Clearing the Summer Rains

Ismail Haniyeh

As Israeli operations in Gaza continue to occupy the international media, Palestinian PM and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, is somewhat surprisingly given op-ed space in the Washington Post to pin the blame for the current crisis solely on Israel. In a direct appeal to Americans, Haniyeh conveniently excuses Palestinians from any responsibility for their situation:

“I hope that Americans will give careful and well-informed thought to root causes and historical realities, in which case I think they will question why a supposedly “legitimate” state such as Israel has had to conduct decades of war against a subject refugee population without ever achieving its goals.”

Haniyeh claims that “Israel wants to sow dissent among Palestinians by claiming that there is a serious leadership rivalry among us. I am compelled to dispel this notion definitively.” In this case, HonestReporting can only assume that Haniyeh is taking responsibility for the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit along with the Hamas leadership of Khaled Meshaal in Damascus and the “military wing” of the terrorist organization.

Haniyeh employs emotive language to attack Israel, accusing her of “war crimes” and responsibility for the recent Gaza beach deaths despite the dubious nature of this claim. Haniyeh even questions US financial aid to Israel despite the fact that that the US has provided the Palestinians more than $1.7 billion since 1993 with questionable results.

Hamas continues to reject Israel’s right to exist and refuses to recognize the Jewish state. Yet Haniyeh claims that If Israel is prepared to negotiate seriously and fairly, and resolve the core 1948 issues, rather than the secondary ones from 1967, a fair and permanent peace is possible.Perhaps by referring to “the core issues of 1948″, Haniyeh’s real agenda becomes clearer – the question of Israel’s very existence.

Haniyeh’s Hamas, which bears responsibility for the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit and the continuous bombardment of Qassam missiles on Israeli targets, is on the face of it, still a terrorist organization.

Letters to the Washington Post.

CHALLENGING HARI’S MISCONCEPTIONS

Other media has also chosen to publish a number of misconceptions regarding Israeli actions. HonestReporting examines one such opinion piece by Johann Hari (pictured) in the UK’s Independent and puts some context behind Israel’s “Summer Rains” campaign.

Click here for the full article.

  • Hari refers to Gaza “where 1.4 million people live locked in fear and never leave.” This, despite the fact that Gazans are able to cross into Egypt through the border, which has also repeatedly been physically breached by Palestinian terrorist groups allowing unrestricted access to Sinai, much to the irritation of Egypt and Israel.
  • Hari claims that the “civilian population is being starved.” In fact, Israel has opened the Karni and Nahal Oz crossings in order to transfer gasoline and basic products into areas of the Gaza Strip and to ease restrictions on the Palestinian population, despite the threat of terror attacks. According to IDF indications from the field and in view of these supplies, there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Hari even misuses a quote by Dov Weisglass which was coined some months before the current operation and was meant as a metaphor rather than a threat to physically deprive Palestinians of food.
  • Hari demonstrates an astonishing level of moral equivalence, comparing the ‘only’ Israeli soldier held by the Palestinians to the greater number of what he terms Palestinian “fighters” in Israeli jails. According to Hari, “the vast majority were simply resisting violent occupying troops.” Hari also compares like for like by quoting the smaller number of Israelis killed by Qassam missiles as opposed to the number of Palestinians killed in Israeli air strikes. Hari fails to comprehend that Palestinian Qassams are intended to kill civilians while Israeli air strikes are aimed solely at preventing terrorists from carrying out such missile attacks.
  • Ignoring history, Hari traces Palestinian missile attacks to recent Israeli actions despite the more than 1000 Qassams that have been launched at Israeli targets since the Disengagement from Gaza in the summer of 2005.

    A Qassam lands in an Ashkelon school (Photo: Amir Cohen)

  • Despite admitting to disliking Hamas intensely, Hari misrepresents the terror organization, claiming that the “Palestinian people did not give them a mandate” based on their extremist views. Yet, the Palestinian people knew exactly what Hamas stood for when they voted for them. Hari also claims, despite evidence to the contrary that Hamas “made clear signals that they would accept peace with Israel after all” and “even the radical wing of the Palestinians were poised to accept Israel’s existence.”

Hari concludes by claiming:

“The last three weeks have not been primarily about an Israeli soldier, a slew of rockets, or Hamas. They are about the determination of the Israeli government to unilaterally seize chunks of the West Bank, and to refuse to negotiate, any time, any place, anywhere.”

This, despite the Israeli government’s stated aim to withdraw from parts of the West Bank, preferably through negotiations with a valid Palestinian peace partner (which Hamas currently is not).

Letters to the Independent.

HonestReporting urges subscribers to be vigilant in the face of articles and opinion pieces that attempt to promote a false picture of Israel’s “Summer Rains” operation.

For full coverage of developments, see the official website of the Israel Defense Forces.

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