Photo Credit: UNSPLASH
Mainstream Media Madness

Israel is fighting one of the biggest and most powerful Islamic terror groups, Hamas, who is also currently in control of the Gaza Strip. Thousands of these Arab terrorists snuck into Israel on Saturday, October 7, and carried out the worst, most extensive killing of Jews (almost all civilians) since the Holocaust. Additionally, they are detaining more than 200 civilian captives in appalling conditions, including infants, children, and the elderly. Regretfully, as Israel fights this battle for survival, the Jewish state is also being attacked on an entirely different front, the mainstream western media!

Sadly, there are a lot of hateful and nasty antisemitic blood libels in the media covering Palestinian terror. Fake news reporting has sparked pro-Palestinian riots around the globe, attacks against Jews, including on college campuses, attacks against Americans and Europeans all over the world and several other real-life consequences. Some fake news reporting is the result of specific journalists’ personal prejudices, while other misleading coverage is the result of careless, poor, and incompetent journalism. It is therefore imperative to fact-check the media and expose their lies in order to combat misinformation, which is a significant battlefront itself! Unfortunately, because of the enormous abundance of misinformation on the internet, it is not feasible to cover every single problem in this piece. I’ve chosen what I believe to be the top 6 myths regarding this conflict that need to be dispelled. Here are the first three:

Myth 1) “Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people and are blameless for its actions”

In the Gaza Strip, Hamas and its terrorist tactics continue to enjoy great popularity, as seen by the large turnout for the group’s 25th anniversary celebration.
Photo credit: Fars Media Corporation- Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

Following the October 7 Palestinian genocidal attacks and Israel’s rightful and forceful defense of itself, the media has seized the opportunity to portray the majority of Palestinians residing in Gaza, Judah, and Samaria (commonly referred to as the West Bank) as opposing Hamas and violence against the Jewish State, thus casting Israel’s defensive actions in Gaza as immoral and even criminal.

Before I disprove this particular allegation, I have to state that the debate about who the population supports is irrelevant. For instance, the United States chose correctly to strike Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks. Pressuring America to forego self-defensive (though lethal) actions on the grounds that Al Qaeda and the Taliban “do not represent the people of Afghanistan” would have been ludicrous. Sadly, many children died in those battles as a result of their extremist Islamic government placing them in danger and using them as human shields. It was widely acknowledged that the U.S. needed to eradicate the terror that posed a serious threat to its citizens. The U.S.’s War on Terror was neither any less essential nor any less justified despite the thousands of innocent civilian deaths that it caused.

That being said….

It is blatantly untrue to say that the Palestinian people reject Hamas and its methods—quite the opposite is true. In the 2006 election for the Palestinian legislature, Hamas democratically gained 56 percent of the seats, more than enough to establish a majority government on its own (the pro-jihadist PFLP party, which the U.S., the EU, Canada, and Australia identify as a terrorist group, also won several seats).

Even worse news is presented by scientific surveys carried out in the Palestinian controlled-territories. A study by the Palestinian Center for Polling and Survey Research in Ramallah (PCPSR) in late 2015, during the “knife intifada” (a large rise in stabbings of Israeli civilians) revealed that 67% of Palestinians (and 85% of Gazans) supported the stabbings. More recently, a poll conducted in June 2023 revealed that 71% of Palestinians (including 79% of Gazans) were in favor of arming more groups to combat Israel. According to a July 2023 Washington Institute for Near East Policy survey, 57% of Gazans and 64% of Arabs living in East Jerusalem had a positive opinion of Hamas. The second-largest terrorist group in Gaza is the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. They have a 75% favorability rating and are even more violent and extreme than Hamas. Tens of thousands, sometimes even hundreds of thousands, of applauding supporters can usually be seen in the streets during Hamas-organized rallies and parades. This was the case on October 7, when the hostages, including old women and toddlers, were paraded around Gaza’s main streets to a boisterous audience. Regretfully, a mountain of data demonstrates how terrorist organizations, who want Israel destroyed and Jews to perish, are emblematic of the majority of the Palestinian Street.

Myth 2) Israel’s response to Palestinian Terror is not proportional and therefore illegal

Hamas’ main command centers and hideouts (where they plot the destruction of Israel) are located under Al- Shifa hospital.
Photo Credit: IDF

This falsehood, incorrectly defining proportionality as the equivalency of civilian casualties to the initial attacks, is perhaps the most frequently used by the media and anti-Israel figures worldwide. The fact that many more Palestinians have died than Israelis, they say, is evidence of this. Israel is also acting disproportionately (they claim) given their superior firepower, they have a greater obligation to restrict the extent of their defense to protect their citizens. For instance, to suggest that Israel’s actions are out of proportion, the New York Times published daily charts showing the number of Gazan casualties alongside Israeli casualties in the majority of the prior (Hamas initiated) engagements. Thankfully, proportionate does not mean “tit for tat” in the context of international humanitarian law, often known as the Laws of Armed Conflict (LOAC), as established by the Geneva Conventions and the Hague. Should Hamas launch more than ten rockets, Israel is not restricted to responding with just ten rockets. It also doesn’t mean that because Hamas beheaded 40 Jewish babies (a war crime) Israel can now behead 40 Palestinian babies because that would also be a war crime as one cannot DELIBERATELY attack civilian regardless of what the other side does. Thus, what does it mean to be proportionate to such a serious crime (and ongoing threat) against the Jewish State? Let me respond to that by describing a similar situation:

Imagine, if you will, if the drug cartels proclaimed their independence from the Mexican government in Mexico City and took control of the northern state of Baja California. The Baja government then authorizes the firing of 6000 rockets from its city of Tijuana toward San Diego and Los Angeles, and 3500 terrorists enter Southern California, killing over 1400 innocent civilians—before taking 240 of its citizens hostages and displaying these “trophies” to the jubilant crowds in Tijuana. Subsequently, they relocate their command centers and arsenals inside every city school, hospital, church, and daycare facility, and fire their weapons at American targets from these vulnerable locations. How would the U.S. react, and should it? If America retaliates in defense, will the fact that civilian casualties will be unavoidably high constitute a war crime? Or does the U.S. have a duty to protect its citizens from future attacks?

According to international law, proportionality does not forbid collateral harm to civilians; rather, it only requires that the harm be weighed against the significance of the military necessity. In international law, the laws of necessity and proportionality are irrevocably intertwined, which in this case is the complete defeat of Hamas to stop the genocide of Israel and the Jewish people (which is expressly stated in their charter) and to allow the people of Israel to live in security. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have been displaced, and it is doubtful that many of them will be able to return to their homes while Hamas is still in power. Additionally, it does not imply that Israel must absorb the same proportion of losses to its citizens to be legitimate.

Because Hamas deliberately conducts wars from schools and hospitals, knowing that Israel will be more reluctant to strike, a great deal more Gazans have died as a result. The largest hospital in Gaza, Al-Shifa, is actually home to Hamas’ main headquarters. As per international law, Israel is legally entitled to target the hospital’s location as a military site. Despite the fact that millions of Israeli citizens are in danger, Israel has opted not to attack the site as of this writing.

If Hamas were to cease its genocidal actions against Israel, or at the very least choose to fight from separate military bases away from civilian areas as Israel does (as required by LOAC) these vulnerable civilian sites would legally lose their status as military sites of strategic value, and Israel would no longer have any justification (or legal ability) to deliberately attack these sites, as doing so would constitute a war crime. It should be noted that many of the Gazans killed were by rockets launched by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, as up to 1/3 of the rockets they fired did not reach their targeted destination.

Myth 3) Israel’s control over Gaza’s access to food, water, and electricity amounts to a siege and is therefore illegal under international law.

An October 24 aerial shot showing twelve oil tanks where Hamas is currently storing a minimum of a whopping 500,000 liters of fuel for its war efforts (while complaining that hospitals and bakeries are in danger of closing down due to the lack of fuel).
Photo Credit: IDF

As long as the main objective is not to intentionally starve the civilian population, sieges are recognized by the Geneva and Hague treaties as legitimate tactics for resolving conflicts quickly and effectively. Indeed, Israel is legally required in this case to do so under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which almost all countries have signed. The IDF has made it very clear that their sole goal is to defeat Hamas and create a new reality in Gaza, where Israel does not face a genocidal terrorist organization with the will and capability to maim and kill its civilians.

Under international law, Israel is only required to facilitate the movement of food and medical supplies by third parties into Gaza IF—and only IF—those supplies can be distributed to the populace WITHOUT any diversion to Hamas, which is not the case in this instance since Hamas is in charge of Gaza. Indeed, during the 16 years that they have ruled Gaza, they have been funding their terror operations with the proceeds from the theft of aid intended for civilians and their infiltration of international and human rights groups in Gaza, all the while allowing their people to go hungry. Diversion is not just possible, but almost a given in light of Hamas’s 16-year abuse of humanitarian aid and infiltration of human rights and international organizations in Gaza. Increasing the amount of supplies they obtain (that won’t be distributed to civilians) could prolong the conflict and increase the number of civilian casualties. As a matter of fact, the UN claims that on October 16, Hamas stormed its warehouses, stealing medical supplies and fuel intended for refugees (the anti-Israel New York Times reports that officials from Arab and Western governments claim Hamas has enough fuel for three to four months of warfare). International law does not compel Israel to provide Hamas with the means (such as electricity) by which it might wage war against Israel or to finance its attempts to massacre Jews. It is hoped that the billions of dollars designated for the needs of Gazans will actually wind up in the hands of its citizens after Hamas is eliminated.

To be continued…

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