Saturday, January 10, 2009

And the fighting goes on

The fighting in Gaza continues. There are said to be 800 dead and many more injured.

Hamas, a terrorist organisation which is sworn to Israel's destruction, has fired more than 6,000 rockets and missiles into Israel from Gaza since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. There seemed to be little concern outside Israel. But now that Israel has decided to retaliate, out pours the Jew-hatred and the antisemitic rhetoric. Since Israel began its offensive, the number of antisemitic incidents has risen across Europe.

Part of the problem is Hamas' lack of concern for the lives of its people. It uses its men, women and children as suicide bombers. It deliberately places its ammunition dumps and military command centres in the middle of civilian populations. It uses women and children as human shields. It appears to fire on the Israeli army from inside or in front of UN schools, so that when Israel returns fire it will be able to use pictures of the dead and wounded to influence world opinion for the Palestinian cause.

Alan M. Dershowitz, writing in the National Post, says the number of civilians killed by Israelis is almost always exaggerated.

There is much more protest - and fury - directed against Israel, he says, when it inadvertently kills approximately 100 civilians in a just war of self defence, than against Arab and Muslim nations and groups that deliberately kill far more civilians for no legitimate reason. . . more Arabs and Muslim civilians are killed every day in Africa and the Middle East by Arab and Muslim governments with little or no protests. . .

Israel goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid killing civilians - if for no other reason than that it hurts its cause - while Hamas does everything in its power to force Israel to kill Palestinian civilians by firing its missiles from densely populated civilian areas and refusing to build shelters for its civilians. . .

Hamas and Fatah have killed far more Palestinian civilians over the past several years than have the Israelis, but you wouldn't know that from the media, the United Nations or protesters who focus selectively on only those deaths caused by Israeli military actions.

Said Daniel Finkelstein, writing in the Times:

The poverty and the death and the despair among the Palestinians in Gaza moves me to tears. How can it not? Who can see pictures of children in a war zone or a slum street and not be angry and bewildered and driven to protest? And what is so appalling is that it is so unnecessary. For there can be peace and prosperity at the smallest of prices. The Palestinians need only say that they will allow Israel to exist in peace. They need only say this tiny thing, and mean it, and there is pretty much nothing they cannot have.

Yet they will not say it. And they will not mean it. For they do not want the Jews. Again and again - again and again - the Palestinians have been offered a nation state in a divided Palestine. And again and again they have turned the offer down, for it has always been more important to drive out the Jews than to have a Palestinian state. It is difficult sometimes to avoid the feeling that Hamas and Hezbollah don't want to kill Jews because they hate Israel. They hate Israel because they want to kill Jews.

MP Michael Fabricant said he has been "horrified and angered" by the BBC coverage of the conflict, and will be making a formal complaint to the chairman of the BBC Trust about it.

BBC TV featured an interview with a Norwegian doctor from Shifa hospital in Gaza, Mads Gilbert. He painted a horrific picture of death and destruction in Gaza, claimed Israel was operating contrary to international law, using unconventional weapons and deliberately targeting civilians, and said he had seen only two Hamas "fighters" in hospital; all the rest of the injured had been civilians.

What the BBC failed to mention - something that is fairly common knowledge - is that Mads Gilbert is not just a doctor, but a longstanding activist in the Palestinian "solidarity" movement viscerally hostile to Israel, a former member of the Norwegian "Red" Party and a supporter of the terrorist attacks on the United States on 9/11.

Says Melanie Phillips, writing in her blog at the Spectator:

It is beyond appalling that the BBC should have presented this apologist for Hamas as a dispassionate first-hand observer. . . Whether it is cynical, malicious or just plain incompetent, the BBC's coverage of Gaza is a national disgrace. Given that such propaganda will invariably incite people to hatred, hysteria and even violence, the case for Parliament debating the BBC's performance is overwhelming.

The great tragedy is that a people who not too long ago lost six million of its number, including a million-and-a-half children, in a deliberate attempt at extermination should still have to fight for its existence.