Israel Under Fire: More Burning Questions

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IS ISRAEL’S RESPONSE TO PALESTINIAN ROCKETS DISPROPORTIONATE?

Writing for Time magazine, Eric Yoffie addresses this question:

There is something bizarre, in fact, about the idea of “proportionality” being used as a moral criticism against Israel. A proportional response by Israel to the attacks of the last seven years would mean that every time a rocket is fired by Hamas at an Israeli civilian center, Israel would respond by firing a rocket at a civilian center in Gaza. Israel, of course, rejected that, then and now. Still, when Hamas violated the ceasefire yet again and got its hands on longer-range rockets, something had to be done.

The best way to evaluate Israel’s action is to imagine how we as Americans would respond to similar provocations. Assume the following: a terrorist group embedded in Mexico that the Mexican government refused to disarm is firing missiles into Houston night after night, endangering American lives. Our government would not wait a week or a month; indeed, it would not wait a single day before taking action to assure the well-being of her citizens. In fact, we need only remember how American forces flew half way around the world to engage in a war in Afghanistan against terrorists who carried out an attack on American soil. The talk then was not of proportionality, but of providing security for our country and stopping those who wished to do us harm.

Of course, let us not think for a moment, God forbid, that we can be indifferent to the death of innocents. The death of any child, Israeli or Arab, Muslim or Jew, is an unspeakable tragedy that rends the heart. Israel must do everything humanly possible to avoid the civilian casualties; already she issues warnings and calls for evacuation of areas about to be attacked, and must do more. Still, for any country, morality begins with a reasonable measure of security for her own citizens, and it is not right to say that Israel must protect Palestinian civilians at the cost of abandoning her own.

Read the full article here.

 

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Israel’s Ambassador to the UK, Daniel Taub adds in The Independent:

Since Israel uses its arms to protect its civilians, whereas Hamas uses its civilians to protect its weapons, there has been a predictable asymmetry of casualties. But proportionality is not a tit-for-tat numbers game. Only perverse logic would deem Israel’s actions more proportionate if Israel allowed more of its civilians to be killed. Proportionality is measured with regard to the threat one faces. In Israel’s case this threat is a stockpile of thousands of rockets and missiles, threatening the bulk of Israel’s population, in the hands of a terrorist regime committed to Israel’s destruction.

Read the full article here.

 

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IS ISRAEL COMMITTING “GENOCIDE”?

Jonah Goldberg tackles this big lie in the LA Times:

If the Israelis are, or have ever been, interested in genocide, they are utterly incompetent at it. As slanders go, it’s almost funny, like the old paranoid delusion that George W. Bush was simultaneously an idiot and a criminal mastermind.

On the one hand, the Israeli military is supposed to be ruthlessly competent and determined to wipe out the Palestinians. On the other, the Palestinian population has grown more than 100% since 1970. The population in the Gaza Strip has grown nearly threefold since 1990. The Palestinians themselves expect the population to double over the next two decades. “Genocide” is a loaded political term, but under any remotely reasonable definition, shouldn’t those numbers be going the other way?

It’s just a hunch, but if the Israelis wanted to wipe out as many Palestinians as possible, never mind commit genocide, they probably wouldn’t issue warnings to Gazans (by phone and leaflet) to get out of harm’s way. Nor would Israel continue to allow hundreds of trucks of food and medical aid to enter Gaza even as hundreds of rockets leave Gaza.

Read the full article here.

 

CLICK ON THE PLAYLIST BUTTON ON THE TOP LEFT TO ACCESS VIDEOS FROM ISRAEL’S FOREIGN MINISTRY

 

HOW IS THE IDF MINIMIZING HARM TO CIVILIANS IN GAZA?

The IDF Blog outlines how the IDF does everything possible to limit civilian casualties in Gaza and how Hamas exploits these efforts by encouraging Palestinian civilians to ignore the IDF’s warnings.

See the IDF Blog for more, including multimedia on:

  • Phone Calls and Text Messages
  • Leaflets
  • Roof-Knocking
  • Abandoning Air Strikes

 

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WHY DOESN’T ISRAEL PUBLISH FIGURES AND DETAILS OF GAZA CASUALTIES?

Raphael Ahren examines this in-depth in an important article in The Times of Israel:

For Operation Protective Edge, the only data published so far comes from the health ministry in Gaza. This ministry is run by Hamas, therefore rendering the number of casualties and injuries it reports more than unreliable, said Maj. Arye Shalicar of the Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson’s unit. “Hamas has no shame about lying. We know they’re a terrorist organization that makes cynical use of casualty numbers for propaganda purposes. You can’t trust a single number they publish.”

And yet, the figures from the Gazan ministry are routinely adopted, unquestioned, by the United Nations. “According to preliminary information, over 77 per cent of the fatalities since 7 July have been civilians, raising concerns about respect for international humanitarian law,” states a situation report published Tuesday by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Once given the stamp of approval of such an important body, these numbers are quoted everywhere else.

“All these publications are not worth the paper they’re written on,” said Reuven Erlich, the director of the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center. “They’re based mostly on Palestinian sources in Gaza, who have a vested interest in showing that we’re killing many civilians.”

The authorities in Gaza generally count every young man who did not wear a uniform as a civilian — even if he was involved in terrorist activity and was therefore considered by the IDF a legitimate target, military sources said.

And yet, no official Israeli government body releases any information about casualties caused by Israeli airstrikes in real-time. We simply cannot know what we hit, several officials said. In the West Bank, IDF forces are able to ascertain who dies as a result of IDF actions, but since Israel has no military or civilian presence in Gaza, no information is available during or right after a strike. To be sure, the IDF does investigate claims about casualties, but results are usually only released weeks after the hostilities have ended. By then, the world, gauging Israel’s conduct in part on the basis of available information on civilian casualties, has turned its attention elsewhere.

Read the full article here.

 

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WHY IS HAMAS CONTINUING TO FIGHT?

The Washington Post offers a disturbing answer:

Why would Hamas insist on continuing the fight when it is faring so poorly? The only plausible answer is stomach-turning: The Islamic movement calculates that it can win the concessions it has yet to obtain from Israel and Egypt not by striking Israel but by perpetuating the killing of its own people in Israeli counterattacks. More than 200 people, including a number of children, have already died in Gaza; Hamas probably calculates that more deaths will prompt Western governments to pressure Israel to grant Hamas’s demands.

Read the full editorial here.

 

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

The battlefield of the media is also immensely important. Israel will only be given the leeway to deal effectively with Hamas in Gaza if the publics of Western nations understand exactly why Israel is taking action and what measures it employs to avoid civilian casualties.

HonestReporting will keep you updated with breaking news and developments as well as monitoring the media during the days ahead.

Follow HonestReporting on Facebook and Twitter.

You can also keep up to date by following the IDF Blog as well as trusted news sources such as The Times of Israel and Jerusalem Post.

Also see “War in Gaza: 5 Tips For Sorting Through the News and Sharing Responsibly on Social Media.”

FOR MORE RESOURCES CLICK HERE TO SEE HONESTREPORTING’S “ISRAEL UNDER FIRE: ANSWERING THE ACCUSATIONS”

 

 

And remember to SHARE, SHARE, SHARE materials through social media platforms.

 


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