done with the Zionist entity even includes New Zealand.
Yes, follow the link. Ths is not just a war about a border.