Ha’aretz correspondent Bradley Burston (and twice-weekly award-winning Ha’aretz blogger), blogging about the beginning of the Israeli response to Hamas’ ending of the ceasefire (and, more precisely, its resumption of daily barrages of missiles into Israel’s cities and kibbutzim), refutes ahead of time the “the 10 most gratuitous, least productive, most resolutely ingenuous claims likely to be hurled in an effort to attack Israel.” In Wartime in Gaza: The worst anti-Israel charges you’ll hear, he writes:
It is, abruptly and again, wartime. Across the globe, the selective pacifists of the left and the recliner Rambos of the right are spoiling for their next battle, the war in Gaza.
They will fight one another in letters to Congress, in cable news sound bites, in raucous talk-radio phone-ins, in the virtual mega-heroics of the online battlefield of the talkback.
They will fight one another in the United Nations as well, unashamedly one-sided in their concern for human life.
Herewith the first in a two-part guide to the 10 most gratuitous, least productive, most resolutely ingenuous claims likely to be hurled in an effort to attack Israel.
The first five are arguments of the anti-Israel left, claims which are, curiously, as tired as they are unflagging.
Leftist 1: Israel’s true motive in bombing Gaza, is genocide against the Palestinian people and extermination of their right to statehood.
Israel’s genuine interest in this campaign is strikingly similar to Hamas’ interest in firing scores of rockets into Israeli population centers: Forcing a cease-fire on better terms than the one just ended.
For Hamas, this largely means easing Israeli economic sanctions against Gazans. For Israel, this centers on ending shelling by Qassam and Grad missiles and mortar shells. For both sides, this means a prisoner exchange, centering on Gilad Shalit and hundreds of jailed Hamas members.
Leftist 2: The Palestinians have no recourse but to defend themselves, and the makeshift rockets they fire are nothing compared to the world’s most advanced warplanes and munitions, which the IDF is using against them.
The Human Rights Watch organization has been unequivocal in condemning the use of Qassam rockets as a direct violation of international humanitarian law and the laws of war. The firing of Qassams and mortars against civilian populations also constitutes collective punishment against hundreds of thousands of innocent Israeli men, women and children.
Moreover, the firing of Qassams began not as a response to the siege against Gaza, but as a marathon celebration by armed Islamic fundamentalist groups following Israel’s withdrawal of its troops and settlers from the Strip. To purposely add insult to injury, Islamic Jihad and other organizations used the ruins of settlements as launch platforms.
Leftist 3: All that Hamas is asking, is recognition as the democratically elected government of Gaza, and an end to the Israeli economic embargo. Were they to attain these goals, there would be calm on both sides of the border.
It is both unrealistic and dangerous to believe that Hamas has abandoned its clearly stated and often reiterated goal of establishing an Islamic Palestinian state in all of the Holy Land, including all land claimed, annexed by, or in any way occupied by Israel.
Beyond that, Hamas has strong alliances with the Egyptian opposition Muslim brotherhood, as well as working partnerships with the Iran-dominated Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad.
Israeli restraint, when practiced, has been met with contempt and additional Hamas and Hamas-tolerated strikes against civilian populations.
Leftist 4: The Israeli blockade against Hamas is state terrorism and any means to fight it are legitimate.
There is every reason to believe that Israel’s economic siege against Gaza is misguided, but not for an essential cruelty, rather because Hamas taxes collected on the influx of goods imported through tunnels from Egyptian territory have subsidized and cemented Hamas rule.
Leftist 5: The world overwhelmingly sympathizes with the Palestinians against Israel, and unreservedly backs their struggle for independence.
In an era of global revulsion against radical Islamic terror, Hamas’ protracted program of suicide bombings, drive-by murders and shelling of civilian populations, coupled with its refusal to renounce violence, recognize Israel, or accept past peace agreements, coupled with its ideology of militant jihad, have drained the Palestinians of international sympathy and have, in fact, legitimized Israeli arguments of military self-defense.
Nothing has been more instrumental in harming the cause of Palestinian independence than Hamas, with its brutal take-over of Gaza in a war with brother Palestinians, and its frank efforts to build a large-scale regular army force in the Strip.
In Part Two, in the coming week: The second five will be newer claims, the Alpha-male displays of the Israel-bashing right, the group which constantly berates the government and the IDF for not bombing Gaza into a parking lot, for not shooting and starving and freezing innocent civilians to death. Watch here for the next installment.