Give Israel a Chance

  Hamas is not an innocent NGO; it’s a terrorist organization included as such in the lists of both the U.S. State Department and the European Union.

2014-08-01 by Rafael Bardají

 I don’t want to speak about those celebrities who have their children in private Jewish hospitals—since they know these hospitals are the best—but in public they are declared communists and denounce Israel for alleged genocide every time there’s a war in the Middle East. We know them well and we also know of their ignorance, rooted in narcissism and irrationality. Let’s hope that Spain’s foreign minister in his Thursday appearance just puts the record straight.

For example, the issue of war and human suffering. Only fools or members of a pixelized, video-game generation could expect war to be something as immaculate as a Holy Week procession. War is not politics by other means–even if politics is conducted as a war in Spain. It’s a clash of wills and the desire to prevail by using force. War is destruction and death because these are its tools to break the will of the adversary, achieve victory, thus, peace once again. Indeed, since the Second World War, we have almost never struggled to overcome in a decisive fashion; many wars have ended unsatisfactorily, despite the trail of death and horror left behind.

The difference between European and Middle Eastern armies has been that our people, when they went to war, did it as an option since doing it or not had very little or no effect on national security – perhaps just a bit on international status or the diplomatic credibility of our countries. However, in the Arab world, when they took place, wars were as a response to existential aspects of the contenders.

The same thing is happening again in Gaza. Hamas doesn’t fire its barrage of rocket and mortar attacks on Israel in retaliation for Palestinian youth Mohammed Abu Khdeir’s horrific death at the hands of criminals. Hamas began shooting days before when, in desperate search of three Israeli hostages who were ultimately killed by Hamas militants, Israel’s defense forces started arresting Hamas leaders in the West Bank.

In fact, Hamas launches this new military venture because it vitally needs to raise acceptance among Gaza’s Palestinians, largely unhappy with the dictatorship and its incompetence, to force the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank to accept some of its demands (as devoid of revolutionary glamour as having to pay for its 40,000 employees), while gathering international support and funding. Although this time, the leaders of Hamas have only found accomplices in Qatar and in Turkey’s Erdogan. Rising again against Israel, Hamas leaders sought to strengthen their political leadership and power.

It’s important to clarify one essential point in this conflict: Hamas is not an innocent NGO; it’s a terrorist organization included as such in the lists of both the U.S. State Department and the European Union. Islamic Jihad, a more extreme group, if anything, is actually Iran’s puppet. Both have as declared objectives the destruction of the State of Israel and the death of all Jews. In other words, they openly profess genocidal ideologies and if allowed, their policies and actions would be consistent with their ideal. However, many people, including the deluxe clan of Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, claim that Israel is committing genocide in a clear manipulation of history and an almost sickening alteration of reality.

Israel didn’t start this war, my friends. Israel has reacted after being pummeled by hundreds of missiles fired against its territory, and may I remind you, attacks not against military targets, but against the civilian population. Yes, civilian. In fact, during the last twenty days of fighting, nearly 2,600 rockets have been fired from Gaza, many of them long-range missiles. Eighty percent of Israel’s territory has been and is under the threat of these rockets. To have a clearer picture, imagine if Andorra had launched those missiles against Spain, about thirty-six million Spaniards should have to be constantly on alert for warning sirens and the fifteen seconds they would have to run to bomb shelters. Who among us would be willing to live a life under the bombs? Surely none of the stars in our cinema firmament quietly settled down on the slopes of Hollywood.

There’s no doubt that Israel has every right in the world to self-defense, as recognized by the United Nations charter – except, naturally, for Zapatero’s showbiz elites who we all know where they took Spain while living off government handouts. These artists take our money while demanding Israel be indicted for war crimes. However, they don’t utter a word or send petitions to bring Hamas terrorists to justice in international courts of law for violating all conventions of war, kidnapping their own citizens and using them as human shields, turning hospitals into military headquarters, using U.N. facilities as weapons caches, or attacking innocent civilians. Or is it that Israel has no civil population?

What our politicians in power want, from the geographical and mental distance that characterizes Europeans, is the end of the war as soon as possible and that, while it lasts, Israel acts with restraint. It’s funny though that they don’t say the same thing to Hamas, but anyway...

There are two things that our government should know, and if it does, it should be saying them out loud instead of hiding behind its typical do-gooding platitudes: The first thing is that Israel has always acted with restraint and has gone the extra mile to limit the damage on the Palestinian civilian population. If Israel had wanted to act differently, it has enough military resources to raze Gaza and anything it pleases, but Israel doesn’t do it because its leaders have a clear moral responsibility and they know that the struggle is not against the Palestinian people, but against elements of terror.

The game of numbers is tricky. For example, it’s been said that Israel’s use of force is disproportionate since a thousand Palestinians have died, but Israel has only fifty casualties. Nobody mentions that Hamas has fired 2,563 rockets and tried to infiltrate Israeli territory half a dozen times while Israel has bombed 3,160 targets. It’s a less asymmetric tally. Meanwhile, the Palestinian organization that informs about the death toll in Gaza is Hamas’s Health Ministry and the U.N. numbers essentially come from a Palestinian NGO that in all past conflicts has steadily said the same: Eighty-two percent of civilian casualties. Not only is this number inconsistent with the detailed analysis of the victims, most men of fighting age (and not 15 year-old boys who constitute the majority in Gaza,) but there’s overt intent to fiddle the figures. For instance, other independent sources say that, out of the 972 dead Palestinians until yesterday, 309 were terrorists (169 Hamas militants, 93 from the Islamic Jihad, and 47 from other groups); 307 were non-combatant civilians; and the remaining 356 are pending identification. In this type of war, where one side wears no uniform, insignia, or any distinctive symbol, the numbers should be analyzed very carefully, unless the purpose is to use those numbers as a weapon, which is what usually happens.

The second thing is much more serious and affects not only the end of the war but how it must end. Essentially, there have been two peace proposals, one sponsored by Egypt and one by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry – both were rejected. Hamas, now clearing out the arsenal practically amassed in the last two years thanks to Egypt’s Morsi and Iran, knows that a clear defeat would yield a loss of control over Gaza and a return of the Palestinian Authority to that territory. That’s why Hamas is set on a spiral of violence since it believes it has a secret weapon – time. In the past, time has always played in Hamas’s favor and against Israel, the only side on which civilized countries can exert pressure.

Israel cannot go back to a pre-July 7 situation and forget all about Hamas’s extensive network of tunnels built with much of the money donated for humanitarian aid in order to kidnap and attack Israelis. Nor can Israel accept that Hamas puts eighty percent of Israel’s territory in harm’s way. Hence the request that any ceasefire agreement should include Hamas’s actual disarmament.

I would love to see Javier Bardem playing Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas, knowing how well Bardem plays the bad guy in 007 movies, that terrible secret agent of British imperialism… However, I don’t think Bardem’s talent agent would allow him to play the role of a Palestinian terrorist, no matter how good Bardem could be. The American Jewish community, so well represented in Hollywood, might not find it as entertaining as I do. In any case, it’s irrelevant.

What’s really important is that Spain’s government, beginning with the appearance of our foreign minister, clearly understands that Hamas and the Islamic Jihad cannot accept losing their arsenal and capability to build a new one and no one, starting with our own Spain, is willing to die to save us from the terror of Hamas and like-minded groups. If there is someone who does, that’s Israel – as it’s showing it these days.

The government may be stingy, but not ungrateful. Israel is conducting the war on terror that we aren’t even able to fight here consistently. But terror is terror. And this conflict should end only in one way: With the victory, not of our enemies, but of the one who is on our side. In other words, Israel is not a terrorist group. We should allow Israel to destroy the terror infrastructure in Gaza. That takes time.

Not everything is acceptable during wartime. Certainly, moral equivalency is not acceptable. On the one hand is terror; on the other hand, democracy, progress, and freedom. One side represents barbarism; the other, civilization. On whose side does our Foreign Ministry want to be? I hope he doesn’t go along with the usual loudmouths.


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