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Israel accepts an Egyptian-proposed Gaza cease-fire; Hamas keeps firing. Hamas deliberately aims rockets at civilians; Israel painstakingly tries to avoid them, actually telephoning civilians in the area and dropping warning charges, so-called roof knocking.

“Here’s the difference between us,” explains the Israeli prime minister. “We’re using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles.”

Charles Krauthammer writes a weekly political column that runs on Fridays. View Archive

Rarely does international politics present a moment of such moral clarity. Yet we routinely hear this Israel-Gaza fighting described as a morally equivalent “cycle of violence.” This is absurd. What possible interest can Israel have in cross-border fighting? Everyone knows Hamas set off this mini-war. And everyone knows the proudly self-declared raison d’etre of Hamas: the eradication of Israel and its Jews.

Apologists for Hamas attribute the blood lust to the Israeli occupation and blockade. Occupation? Does no one remember anything? It was less than 10 years ago that worldwide television showed the Israeli army pulling die-hard settlers off synagogue roofs in Gaza as Israel uprooted its settlements, expelled its citizens, withdrew its military and turned every inch of Gaza over to the Palestinians. There was not a soldier, not a settler, not a single Israeli left in Gaza.

And there was no blockade. On the contrary. Israel wanted this new Palestinian state to succeed. To help the Gaza economy, Israel gave the Palestinians its 3,000 greenhouses that had produced fruit and flowers for export. It opened border crossings and encouraged commerce.

The Israel Defense Forces released a video on Thursday that they claim shows a tunnel that Hamas militants planned to use to attack Israel. (YouTube/The Israel Defense Forces)

The whole idea was to establish the model for two states living peacefully and productively side by side. No one seems to remember that, simultaneous with the Gaza withdrawal, Israel dismantled four smaller settlements in the northern West Bank as a clear signal of Israel’s desire to leave the West Bank as well and thus achieve an amicable two-state solution.

This is not ancient history. This was nine years ago.

And how did the Gaza Palestinians react to being granted by the Israelis what no previous ruler, neither Egyptian, nor British, nor Turkish, had ever given them — an independent territory? First, they demolished the greenhouses. Then they elected Hamas. Then, instead of building a state with its attendant political and economic institutions, they spent the better part of a decade turning Gaza into a massive military base, brimming with terror weapons, to make ceaseless war on Israel.

Where are the roads and rail, the industry and infrastructure of the new Palestinian state? Nowhere. Instead, they built mile upon mile of underground tunnels to hide their weapons and, when the going gets tough, their military commanders. They spent millions importing and producing rockets, launchers, mortars, small arms, even drones. They deliberately placed them in schools, hospitals, mosques and private homes to better expose their own civilians. (Just Thursday, the U.N. announced that it found 20 rockets in a Gaza school.) And from which they fire rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Why? The rockets can’t even inflict serious damage, being almost uniformly intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system. Even West Bank leader Mahmoud Abbas has asked: “What are you trying to achieve by sending rockets?”

It makes no sense. Unless you understand, as Tuesday’s Post editorial explained, that the whole point is to draw Israeli counterfire.

This produces dead Palestinians for international television. Which is why Hamas perversely urges its own people not to seek safety when Israel drops leaflets warning of an imminent attack.

To deliberately wage war so that your own people can be telegenically killed is indeed moral and tactical insanity. But it rests on a very rational premise: Given the Orwellian state of the world’s treatment of Israel (see: the U.N.’s grotesque Human Rights Council), fueled by a mix of classic anti-Semitism, near-total historical ignorance and reflexive sympathy for the ostensible Third World underdog, these eruptions featuring Palestinian casualties ultimately undermine support for Israel’s legitimacy and right to self-defense.

In a world of such Kafkaesque ethical inversions, the depravity of Hamas begins to make sense. This is a world in which the Munich massacre is a movie and the murder of Klinghoffer is an opera — both deeply sympathetic to the killers. This is a world in which the U.N. ignores humanity’s worst war criminals while incessantly condemning Israel, a state warred upon for 66 years that nonetheless goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid harming the very innocents its enemies use as shields.

It’s to the Israelis’ credit that amid all this madness they haven’t lost their moral scruples. Or their nerve. Those outside the region have the minimum obligation, therefore, to expose the madness and speak the truth. Rarely has it been so blindingly clear.

Read more from Charles Krauthammer’s archivefollow him on Twitteror subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

by on Jul. 18, 2014 at 9:13 PM
Replies (281-282):
by René on Jul. 21, 2014 at 10:08 PM

I agree with everything you said.

Quoting idunno1234:

 I haven't seen anyone here say that Hamas are the good guys.  The title of this OP talks about moral clarity and what I personally have a problem with is that nothing about any of this is moral or clear.  The birth of Israel was anything but moral regardless of how some see it as justified or prophesied or entitled.  If any one of us was living on land, in some cases land that had been in the family for generations, and we were forced to leave and live in circumstances far from ideal, how warm and fuzzy would any of you feel? 

The hatred of Israel is very real as is the hatred of the US and the West but that hatred isn't born from nothing, its born from some very real somethings and to pretend otherwise is self defeating.  It is only through understanding where that hatred comes from and recognizing some of the wrongs done that there can be an opening for peace.  Looking into the history of the West's involvement in that area.....there is not one moral thing about it.  Of course there is resentment.  How can there not be?  Again, try to picture if there was that sort of interference in our neck of the woods by Arabs all interested in our natural resources, then dividing up territories and forming countries based on what they felt was best for them.  Its sickening the arrogance of the West historically and then we wonder where the hatred comes from??

I hate that a bunch of ego driven destructive male shitheads is representing the Palestinians.  Its more about "pride" and "ego" than it is about doing what is best for the people they represent and that sucks just as it sucks that Israel refuses to recognize that the way that country was imposed on that area and the way they handled things since is a big part of where that hatred comes from.

So there is no moral clarity, only stupid human shit with thought processes basically at a toddler level of being unable/unwilling to understand each others' perspectives.  More of the same ol' same ol'.  Sucks.  Its not moral, its not clear its just shitty.

Quoting Donna6503: These quotes will go on forever. It's sad that folks refuse to understand the real horror of this group.
Quoting LoveMyBoyK: Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Bahar, acting Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, April 20, 2007; as reported by Palestinian Media Watch, April 23, 2007 "This is Islam, that was ahead of its time with regards to human rights in the treatment of prisoners, but our nation was tested by the cancerous lump, that is the Jews, in the heart of the Arab nation... Be certain that America is on its way to utter destruction, America is wallowing [in blood] today in Iraq and Afghanistan, America is defeated and Israel is defeated, and was defeated in Lebanon and Palestine... Make us victorious over the community of infidels... Allah, take the Jews and their allies, Allah, take the Americans and their allies... Allah, annihilate them completely and do not leave anyone of them." Hamas leader, Mahmoud Zahar, at funeral of Reem Raiyshi, who murdered 4 people, January 15, 2004, AP "She [first Hamas woman suicide bomber] is not going to be the last because the march of resistance will continue until the Islamic flag is raised, not only over the minarets of Jerusalem, but over the whole universe." Sheik Ahmed Yassin, interview, Palestine-info, March 2001, Early Hamas communiqués (distributed by Islamic Association for Palestine) "The Movement within two months [after the intifada broke] was able to launch qualitative operations that shook the world… there are qualitative Jihad operations such as those in Natanya and Khadera. We are proud of such operations and the next days will witness better and bigger ones...." "I say that the final battle will result in our victory and that this land will reject this enemy similar to its predecessors..." "It is not a must that it would be in 2027 for it could be five years earlier or ten years later. The important thing is that the equation revolves round 2027 and the Hebrew state would end Insha'allah [God willing]." Mahmoud Zahar, Hamas leader, after casting his vote in the Gaza Strip, January 25, 2006, Ha'aretz "[Hamas] will not change a single word in its covenant [which is calling for the destruction of Israel]
Quoting survivorinohio:

Everything I have read as statements by Hamas indicates they would accept 1967 borders etc but they reserve the right to fail to recognize Israel.  I havent read anything saying they wished to wipe them off the map, annihilate them or the like.

Quoting LoveMyBoyK: You are absolutely correct. Hamas wants nothing less that total annihilation of the Israeli people.
Quoting Donna6503: Della, I'm in Salt Lake right now and I can relate. Della, I want to say, I know that you don't support the killing of anyone and I truly believe that you feel there is a solution. Also, your passion for the plight of Palestinians is sincere and real. My problem when I debate (good) folks on your side of this debate is that most of the folks just don't realize that the Palestinian leaderships really don't care to have peace. Their leaders fail to live up to any type of agreement. It seems to me that you (the general you, for the pro-Palestinian side) never see that Palestinians don't care for peace. Yes, Israel has done wrong; but, Israel is always trying to find a solution, I mean how many "lands for peace" does Israel need to offer? It's sad, but right now and in the future, the best anyone can hope for in this area is a "truce." Yet, nothing can be solved without the Israel the right to exist. I understand many of the folks on your side agrees; but, the Palestinian leadership doesn't ... how sad for every one involved in the area. FYI, the M-302 rockets came from Iran. Which in turn has alienated the Saudis and Egypt.
Quoting Della529:

I don't need to until you have supplied a source for Hamas usage of said weapon.

I am currently out of town (mississippi) and away from my desktop. � Typing on a phone sucks, lol, but I will respond to more of your up thread replies when I get home. � I do enjoy talking with you about this topic, Donna. � Thank you.

Quoting Donna6503: So, in order words, you have nothing to reveal that the use of the M-302 isn't a crime against humanity, so firing these weapons is a good thing for humanity. Okay
Quoting Della529: So, in other words, you have nothing to reveal the use of the M-302 or the so-called damage they have done with it. Okay.
Quoting Donna6503: If a bank robber gets stopped by the bank's security, is it still a crime committed by the bank robber. Yes it is ... no matter the sophistication of Israel's security to protect its' citizens; the firing of those rockets into innocent civilian is a crime against humanity.
Quoting Della529: Show some coverage of the damage done in Israel by these Iranian M-302 rockets.
Quoting Donna6503: Actually, Hamas has been firing the Iranians' M-302 rockets which has 300 lbs explosives in its' warhead and can easily cover any area of Israel. But, that's not the point, Israel doesn't have the number of "kills" in ten days of fighting, that a rebel group has committed with just one rocket. It just shows that Israeli are keeping the death tow down as possible ... and somehow you're incorrectly calling that "genocide" Yet, Hamas has stated their only reason for firing their rockets is too kill as many Jews as possible; but, you don't think their actions should be considered genocide. The word you're looking for is "hypocrisy."
Quoting mehamil1:

Hamas does not have a missle capable of taking down a plane. So no.� 

And I don't believe for a moment that Israel is taking pains to keep the death toll down. They don't have to use the weapons they are using, but they are.� 

Quoting Donna6503: Did you know that Russian rebels with just one rocket on one plane killed more people than Israel has in ten days of attacks. Yeah, you can make the claim that Israel is doing the best it can in keeping the death tow down. Still, there is no basis for you to call Israeli action genocide; actually, you can call Hamas action "genocide" those are the ones that want Isreal to continue its' action so they, Hamas, can parade more dead people on its' decrepit cared for roads.
Quoting mehamil1:

Now, not only are you fundementally wrong about that, but it also surprises me you would think such a way.� 

Know what it's called when one side has vastily superior weapons and are using them against a people who don't have anything close to it? Genocide. Murder. Slaughter. And it's also an international crime.� 

Quoting LoveMyBoyK: Yes, Israel has better weapons. So more people are killed. One side of a battle beingstronger and more capable in no way negates the culpability of, and death toll racked up by, the other. Palestine is NOT innocent in the conflict.
Quoting idunno1234:

A different perspective:

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the world�s major sources of instability. Americans are directly connected to this conflict, and increasingly imperiled by its devastation.

It is the goal of If Americans Knew to provide full and accurate information on this critical issue, and on our power � and duty � to bring a resolution.

Please click on any statistic for the source and more information.
Statistics last updated: July 17, 20

How far you go in life depends on your being: tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of both the weak and strong.  Because someday in life you would have been one or all of these.  GeorgeWashingtonCarver

by Ruby Member on Jul. 21, 2014 at 10:19 PM
1 mom liked this

Parents and adults on the ground reflect the difficulty in protecting children.  ”I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection”- Sigmund Freud


Palestinian Territories: Gaza War 2014

Palestinians evacuate a victim from a building that was hit by an Israeli strike in Gaza City, on July 20, 2014. Israeli strikes on Gaza on July 20 killed at least 97 people. The UN Security Council called for an “immediate ceasefire” as Israel pressed on with a blistering assault on Gaza taking the Palestinian death toll above 500.  (Photo by Hosam Salem/NurPhoto/Sipa USA)

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