In an unfortunate example of the human cost of warfare, approximately 40 Palestinians–many of which were women and children–were killed yesterday when Israeli mortar shells fell on a United Nations school in the Gaza Strip. The tragedy of innocent civilian death, as always, transcends distinctions of race, religion, gender and national origin.
As a result of the attack, some U.N. officials are calling for an ‘independent inquiry,’ dismissing claims from the Israeli Defense Force that the mortars were fired at the area in response to mortar fire coming from the school compound. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is quoted in an article in today’s New York Times as saying that “[t]hese attacks by Israeli military forces which endanger U.N. facilities acting as places of refuge are totally unacceptable and must not be repeated” and that “any actions by militants which endanger the Palestinian civilian population” are just as unacceptable.
Where are the same sort of cries and appeals from the United Nations for independent investigations when it comes to the deliberate target of Israeli schools and civilian target-rich shopping districts by Hamas? Where is the United Nations’ outcry with regard to, as reported by the Associateed Press, Iran’s overt recruitment of more than 70,000 radicals ready to blow themselves up in Israeli buses, coffee shops, and residential areas in the name of Allah and in response to the Israeli forces’ military response to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip?
The worthless sack of red tape and anti-Americanism which is the United Nations has certainly failed to break apart those stereotypes on this issue. Worse yet is the mainstream media’s response to the conflict.
The press, in this country and overseas, feel it absolutely necessary to lament each and every civilian killed in Gaza, yet neglect to mention the Israeli innocents murdered. Yes, it’s awful that 40 innocent Palestinians were killed in the Israeli strike on that U.N. school, but the press refuses to give the benefit of the doubt to the IDF’s repeated assertion that there were Hamas fighters cowering behind civilians on those school grounds, despite being shown time and time again that this is what Hamas does, that hiding behind innocent civilians while simultaneously launching rocket attacks purposely targeting innocents in Israel is their time-tested modus operandi. Instead, the press echoes the complaints of Palestinian supporters in our own country and overseas, condemning the Israeli response as “disproportionate,” if not “criminal.”
On matters of proportion and warfare as it relates to the conflict du jour in the Middle East, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an excellent comparison in an op-ed piece written in today’s Wall Street Journal:
The international community may occasionally condemn Hamas for putting Palestinian civilians in harm’s way, but if it ultimately holds Israel responsible for the casualties that ensue, then Hamas and other terror organizations will employ this abominable tactic again and again.
The charge that Israel is using disproportionate force is equally baseless. Does proportionality demand that Israel fire 6,000 rockets indiscriminately back at Gaza? Does it demand an equal number of casualties on both sides? Using that logic, one would conclude that the United States employed disproportionate force against the Germans because 20 times as many Germans as Americans died in World War II.
In that same war, Britain responded to the firing of thousands of rockets on its population with the wholesale bombing of German cities. Israel’s measured response to rocket fire on its cities has come in the form of surgical strikes. To further root out Hamas terrorists in a way that minimizes Palestinian civilian casualties, Israel’s army is now engaged in a ground operation that places its soldiers in great peril. Carpet-bombing of Palestinian cities is not an option that any Israeli leader will entertain.
That being said, even more discouraging than the parroting of supporters of jihad by the mainstream press are the media reports that Israel is close to negotiating a cease-fire. If this is true, than Israel will once again fall short. There will be no lasting peace through superficial U.N. resolutions or Camp David handshakes, regardless of who the president of the United States is, regardless of what other nations get involved. Israel must finish the job. As I’ve mentioned before, if Israel cannot depose Hamas and lend control of Gaza to another nation or government with a little more at stake internationally–such as Egypt,perhaps–then they must at the very least show Hamas, and the people who elected them, that there are deadly and devastating consequences to firing rockets and sending bombers into Israel.
If Israel cannot accomplish that, or if the international community does not allow them to do so, we should all shudder at the consequences. Hamas was able to smuggle thousands of rockets and rocket-building materials into Gaza — with support from Iran, and with the unfettered existence of Iran’s fledgling nuclear program (again under the watchful eye, of course, of the United Nations), it is only a matter of time before Hamas smuggles in a far more devastating weapon.