PUBLIC ADVOCACY: An Update on Operation Protective Edge

Gaza City, Gaza

You can overplay your hand. What do I mean? Yesterday morning, 7/9/14, I listened to WNYC while they were interviewing a spokesman for Hamas. I don’t know the names of either the interviewer or the spokesperson, but we were horrified by his candid description of his ideological beliefs. He was asked about the kidnapping and murder of the 3 Israeli teens and he calmly stated, ” they were vermin, who deserved to die”. After all , he continued,  they represented the Occupying Nations military and as part of the IDF, they were not accorded personhood, they were no better then vermin ( rats). That’s exactly how the Nazi’s felt about the Jews. They were vermin. Clearly racism is a serious problem within Hamas; in contrast with most Israelis, who are appalled by the ” racism” rampant within their midst. This Hamas representative had no equivalent, soul searching thoughts. The fact that the kids were religious, not part of Israel’s Military , and kids, had nothing to do with his feelings of hatred.

This attitude appears to be sharply contrasted with the Arab population within the West Bank and central and northern Israel who have met in their towns , according to the newspaper Haaretz, and have concluded that demonstrations without violence may be tolerated, but as a group, the Towns have voted to return to everyday life and preserve commerce during Ramadan. Pragmatism, commerce, property and human rights are their major concern. They are Israelis, their lives are linked to Israel,.  Hamas rockets or extremist rockets from Syria, do not distinguish who is Jewish or Christian or Muslin or anyone else. For now, if you are living within Israel’s borders, you are an Israeli entitled to the protection of the Israeli Defense Forces.

I don’t envy the IDF’s position , I understand their reluctance to engage forces on the ground. They are mindful, though they want to destroy Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, they don’t want to incur major civilian casualties. Operation ” protective edge” is treacherous, since rocket launchers are hidden amidst the civilian population. I heard a BBC journalist explain incredulously, as he reported to and for the BBC, ,” rockets were hidden and fired right by their building in Gaza. “. It is impossible not to hurt innocent civilians, they are human shields, approving the carnage, or not. Ordinary GAZANS are being told by their leadership to ignore the warnings to vacate their homes prior to Israeli engagement. Instead, Hamas requests that they stay in their homes and, if necessary, die for the Hamas cause. Unfortunately, the people’s lives were In jeopardy from the moment they allowed and approved an armed, violent , combative rebellion within their midst. Lamentably, “Civilians will be hurt. “. The current Israeli operation, # protective edge! is not meant as a “band aide” operation. Israel , who has the right to defend it’s people, after 3 weeks of requesting a cease fire, intends to dismantle the Hamas terror organization. Their aim is a demilitarized zone!

The mid range missiles, many produced in the 18 weapons factories within Gaza borders have the capacity to target Israel’s Northern Urban centers. The Iron Dome has intercepted 70 Rockets aimed at urban centers within Israel. Some of these weapons were displayed in a central Gaza Town Square. Like everyone else, I get my news from the BBC, PBS and the printed newspapers of the Middle East and Israel: Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. I am fortunate to have extra exposure, via conference calls, previously with Lt Colonel Peter Lerner of the IDF and today with the Deputy Spokesperson for the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affaires, Paul Hirschson.

In this most recent Conference Call, we have been urged to report that the Gaza Borders are open in Israel for the passage of humanitarian aid , food, and medical attention. The Egyptian Border has been opened for medical attention only on a limited basis. The people of Cairo and Egypt strongly condemn Hamas. While everyone agrees that Israel has the right to defend itself, it is a pity that Hamas does not care about the human toll of the Gazan people. No one should be expected to be a Human Shield. The thought is terrifying. As such,let me reiterate, though reservists have been mobilized and Israel prepares for a ground offensive, they are showing restraint .

It’s too dreadful to imagine a further escalation of this war. Hamas and the Islamic Jihad have committed “war crimes ” against their people . Rather then using Israel as an excuse for armed combat in the region, after 9 years, isn’t it time to dismantle the rocket factories, the mobile launchers and the infrastructure of terror. Surely, given the Middle Eastern neighborhood, one can understand Israel’s position of zero tolerance for rockets . I got the impression that Israel was serious about destroying the Hamas and Jihadists organizations and weapons. They do not want to be confronting these attacks in the future. Therefore, I understand there will be no cease fire till the rocket launches and factories are destroyed permanently.

I would urge all GAZANS , if they have the desire and ability to act in their own self interest, to choose Peace, to seek education and commerce over hatred and destruction of lives, yours and the Israeli’s. Why wouldn’t you choose life and living over death?

Leave a Reply