Palestinians collect tires to be burnt during a protest marking the 70th anniversary of Nakba, at the Israel-Gaza border in the southern Gaza Strip May 15, 2018.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In a prophetic piece of punditry, penned in 2014 but ordained for this week, Charles Krauthammer wrote: “To deliberately wage war so that your own people can be telegenically killed is indeed moral and tactical insanity. But it rests on a very rational premise: Given the Orwellian state of the world’s treatment of Israel, fueled by a mix of classic anti-Semitism, near-total historical ignorance and reflexive sympathy for the ostensible Third World underdog – eruptions featuring Palestinian casualties ultimately undermine support for Israel’s legitimacy and right to self-defense.”
“In a world of such Kafkaesque ethical inversions, the depravity of Hamas begins to make sense. The whole point is to draw Israeli counter-fire; to produce dead Palestinians for international television.”
And thus, it has been incredibly painful to hear global condemnations of Israel this week.
It is unmitigatedly maddening to see Western leaders – with the notable exception of American and Australian government leaders – succumb with equanimity to Hamas’ obvious criminal stuntsmanship on the Gaza border.
By acquiescing in Hamas’ exploitation of its own people’s blood in service of Palestinian rejectionism, they distance the day that peace might be possible.
It is infuriating that democratic leaders profess to be concerned for Palestinian rights, yet ignore Hamas’ murderous intentions against Israel. They disregard its genocidal and anti-Semitic agenda, and its record of Islamist oppression and human rights abuse. They overlook its fulsome backing by Iran. They take no heed of its kidnappings, rockets, and terror attack tunnels; and now, of its gruesome border-breaching battles, with paid Palestinians as calculated cannon fodder.
They also take no notice of the escalating attacks by Assad’s forces on Palestinian refugee camps in Syria.
It is exasperating that good people pretend that these assaults on Israel’s sovereignty and security have anything to do with legitimate demands for water and electricity or the desire for a two-state peace deal. Nonsense! Hamas has repeatedly blown up the civilian and humanitarian supply infrastructures that Israel has built for Gaza, and spent hundreds of millions of dollars in aid funds on military infrastructures instead. Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza a decade ago, yet Hamas has launched three wars against Israel since.
In fact, it is vexing that those in the international community who insist on the importance of the 1967 lines are now sympathizing with attempts to rupture that same line around Gaza. What is Western support for “Israel’s right to exist within secure and recognized borders” worth if those borders cannot be defended?
And why would Israel even consider West Bank withdrawals if it has no support for a robust defense of those shrunken borders? What if hundreds of thousands of Palestinians try this border-rushing trick around Jerusalem or in Samaria overlooking Tel Aviv?
It is mortifying that observers prattle about the “inexcusable use of force on both sides,” when there is no comparison between Hamas’ gratuitous use of force and Israel’s necessary and judicious use of force. It is profane to equate Hamas’ abuse of civilians in revving-up violence with Israel’s desire to avoid violence and its care to discriminate between terrorist agitators and civilian protestors.
How is it that foreign ministers and foreign correspondents fail to note that 80 percent of the fatalities in April (26 of 32 dead) were known members of terrorist militias, and that 85 percent of the Palestinian marauders killed on Tuesday this week (53 of 62 dead) were clearly-identified Hamas and Islamic Jihad military personnel – by admission of the terrorists themselves?! How is it that they disregard the fact that, had the IDF refrained from pinpoint fire against those rushing Israel’s border, much broader conflict and real “massacre” would likely have ensued?
It is galling that people pontificate about Israel’s responsibilities, prejudge Israel’s defense forces, and flippantly call to prosecute Israel’s leaders. “They sit in air-conditioned offices in Europe and think that we’re facing demonstrations in Brussels against the central bank, and then preach to Israel about how to handle the riots,” Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies said angrily this week.
It is stomach-churning that people call the Gaza border death toll “disproportionate.” How many Israelis have to die for the sake of symmetry and ersatz Western scruples?
It is also annoying that Western do-gooders seem to accept Palestinian “Days of Rage” as tolerable behavior. As if the Palestinians can’t help themselves from throwing a tantrum. As if responsible and reasonable behavior, such as negotiation, democratic discourse and normative state-building, can’t be expected of the Palestinians.
This is the soft bigotry of low expectations, and the counterpart hard bigotry of demands for impeccable- impossible conduct from Israel. This stems, I sense, from an inability to internalize the fact that despite Israel’s Oslo Accord concessions and multiple peace offers ever since, much of the Palestinian national movement has not changed its goal of annihilating Israel and replacing it with a Palestinian state. That is, of course, the meaning of Hamas’ so-called “Great March of Return.”
It is incredibly hurtful when people who should know better focus only on Israel’s alleged shortcomings and not on the venality of those who instigate the violence so as to generate a maximum number of casualties. This only encourages the terrorists to keep at it, believing that useful idiots in the West will act to isolate the Jewish state until it collapses.
It is pitiful that people imply causality between the cynical Hamas offensive against Israel and the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem this week. Again, this is nonsense. Hamas’ border provocations have been underway for years and the border rushing attacks for five weeks. (It seems that for some ultra-partisans, the chance to bash US President Trump is worth whitewashing Hamas and demonizing Israel).
Most of all, it is so sad that Israel is once again being placed in the position where it has to cause suffering in self-defense; where it has to, in grief, shoot at Palestinian intruders.
Golda Meir once famously said “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”
To this I add that we Israelis can forgive the world for promoting Palestinian rights. We cannot forgive them for allowing Palestinians to believe that Israel will always get blamed no matter what the provocation. We will only have peace when global actors love truth more than they prefer battering Israel and coddling the Palestinians.
The author is vice president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies, jiss.org.il. His personal site is davidmweinberg.com.