Photo courtesy of Israel Defense Forces via Flickr Creative Commons
Three weeks ago the most intense fighting between Israel and Hamas within the last four years broke out in the Gaza Strip. Now that the Egyptian and American brokered cease-fire has been in effect, it is appropriate to reflect on the cause of the hostilities that resulted in the unfortunate loss of lives on both sides and the objectives of each side. It is increasingly clear that Hamas’s indiscriminate rocket attacks against Israeli civilians sparked the conflict, and Israel dealt with the situation in a proportionate and appropriate manner.
When Israel’s legitimate attempts to stop the barrage of rockets from Gaza results in civilian casualties among the residents of Gaza, it is a travesty, but Israel still acted appropriately. Israel tries to avoid such collateral damage. Israel takes steps in advance to alert the population of Gaza of its targets (through leaflets, telephone warnings and texts), and Israel investigates the unintended injuries to Palestinian civilians. On the other hand, when Hamas rockets kill Israeli men, women and children, Hamas openly celebrates.
Over the past year, Hamas has fired more than 2,500 rockets into Israel. Beginning in October of 2012, Hamas started increasing rocket attacks, and according to Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren in the Washington Post article “Falling Hamas’s Media Manipulation,” 1,500 rockets were fired into Israel during the November conflict. Israel’s response was proportional; Hamas launched 1,500 rockets and Israel launched 1,500 air sorties in response.
Hamas specifically targeted Israeli civilians. At the same time, Hamas takes advantage of residential areas and public buildings in Gaza, including schools, to hide rockets and batteries. While some in the international community may unfairly characterize Israel’s legitimate defensive measures as violating human rights during conflict, nothing could be further from the truth. As noted, in instances where the Israeli military felt that civilian casualties could occur, the Israeli military called and texted Palestinian civilians and warned of imminent attack. In addition, Israel allowed Gazan citizens to cross the border into Israel to receive medical care. Israel also sent truckloads of humanitarian supplies across the border.
Israel is like every other nation and has an inherent right to defend itself and its citizens from terrorist attacks and threats to its existence. In response to times like these, it is vitally important for the United States to continue its strong support of Israel’s right to defend its citizens. No other country in the world faces daily rocket attacks against its civilians, nor would any other country tolerate such violence.
*The views in this article represent the opinion of the author, and not those of CisternYard News.