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HAS ISRAEL EMPLOYED DISPROPORTIONATE FORCE IN GAZA?

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The aggression that forced Israel to act was largely ignored by the international press. The journalists have never treated the suffering of Israel’s population under constant armed attack as particularly newsworthy. The suffering of the Israelis living within rocket and mortar range was, and is, rarely reported by the international media. But once Israel at long last decided to send troops to Gaza to end the incessant barrage, it was suddenly a major story. Israel was now cast in the role of an aggressor that was committing “war crimes” by using “disproportionate force” against innocent civilians.

  

As for the vastly “disproportionate” number of casualties, especially civilian casualties, supposedly inflicted on the Gaza population by Israel by Operation Cast Lead we should view the figures published and broadcast by the media with the deepest skepticism. For example, a claim by United Nations officials that 1,300 people were killed in the recent Gaza fighting, over half of them civilians, has been widely repeated by the press. But the principal UN organization in Gaza, the Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), is notoriously dominated by Palestinians in general and Hamas in particular. All but perhaps a dozen of its Gaza employees are Palestinians, and most of these are Hamas members or supporters. Hamas even controls the union which represents UNRWA’s employees in Gaza!  

  

The statements of one of the physicians who treated the wounded in Gaza’s hospitals to an Italian reporter should make us even more doubtful of the UN’s casualty figures. According to the Italian journalist, the doctor, who “wished to remain unidentified, out of fear for his life,” told him that “the number of deceased stands at no more than 500 to 600. Most of them are youths between the ages of 17 to 23 who were recruited to the ranks of Hamas, who sent them to the slaughter," The doctor’s information was confirmed by Palestinian reporters speaking to their Italian colleague, also speaking off the record, of course, because of justifiable fear of Hamas reprisals.

  

Hamas chose quite deliberately to dig in heavily populated areas, to fire at Israeli soldiers from schools, hospitals, and private homes, to booby-trap these schools, hospitals, and to offer fierce armed resistance in densely populated areas. In order to destroy the enemy rockets and mortars, and the tunnels used to transport them and the terrorist aggressors, Israel was forced to inflict heavy casualties on the Hamas terrorists themselves, and tragically, on some civilians whom the Hamas terrorists deliberately held hostage as “human shields.” It was Hamas’s actions, not those of Israel that made Arab casualties in an unavoidable counterterrorism operation “disproportionate.”

  

John Landau contributed to this article.

Visit www.MiddleEastSolutions.org    

DOCUMENTARY SOURCES FOR ARTICLE  For Hamas’ campaign of rocket and mortar terror against Israelis, see“Summary of Rocket fire and mortar shelling in 2008” Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/pdf/ipc_e007.pdf “Rocket Threat from the Gaza Strip, 2000-2007,” ITIC, http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/pdf/rocket_threat_e.pdf ,And numerous other articles on the ITIC site (http://www.terrorism-info.org.il); Also,  “Victims of Palestinian Violence and Terrorism since 2008,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/Palestinian+terror+since+2000/Victims+of+Palestinian+Violence+and+Terrorism+sinc.htm .  For additional information on the suffering of Israel’s Negev region population under constant bombardment, see Boston Globe, “The loudest memories: as camps comfort Israeli children, thunder reminds them of attacks,” By Steven A. Rosenberg,  July 25, 2007, http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/07/25/the_loudest_memories/ ;” ynetnews.com, "Sderot kids: Can't remember life without Qassams,” by Miri Chason,  November 9, 2006, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3325250,00.html ;Israel National News, “Evacuation Notice,” by Rachel Saperstein, http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/8367 , November 12, 2008 ,   and numerous articles on the site Katif.net, http://english.katif.net/ .  

For a timeline of Palestinian terrorism leading up to the Israeli counter-terrorist initiative, see Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA),Timeline and Causes of ‘Operation Cast Lead’ in Gaza,” January 6, 2009, http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=31&x_actionitem=87   

  

For information about UNRWA’s very close relationship with Hamas, the Popular Resistance Committees and other Palestinian Arab terrorist groups, and its assistance to these groups, see  the report from the Global Research in International Affairs Center (GLORIA), “UNRWA: Refuge in Rejectionism,” by Barry Rubin, Assaf Romirowsky, and Jonathan Spyer, May 8, 2008,  http://www.gloriacenter.org/index.asp?pname=submenus/articles/2008/rubin/5_8.asp ; and the report of the Center for Near East Policy Research, “UNRWA: Overview and Policy Critique,” by Arlene Kushner, November 2008, http://israelbehindthenews.com/pdf/UNRWAOverviewAndCritique.pdf 

  For Italian reporter Lorenzo Cremonesi’s exposé of Hamas’ phony casualty figures that have been picked up by the United Nations and the international press, and the comments of the anonymous Gazan doctor on this subjects, see ynetnews.com, “Gazan doctor says death toll inflated,” 01/22/09, http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-3660423,00.html; and “Maximum 600 Palestinians died in Gaza,” Jerusalem Post, January 22, 2009, http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1232292938156&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull        

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Rachel Neuwirth, an internationally recognized, political commentator and analyst. She specializes in Middle Eastern Affairs with particular emphasis on Militant Islam and Israeli foreign policy. She has been published in prominent news papers of (more...)
 
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