For Israelis who work professionally to promote accurate reporting about Israel and the Middle East, one of the most vexing dynamics (beyond the false claims, distortions, and fabrications) is a media narrative about their country which often has little if any resemblance to reality.
Indeed, we are all too accustomed to Guardian journalists imputing to Israel the absolute worst motives – a place Jonathan Spyer refers to as the “mythical Israel”, “a place of uninterrupted darkness and horror, in which every human interaction is ugly, crude, racist, brutal” – while evoking endless sympathy for the most malevolent actors in the region.
Such fantastical ideas about the Jewish State and its enemies has certainly colored coverage of the current war in Gaza, and this post represents a break from the fisking, criticism and analyses of their reporting that you’re accustomed to. Instead, we will merely provide a very brief account of the war and its outcome – intuitive takeaways from the month-long conflict that the Guardian won’t report.
Hamas’s war was defined by the widespread use of human shields, and countless other war crimes
Nearly all of the 3,360 rockets fired by terrorists in Gaza during the war were aimed at Israeli civilian communities – each launch representing an individual war crime.
You would never know it from reading the Guardian, but evidence of Hamas’s use of Palestinian civilians as human shields (another war crime) is at this point simply ubiquitous and irrefutable:
- Firsthand accounts have been published attesting to the existence of underground terror headquarters, storage areas for rockets, bombs and other weapons built under densely populated civilian neighborhoods in Gaza.
- On three occasions, rockets were found in UNRWA schools.
- Aerial photos have shown Hamas rocket launchers under mosques and at hospitals and right next to UN buildings.
- Videos have been released showing weapons (and rockets) fired from civilian homes, hotels and near foreign journalists.
- Hamas fighters have illegally used ambulances to escape.
- More recently, the IDF captured a Hamas manual which actually explains the benefits of using human shields.
The IDF conducted itself in an ethical manner
Despite media claims (based on information from the Hamas run Gaza Health Ministry) that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians killed in the war were civilians, new reports and analyses now suggest that roughly half of the casualties were combatants from Hamas, Islamic Jihad or other terror groups. Col. Richard Kemp has contextualized such a low (one-to-one) ratio of civilians to combatant deaths in past Israeli wars by noting there has been an average three-to-one ratio of civilian to combatant deaths (that’s three civilians for every one combatant killed) in NATO led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
IDF measures to limit the number of Palestinian casualties included text messages, phone calls and radio messages in Arabic warning occupants to leave, and air-dropped leaflets with maps showing safe areas. When warnings went unheeded, Israeli aircraft dropped non-lethal explosives (‘knock on the door‘ procedures) to warn that an attack is imminent.
In addition to the field hospital Israel set up on the northern Gaza border to treat injured Palestinians, during Operation Protective Edge 1800 trucks entered the crossings between Israel and Gaza, carrying food, medical equipment, clothing, water, and fuel.
In a post last month, we asked the following question to the media – or to anyone else who questions Israel’s conduct during the war:
Name one army in the world that goes to greater lengths than the IDF to protect civilians during war.
We’re still waiting for a response.
Israel fought a just and morally necessary war against an antisemitic extremist group.
To those in the media whose political ideology is inspired by vapid clichés about the futility of armed conflict, almost no war – especially those in which Israel is engaged – is morally justified, and neither facts nor logic can persuade them.
However, those who don’t identify with the Guardian Left, and understand the harsh lessons of the 20th century (and indeed of Jewish history), would see a very stark moral contrast: a battle between the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas (a homophobic, misogynist, antisemitic extremist group dedicated to the mass murder of Jews) and Israel, the democratic nation-state of the Jewish people.
Hamas’s mission, as Jeffrey Goldberg succinctly put it, is not ‘narrowly’ to destroy Israel, but to “end Jewish history”. Every rocket that is fired, every attempted tunnel infiltration into Israeli communities, and every effort to inculcate their citizens with the values of jihad is designed for this sole purpose.
Israel Defeats Hamas
Though we can expect Guardian analyses which obfuscate this painfully obvious fact, it’s difficult to understand how anyone who has followed events unfold in Gaza and Israel over the last month can avoid concluding that Israel emerged victorious over Hamas.
While much of the UK media has strangely framed the relatively low number of Israeli deaths (64 soldiers and 3 civilians) as an indictment on the disproportionate military response – itself inspired in part by a bizarre moral logic which “turns suffering into the only measure of justice” –
the job of any army is to minimize casualties on its own side, and the IDF quite capably carried out this task.
Though Hamas fired 3300 rockets at Israel, only 116 – due in large measure to interceptions by the Iron Dome – hit populated areas (3.45%). In contrast, 475 rockets fired by Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters reportedly landed within the Gaza Strip.
The IDF destroyed nearly every known terror tunnel in the Strip – tunnels, by the way, which cost hundreds of millions of dollars in aid, and thousands of tons of ‘humanitarian’ concrete and other construction materials.
The IDF also reportedly destroyed 1,678 rockets launching capabilities, 977 command and control centers, 237 ‘militant’ wing government faculties, 191 weapon storage and manufacturing facilities, 144 training and militant compounds, and 1,535 additional terror sites.
Finally, Channel 2′s diplomatic correspondent Udi Segal stressed that we should remember that Hamas rejected a ceasefire proposal before the Israeli ground invasion, when it still had its tunnel infrastructure, its rocket capacity was still largely intact, and it still had a large degree of political legitimacy with the international community as part of the Palestinian unity government. Today, Segal observed, as it meekly negotiates in Cairo for a long-term truce, it has none of that.