The Civilian Charade

I realize that one is supposed to grieve incessantly over the loss of civilian life in Gaza, over the deaths of innocent women and children, or over the mourning of mothers for their sons and wives for the husbands. All of them have been robbed of their lives by a cruel world, or just the nefarious Jews who wantonly fire into civilian areas just to kill people.

Israel has certainly publicly embraced this outpouring of anguish, saying all the right things, as in “we deeply regret the loss of civilian life…” or “we do everything to avoid civilian casualties…” or PM Netanyahu’s now-famous sound bite that “we use our missiles to protect our civilians, while they use their civilians to protect their missiles” (it is a good line). And Israel is sincere in these protestations.

Count me among those who found it hard to muster any sympathy for these Gazans, who routinely rejoice over Jewish deaths and would applaud the massacre and slaughter of any Jews. Let’s face a few facts and debunk the canard of the sacred civilian of the Gaza Strip.

First, even their combatants are “civilians,” and intentionally so. In blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions, Hamas terrorists (the same applies to Islamic terrorists across the world) do not wear uniforms and intentionally try to blend in to the “civilian” population. Thus, when they are killed, the familiar scenes of sorrow can appear on the television screen, of the bereaved Arab crying, “look, they killed the teacher…the preacher…the butcher…the baker…the bomb- (rather, the candlestick-) maker.” Israel has to habitually identify – even by name! – these alleged civilians in order to refute the accusation that they are killing civilians. To the Arab way of thinking, no one is ever a soldier; they are all civilians.

Second, as is now well known, Hamas conceals its weapons and launches its rockets from the very heart of its civilian population. They have made their civilians the targets, and official Israel has done an outstanding job in underscoring this point. Homes and hospitals, mosques and schools, are used as both weapons storage sites as well as launching pads for rockets and missiles. That is a war crime, and Israel would do well to ignore all the hollow complaints and continue its offensive until Gaza is rid of Hamas. It would dramatically improve the lives of the civilians in Gaza, however many remain alive.

Of course, Israel’s sensitivity to this issue is such that it undermines the military success of this mission – while certainly acting in a humanitarian way – by warning the Arab inhabitants of targeted areas to leave, and to leave quickly, before a raid. This saves civilian lives, but it also allows Hamas-niks to escape their day of reckoning. In the end, buildings are destroyed, but the enemy, who can soon rebuild those buildings and those weapons sites, lives to terrorize another day

Third, we should not forget that these Gazans are “innocent” civilians only in the most elastic and distorted sense of the term. After all, they voted for Hamas. Hamas did not seize power, except in the sense that they ran on a platform and drew an overwhelming majority of support from the electorate. That the people’s favorite party turned out (surprise!) to be brutal, malicious murderers, who on occasion force them to be human shields and die an ignominious death is really their problem, not Israel’s or the world’s. To be sure, that the Western world decided to spin the Hamas election triumph as a victory for good governance, anti-corruption, and (that hoary cliché) the effective provision of social services does not matter in the least. The people knew for whom they were voting – much as the Germans did in 1933 when they gave the Nazis a plurality of their votes. They knew exactly what Hamas stood for and why it was formed in the 1980’s – to eradicate the Jewish state and its Jews.

Be careful for whom you vote.

The Nazi analogy is actually quite apt because it reminds us of the emptiness of the cries of the protesters across the world (who would rejoice – and do rejoice – when Jews are killed) and the sheer vacuity of some statements emanating from the UN and especially from the Obama administration. (By the way, is anything more repugnant that Obama’s repeated assertion that “Israel has the right of self-defense,” as if that is not obvious, as if it is a major concession on his part designed to win him plaudits from liberal Jews, and…as if he has to keep saying it in order to talk himself into it?)

Consider a point made two years ago (the last time Israel briefly invaded Gaza) by PM Netanyahu himself, to a BBC interviewer who castigated him for causing civilian casualties. “Do you really want to go there?” And Netanyahu, to devastating effect, reminded the British viewers of the Allies’ (mostly British) February 1945 firebombing raids on Dresden, Germany, which killed more than 20,000 civilians in just a few days. The Brits perceived this as appropriate recompense, as the Nazis spent two years bombing British civilians. He could mention as well, perhaps for the youthful Jen Psaki’s benefit, that the United States killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians – and rightly so – when two atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

It is the first rule of war: civilians die. There are other rules: Truth is a casualty. The innocent suffer (the real innocent). The unexpected happens. The victor uses disproportionate force – in fact, that is usually how and why the winner wins. The evil aggressor should be vanquished, not saved by a hypocritical world to fight another day.

Those are basic rules of war, and only duplicitous, oleaginous Jew-hating purveyors of piffle would deny Israel those rights and seek to amend or repeal the rules of war – and only as they apply to Israel. And they know who they are – from oily politicians and media mackerel, to the Presbyterian Church embarrassing itself in well-deserved irrelevance, to the phony protesters around the world, to those who simply deny Israel’s right to exist. Putin’s allies killed more civilians in one instant with one rocket than Israel has in three weeks – Bashar Assad has killed exponentially more in three years – without evoking the same anger, vitriol, violence and angst. It is selective outrage, phony to the core.

Kudos to real leaders like Canada’s Stephen Harper and the US Congress for their unequivocal support, and to Israel’s government for focusing on countering another Arab attempt to scam the world into sympathy for its “victims,” victims of its own malevolence and suicidal hatred.

There are reasons why these Arabs engender more sympathy than did German or Japanese civilians during World War II. For one, they are fighting against Jews, for whom much of the world labors to find any love gratitude or appreciation. Call it rank Jew-hatred. Primarily, though, that is Israel’s fault, for rather than depict these Arabs as Nazis (or worse: the Nazis wanted to murder Jews, but they preferred not to kill themselves while doing it) Israel persists in designating these Arabs as “partners for peace.” Had the Nazis or Nips been perceived as “partners for peace” rather than subjected to the unrelenting demand for unconditional surrender, they too would have garnered sympathy for their plight.

Unfortunately, the land of Israel hosts Arabs who are largely not partners for peace, nor are they sympathetic characters in the least. They are allies with other Muslims across the globe who are responsible for the mayhem that is engulfing almost every continent – perhaps another reason why even the European and Western governments lack their customary anti-Israel ardor. The world has seen too much suffering caused by Muslims to prompt the usual outcries. It is long past enough.

Add to that another painful fact: those wailing over the deaths of their loved ones are generally the same people urging their children and others to become martyrs, suicide bombers and murderers of Jews. It is impossible for a Western mind to wrap itself around that macabre concept but it is sadly true: in the mind of many of these people, a person killed before he has a chance to kill Jews has really lived a wasted life. Hence the mothers of suicide bombers who “grieve” by expressing their desire that their other children should become martyrs as well. It is a sick death cult, and to the extent that they can be accommodated, they should be accommodated.

One Israeli commentator said years ago that it is the height of cynicism for the Arabs to cry over their civilian losses when their entire strategy is to inflict civilian casualties on Israel through terror. Every rocket or missile they launch has a civilian address on it. It is intended to hit homes, schools, stores and hospitals.

It makes their tears fake and their lament a farce. It should have no effect on any thinking, moral person. It should not – again – induce Israel to abandon its offensive until Gaza is rid of Hamas. It reminds us once again of our Sages’ adage that “he who is merciful to the cruel will eventually be cruel to the merciful.”

Indeed, that is the very epitaph for the Gush Katif expulsion nine years ago. You remember Gush Katif? That is the region from where hundreds of rockets have been fired against Israeli civilians in the last decade.

It is certainly a shame that civilians suffer in wartime, and some civilians are truly innocent and deserve sympathy and protection. Others don’t – not sympathy, deference, comfort, fuel, electricity or food. Let their elected leaders help them. The whole notion of offering “humanitarian” assistance to one’s enemy is foolish, counterproductive, un-Jewish and anti-Torah. Notifying your enemy where you plan on attacking is the height of stupidity and costs Jewish lives, unnecessarily, as it did today. It is a sign that deep within the Netanyahu psyche he still holds out the illusion that this enemy is a “partner for peace.” No nation informs its enemy where it plans on attacking. It is not moral; it is immoral and stupid. If the enemy wants humanitarian help, they should surrender. It would be good for them and for Israel, and for the world, which needs an unequivocal victory over Muslim terror.

Until then, my tears will be reserved for the real innocents, for those who yearn for peace and tranquility to serve their G-d, raise their families, build their homes and their nation, and are forced to fight a merciless foe again and again. Feelings of guilt are unwarranted.

May G-d strengthen the fighting forces of Israel, protect her soldiers from all harm, and guide her to victory with pride, understanding and majesty.

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17 responses to “The Civilian Charade

  1. A. W. Bowman

    Amayn!

  2. Rabbi Y. Y. Rubinstein said:
    “Nothing has Jew haters foaming at the mouth more than Jews fighting back.”

    MICROBIOGRAPHY: Rabbi Rubinstein is an Orthodox Rabbi who was born in Glasgow, Scotland and moved to England when he was twenty. He moved to the USA in 2011 CE.

    SOURCE: It’s All The Jews Fault…Again by Rabbi Y. Y. Rubinstein, 2014/7/20, http://5tjt.com/its-all-the-jews-fault-again/

  3. Great blog Rabbi. To me it appears there’s a supernatural hatred for the Jew and it ramps up when Israel dares to fight back in self defense. Where is the worldwide (or Muslim) outrage when Muslims slaughter each other, blow up mosques, bomb and destroy in jihadi madness? May God watch over & protect His people, city and nation – Ps 121.4 God bless!

  4. Malky Green

    This is what we have been saying all along at my home. We have only sympathy for our Israeli brethren, who suffer the attacks of this Garbage, called Hamas. They are not part of the human or animal kingdom as they have no feeling for human life at all. Animals kill for food, as that is the way that G-d created them. Hamas kills for the sake of killing and trying to rid the world of every Israeli on the earth. Well, just as G-d created us all, He will choose that His people, the Chosen people, will prevail. May we see TRUE PEACE in Israel without the arabs, hamas or any other entity to destroy peace, very soon in our day!! Am Yisroel Chai!!

    • This response is a little difficult to swallow. It sounds like you’re preaching genocide.

      • G-d forbid! But surely you would not countenance a situation in which you cannot defend yourself because the enemy has decided to hide behind civilians – and civilians that are FULLY supportive of the goals of that enemy. The application of the Geneva Convention cannot be limited to just one side in a conflict. How moral is that? And when the enemy fires its missiles and rockets ONLY at Israeli civilian targets – doesn’t that bother you in the least? Is the intentional firing of those weapons at civilians not actually attempted genocide?
        Strange that you ignore that.
        For an insight into this enemy, and its “civilians,” watch this, just released:
        Video: Palestinian mother in Israeli hospital explains to Channel 2 she
        hopes child will die as terrorist when recovers http://youtu.be/FHw8JSQknn4
        Broadcast on Israel Television Channel 2 23 July 2014

        Any suggestions beyond cliches and platitudes?

        – RSP

  5. The inverse of your observation regarding arab “civilians” is also true. The arabs never miss an opportunity to label every Jew a soldier (or worse a settler(!), like the three murdered boys). Watching their twisted logic in these pursuits is as usual frustrating, but always instructive. All they ever have and ever will want is us dead….

  6. Good q

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Smartphone

  7. “It should not – again – induce Israel to abandon its offensive until Gaza is rid of Hamas.”

    What happens next? Is the plan to (a) permanently assume responsibility for the nearly 2 million residents who are probably going to want to start voting in Israeli elections? Or is the plan to (b) leave a power vacuum and simply hope that the remaining population elects a moderate government? Or is the plan to (c) install a new government and hope that it survives the challenges to its legitimacy? Or is the plan to (d) be happy with Gaza descending into failed-state status and believe that it can’t possibly be worth than the status quo? Or is the plan to (e) not worry about the aftermath at all?

    Don’t get me wrong. I like the idea of ridding the world of Hamas. But I have reservations about jumping on board until I hear a compelling answer to the “what happens next?” question.

    • Obviously statehood is not an option. Gaza does not have the resources to be a viable state. PM Netanyahu seems to be moving towards a sort of international trusteeship, which has certain advantages, but also disadvantages. His plan assumes that the population is redeemable. I’m not as optimistic.
      In the short term they should be stripped of any military capacity. They would prosper as well if Israel returned and rebuilt its settlements, but even that assumes they can live as civilized human beings. In the long term only resettlement with international support can salvage any of them. Bear in mind that Gaza was a disaster even under Egyptian rule from 1948-1967, and achieved its greatest prosperity and development when controlled by Israel (measured by health, education, GDP, etc.)
      Certainly, local autonomy guided by Israel would be an improvement as they could manage their own affairs without causing mayhem elsewhere. So there are a variety of options if there is a modicum of good will, but statehood or citizenship are not realistic.
      -RSP

      • My uncharitable side wants to say that this is pretty thin gruel. Then again maybe I’ll reserve judgement until you flesh out these concepts with your usual verve. (I’m hoping you’ll dedicate a long blog post to discussing the aftermath of deposing Hamas, especially since you just dedicated a long blog post to chiding Israel critics for their lack of foresight.) So I’ll remain patient until I hear the technocratic details of relying on international support to resettle millions of unwilling people in the world’s most hostile environment.

  8. At the risk of sounding terribly ignorant, please tell my why, when Israel’s very survival depends on the elimination of the rockets and tunnels coming from Hamas, Israel doesn’t turn Gaza into a new Sahara? And where is the world’s concern of the possible extinction of Israeli civilians?

    • I’m sure the commanders and chief military architects have thought of reducing Gaza into a sand dune, but in reality unless God does it Himself, Israel cannot execute mass destruction to wipe out potential existential threats because the Muslim Jihadist armies / nations would retaliate in fury egged on by world media propaganda. The world is not concern for Israel’s extinction, except the US and perhaps a few others. Ultimately Israel has an eternal promise by God that they will never be uprooted from their land again.

  9. NO ONE is pointing out the obvious hypocrisy regarding the medias coverage regarding civilian deaths. Just check out estimates (take the lowest ones) of civilian deaths as a result of direct USA military actions in the gulf war, second gulf war and Afghanistan offensive. And there was NO direct threat to America in any of these conflicts. Why don’t the defenders of Israel make any reference to these glaring facts!!!!

  10. Found someone who points it out:
    http://eretzperetz.wordpress.com/2014/07/22/america-the-hypocrisy
    Where was Geraldo’s concern for civilian casualties in these conflicts.