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The Truth About Civilian Casualties in Gaza

(AP File Photo)

"There will be peace in the Middle East when Arabs learn to love their children more than they hate Israel." -- Golda Meir 

The glaring anti-Israel bias prevalent in mainstream media coverage of the Gaza conflict is obvious to anyone who supports the idea that a sovereign nation has the right to defend itself and its citizens from brutal, repeated attack -- attacks that have been waged on the Jewish State for 65 years. One important fact that tends to be omitted in traditional reporting is the great lengths to which the Israel Defense Forces goes in preserving civilian life on the side of the Palestinians.

In addition to the IDF's precision-targeting of Hamas operating centers -- sites from which the terrorist outfit launches its short and long-range rockets into Israeli neighborhoods as far as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem -- Israel also forewarns Gaza residents of pending strikes in their respective neighborhoods in order to give every citizen an opportunity to evacuate and seek safe shelter.

The IDF does this, in part, by distributing Arabic-language pamphlets (like the one featured below) in Gaza neighborhoods from which Hamas militants are known to operate. Israel's DEBKAFile reported Tuesday that the IAF dropped leaflets warning Gaza residents to leave their homes as Hamas rocket fire against Israel intensified. This is of course never mentioned in mainstream reporting on Israel.

The IDF drops these Arabic language leaflets in Gaza warning residents to seek shelter. (Source: IDFSpokesperson)

Is this painstaking measure to preserve human life on the side of one's "enemy" something you could envision Hamas doing for Israel? Rather, an old adage goes: When a Palestinian child is killed in the conflict Israel mourns, when an Israeli child is killed by a Hamas rocket, Palestinians rejoice. 

The issue is that Hamas, a terrorist organization, is not a legitimate military that operates by ethical codes of wartime conduct. With this in mind, it is crucial to note that the militant Islamist group targets its own civilians by housing rocket-launch sites from directly within civilian neighborhoods and structures.

In fact, many Hamas rockets are hidden inside residential buildings as well as near school playgrounds. This tactic alone should underscore Hamas' blatant disregard for human life, particularly that of the very people they claim to champion.

By using innocent civilians as human shields, Hamas banks on the fact that Israel, which consistently conducts itself with a high moral authority, will not strike such targets. Issues arise, however, after a barrage of rockets rain down on innocent Israelis from these civilian locations in Gaza. What other choice does the Jewish State have but to eliminate the site from which those rockets are launched?

Once the IDF carries out its targeted mission, even after engaging its best attempts to evacuate Gazans beforehand, there may still be the unfortunate byproduct of civilian casualties -- and that is precisely how Hamas wins the propaganda war. In the arena of public opinion driven by moral equivalence, Israel finds itself constantly vilified. Thus, Hamas gets what it wants. Its tactics work and are rewarded by the mainstream media and leftist communities across the world daily. So why would these terrorists ever stop?

At the end of the day, if the Palestinians were truly only concerned about land on which to build their own state, peace would have come to fruition long ago. Recall that in 2000, under U.S. President Bill Clinton at the Camp David Accords, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered PLO leader Yasser Arafat nearly everything the Palestinians had demanded in terms of land and concessions and was refued outright. Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia, who was acting as intermediary at the time, even blamed Arafat for his reckless decision -- one he knew would only beget more bloodshed.

Then, again, in 2005, Israeli PM Ariel Sharon unilaterally withdrew from Gaza, uprooting thousands of Jewish residents and communities, and handed the keys of the kingdom over to the Palestinians. His hope was that they would build a thriving community that would benefit their citizens. Rather than cultivate a flourishing society based on agriculture, industry or tourism, however, under the thumb of Hamas, Gaza was turned into a massive ammunitions site from which thousands of rockets have been launched at innocent Israeli civilians.

Today, directly before a ceasefire was announced by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a bomb was detonated in a city bus in Tel Aviv injuring over 20 people. Gazans rejoiced.

Until the underlying issue is addressed, and Hamas truly fears its outright destruction, all the ceasefires in the world will be for naught. The truth is this: Hamas, Fatah, and the whole of the Arab World will only be satisfied when Israel is driven into the sea. And even though Hamas may have agreed to the terms of a ceasefire today, it is difficult to take the word of a terrorist outfit as at all genuine.

Sometimes, the simplest adages are true, "If Arabs were to lay down their weapons, there would be peace in the Middle East today. If the Israelis were to lay down their weapons, there would be no more Israel."


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