A Hamas regional operations map recovered by the IDF in Gaza.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)
A US CNN news anchor recently tried to blast Ron Dermer, ambassador to the United States, concerning a claim that the IDF purposefully shot at a United Nations school, causing many civilian casualties.
To the ambassador’s credit, the anchor had to back down.
Criticism concerning the school attack developed before any definitive investigation. It’s always “Blame Israel First!” of course. Once the public hears a claim, public opinion coalesces against Israel. Is this strategy of news services to bias public opinion against Israelis and Jews intentional, something to foster anti-Semitism around the world? Why not stick to facts? What is Israel up against? Is the IDF in Gaza to fight citizens, families whose desire is simply to live, work, and play? Do average Gazans have choices even when there is no conflict? No, they do not. The IDF is fighting hardened, we-don’t-care-whodies- as-long-as-we-get-our-way terrorists. Hamas and Fatah, the governing bodies of Gaza, have reduced the Palestinian population to life dictated by their brand of slavery. Hamas and Fatah are the enemies of free people, whether Israelis or their own. They are deliberately placing women and children in harms’ way, prohibiting them from leaving areas where Israeli security forces warn them in advance to evacuate for their own safety.
Here’s how Hamas operates in Gaza. You cannot tell me that you think this is normal.
Israeli special operators behind enemy lines have detected and destroyed many bomb-laden and booby-trapped homes.
These homes contain large quantities of weapons. Rocket launchers and weapons are also hidden in heavily populated areas, deep inside spaces where civilians try to go about their lives. Terrorist buildings and tunnels surround orchards.
The homes of Hamas operatives, area commanders and rocket cell members are divided: part for family living and part for a military command center.
Tunnels originate inside these homes. Booby traps can sometimes be seen from the outside of a home.
In Gaza today, daily life and military infrastructure are interwoven.
This is a complex and dangerous situation for Israel’s elite force and ground troops and for Gaza residents.
Since 2006, Hamas has turned “tunneling” into a national profession, said a senior member of an Israeli elite force. A network of sophisticated, highly engineered tunnels begins a few kilometers away from the Israeli border. These tunnels pass under the frontier so that dozens of terrorists can infiltrate Israel in order to bomb and kidnap Israeli men, women and children.
But it’s worse than that. It is being reported that there were plans for a massive New Year’s attack. Thousands of terrorists were set to invade Israel via tunnels on Rosh Hashana (which begins this year on the evening of September 24) so that they could kill and kidnap as many Israelis as possible.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reportedly informed his cabinet about this foiled plot during a recent cabinet meeting. He said that if this attack had not been discovered and stopped, Israeli fatalities could have exceeded the 2,200 killed during the Yom Kippur War.
An article by US Marine Corps Gen. (ret.) James T. Conway posted in The Wall Street Journal on July 24 is of interest. He said after examining one tunnel, “Unlike tunnels that I had seen during the Iraq war that were designed for smuggling, this Hamas tunnel was designed for launching murder and kidnapping raids. The 3-mile-long tunnel was reinforced with concrete, lined with telephone wires, and included cabins unnecessary for infiltration operations but useful for holding hostages.”
Thankfully, the IDF, in spite of being fired upon by terrorists, being booby trapped and suffering casualties, has been successful so far and reports that Hamas combat battalions appear to have become demoralized and less determined.
Hamas operatives were less prepared to face a ground offensive than Israeli air power.
They could deal with air power, because they had gone underground.
A ground offensive was Israel’s primary option to counter tunnels, the hiding of military assets in homes, schools, mosques and hospitals. That was the only way to protect as many civilian lives as possible.
Yet this choice undoubtedly exposed more Israeli soldiers to injury and death than using air power alone would have.
If news is the goal of CNN or any other news provider, there are plenty of sources for truth in reporting concerning the Hamas-Israeli conflict. When you dig out truth, the identities of the good guys and the bad guys are obvious. Again I ask, is there a strategy to “Blame Israel First” so as to bias public opinion against Israel? Anti-Semitism is serious business with possible horrendous consequences. The truth that “the Israeli military prides itself on halting raids when women and children are found inside, holding fire and allowing the women and children to leave before continuing a raid is the rule, not the exception,” a senior source said. “That’s who we are and this is the source of our strength.”
Earl Cox is a Christian broadcaster and journalist focusing on Israel and the Middle East. He served in senior level positions in the administrations of four US presidents.