By: Jacques Rothschild
Much has been said and written about the latest conflict in Gaza. Not surprisingly, the world and the media’s biased attitude and accusing posture towards Israel haven’t changed with regards to the undesired and unintentional, yet unpreventable killings of innocent civilians in Hamastan, no matter how legitimate Israel’s acts of self-defense are, and how cowardly Hamas hides behinds civilians.
According to the majority of the media outlets, Israel is always at fault and the IDF is never doing enough to spare lives. This, even though no other army comes close to follow the same moral compass, patience and restraint as exhibited by the IDF, all the while no other country’s civil population has been bombed as much as Israel.
One example from recent history that comes to mind, is the US campaign in Fallujah in 2004, also known as the Second Battle of Fallujah. The battle was very bloody even though the insurgents did not rain rockets on the civilian population, nor did they dig terror tunnels to kidnap innocent civilians. Yet, the US and British forces did not spare any effort to crush the Islamists; over sixty mosques were totally destroyed because many of them were used as arms caches. Close to ten thousand buildings were leveled and over two hundred thousand people were displaced. The entire city’s infrastructure was decimated and the Red Cross estimated the number of civilians killed to be more than one thousand. Less than 10% of the pre-fighting population was able to return to Fallujah. This is the nature of urban combat.
Moreover, The Washington Post reported that some US artillery guns also fired white phosphorus causing insurgents and civilians to die from chemical burns.
Despite the heavy losses, the number of insurgent attacks gradually increased after the battle in 2004 and the US admitted that the battle proved less than decisive. Fighting continued for years, to the point where a few years later, insurgents were able to again operate in large numbers. As of late 2013, Sunni insurgents linked to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have taken Fallujah over.
Has the media not learned, or is it conveniently not mentioning to its viewers, that when the allied forces embarked in Normandy in 1944, close to fifty thousand innocent French citizens were killed as part of the effort to defeat Hitler and his killing machine? Did anyone call on Winston Churchill for a cease-fire? Did Eisenhower ever contemplate pulling his troops back mid-operation?
Israel has thus far made a huge sacrifice; as of today fifty seven heroic soldiers have already paid with their lives. Their loss may not be in vain; others shall not have to pay again for the same job during a next confrontation. A liberation or eradication of terrorism should be a one-time campaign. Israel cannot afford Gaza to become Fallujah.
While the loss of life of ordinary citizens in France in 1944-45 was tragic and shall never be used to justify the loss of life in Gaza, the lesson Israel must learn from the allies in WWII is that despite the death toll of innocent civilians, the campaign went on until the end- the moment at which Hitler took his poison pills and/or revolver and washed his mouth with it, deep down in his bunker.
An Israeli news outlet has very recently revealed that the option of assassinating the two band leaders of Hamas was raised during a cabinet meeting, but PM Netanyahu objected. That’s fine, as long as he is determined to pursue the crushing of Hamas until chieftain Haniyeh, also hiding in bunker or tunnel, emulates Hitler’s ending.
So what is different this time around, compared to the last round against Hamas?
Unlike in the prior confrontation with Hamas in 2012, known as Operation Pillar of Defense, when Egypt was ruled by Morsi, in other words by the Muslim Brotherhood, Israel had no choice but to agree to a cease-fire as it was faced with a united Hamas supportive Islamist triangle, namely Egypt, Turkey and Qatar.
We all knew then that the cease fire was a tactical pause forced on Israel, to allow Hamas to rearm itself with longer range and deadlier missiles and tactics. What we did not know then, was that by the next confrontation Hamas would be orphaned from Egypt.
In the current conflict Egypt is headed by President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, a strong opponent of the Muslim Brotherhood who has a track record of fighting them tooth and nail. He also disdains its international backers; mainly Qatar and Turkey. It is precisely this change in the equation that has broken the Islamic pressure bloc on Israel to acquiesce to Hamas’s pre-conditions for a ceasefire.
How disappointing then, that the US, under Obama, aligned itself with Turkey and Qatar to “replace” the Muslim Brotherhood, once in charge of Egypt. More revealing is the fact that the US administration was fully aware of el-Sissi’s efforts to defeat Hamas.
Is anyone surprised?
The leftist media and peace camp in Israel are fuming. They always thought Obama was their savior. They also found great pleasure in betraying Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon by airing a secretly recorded conversation in which he said that “Kerry is messianic”.
It is tough to be proven wrong.
If the current confrontation and its behind the scenes political machinations have exposed anything, it is that Gaza is the prototype of achieving peace through the two-state solution.
Israel shall articulate this point as clearly as possible, to ensure that the difficult current military campaign along with the sacrifices in precious Jewish blood it endured thus far, in addition to the berating and admonishing at the hands of the media and world leaders, is not done for the sake of Abbas and the PLO, but rather for its own long-term national interests of survival and peaceful future.
Jacques R. Rothschild was born in Belgium and served as a unit commander in the IDF paratroopers. He graduated in Mathematics, Statistics and International Affairs from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and lives with his family in New York City where he works as an Investment Banker. He also writes and speaks publicly about current affairs and causes for which he cares deeply.