Thursday, April 4, 2024

Israel Fighting on Two Fronts: Hamas and Media

Welcome to the world of unequal proportional responsibility. 

Hamas claims all Israelis—no matter how young or old, civilian or military—are justified targets because they empower a repressive government that denies Palestinians rights and a homeland. Terror attacks, rocket attacks, invasions, are to Hamas legitimate means of Palestinian dissent.

Israel is a legitimate country with a legitimate government. When Arab states tried to erase its existence Israel defended itself. In 1948. 1956. 1967. 1967-1970. 1973. 1971-1982. 1985-2000. 2000-2005. 2006. 2008-2009. 2012. 2014. 2021. 2023-2024 (

Is Hamas a legitimate governing body? It won an election in 2006, but has not permitted another vote. No protests for another vote have been held in Gaza, unlike the weekly protests Israelis have held for the last year questioning the continuation of its government’s policies. 

Israel subsidizes safe rooms and community shelters for its citizens to protect them from mortar and missile attacks. Hamas siphoned off international monies intended to build infrastructure, homes and businesses in Gaza to construct an extensive tunnel network, not to shelter its citizens from Israeli aerial attacks but to shield only its members and to store weapons.

By inserting combatants among the civilian population of Gaza, Hamas guaranteed many noncombatants, including women and children, would die when Israel retaliated. 

Deaths of innocents are inevitable in any armed conflict. Israel investigates tragic mistakes, as it will for the killing of seven World Central Kitchen workers earlier this week. If warranted, those at fault will be disciplined. That’s a far cry from the failure of Hamas to investigate and discipline its fighters for atrocities perpetrated October 7 and subsequently to hostages held in Gaza. 

Nobody grieves more than Israelis about the deaths of the aid workers. It undercuts the legitimacy of Israel’s response to October 7. 

But let’s put in context the outcry against Israel, not just for the World Central Kitchen losses, but for its battle to destroy Hamas and the resulting deaths, according to Hamas, of more than 31,000 Palestinians.

Is there ever equivalency in war? On September 11, 2001, America lost 2,977 innocents. Through 2021, our retaliation in subsequent wars killed 46,319 civilians, 446 aid workers and 74 journalists in Afghanistan, and 185,831-208,964 civilians, 63 aid workers and 282 journalists in Iraq, according to the Watson Institute of Brown University ( 

In Syria’s civil war and fight against ISIS, 95,000 civilians died, as well as 224 aid workers and 75 journalists, Watson reported.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941, killed 68 civilians. To achieve victory the United States and its allies killed 550,000-800,000 Japanese civilians through bombings. More people died from the March 10, 1945, firebombing of Tokyo (105,000) than from the August 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima (80,000) and Nagasaki (40,000).

In Darfur, Yemen, Somalia, Ukraine, to name just a handful of countries, civilians are dying from indiscriminate warfare with barely a ripple of public condemnation. Only Israel seems to be held to a higher standard of responsibility despite Hamas being the instigator of the conflict. 

Israel voluntarily left the Gaza Strip in 2005. Palestinians could have transformed the area into a “Dubai on the Mediterranean.” Instead, they accepted its transformation into an outpost of terrorism. 

No country could be expected to accept repetitive attacks on its population. Hamas has repeatedly violated ceasefire agreements, making calls for another cease fire ring hollow. 

There’s no dispute that the visuals of Gazans suffering are hard to bear. Absent the release of all the hostages taken by Hamas, Israel will continue its on the ground warfare even as its media battle leaves it looking like an oppressor rather than the aggrieved.