The more I listen to the ‘solutions’ being proposed by diplomats and world leaders in reaction to Israel’s incursion into Gaza, the more convinced I am that some of their ideas have been lifted directly from tales of the wise men of Chelm.
For the third time in a decade Israel has been forced to call up tens of thousands of reservists to re-enter Gaza, the place from which it unilaterally withdrew in 2005, in order to deal with the hundreds of rockets again being fired by Hamas terrorists at its major population centers.
No sooner did the operation begin than a chorus of voices, including the leaders of the European Union and the Arab World, and editorials in leading newspapers like The New York Times, began sounding familiar warnings about civilian casualties to Israel.
Even the United States, England and France, which explicitly support Israel’s right to defend its citizens against rocket attacks, insist that the incursion into Gaza must be limited in scope to avoid civilian collateral damage.
Why do world leaders take every opportunity to set alarms and ask for wake-up calls when Israel – only Israel – hits back at Hamas terrorists? Where were those ‘moral voices’ when it came to taking timely action to prevent Hamas from stockpiling 10,000 rockets? Why didn’t UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State John Kerry and the foreign ministers of the EU rush to Israel to convene a conference on how to tighten borders and close tunnels to prevent terrorists from smuggling arms and weapons into Gaza? Why didn’t they demand that no foreign aid be dispensed in neighborhoods housing Hamas military personnel? Why is there never an emergency UN Security Council meeting on how to excise a malignancy and end Hamas’s rule of terror in Gaza? Why do they never shuttle to the region to seek a way to stop the perpetrators and their funders like Iran and Qatar, but come only to put reins on the defenders? Of course it’s horrible to see images of innocent children killed in the incursion. But whose fault is that if not Hamas’s, with their sick ideology of loving death and martyrdom and their tactic of deliberately placing children in harm’s way? The legendary town of Chelm is notorious in Jewish history for its gathering of simpletons, whose ideas never came close to dealing effectively with problems.
In one story, the town, situated on a mountaintop, faced a terrible crisis: its citizens began falling off the mountain.
Responding to the crisis, the wise men of the city convened and came up with a perfect Chelm ‘solution’ – they decided to build a hospital at the bottom of the mountain! That is precisely what world leaders are again doing in Gaza.
They are abandoning their friends and constituencies with phony solutions they know can’t work – urging Israel to take steps that will only force it to relive their nightmare every few years. No country in the world is subjected to treatment that strengthens and props up terrorists and only makes the price we will have to pay that much greater.
Meanwhile, while world leaders shuttle to Jerusalem to end the incursion, 40 meters below the ground somewhere in Gaza, the Hamas terrorist leaders, confident as always, are already plotting how many civilian airliners to bring down when they take delivery of their first SA-11 surface-to-air missile.
The author is the founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.