Israel in Gaza and an Upside Down World
Jerrold L. Sobel
As if a ceasefire between Israel and messianic, Islamic terrorists could ever hold true. Just as though, five “humanitarian” truces all upheld by Israel but broken by Hamas ever meant anything. No matter, but for the sake of God and the Iron Dome, thousands of Israelis would be dead and wounded from incessant, indiscriminate shelling. Add the labyrinth of connecting tunnels hidden beneath Gaza to infiltrate and murder Israelis. Take into account Hamas‘ use of human shields, storing weapons in Mosques, hospitals and schools. Throw in firing rockets from private residences and you should get a pretty good idea who the aggressor in this conflict is. Israel of course.
This past week, of the 47 members of the UN Human Right Council, 29 nations voted to set up a commission to launch an international, independent inquiry, effectively passing a resolution to look into: “all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Gaza Strip in the context of military operations conducted since mid June.” In this upside down world of make believe we live in today, they criticized Israeli military operations for unleashing “widespread, systematic and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms.” But since they’ve already come to that conclusion, you have to wonder, what’s the need for the inquiry?
So much for them, the “Human Rights Commission” is a recognized joke and should be discounted, what’s shouldn’t be is the Obama Administration’s dreadful response to Israel’s righteous struggle.
Secretary of State Kerry, spiraling past ineptitude and rapidly approaching irrelevance has exposed his boss and himself to be no friend of Israel. If there was any doubt, his ceasefire proposal last Friday, rejected out of hand by Israel, should put it to rest.
Forty eight hours following a complete halt to hostilities Kerry’s proposal calls for the start of contacts between Israel, Palestinian and Egyptian delegations in Cairo. The talks in Egypt would include a discussion of Hamas’s call for the lifting of the so-called siege of the Gaza Strip, and other demands. It doesn’t get any better.
The discussions would cover Hamas’ demands relating to: opening border crossings between Gaza and Israel; opening the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt; the release of recently re-arrested prisoners from the Shalit deal; the release of some 30 convicted terrorists, including Israeli Arabs, who were set to go free under the collapsed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in late March; widening Palestinian fishing rights off the Gaza coast, and the establishment of a Gaza seaport. Why not an international airport as well?
Shelling of Israeli towns unabated for nine years; no mention. Kidnapping and murder of soldiers and citizens alike; no mention. A vast network of tunnels used to store weapons and infiltrate Israel likewise absent from this document. The “state” ordered kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli teenagers; just Hamas being Hamas. Nothing about human shield Hamas war crimes or raising the casualty count of its own citizens for propaganda purposes.
Forget instant rejection by the Israeli cabinet of this ill-conceived plan. Writing for the liberal newspaper, Haaretz, columnist Avi Shavit expressed the feelings of Israelis on all sides of the political spectrum: “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry ruined everything.” He was relentlessly vilified in other media as well. Their main issue, why was the Israeli demand for a demilitarized Gaza Strip not on Kerry’s proposed agenda? Likewise, both the government and a vast majority of Israeli’s resent terrorists being elevated to equal status particularly by their main ally the United States.
If nothing else, Kerry was successful at doing something few have been able to accomplish, unite Jews in Israel to rally around the leadership of Prime Minister Netanyahu. According to a poll taken at the University of Haifa, ninety one percent (91%) of Israeli Jews support his self-defense campaign and a continuation of Operation Protective Edge. Only 4.2% believe the operation is a “mistake.”
How has the Administration responded to this repudiation? “It’s simply not the way partners and allies treat each other,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki shilled. “Partners and allies?” They must have hired her for her sense of humor.
For his part, President Obama, even to his most ardent supporters both here and in Israel agree, the past few days have left little doubt as to where he leans, or as some may say outright supports. From his opening gate Middle Eastern tour and Cairo speech in 2009 to his latest intrusion into the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, he has either exhibited extreme naiveté or an arrogant bias against Israel.
In a bizarre phone call to Netanyahu, he called for a ceasefire “that both allows Palestinians in Gaza to lead normal lives and addresses Gaza’s long-term development and economic needs.” Somehow Israel once again didn’t show up in this equation. He paid usual homage to his increasingly hollow mantra, “Israel has a right to defend herself.” He condemned Hamas’s construction of tunnels and continuation of rocket fire into civilian areas. But inexplicably once again placed the onus of Gaza’s casualties on Israel rather than the terrorists using their own people as human cannon fodder.
Although denied by both the White House and the Prime Minister’s office, according to an Israeli Channel 1 report, a transcript of the phone conversation went like this:
“I demand that Israel agrees to an immediate, unilateral cease-fire and halt all offensive activities, in particular airstrikes,” Obama reportedly said. Netanyahu then asked what Israel would get in exchange? To which the President replied: “I believe that Hamas will cease its rocket fire, silence will be met with silence.”
Claiming authenticity of the transcript given to him by a senior U.S. official, journalist Oren Nahar claims Obama went on to say: “The pictures of destruction in Gaza distance the world from Israel’s position.” The President then demanded: “Within a week of the end of Israel’s military activities, Qatar and Turkey will begin negotiations with Hamas based on the 2012 understandings, including Israel’s commitment to removing the siege restrictions on Gaza.” Turkey and Qatar? If you believe the report, and judging by recent actions, many tend to do so, having Turkey and Qatar mediate on Israel’s behalf is like having a Wolf mediate with a Mountain Lion on behalf of Chickens in a hen house. Regardless, one thing seems certain, nowhere in the conversation did Obama offer a solution addressing Israel’s current or longterm security or what he meant on March 21, 2013 when he spoke at the Jerusalem Convention Center.
“ Israel cannot accept” rocket attacks from Gaza, and we have stood up for Israel’s right to defend itself. And that’s why Israel has a right to expect Hamas to renounce violence and recognize Israel’s right to exist.” Recognizing the ceaseless rocket attacks was an admission that despite the truce he helped broker in 2012, the one he wishes to back Israel into today was already violated countless times during that one year. He concluded his predictably cavernous five thousand word pontification with the catchphrase he’s “the President of a country that you can count on as your greatest friend.” A skeptic might say, “with a friends like this…..” What he or Kerry didn’t say was more telling than what they did.
A more astute Secretary of State, and a more discerning President might see the humanitarian benefits to Palestinians as well as Israelis with the eradication of Hamas. It’s scary to think they both would have the same mentality if we in the United States were being attacked.
Eschewing Israel’s security needs, one also has to wonder if either man ever considered the political benefits a demilitarized Gaza Strip would be to the Middle East. Or how a de facto alliance between Israel and Egypt less Hamas is a formidable bulwark against the daddy of all terrorist movements, Iran.
Like many Germans during World War II, there is no doubt some Gazans would like nothing more than to live out their lives in peace with their children but are held sway by these fanatical fiends. Concerned with “Gaza’s long-term development and economic needs,” how does Obama expect to fulfill those concerns with Hamas still in power? Can he possibly believe rhetoric alone can talk these murderers into becoming good guys?
At all costs, Israel should be encouraged to win this war, not fight to a stalemate. This is another battle between western civilization and the forces of 7th century barbarism employing 21st century technology. If Israel stands fast and extracts this abscess from the Gaza strip it will be a seminal moment. She will not only have rid herself of her blood sworn enemy, Hamas. She will have given the West their first victory over a radical Islamic element since 1979. As a law of unintended consequences, it will serve notice to every Islamic terrorist group in the Middle East and Africa. There is one Western democracy in their neighborhood willing to fight to the finish.
This article first appeared in the August 2nd edition of the American Thinker online magazine.