Israel Under Fire: Answering the Accusations

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A STATEMENT FROM HONESTREPORTING CEO JOE HYAMS

In response to the media’s coverage of Operation Protective Edge, HonestReporting CEO Joe Hyams has issued the following statement:

As the IDF’s military operation enters its second week, HonestReporting is increasingly concerned about media coverage casting Israel as the aggressor against innocent Palestinians in Gaza.

 

We emphasize that the casualty figures reported in the media do not represent the true intentions of the two parties. Israel has made and continues to make every possible effort to save the lives of civilians on both sides while the Hamas terrorist organization fires rockets indiscriminately at Israeli civilians and calls on its own people to act as human shields, even at the cost of their lives.

 

Regardless of the outcome on the ground, victory in the current conflict will be determined in the court of public opinion. We therefore call on all media outlets to report fairly and accurately on the conflict, provide proper context, and acknowledge the true aims of both sides so that people can be informed enough to make a proper assessment of the conflict.

 

IS ISRAEL BREAKING INTERNATIONAL LAW?

Laurie R. Blank addresses this question in The Hill:

International law has quite a lot to say about the latest violence that has flared up between Israel and Hamas. So do the media. Unfortunately, they rarely match, leading to unfortunate — and sometimes egregious — misrepresentations. In an age when both real and perceived violations of international law have a substantial effect on the legitimacy of state action, getting it wrong is way more than just bad journalism.

The core purpose of the law of war — a centuries-old framework regulating conduct during wartime — is to protect civilians and minimize suffering during wartime. In any conflict, all parties — states, rebel groups, terrorist organizations — have obligations to minimize harm to civilians. For each party, these obligations take two primary forms: protecting civilians in the areas where it is attacking, and protecting its own civilians from the consequences of attacks by the enemy party.

Attacking parties must 1) attack only enemy personnel and objects; 2) refrain from any indiscriminate attacks; 3) refrain from attacks in which the expected civilian casualties will be excessive in light of the military value of the target; and 4) provide warnings for civilians of attacks where feasible. In their own territory, militaries and armed groups must refrain from locating military objectives in densely populated areas and take other steps to keep civilians out of harm’s way. Specifically, the law also criminalizes the use of civilians as human shields.

It is particularly disheartening, therefore, when perversions of this law, through biased or faulty media coverage, effectively promote the very opposite result. Consider media coverage of Israeli strikes on targets in Gaza, of Hamas and Islamic Jihad’s rocket attacks on Israel, and of Hamas’s actions in Gaza.

Read the full article here.

 

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WHAT ABOUT THE UNEQUAL NUMBER OF CASUALTIES?

Thane Rosenbaum writes in the Daily Beast:

Paradoxically the world is holding Israel responsible for Hamas being unable to shoot straight. Israel’s moral position would be stronger if the casualty count was more equal. But under what moral principle must a nation mimic both the madness and the misdirection of its enemy?

Intent and motive always matter. The endgame for Hamas, avowedly in both word and deed, is Jewish genocide. The relevant word here should not be “proportion” but rather “asymmetry”—there is no battlefield on which Israel can fight its sworn enemy. By despicable design, Hamas insists on bringing the theater of war right beside a child’s bedroom, or in the basement of a mosque, or in a hospital or school. Human shields that might end up in body bags and a culture of Islamic martyrdom is the trench warfare that Israelis face whenever they put on their uniforms. The militants are hiding, and their weapons are located, among their own people.

Keeping track of bombs and body counts in Gaza and Israel defies the logic of analytics. If the ledgers of loss are imbalanced, don’t be fooled by the numbers. Disproportionate death tolls, tragic though they may be, are an excuse to place Israel in an utterly indefensible position.

Read the full article here.

Jeffrey Goldberg asks at Bloomberg: Is Hamas trying to get Gazans killed?

In reaction to these indiscriminately fired missiles, Israel has bombarded targets across Gaza, killing roughly 100 people so far. Compared with violent death rates in other parts of the Middle East, the number is small. (More than 170,000 people have been killed in the Syrian civil war to date.) But it is large enough to suggest an answer to Abbas’s question: Hamas is trying to get Israel to kill as many Palestinians as possible.

Dead Palestinians represent a crucial propaganda victory for the nihilists of Hamas. It is perverse, but true. It is also the best possible explanation for Hamas’s behavior, because Hamas has no other plausible strategic goal here.

Read the full article here.

Hamas itself appears to have answered Goldberg’s question. Hamas spokesperson, Sami Abu Zuhri, says of Hamas’ policy during Operation Protective Edge: “We aren’t leading our people today to destruction. We are leading them to death.”

 

 

WHY DOESN’T GAZA HAVE BOMB SHELTERS?

Jonathan Tobin writes in Commentary magazine:

The assumption is that the Hamas-run strip is too poor to afford building shelters and safe rooms for its civilians, a point that adds to the impression that the Palestinians are helpless victims who deserve the sympathy if not the help of the world in fending off Israel’s assault on Hamas’s arsenal.

But the assumption is utterly false. Gaza’s tyrants have plenty of money and material to build shelters. And they have built plenty of them. They’re just not for the people of Gaza.

As is well known, Gaza is honeycombed with underground structures from one end of the strip to the other. This doesn’t only refer to the more than 1,400 tunnels that have connected Gaza to Egypt through which all sorts of things—including rockets, ammunition, building materials as well as consumer goods–came into the strip until the military government in Cairo stopped the traffic. The chief problem facing the Israel Defense Forces in this campaign is the same one they faced in 2008 and 2012 when they previously tried to temporarily silence the rocket fire. Hamas’s leaders and fighters are kept safe in a warren of shelters build deep underneath Gaza. There is also plenty of room there for its supply of thousands of rockets and other armaments. Moreover, they are also connected by tunnels that crisscross the length of that independent Palestinian state in all but name ruled by Hamas. Indeed, when you consider the vast square footage devoted to these structures, there may well be far more shelter space per square mile in Gaza than anyplace in Israel.

Read the full article here.

Nonetheless, Israel is doing everything in its power to avoid civilian casualties even when Hamas is embedded within populated areas. Below you can view footage of three air strikes aborted in real-time to protect Gazan civilians.

 

 

WHY DOES THE IDF TARGET “CIVILIAN” AREAS?

Terrorists in Gaza purposely use civilian infrastructure to carry out terror attacks because they know that the IDF doesn’t want to target civilian areas. When these buildings are used for terror activities, they may become legitimate targets. Israel has the right to protect its citizens from terrorism. Watch the video below:

 

 

HAMAS SOCIAL MEDIA LIES EXPOSED

Hamas activists posted a still from a Hollywood horror movie as a Palestinian casualty. Watch the video and please help us SHARE the truth! (Warning: contains graphic images)

 

 

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

 

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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.”

 

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

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