Photo Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom / GPO
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses foreign ambassadors at the IDF Kirya Headquarters in a briefing on the current situation. May 19 2021

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi met Wednesday at the IDF Kirya Headquarters in Tel Aviv with more than 70 foreign ambassadors and diplomatic representatives to brief them on the current security situation.

During the briefing, Prime Minister Netanyahu presented the ambassadors with documentation of IDF attacks in the Gaza Strip against Hamas and Islamic Jihad, as well as the location of stockpiles of missiles, rockets, terrorist buildings, command centers and many terrorist infrastructures. Also presented were videos of firing at citizens of the State of Israel and misfiring by the terrorist organizations, which endangers the residents of the Gaza Strip. Israeli ambassadors around the world also participated in the briefing via Zoom.

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Among those in attendance were diplomatic representatives from the US, an EU representative and the ambassadors from – inter alia – Russia, China, India, Germany, Austria, Australia, Japan, Brazil, Canada and Italy.

“Thank you for your support,” Netanyahu said. “It warms our heart to see that. Some of the governments here had actually had the Israeli flag flown on their building during a very difficult moment for us. We appreciate that and we appreciate the expressions of support that came from all of you.

I also want to use this opportunity to ask the ambassadors of Thailand and India to extend my personal condolences to the families of their citizens who were killed, murdered by Hamas rockets. Two agricultural workers from Thailand. One Indian caregiver.

This is just one more manifestation of the fact that Hamas indiscriminately targets everyone. They murder everyone, any civilian they can get their hands on. They use civilians. They target civilians while hiding behind civilians using them as human shields. This is the problem that we face.

Because Hamas is embedded deeply in civilian areas, because it uses civilian human shields. Democracies have a choice. They can say there is nothing we can do. We will absorb attacks against our cities. We can do that or we can level the cities.

In World War II, when western cities, specifically London and some British cities, were targeted this way by thousands of rockets, their response was to level cities. I admire Winston Churchill. I think he was one of the greatest leaders in modern history. I don’t criticize him for anything. I think he did the right thing under those circumstances.

But this is not our response to the firing of thousands of rockets on our cities. We do something different. We try to target those who target us with great precision. That is not a surgical operation as it is. Even in a surgical room in a hospital, you don’t have the ability to prevent collateral damage around an infected tissue. Even then you can’t. Certainly in a military operation you cannot.

There is no army in the world that does more than the Israeli army, in the Israeli security services, in Israeli intelligence to prevent collateral damage. To have Israel criticized for that is absurd. Not only is absurd and unjust and untrue, it does enormous damage to democracies that are fighting this kind of evil. It says you cannot protect yourself.

Instead of having the perpetrators who commit double war crimes, who are hiding behind civilians and firing on civilians, not having them criticized but having you criticized is the height of hypocrisy and stupidity. What that does is in fact encourage the terrorists. It gives support, it gives encouragement to the terrorists and that is something that is bad for each one of us.

I’m not shy about saying it openly, I think you should support Israel strongly because this is not merely a question of Israel’s security; it’s a question of our common security and our common interests in the Middle East.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.