Monday, December 29, 2008

Gaza

This cartoon ( Hunt, by Joep Bertrams, whose work I generally appreciate very much ) is a typical example of the way in which the war on Hamas is being viewed and presented abroad. In order for this picture to be fair and accurate, the cage should have had tunnels and bunkers stashed with explosives and other weaponry beneath it, and be filled not only with hundreds of thousands of innocent birds but also with even more weaponry and with tens of thousands of vultures, jackals and poisonous snakes ( don't get me wrong, I am not one of those extremists who call their enemies animals and see them as less than human, but I go along with the animal-analogy used by this cartoonist ) that do everything they can to make life on the other side of the bars miserable and unlivable.

Unfortunately Hamas can not be fought, weakened, and convinced to stop firing rockets at Israeli civilians, without any Palestinian civilians being hurt. Gaza simply is too crowded with human beings, armaments and an often quite sophisticated military infrastructure for that. One question: what would the lives of Gazans have looked like if all the know-how, manpower, money and space that Hamas and other local terrorist organizations - and their outside helpers and financiers - have invested in terror and death had been spent on improving, really improving life in Gaza? First of all, I doubt if in that case Israel would have been able to continue the siege on the Strip, but even if the 'inhuman siege by the Zionists' had been there, with the same money, tunnels, concrete, manpower, and inventiveness that were used to produce, buy and smuggle weapons, the Hamas government could have built hospitals, kindergartens, houses, and bought food and medical supplies for the people it is supposed to be responsible for.

While Israel-haters and 'supporters' of the Palestinians do not have any problem with Jewish and other Israeli civilians being killed and terrorized by Hamas and other terrorist organizations, Israel does have a serious problem with that. And who can blame the Jewish state, except for those same Israel-haters, who come in various shapes, sizes and political colors? Today the UN said that 51 civilians have been killed in Gaza so far since Saturday. That is 51 too many. But if that number is correct, and so is the number - given by Hamas - of about 300 Palestinians killed, that means that 83% of those killed were 'militants'. With such a percentage - and again let me stress that every civilian hurt is one too many - you really have to hate Israel to maintain that the country targets civilians on purpose. The mere fact that several Hamas hotshots have taken refuge in hospitals and mosques proves otherwise: they know that Israel does everything it can to avoid civilian casualties. On the Israeli side, on the other hand, virtually all people who have been and continue to be hurt and killed by Qassam, Grad and other rockets are civilians, including the Arab construction worker who was killed in Ashkelon this morning. Our enemies do not hesitate to specifically target a hospital, even - or particularly? - if that hospital treats Jews, Christians and Muslims and everybody else with the same dedication and love of life.

In a Dutch online medium I read that 'a' university building was destroyed. What it did not say was that this was the Islamic University, a Hamas stronghold, and that the main part of the building that was destroyed contained the university's laboratory, which was not only used for 'scientific' purposes but also for the production of explosives.

To finish this brainstorm-posting ( sorry, I am too busy for real, balanced postings right now, but I do feel the need to get some things off my chest now and then these days ) here is a link to yet another good piece by Ha'Aretz's Bradley Burston.

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