How should Israel react to renewed rocketing from Gaza? The question is being hotly debated as we wait for the results of the indirect negotiations in Egypt over a longer cease-fire.
The major obstacle in Cairo is the Hamas demand that a seaport be built in Gaza, which Jerusalem rejects on the grounds that it would be used to smuggle more rockets into the Strip, including anti-aircraft missiles. What options does Israel have in the face of the international tsunami of criticism over the Palestinian fatalities numbering some 1,000 civilians? Bear in mind that some 800 terrorists are among the overall figure of 1,800.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters will continue to fire their rockets from inside densely populated areas and then hide behind Palestinian men, women and children. The Hamas headquarters, with its top leadership, has been built under Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital, which Israel has not attacked. Hamas continues to implement its insidious strategy of exploiting its own people as human shields – an application of the Marxist tenet that boils down to: “The worse it is for the people, the better it is for the cause!” So how should the Jewish state react to a fanatic Islamist enemy, which openly declares its aim to massacre Israelis and obliterate Israel while exploiting its Palestinian subjects to deter the IDF from conducting an effective response? Should it back off in the wave of international opprobrium: “Whoa, we are not going to stand still, those brutal Israelis (Jews) are not supposed to fight back even if Islamist terrorists are using Palestinian civilians as defensive shields!” (The fact is that some Jewish politicians and pundits have joined the chorus of critics, apparently to prove their impartiality.) Israelis are not stupid, and are/were fully aware that civilian casualties would trigger massive international pressure. Aside from humanitarian considerations, which Hamas ignores, Israeli lawyers were assigned to IDF headquarters in the field to verify that military operations were in accordance with international law. To the best of my knowledge, no other democracy has ever implemented such caution in time of war. Certainly that was not the case in Iraq and Afghanistan, where US, British and other NATO members have been battling other Islamist fanatics.
The caustic comments by Ed Miliband, the leader of Britain’s Labor Party, were the most repugnant in light of his family background as Holocaust survivors. During the Second World War, Miliband’s grandmother and aunt managed to survive the Holocaust in Poland. After the war, his grandmother and aunt found a home in the new-born State of Israel; his aunt served in the IDF. First Miliband flayed British Prime Minister David Cameron “for not condemning Israel’s unacceptable and unjustified killing of civilians in Gaza.” In fact, Miliband’s diatribe came close to inciting condemnation of Israel both in Britain and elsewhere: “And his silence on the killing of hundreds of innocent Palestinians caused by Israel’s military action will be inexplicable to people across Britain and internationally.”
Then again, if he were ever elected prime minister of Britain, would he acquiesce in Islamist terrorists shelling the British people or tunneling under their homes with the aim of killing as many men, women and children as possible? First, some pertinent questions for the man who would be prime minister of Britain: What military advice would Miliband proffer for neutralizing the hidden terror tunnels built from Gaza under the Israeli border that would enable Hamas terrorists to pop out in the middle of the night and massacre entire Israeli families in their beds? Does he have some military expertise that is unknown to the IDF, because its top combat officers could devise no other solution than to go into Gaza to seek and destroy those tunnels? Second, if it were not for his mother making her way to Britain where she married a British citizen, Ed Miliband himself could be an Israeli today and he, his wife and two sons could also be rushing to bomb shelters under the rocket blitz from Gaza. Then again, if he were ever elected prime minister of Britain, would he acquiesce in Islamist terrorists shelling the British people or tunneling under their homes with the aim of killing as many men, women and children as possible? If so, Laborites would do well to think twice before they cast their next ballot.
Make no mistake, Mr. Miliband, the Hamas fanatics attacking Israel today are no different than the Nazis who hunted your grandmother and aunt in Poland 70 years ago. Their fellow survivors in Israel are determined to fight for their survival just as determinedly as your newfound homeland did in the Battle of Britain.
This op-ed was originally published on the author’s website, IsraCast (isracast.com).