On December 30, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced that Palestinians had joined the International Criminal Court to pursue war crimes charges against Israel.
“We want to complain. There’s aggression against us, against our land. The Security Council disappointed us,” Abbas said at a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank.
Abbas has plenty to complain about. The Palestinian terrorist organization, Hamas, opened hostilities with Israel on July 7–and promptly lost the war.
In June, 2014, three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered. Israeli authorities suspected the culprits were members of Hamas, the terrorist organization that’s long called for Israel’s destruction.
In a desperate search for the missing teens, Israeli forces killed 10 Palestinians, injured 130 and arrested 500 to 600 others.
Hamas, in turn, began launching rocket attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip, which it has controlled since June, 2007. By July 7, 100 rockets had been fired at Israel.
Israeli planes retaliated by attacking 50 targets in Gaza.
On July 8, during a 24-hour period, Hamas fired more than 140 rockets into Israel from Gaza. Saboteurs also tried to infiltrate Israel from the sea, but were intercepted.
A Hamas rocket streaks toward Israel
That same day–July 8, 2014–Israel launched Operation Protective Edge, a full-scale military attack on Gaza.
Hamas then announced that it considered “all Israelis”–including women, children, the elderly and disabled–to be legitimate targets.
On July 8, Hamas–acting as though it were laying down peace terms to an already defeated Israel–issued the following demands:
- End all attacks on Gaza;
- Release Palestinians arrested during the crackdown on the West Bank;
- Lift the blockade on Gaza; and
- Return to the cease-fire conditions of 2012.
Only then would Hamas be open to a ceasefire agreement. Egypt offered a cease-fire proposal. Israel quickly accepted it, temporarily stopping hostilities on July 15.
But Hamas claimed that it had not been consulted and rejected the agreement.
Palestinians continued to blithely launch hundreds of rockets at Israel–but went into ecstasies of grief before television cameras when one of their own was killed by Israeli return fire.
As a result, Israel has come under repeated verbal attacks by Hamas-sympathetic nations. The charge: Israel is being too effective at defending itself, killing more Palestinians than Hamas is able to kill Israelis.
Reuven Berko, a former soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) recently addressed this charge in a guest column in the online newsletter, the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT).
A major reason for so many civilian deaths among Palestinians, writes Berko, is that Hamas turns them into human shields by hiding its missiles in heavily-populated centers.
On July 17, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Far East (UNRWA) discovered approximately 20 rockets hidden in a vacant UN school in the Gaza Strip.
“UNRWA strongly condemns the group or groups responsible for placing the weapons in one of its installations,” said the agency in an announcement.
“This is a flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises under international law.” UNRWA claimed that “this incident…is the first of its kind in Gaza.”
But Israel counters that this is just one of many proven instances of Hamas hiding its fighters and munitions among a heavily civilian population.
At the heart of Berko’s editorial is the subject of “proportionality.”
Writes Berko: “Israel is held to an impossible moral double standard. “Israelis, proportionality advocates seem to believe, should be killed by Hamas rockets instead of following Home Front Command instructions and running to shelters, to say nothing of Israel’s blatant unfairness in protecting its civilians with the Iron Dome aerial defense system….
“Anyone who demands that Israel agree to a life of terror governed by a continuous barrage of rockets and mortar shells on the heads of its women and children in the name of restraint and ‘proportionality’ would never agree to risk the safety of their own families in a similar situation.”
war against radical Islam if we can’t even name the enemy?”
Berko points out that during World War 11, the Allies didn’t hesitate to retaliate for the Nazi blitz of London. In February, 1945, British and American planes firebombed Dresden, killing about 25,000 people.
Nor did America feel guilty about dropping two atomic bombs on Japan, killing about 250,000 civilians.
Summing up his argument, Berko writes: “The ridiculous demand for proportionality contradicts every basic principle of warfare.“
According to American strategist Thomas Schelling, you have to strike your enemy hard enough to make it not worthwhile for him to continue…. “
In the Western world, killing someone in self-defense is considered justifiable homicide.”
Berko could just as easily have ended his column with the words of Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman, whose Union forces cut a swath of destruction across the South in his famous “March to the Sea.”
William Tecumseh Sherman
Wrote Sherman: “Those people made war on us, defied and dared us to come south to their country, where they boasted they would kill us and do all manner of horrible things.
“We accepted their challenge, and now for them to whine and complain of the natural and necessary results is beneath contempt.”