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The Truth about Gaza

The Truth about Gaza

Israel is using missile defense to protect its civilians and Hamas is using their civilians to protect their missiles.


Israel accepts an Egyptian-proposed Gaza cease-fire; Hamas keeps firing. Hamas deliberately aims rockets at civilians; Israel painstakingly tries to avoid them, actually telephoning civilians in the area and dropping warning charges, so-called roof knocking.

'Here's the difference between us," explains the Israeli prime minister. 'We're using missile defense to protect our civilians and they're using their civilians to protect their missiles."

Rarely does international politics present a moment of such moral clarity. Yet we routinely hear this Israel-Gaza fighting described as a morally equivalent "cycle of violence." This is absurd. What possible interest can Israel have in cross-border fighting? Everyone knows Hamas set off this mini-war. And everyone knows Hamas' proudly self-declared raison d'etre: the eradication of Israel and its Jews.

Apologists for Hamas attribute the bloodlust to the Israeli occupation and blockade. Occupation? There is not a soldier, not a settler, not a single Israeli in Gaza. Does no one remember anything? It was less than 10 years ago that worldwide television showed the Israeli army pulling diehard settlers off synagogue roofs in Gaza as Israel uprooted it settlements, expelled its citizens, withdrew its military and turned every inch of Gaza over to the Palestinians.

There was no blockade. On the contrary. Israel wanted this new Palestinian state to succeed. To help the Gaza economy, Israel gave the Palestinians its 3,000 greenhouses that had produced fruit and flowers for export. It opened border crossings and encouraged commerce.

The whole idea was to establish the model for two states living peacefully and productively side by side. No one seems to remember that simultaneous with the Gaza withdrawal, Israel dismantled four smaller settlements in the northern West Bank as a clear signal of Israel's desire to leave the West Bank too and thus achieve an amicable two-state solution.

And how did the Gaza Palestinians react to being granted by the Israelis what no previous ruler, neither Egyptian, nor British, nor Turkish, had ever given them – an independent territory? First, they demolished the greenhouses. Then they elected Hamas. Then, instead of building a state with its attendant political and economic institutions, they spent the better part of a decade turning Gaza into a massive military base, brimming with terror weapons, to make ceaseless war on Israel.

Where are the roads and rail, the industry and infrastructure of the new Palestinian state? Nowhere. Instead, they built mile upon mile of underground tunnels to hide their weapons and, when the going gets tough, their military commanders. They spent millions importing and producing rockets, launchers, mortars, small arms, even drones. They deliberately placed them in schools, hospitals, mosques and private homes to better expose their own civilians. And from which they fire rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Why? The rockets can't even inflict serious damage, being almost uniformly intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system. Even West Bank leader Mahmoud Abbas has asked: "What are you trying to achieve by sending rockets?"

In a world of such Kafkaesque ethical inversions, Hamas' depravity begins to make sense.

It makes no sense. Unless you understand, as a Washington Post editorial explained, that the whole point is to draw Israeli counterfire.

This produces dead Palestinians for international television. Which is why Hamas perversely urges its own people not to seek safety when Israel drops leaflets warning of an imminent attack.

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 (see: the U.N.'s grotesque Human Rights Council), fueled by a mix of classic anti-Semitism, near-total historical ignorance and reflexive sympathy for the ostensible Third World underdog, these eruptions featuring Palestinian casualties ultimately undermine support for Israel's legitimacy and right to self-defense.

In a world of such Kafkaesque ethical inversions, Hamas' depravity begins to make sense. This is a world in which the Munich massacre is a movie and the murder of Klinghoffer is an opera – both deeply sympathetic to the killers. This is a world in which the U.N. ignores humanity's worst war criminals while incessantly condemning Israel, a state warred upon for 66 years which nonetheless goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid harming the very innocents its enemies use as shields.

It's to the Israelis' credit that amid all this madness they haven't lost their moral scruples. Or their nerve. Those outside the region have the minimum obligation, therefore, to expose the madness and speak the truth. Rarely has it been so blindingly clear.

This op-ed originally appeared in the Washington Post.

July 21, 2014

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Visitor Comments: 34

(27) Anonymous, August 7, 2014 10:52 PM

where are the united nations voices.
thousands of christians are being starved AND MURDERED BY ISIS. if scotland was firing rockets into england, would we just take it? NO we would fire back just as Israel has done, and will do again . never trust an arab

(26) Miriam, July 28, 2014 7:51 PM

May hamas be NUNCA MAS.

Evil needs to be dealt with accordingly. FEAR NOT for what may or may not be. Israel is not only fighting evil against himself but also getting read off one of it's many forms against a world that just doesn't seem to have the clarity of What To Do. It would not be the first time and it may not be the last. But it Most Be Done. AM YSRAEL CHAI.

(25) Anonymous, July 25, 2014 3:08 PM

what is middle east

A land of differing religious views all claiming the power of some superstitious being but still feeling the killing of humans. It is my feeling that what needs be done here is for this United Nation crap to get theiur biggoted asses going and totally ban all arms within the entire middle east. No guns
No bombs
No nothing that will harm another human
Then amagalgamate the entire region into one land...the land of middle east.
Then promote togethernes. Talk and reaching out to one another will show progress if we only keep the arms out.
BUT then the west cannot make the billions they do on arms sales. So who really is at fault here....ourselves and corporate world ???

(24) jonatan, July 24, 2014 10:38 AM

PA don't want a statehood

they don't want and don't desire a state establish
what they want it is every thing that Israel had and have...
as illness they like a stadium 4 cancer, and framed Israel as the body.
as a people they are a shadow wants to swallow the images
and lasting is we must cuts all the backing barrage of moral support from arab nation from religeous brotherhood ,and finance aid that always supply them with all arm from anywhere for the next day they carrying cross border and shot it to Israel .....
this is along battle that Israel state and Jewish around the world must doing continue time to time currently

(23) Cee, July 23, 2014 3:11 PM

agreement and change

I am rarely on the same page with Dr. Krauthammer politically. BUT his article was right on the money. It seems that all of the network news shows give partiality to the Hamas "victims" even Fox where he works. I would really like to see him and others say over and over that the charter of Hamas is specific to the point of their only objective is to destroy Israel, kill every Jew, and incidentally, Any Christians in their path. I know that the odds of this happening are slim. Also I was hoping that Christians would take more note of what happened in Mosul last week where Christians who did not convert to Islam, were either killed or "allowed" to flee with only the clothes on their backs. The pole tax or Jizza was not even an option for them. But I fear that we are only talking to each other, so the world ignores us.

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