As I’ve followed the ongoing situation in Israel and watched as events have unfolded, I’ve noticed there are a lot of false accusations being made against Israel. In this post, I will address some of the most common accusations and hopefully shed some truth on the situation.
1. Israel is committing war crimes
First, let’s start off by defining what a war crime is. War crimes are serious violations of the laws and customs of war. Here are some examples of war crimes:
1. the murder, mistreatment, or deportation of civilian residents of an occupied territory to slave labor camps
2. the murder or mistreatment of POWs/civilian internees
3. forcing protected persons to serve in the forces of a hostile power
4. killing hostages, killing or punishing spies or other persons convicted of war crimes without a fair trial
5. wantonly destroying cities, towns, villages, or any object not warranted by military necessity.
I think it’s pretty obvious that two of these examples are what the world is using as their focus in their campaign against Israel. So let’s address #1 and #5. Israel has not murdered, mistreated, or deported any civilian residents of occupied territory because Gaza is not occupied territory. Yup….I said it. Let me repeat that. Gaza is not occupied territory. Let me give you a very brief explanation as to why.
Article 6 of “The Mandate for Palestine” reads: “The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.”
Article 6, therefore, commands the British government to encouragement “settlement” on the land of Palestine from the Mediterranean to the Jordan, which includes the West Bank and Gaza.
In 2005, in an effort to broker a peace agreement with the Palestinians, Israel withdrew from Gaza and the West Bank and demolished many Israeli homes and settlements in the area. By pulling out of Gaza and the West Bank, Israel ensured that Hamas and other terrorist groups in the region would establish a stronghold in these territories. So, Israel isn’t occupying Gaza or the West Bank. They have left these disputed areas and allowed the Palestinians to elect their government…Hamas.
When Operation Protective Edge began three weeks ago, the world was quick to cry out that Israel had invaded Gaza. You can’t invade a country that you already occupy. To invade means to forcibly enter a land or region so as to subjugate or occupy it. So which is it? Has Israel been occupying Gaza all these years? Or are they now invading?
Even if you dispute the non-occupied territory claim, Israel hasn’t murdered, mistreated, or deported civilian residents of Gaza.
Israel regularly sends humanitarian aid to Gaza. This aid has continued despite the attacks by Hamas in Gaza and Operation Protective Edge. In fact, as of July 20, 2014, Israel had sent 148 trucks of food and medical supplies, 250 tons of gas, and 720,000 liters of fuel into Gaza. In addition, Israel also set up a field hospital near the border with Gaza in order to treat the civilians injured in the crossfire, primarily the women and children. Two days ago, Hamas opened fire on this field hospital and severely handicapped its operations.
The Israeli Defense Forces has also gone to great lengths to ensure innocent civilian lives aren’t lost. Contrary to popular belief, they are not targeting civilians. The reason so many “civilians” have died in Gaza is because Hamas uses the civilian population as human shields.
Hamas frequently uses hospitals, schools, playgrounds, and homes as the launch sites for their rocket attacks. When the IDF warns civilians to leave the vicinity because they are about to conduct a strike against these known terrorist targets, Hamas tells their civilians not to leave but instead, coerces them to stay.
One of the avenues the IDF employs to warns the Palestinian civilians are emergency warnings on the television. In order to keep their populace ignorant of these warnings – and thereby losing their human shields – Hamas takes control of the airwaves and instead airs only propaganda against Israel.
Israel is also not maliciously destroying cities, towns, or villages. They are destroying terrorist targets. Remember, Hamas hides their rocket caches in heavily populated areas. The definition of war crime stipulates, unless warranted by military necessity. I think destroying a terrorist organization’s stockpile of weapons is pretty good justification for military necessity.
Which brings me to my next point.
2. Israel should exercise restraint
Have we forgotten that Hamas is a terrorist organization??? Terrorists. As in terrorists who kill innocent people. The same kind of terrorists who bombed the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11. Or have we forgotten? Because we sure act like we have forgotten.
Why should terrorists get “fair” treatment? Israel does everything within reason, and beyond, to ensure that truly innocent lives are spared. They call on the telephone, send text messages, drop leaflets, leave voice messages, and fire warning shots before conducting a strike on a known terrorist target. No other military in the world goes to such lengths to ensure that innocent lives are spared.
And don’t think Israel has to do this either. They don’t. This is war. And Hamas doesn’t take any measures to ensure innocent Israeli lives are spared. In fact, the opposite is true! Hamas purposefully targets the populations where they have better chances of killing Israeli civilians. The charter of Hamas says, “We love death as much as the Jews love life.”
Take a minute and let that sink in. The Jews love life and do all they can to preserve and protect life. Hamas does all they can to destroy and end life. They want to cause destruction. They love chaos and confusion.
Israel wants peace. Israel loves life.
3. Israel’s response is not proportional
Why should Israel’s response be proportional? They had rockets fired at their innocent civilians by terrorists who have vowed to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, and the world wants Israel to exercise restraint? The official U.S. position has supported and defended Israel’s right to self-defense. But they have also been the loudest ones in the cry for restraint. So which is it? Can they defend themselves or do they show restraint? Are they allowed to defend themselves up to a certain point? Who gets to decide that point? I’m guessing it would be a nation whose citizens aren’t under constant rocket attack. Or isn’t being threatened by all its surrounding countries to be wiped off the map.
I hate to sound cold but, that’s war. Since the beginning of time wars have been fought. They haven’t been pretty and they haven’t been fair. Land has been won and lost. People have built up and been displaced. Rulers have been enthroned and rules have been deposed. Israel isn’t trying to land-grab – much like we just saw Russia do in the Ukraine. Israel isn’t killing her own people – like we see happening in Syria. Israel isn’t pursuing a dangerous weapon of mass destruction – like her Iranian neighbor. Israel isn’t trying to overthrow a country – as is the case with ISIS in Iraq. All Israel wants is to live. To live at peace with her neighbors.
The world is angry that more Palestinians have died than Israelis. Is one life more precious than another? Most of these civilian casualties are caused by Hamas. They kill their own people. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. One of their main tactics is to use suicide bombers to kill people. This is a people who is willing to sacrifice its own children for an ideology of hate. Their hatred for the Jews, for America, for YHVH, for truth, runs so deeply within them that they are willing to sacrifice their own children for their ideology of hate. And they will not stop. This is not a hunger that can ever be satisfied. They will not stop until someone steps up and stops them. So far, Israel is the only one who is willing to rise to the challenge. Through Israel, and her destruction of terror, the whole world will be blessed. Will we thank them or will we punish them?
4. Israel is killing innocent civilians, including women and children
Clearly Hamas thinks so little of a human life that they would willingly sacrifice their life or the life of a woman or child in order to further their jihad. The rules of engagement that we as Americans adhere to in war are different than the rules terrorists follow, and we usually pay a heavy price when we fail to realize this. Terrorists, particularly those in heavily populated areas, will frequently use women or children as human shields to protect themselves. They understand the humanitarian rules and exploit them. They know Israel will cancel an operation if civilians are seen in the area. Because of this, Hamas hides their weapons and launches their rocket attacks from places such as schools, mosques, hospitals, and homes.
To make matters more confusing, most of these civilians are not as innocent as we think. Many times these civilians are aiding the terrorists or are terrorists themselves but are dressed as civilians and living among the civilian population in order to avoid detection. Families frequently offer up their children as human sacrifices for the purpose of jihad. Dozens of the women and children killed in Gaza are killed when rockets backfire, misfire, or are fired too early.
And let’s not forget that Israel is also being attacked. They are seeing rockets fall in their sovereign land every, single day. What about Israeli children that are being harmed and dealing with the stress of rocket attacks every hour? What about the Israeli women that are injured shielding and protecting their children from rockets and debris?
Let us not forget that Israel has agreed to 2 humanitarian ceasefires only to have Hamas continue to fire rockets into Israel. Hopefully the UN, during their one-sided investigation into the Israeli “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity,” will remember that. But with a largely biased majority of Muslim countries and Western countries unwilling to stand up for what it right and just, its unlikely. But maybe, just maybe, they will acknowledge the truth they know to be true about Israel.
That Israel loves life and pursues peace.