Monday, January 19, 2009

I just returned from a two week visit to Israel. I spent my last weekend in Sderot and the Western Negev. One year out from volunteering in Sderot, I have written this piece on the international media's lack of context in covering the current conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Get the Story Right!

Hundreds of journalists from all over the world just left Sderot and the surrounding areas covering the current conflict between Israel and Hamas. Where were they one year ago? Where were they four years ago, eight years ago? I spent six weeks volunteering in Sderot exactly one year ago, and I can tell you, the journalists were no where to be found. 

(Look at the little 
village they had overlooking Gaza)

Unfortunately for Israel, it took eight years for the international community to understand that innocent civilians in a western democracy live daily under the current threat of rocket fire. During this time, the range of the threat expanded from a tens of thousands to over one million innocent Jewish and Muslim Israeli citizens.

In these eight years, has the UN Security Council ever condemned nearly a decade of rocket fire on innocent civilians of one of its member
states, Hamas’ use of human shields, and its use of schools, hospitals, and Mosques to store and launch rockets at Israel?

Are you laughing at me for even thinking to ask such a question? Well you should be, because 
why would anyone assume the international community to be, um, sensible?

Maybe they could be just a little rational? Nah, that’s just too silly!

Furthermore, has any news organization mentioned the fact Israel is the only western democracy in the entire world that has a significant – let alone any – part of its population
living under the threat of daily
rocket fire?

“Oh it’s just Israel, who cares right?” “They can take it?” Or rather, “Maybe they deserve it, right?”  

Well you know what I have to say that...


I’d also like to thank the international media for providing ZERO context for the humanitarian issues of the Palestinian people.

Let me describe to you a little bit of Israel’s commitment to helping the Palestinians suffering from the wrath of their authoritarian, fanatical terrorist rulers, Hamas.

From the beginning of Operation Cast Lead, December 27, 2008, until January 12, 2009:

- 926 truckloads (22,046 tons) of humanitarian aid were delivered to Gaza

- 449 dual nationals were evacuated from Gaza

- 3000 units of blood were donated by Jordan and transferred into Gaza

- 5 ambulances were donated by Turkey and transferred into Gaza

- 5 ambulances were transferred from the West Bank to Gaza on behalf of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society

- 34 people were evacuated to Israel for medical needs

On Jan. 7, 2009, the IDF decided it would ceasefire for three hours each day in order to let humanitarian aid reach civilians in the Gaza Strip.

I love when this gets mentioned, and they say three hours is simply not enough. So, Israel should stop defending its civilians all together, fully commit itself to giving aid to the other side, and allow terrorists to fire rockets at it and threaten one million of its population?

Do you find it a tad bit odd that Israel is forced not only to defend its own citizens, but those of its enemies as well? Well I don’t…I mean, isn’t every western democracy supposed to do that during wars? Duh!

I got a question for you Mr. and Mrs. International Media.

Israel is the bad guy? Are you kidding me!

What does Hamas do for Israeli civilians? Oh yeah, they’ve been terrorizing them with rockets for the last eight years!

What other country, when immersed in a full scale war, commits itself to providing humanitarian aid to their enemy? Oh yeah, Russia!

Did you know Hamas is also really nice to their innocent women and children? Yes you did, because that’s what you would assume from watching the news over the last few weeks. 

However, a Palestinian child from Gaza describes how Hamas use children for combat support missions:

We the children, in small groups and in civilian clothes, are fulfilling missions of support for the [Hamas] Resistance fighters, by transmitting messages about the movements of the enemy forces, or by bringing them ammunition and food. We ourselves are not aware of the movements of the Resistance fighters. We see them in one place, they suddenly disappear, and then reappear somewhere else. They are like ghosts, it is very hard to find them (Palestinian Media Watch Communique, Jan. 13, 2009).

So Hamas terrorists hide behind children. Hmm, headline story anyone?

I got an even better quote for you – this coming from a high up British dude in the U.K Military.

Colonel Richard Kemp CBE, former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, on the current situation in Gaza.

Despite Israel’s extraordinary measures a tragically high number of innocent civilians have been killed and wounded. That is the inevitability of Hamas’ way of fighting. Avoiding civilian casualties when fighting among the people is always difficult. When combating an enemy that uses human shields it is impossible (BICOM briefing: "Gaza Situation Update," Jan. 10, 2009).

Thank you Colonel. Only if the BBC would listen to their fellow compatriot…If they only understood that Hamas attacks Israeli civilians with lethal - not home made - rockets (with a range of over 25 KM) shipped from Iran.  If they only reported that Hamas fighters hide behind children and women, and use schools and mosques as launching points to attack Israeli soldiers and civilians.  If they provided the proper analysis, they would explain that when Israel does not respond to Hamas rocket fire, the terrorists succeed in making it nearly impossible for
one million Muslims and Jewish Israeli civilians,or nearly 1/7 of Israel’s population, to live with any sense of normalcy. They would also point out that if Israel responds than Hamas also wins because it launches rockets from civilian areas, and its fighters wear civilian clothing and place themselves within towns and villages, thus putting at risk thousands of innocent Palestinians, of which Israel is blamed for any harm done to them, and the international community therefore condemns Israel and pressures her to stop its defense of its own innocent population. 

As a result, whether Israel responds or does not respond to terrorist rocket fire, it is a win-win situation for Hamas.

Unfortunately, as Alan Dershowitz succinctly puts it, "Until the world recognizes that Hamas is committing three war crimes - targeting Israeli civilians, using Palestinian civilians as human shields, and seeking the destruction of a member-state of the UN - and that Israel is acting in self-defense and out of military necessity, the conflict will continue" (Alan Dershowitz, "An Honorouble Warrior," The Australian,,25197,24866318-7583,00.html). 

Do you think the International Community or Media will ever understand the true roots of the conflict between Israel and Hamas?Do you think they will ever get the fact that its Hamas' use of human shields, their targeting of Israeli, and even their own civilians, and their commitment to destroying Israel that is the main impediment to peace in Gaza today? Well, as Borat would so articulately  proclaim... 


In short, my return to Sderot this past week proved to me that people still don’t get it. For some reason Israel is the bad guy, and the dudes firing rockets and endangering the lives of one million innocent Muslims and Jewish Israeli civilians are the victims.

Go figure…


Qassam said...

Listen zio, I am coming to get you.

Ethan said...

thorough and honest. really good stuff.

Jackie said...

Benj, good stuff. If only liking Israel was trendy..