Television newscasts over the past week have featured videos of corpses, including the bodies of children, piled in hospitals and morgues in Gaza, surrounded by grieving family and friends. The natural and angry human reaction to such scenes is, “What monsters did this?” But the rational response should also be, “What is the full context of this suffering and death?”
There are World War II photos that show German women and children killed in Allied bombings. Taken out of all context, these gruesome pictures could elicit anger without revealing the monstrous regime that itself inflicted death on so many and made that war necessary.
While Israeli bombs and bullets were the immediate cause of the carnage in Gaza, the need to resort to war was caused by Hamas, a fact not communicated well if at all by the American media.
Gaza was occupied by Israel in the aftermath of one of the many attempts by Israel’s Arab neighbors and terrorist groups to kill the Jews or drive them into the sea. But after Israel unilaterally pulled out its military and settlements—the military had to forcibly remove many Jewish settlers who refused to leave—the people of Gaza in 2005 elected as its government Hamas, a group of thugs who made the destruction of Israel Job One.
Any Palestinian who suggests making trade, not war, with Israel is killed by Hamas.
Hamas did not build schools to train its children in the enterprises of peace. Rather, it trained military units for attacks on Israel and trained its children as suicide bombers; indeed, it celebrates and honors those who kill themselves in the process of killing Jewish children. It did not build businesses and promote prosperity. Rather, it built tunnels to infiltrate Israel, and smuggled into Gaza rockets and mortars to fire at its neighbor. It intentionally places its weapons in or near civilian housing, schools, and hospitals, using its own children as human shields, so that counterattacks that produce corpses will elicit sympathy among those in the West naïve or blind enough to ignore the full context of the conflict.
And any Palestinian who suggests making trade, not war, with Israel is killed by Hamas.
In light of the anti-Semitism that drove the original Jewish settlers from Europe to Palestine, that produced the Holocaust, and that today is seen again in the streets of Europe and cesspools of American academia and leftist circles, Israel has no choice but to fight when it is attacked. The blood in Gaza is on the hands of Hamas. And it is Hamas that has always maintained that it is at war with Israel and that it will never cease to be so. To merely utter the truism that Israel should avoid inflicting unnecessary civilian casualties ignores that fact that ridding Israel of its Jewish civilian population is the aim of Hamas.
Ridding Israel of its Jewish civilian population is the aim of Hamas.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu pinpointed the nature of the conflict: “If Israel were to put down its arms there would be no more Israel. If the Arabs were to put down their arms there would be no more war.”
Golda Meir put it well some four decades ago: “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”
Such forgiveness, in fact, should not be granted. But Meir was right about the warped values of the enemies of Israel and, more broadly, of the civilized world. Osama bin Laden echoed his fellow Islamists when he said, “We love death. The U.S. loves life. That is the difference between us two.” Yes, it is. And a favorite saying among Jews is “L’Chaim,” “To life!”
That is the nature of the conflict in Gaza. It is life versus death. To the extent that their hate has not extinguished their humanity, Gaza Palestinians are anguished by the carnage that is the consequence of Hamas’s goal of destroying Israel. Israelis take no joy in killing. If Palestinians take no joy in dying, they must overthrow Hamas and choose the side of life.
Hudgins is director of advocacy and a senior scholar at The Atlas Society.
For further information:
Edward Hudgins, “ Israeli Independence and Libertarian Blindness .” May 6, 2014.
Edward Hudgins, “ Egypt Revolts Against Islamists and Obama. ” July 3, 2013.
William R Thomas, “ Free World Order .” November 9, 2011.
Edward Hudgins is research director at the Heartland Institute and former director of advocacy and senior scholar at The Atlas Society.