Here in Israel, life is settling back to what passes for normal, but with everyone wondering will the cease fire hold, and for how long? But the most animated question as people reflect on the war is how do you deal with an enemy that knows no moral limits or boundaries, and considers the death of civilians and children a victory – an essential part in their war strategy? What Israel learns will benefit the world, as Hamas and its style of warfare might soon – if not thwarted here – come to a theater near you, and not the movie theater.
Mark Twain said it best: “a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” The lies of Hamas are so pervasive that one wonders whether they actually believe them. They are worse than even that infamous telephone exchange (recorded by US intelligence) during the Six Day War between Egypt’s dictator Nasser and Jordan’s King Hussein about whether they should blame the Americans for Israel’s air supremacy or the Americans and the British. Both could not accept that their air forces had been destroyed by Jews. Undoubtedly, had both taken polygraphs, both dictators would have passed; such is the power of self-deception.
Hamas has taken the art of lying to new depths, and in large part has convinced those pre-disposed to seeing only evil in Jews but has even intimidated some Jews. Let us count the ways, literally.
From the earliest days of the recent war, Hamas lamented to the world the death of its civilians, starting at 200 and then finishing at approximately 1900. All civilians. Every last one. Every Hamas spokesman – even those hiding in the luxury of Qatar – had the identical figures in real time. Even more astounding, everyone killed in Gaza was a civilian. Somehow, not one terrorist was killed.
There are several possibilities that explain this anomaly. It is certainly possible that Hamas fighters are impervious to bullets and bombs, which bounce off them, ricochet and strike innocent civilians. Or, perhaps Israeli technology – already mind-boggling in its sophistication – has developed weaponry in which individual shells are capable of distinguishing between terrorists and civilians, sort of a variation on the neutron bomb that killed people but left people intact, and said weapons always make a beeline for civilians. Or, perhaps Hamas is just lying, and their lies are being repeated verbatim by tendentious journalists. I’ll vote for the latter, seeing as all the figures are production of the Gazan Department of Health which is controlled by Hamas.
Within weeks, Israel will release a list of every person – by name! – who was killed in Gaza, and it will be clear that most people killed were terrorists, and the remainder were the support system for the terrorists, including women and children, whether willingly or unwillingly.
These names are important because one picture can be worth a thousand lies. The internet is crawling with pictures – easily accessible – presented by Hamas as evidence of Israeli atrocities – but pictures “borrowed” from the massacres of Bashar al-Assad in Syria and other places. Indeed, one family had the great misfortune of being murdered by Assad last year, and apparently again by Israel in the last few weeks. Perhaps the most repugnant of these expropriated images was a picture of a dead baby purportedly killed by the evil Israelis, released by Hamas and swallowed whole by the media – when in fact it was a picture of the slaughtered Fogel baby from Itamar, murdered by Arabs five years ago. Same picture, easily found on the internet. Unless, there are homes in Gaza that have Mezuzot on the door.
Dishonorable mention must be made of the staged photography, of stills and videos taken of “victims” – complete with wailing women – with just two minutes later those same “victims” (official cameras turned off) getting up and walking away unscathed. The hospitals themselves are part of this charade, no real surprise because most Gaza hospitals serve as Hamas headquarters or arms depots as well. That is not to say that no one was killed – obviously not – but that both the numbers and the circumstances are clearly not what has been portrayed. And Israel committed to truth, frequently answered that it is “investigating” a variety of brazen accusations, but those investigations usually ended (and exonerated Israel) long after the world’s attention span had drifted elsewhere.
Much of the staging has taken place in the so-called UN schools. The working theory that Hamas deceives the naive UN workers and squirreled away weapons and fighters in the UNRWA establishments is implausible. The UN is part of problem. UNWRA is part of the problem. Its Gaza offices are staffed by Hamas members or Arab sympathizes (a more pleasant term than Jew-haters). Israel plays along, as it has for decades, because the UN – essentially a worthless, even counterproductive organization – provides Israel some of the international legitimacy it craves. But it has always been a thorn in Israel’s side, ever regretful of the only decision that warranted its creation – the establishment of a Jewish state in 1947 (after which it did everything possible to render stillborn). These “schools” are offensive staging areas and weapons storage facilities, and not by accident but by design, and in cooperation with the UN officials who doth protest too much. The “schools” serve as propaganda weapons and helped propagate the lies of the enemy.
Add to the lies the fact that two of the schools hit – where apparently no weapons were stored – were hit by Hamas rockets that went awry, all captured on film from Israeli drones. No matter. Hamas accuses first, and the union of the gullible and the malevolent buy it immediately.
The language used by the Arab propagandists also reeks of duplicity. Officials delight in calling Israelis “Nazis,” and terming Israeli actions in self-defense “genocide” or “ethnic cleansing.” Hmmm. The Talmud (Masechet Kiddushin 70b) states that “kal haposel b’moomo posel,” loosely translated as “he who besmirches others does so with his own blemish.” The only entity thinking, dreaming and planning for genocide is Hamas and its Arab henchmen, and genocide intended for the Jews, in Israel and across the world. The only entities that harbor Nazi-like ambitions are Hamas, and others – Iran, Al Qaeda, ISIS and the other crazies that inhabit the Muslim world and are threatening the rest of civilization.
Sadly, the lies are a way of life. Muslims adhere to a religious doctrine known as Taqiyya (or Kitman) which permits lying in order to further the conduct of a noble goal like victory over the infidel. Do note the irony: Judaism permits lying in order to foster peace (Masechet Bava Metzia 87a), Islam in order to advance the cause of jihad and war.
Even more sadly, many across the world are eager to accept the lies to assuage guilt over the Holocaust, to promote Jew hatred, to weaken Israel, to strengthen Islam, and to prevent an Israeli victory. Long before Twain noted the difficulty in combating lies, King David did as well, in Psalm 120: “Lord, save me from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue. What can be given to you, what can be added, to lying lips?…Too long have I dwelled with those who hate peace.”
The Israeli government has done a remarkable job in countering the lies – point by point, picture by picture – the only problems being that exposure of the truth lags somewhat behind the propagation of the lies, and that the world market for truth is somewhat limited.
But there are certain aspects of Hamas’ conduct of war that transcend the obvious but unprosecuted commission of war crimes and enter the realm of the grotesque, monstrous, and ghastly. IDF soldiers were disproportionately killed by Hamas members wearing IDF uniforms emerging from tunnels. Children were used to lure IDF soldiers to their deaths – the children as well – in booby-trapped buildings. (Naturally, Israel would be blamed for the deaths of those children, as they would be for the murder of dozens of Arabs deemed collaborators and killed by Hamas.) More than 160 children were killed in the last few years while being forced to build the Hamas tunnels designed to murder Jews. At one point, Hamas placed a fake “UNRWA School” sign in front of a building, again to lure IDF soldiers into complacency. Several times, ghoulish Hamas soldiers grabbed the body parts of IDF casualties and ran off with them. This is even sicker than just the coerced use of human shields to create a bevy of martyrs.
This is not human, or reflects such a nadir of humanity that any critic of Israel or supporter of Hamas should question their own morality and decency. It seems as if every Jew-hater on the planet has emerged from his cave (or university office) to bash Israel for having the temerity to live, defend its citizens and respond with measured force to every provocation. The criticism is fixed and often unserious (no one has yet to answer Israel’s pointed question: what would you do to prevent rockets from falling on your people?). Those critics simply require satisfaction of their blood lust for dead Jews. They must maintain that Jews have to die in certain numbers to justify exercising our right of self-defense. It is sick.
There are Jews who will soon tire of the world criticism and urge Israel’s leadership to improve the optics (maybe have more funerals, shut down Iron Dome for a few days to allow civilian suffering to be filmed for posterity, absorb a few blows and be a better sport towards their genocidal enemy.) The voices of those Jews should be ignored.
Fortunately, the will here is strong, and recognition of the enemy’s evil is clear. The sense of us against them – the moral, good and decent vs. the immoral, the evil and the repugnant – is pervasive. The battle continues, as does the desire to sanctify G-d’s name through holiness, good deeds, Torah study, prayer and self-defense. May the rest of the world – “friends” and foes – share that desire, work to protect and preserve Jewish life, and never accommodate itself to such unadulterated wickedness.
And may G-d bless the holy and pure and bring salvation to His troubled world.
And fifty others such videos.