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September 28, 2016 / 25 Elul, 5776
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Israel’s Moral Imperative


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The war continues. Our people in Israel are under constant attack by Hamas firing rockets at them continuously. Non stop.

IDF soldiers are on the front trying to destroy Hamas’s ability to strike us.  From the air, missiles are targeting buildings known to harbor Hamas terrorists and armaments. From the ground soldiers are targeting the hundreds of tunnels used by Hamas to sneak into Israel and harm its people. That has cost us over 30 lives. This has resulted in well over 700 hundred Palestinian casualties. None so horrific as the 16 that were killed yesterday at a UN school that was used by them as a safe house. In the end – it wasn’t safe. More about that later.

Here is the problem. Hamas’s tactic of assuring mass casualties of civilians is working. Every day on the nightly news we see reporters telling us in somber tones about Israel’s attacks in Gaza while images of dying or severely injured children are displayed on screen being carried or in hospital beds.

There are bloodied bodies all over the place, some dead; some alive.  Overcrowded hospitals are overflowing with injured and traumatized Palestinian civilians. Mostly children. The anger being expressed by Palestinians is palpable. Questions are constantly heard from angry Palestinians in Gaza about why a certain target was hit when there were no terrorists or armaments anywhere near them. UN officials are calling such events war crimes.

These images have an impact. Even if you are Jewish and a strong supporter of Israel and what they are doing, you would have to be less than human not to recognize the sheer human suffering one sees every single night on the news. Every additional Palestinian death; every additional Palestinian injury generates increased sympathy from the media.

I think this situation calls for some clarity. It is imperative to know and hold firm the knowledge about who is; and who isn’t to blame for all this. It is not Israel. Not a single civilian casualty can be blamed on Israel. It is clearly Hamas.

Let us not forget how this carnage began. Hamas started firing hundreds of rockets into Israel without warning after Israel started rounding up Hamas terrorists in an attempt to find the murderers of 3 Israeli teens. Israel did not fire a single bullet into Gaza up to that point. It had no interest in stirring things up. But how much can a country take before it responds? And respond it did. The ‘Iron Dome’ missile defense system has protected them form the massive casualties that surely would have occurred with out it.  Israel cannot rely on Iron Dome alone. It isn’t foolproof. They had to respond by attacking the rockets, rocket launchers and people who operate them.

Hamas is not stupid. They knew that Israel would respond. Although they probably miscalculated the amount of damage their upgraded rockets would do, they knew Israel had an exponentially greater military then they did. They were counting on Israel to respond.

This is why they place their rocket launchers near schools and hospitals. It is a tactic to maximize their own civilian damage when Israel targets them. They have been telling their people to stay where they are and resist Israel with their bare chests. (I heard a Hamas official say that on camera early in the war.)

When Palestinians get in the way of a missile, they are called martyrs. Palestinians civilians see an Israeli missile and blame only Israel on their dead and wounded. And their hatred of the Jewish people increases. If they would think for a minute they would realize that the death and destruction is the fault of Hamas, the very people they elected to run Gaza.

Harry Maryles

About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at hmaryles@yahoo.com.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

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Binyamin and Chaya Maryles, uncle and aunt of Emes Ve-Emunah author Harry Maryles.
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