Monday, January 26, 2009

Anti-Israel Propaganda Will Not Deter Obama

It's easy to be anti-Israel when one sees Hamas-supplied photos of destroyed Palestinian homes and injured civilians.

It's also easy to buy anti-Israel rhetoric. For example, two days ago, published a hit piece on Israel by Lamis Andoni, a consultant for Al Jazeera. Her summative statement: "A continued American support for Israel will only ensure that the Palestinians are seen as lesser creatures who are not entitled to safety, dignity or freedom."

Nothing could be further from the truth. Israel has done more than most other countries would have done to protect the citizens of its enemy--Hamas--which is sworn to Israel's destruction.

Hamas embedded its military installations in its residential neighborhoods and around schools (using human shields is a Geneva Convention war crime) to create a no-win situation for Israel: It if leaves them alone, Hamas terrorists can continue to bomb without retaliation or if Israel retaliates, Hamas can obtain PR footage to use as anti-Israel propaganda: "See! Israel is guilty of war crimes!" Obviously it is Hamas, in using civilians as human shields, and another war crime in intentionally aiming its rockets at Israeli civilians, that is guilty of the war crimes.

How did Israel respond to Hamas' firing thousands of rockets into Israel and intentionally at its civilians? Before attempting to defuse terrorist cells in residential neighborhoods, it took all measures (email, cell calls, street loudspeakers) to urge the evacuation of the civilian human shields in that area. Israel provides humanitarian aid to the civilian victims of the military engagement, for example, having to date, delivered more than 300 truckloads of humanitarian aid and facilitated the delivery of 6,500 additional tons of aid into Gaza. The World Food program has informed Israel that it will cease shipment of food to Gaza because warehouses are at full capacity.

Three days ago, as President Obama was urging Hamas to permanently stop its terrorism and renounce its call for the destruction of Israel, the Associated Press issued a video report showing Hamas already readying to violate the cease-fire. It is already rearming by reopening its smuggling tunnels. The New York Times and CNN report that Hamas is shooting supporters of the Palestinian's moderate president, Mahmoud Abbas. Meanwhile, Israel fires not a firecracker and instead, increases its humanitarian aid to the innocent victims of Hamas' embedding their military in civilian areas, and enters diplomacy with President Obama and his new Middle East envoy, George Mitchell.

This is merely the latest in Israel's exercise of restraint in the face of threats that no other country would be asked to ignore. Recall that Israel occupied Gaza mainly to defend against the Egyptian, Jordanian, and Syrian armies that had massed at the Israeli border. Then, when Israel, as an olive branch, later left every millimeter of Gaza so Palestine could create its own state, what did the Israeli people receive as a thank-you present from Iran-backed Hamas and its sister terrorist organizations Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad? 8,000 detonated bombs. The town of Sderot has been nearly obliterated; it is a veritable ghost town.

Meanwhile Iran is sending Hamas ever more powerful rockets, which can reach deep inside Israel to the major cities of Ashkelon and Beersheba. How did Israel respond? After a three-week attack, it threw yet another olive branch to Hamas: Even though Hamas continued to bomb, Israel announced a unilateral cease fire.

And now, Hamas' latest thank-you present: It has reopened its weapons-smuggling tunnels and brags that even if Israel closes them down again, it will find a way to smuggle in the Iran-supported bombs and other weapons.

And today, Hamas detonated a roadside bomb that injured three Israelis and killed one.

Imagine if Mexico fired 8,000 rockets into the U.S and embedded its military in civilian areas. Would we feel our response was disproportionate if more Mexicans were killed as a result? Yet that's what anti-Israel propagandists claim about Israel's response to Hamas's 8,000-rocket assault on Israel.

So, is Hamas' preparation to violate the cease-fire just another round of the seemingly endless cycle of hope-disappointment-hope-disappointment?

At the risk of cockeyed optimism, notwithstanding unfair propaganda from the likes of Al Jazeeera's Andoni that the chose to promulgate, while the positions President Obama advocated in his speech three days ago are not different from those of previous U.S. presidents, there is something to the Obama Magic--Watching and listening to him speak feels more believable, more likely to inspire all parties to peace. Add to that, respected negotiator George Mitchell and Obama's Muslim heritage which increases his credibility in the Muslim world and I find myself betting on the triumph of hope over experience.

It is time for, pardon the expression, change: replacing the Palestinian and Israeli PR gotcha game with passion for the dream of Palestinians living side by side with Israelis, in which, like in Israeli schools, Palestinian children are taught to dream of becoming doctors, teachers, and social workers, not to grow up and blow up.

Isn't it time to replace jihad with jobs, hate with hope and maybe even love?


Anonymous said...

Very good blog. The change needed in the middle east is to simply stop hating Israel for being Israel, for even existing. But that is not likely to happen in our time, or any time. It is virtually inherent in Islam as Islam. Though no essentially inherent in Islam as Islam. Therein lies the thread of hope

Dave said...

I don't know what's going on now. George Mitchell, Obama's man, is in Cairo for talks (willing to talk to ALL parties) while Hillary today stated that Israel has a right to defend itself, which essentially green-lights another Israeli military operation in Gaza. I agree with her, but she is undermining Mitchell's efforts! Does the State Department and the White House know what the other is doing? Maybe she is looking to work with Israel and Fatah only, effectively marginalizing Hamas. Frankly, I don't think Israel can ever negotiate with Hamas. Hamas will never recognize a square inch of Israel. Mitchell and Carter are deceiving themselves. Also, another cease-fire is not the answer. Hamas only uses the truces and cease-fires to rearm.

Mitchell has a lot of experience and is a very skillful diplomat. But Hamas is not Sinn Fein and the IRA, and Palestine is not Northern Ireland.


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