Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

How does each side of the Israel-Hamas conflict treat civilians?

You can learn everything you need to know about the Middle East conflict from this short video by Dennis Prager:

Now Israel is having about 80% of their country targeted by rocket attacks right now, and the attacks are designed to deliberately kill civilians. These are not military strikes designed to avoid civilian casualties, they are terrorist attacks designed to inflict civilian casualties.

Here is an article from leftist CNN that makes the point about Israel, Hamas and civilians.

Excerpt:

Israeli forces dropped leaflets in northern Gaza on Sunday to warn residents to move away from Hamas sites to avoid military strikes.

The warning came as the death toll in Gaza reached 168, with more than 1,100 people injured, the Gaza Health Ministry said.

About 70% of the fatalities were civilians, of which 30% — 27 people — were children, said Chris Gunness, spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, which said the figures came from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Israel said its forces have struck 1,320 “terror targets” across Gaza, including 735 concealed rocket launchers.

Israel has used its Iron Dome defense system against many of the more than 800 rockets fired from Gaza into Israel, the military said. Two more were intercepted Sunday over the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.

[...]Video on Hamas-run television showed a Hamas spokesman urging people to serve as human shields, CNN’s Jake Tapper reported Thursday.

[...]Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls Gaza, regularly uses sites and facilities populated by civilians.

“The leadership of Hamas and the other organizations has chosen — at a time when they are using the population of Gaza as human shields — to hide under ground, to flee abroad and to deliberately put civilians in the line of fire,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a Cabinet meeting Sunday.

“This is the entire difference between us and Hamas — we are using defensive systems against missiles to protect the residents of Israel, and they are using the residents of Gaza to protect arsenals of missiles. Nothing better underscores the difference in this campaign. Israel is a democracy that is fighting — in a legitimate and focused manner — against unbridled terrorists,” he said.

[...]Throughout the conflict, Israel has warned Gaza residents of upcoming attacks targeting militants and terrorist infrastructure. On Twitter on Sunday, the IDF posted: “To warn civilians of an impending strike, the IDF drops leaflets, makes personalized phone calls & sends SMSes. How many militaries do that?”

“Sirens heard across (Israel). Gaza terrorists are firing barrages of rockets. Israel is under attack,” the IDF posted, with a photo asking “What would you do?”

[...]In leaflets dropped Sunday, the IDF warned residents that it intends “to attack terrorists and terror infrastructures.” The leaflets list areas that will be targeted. “Israel is currently attacking, and will continue to attack, every area from which rockets are being launched at its territory.”

The leaflets told residents which roads were safe to take and gave a time frame. “The IDF is not interested in hurting you or your family members. These operations are limited and short. Whoever does not adhere to these instructions and does not vacate their house immediately is subjecting their lives and the lives of their children and family to danger,” the leaflet said.

The Israeli military said it also drops empty shells on roofs, an operation it calls “roof knocking,” to alert civilians that airstrikes are imminent.

The goal of the airstrikes, the military said, is to get Hamas militants to stop firing rockets into Israel.

Meanwhile, Israel spent a ton of money on the “Iron Dome” missile defense system in order to protect Jewish and Arab residents of Israel.

So, I hope this is enough to explain to people that there is no moral equivalence between Israel and terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. If you are targeting civilians deliberately, you are a terrorist. It’s wrong, and only one side does it. Period.

I also want to point out that I have no religious reason for backing Israel against Hamas and Hezbollah in this conflict. I don’t like Israel’s anti-evangelism laws. But compared to the alternatives, they are the most pro-Western democracy in the area, and that’s why I support them. It’s strictly foreign policy and moral concerns. I am opposed to terrorism and to wage war against it, we need allies in the theater. Israel is always going to be looking out for Israel, not us, but they are a strong ally and we need to be encouraging them for that reason.

Filed under: News, , , ,

Obama administration gave $500 million of foreign aid to Islamic radicals

From Investors Business Daily.

Excerpt:

The sequester has “cost jobs,” says President Obama, and “gutted investments in education and science and medical research.” But somehow he’s earmarked $500 million for Hamas terrorists.

Circumventing Congress and with no fanfare, President Obama last week issued an executive order enabling him to send an additional $500 million directly to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank — much of which you can bet will wind up going to the Iranian-backed Hamas terrorist organization.

According to Obama, “it is important to the national security interests of the United States to waive the provisions of” Congress’ legislative restrictions “in order to provide funds . .. to the Palestinian Authority.”

At the beginning of his first term, Obama promised close to $1 billion in aid to the Palestinian Authority, with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledging none of it would reach Hamas.

But the Hebrew-language newspaper Yediot Acharonot has documented that tens of millions of dollars in aid for the PA — from Israel — ended up being used by Hamas for weapons. If Israel can’t guarantee its own aid is safe, how can we?

The Christian Science Monitor has more on Obama’s generous use of taxpayer dollars.

Excerpt:

The US military has been ignoring warnings that its spending in Afghanistan is funding Al Qaedaand the Taliban. And John F. Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), appears to have had enough.

He issued a blistering cover letter with SIGAR’s quarterly report to Congress today that called into question what “appears to be a growing gap between the policy objectives of Washington and the reality of achieving them in Afghanistan.”

The US has $20 billion of Afghan reconstruction spending scheduled, and a further $10 billion requested for the 2014 budget. But after 11 years of war, there are “serious shortcomings in US oversight of contracts: poor planning, delayed or inadequate inspections, insufficient documentation, dubious decisions, and – perhaps most troubling – a pervasive lack of accountability,” Mr. Sopko wrote. Good intentions, he added, appear to be running way ahead of commitment to execution.

Now I know what Obama meant when he said that the economy works better when you “spread the wealth around”.

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The Hamas-Israel conflict and “disproportionate use of force”

There is no moral equivalence between Hamas and Israel

There is no moral equivalence between Hamas and Israel

Dina tweeted this editorial in the radically leftist UK Guardian, of all places.

Excerpt:

Hamas’s charter includes the aspiration that “The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews)”. While many concentrate on its death-cult worship, its bloodthirsty killing of adversaries, or its contempt for women, Christians and homosexuals, it is this aspiration for genocide that is at the root of Hamas activities. This is the primary reason why Hamas, the governing regime in Gaza, will never recognise or accept a peace accord with Israel in any form.

Since Israel left Gaza in 2005, thousands of rockets have rained down on Israeli cities and towns in deliberate contravention not just of international law, but all humanity and morality.

[...]Every rocket from Gaza is a double war crime. First, the rockets are aimed at civilians; second, they are fired from built-up civilian areas, often close to schools, mosques and hospitals. And about 10% of Hamas rockets fired from Gaza don’t reach Israel, exploding in Gaza. Mohammed Sadallah – a four-year-old killed on Saturday, his body displayed in a press conference with Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’s leader – was, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, most likely killed by an errant Hamas rocket.

Hamas leaders frequently declare that their people actively seek death. Fathi Hamad, a senior member of Hamas, stated in 2008 that “for the Palestinian people, death became an industry, at which women and children excel. Accordingly we created a human shield of women, children and elderly. We seek death as you [Israelis] desire life.”

[...]Israel has successfully targeted in excess of 1,300 weapons caches, rocket launchers and other elements of Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure. Yet despite this, the number of Palestinian casualties remains around one for every 13 strikes, the majority killed being active members of Hamas and combatants.

There is no moral equivalence here – one side is good and the other side is evil. It’s a black and white issue.

When I was in graduate school, I was partnered up with an exchange student from Egypt. She said that Israelis were terrorists because they killed civilians while using force. I told her that terrorism is the intentional targeting of civilians for attacks rather than military targets. Therefore, Hamas and Hezbollah are terrorists, and Israel is not. Israel uses arms in self-defense, and they try to minimize civilian casualties by giving warnings of strikes. Islamic groups intentionally target civilians – schools and hospitals. The Islamic groups are terrorists and the IDF is acting in self-defense against unprovoked rocket attacks.

If Islamic terrorists laid down their arms, then tomorrow there would be peace. But if Israeli Defense Forces laid down their arms, then tomorrow, Israel would be destroyed, and every Jew in it. That is why the IDF has to do what the IDF has to do. And this time, I hope that they don’t use half-measures to stop the flow of rockets into Israel. They must use the appropriate force necessary to stop the rocket attacks.

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Israel reports first use of shoulder-fired surface-air-missiles by Gaza terrorists

SA-7 Grail with Russian Strela-2 missile

SA-7 Grail with Russian Strela-2 missile

From CNS News.

Excerpt:

In a new sign of the growing dangers facing Israel, security officials have confirmed that terrorists in the Gaza Strip for the first time have fired an anti-aircraft missile at an Israeli aircraft.

Officials told the Yedioth Ahronothdaily that the weapon, apparently a Strela shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile, targeted an Israeli military helicopter over the Hamas-ruled territory last week but missed.

Israel has long suspected Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza of having such weapons, and amid the chaos accompanying the downfall of the Gaddafi regime in Libya many went missing, and more are believed to have been smuggled into the Strip, via tunnels from the Sinai peninsula.

Soviet-designed Strela-2 missiles (known by NATO as SA-7 Grail) have been used in various insurgencies around the world, including the mujahedeen’s fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan, and the anti-coalition insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade.

The threat posed by such missiles – also known as “man-portable air defense systems” (MANPADS) – has been cited for years by Israeli security officials in expressing concerns about the risks of Palestinian militants using them against passenger aircraft approaching of leaving Israel’s main international airport. Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv is located less than five miles from the nearest territory the Palestinians want included in a future state.

[...]MANPAD’ ease of operation, portability and relatively low cost make them a weapon of choice for terrorists wanting to target civilian or military aircraft.

According to U.S. government data, more than 40 civilian aircraft have been hit by such weapons over the past four decades, resulting in some 800 deaths. Rebels used the weapons to shoot down a plane carrying the presidents of Burundi and Rwanda in 1994, an act that helped to trigger the genocide that claimed more than 800,000 lives.

In one known al-Qaeda use, terrorists tried unsuccessfully to down an Israeli airliner shortly after it took off from an airport in Kenya in 2002.

The reported use of a MANPAD by Gaza-based terrorists came during the same week as Hezbollah, the Shi’ite Iranian proxy in Lebanon, deployed a drone aircraft over Israel. The unmanned plane was shot down over an uninhabited area in southern Israel, and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in a speech said it had been designed in Iran and assembled by his group in Lebanon.

The Strela-2 has a maximum range of about 5 KM. You can read more about them here. Keep in mind that Hezbollah has used Chinese missiles to sink Israeli surface vessels. The missiles were provided to the Syria-based terrorists by Iran.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , ,

Michael Brown explains five simple truths about the Middle East conflict

Map of Israel

Map of Israel

Mary sent me this article from TownHall.

Here’s the introduction:

Is there any subject more controversial than the question of the legitimacy of the modern State of Israel? Is it the eternal home of the Jewish people, promised to them by God Himself? Or is it the illegitimate home of violent Jewish occupiers, an apartheid state guilty of ethnic cleansing? Or is it something in between? In the midst of the often emotional arguments on both sides, it is helpful to review five simple truths about the Mideast conflict.

And the list of 5 points:

  1. There is no such thing as a historic “Palestinian people” living in the Middle East.
  2. There were anti-Jewish intifadas in Palestine two decades before the founding of the State of Israel in 1948.
  3. Jewish refugees fleeing from Muslim and Arab countries were absorbed by Israel after 1948; Arab refugees fleeing from Israel after 1948 were not absorbed by Muslim and Arab countries
  4. Only one side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is truly committed to peaceful co-existence.
  5. The current uprisings throughout the Muslim and Arab world today remind us that Israel cannot fairly be blamed for all the tension and conflicts in the region.

And what I think is the most significant point:

4. Only one side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is truly committed to peaceful co-existence.It is often stated that if the Palestinians put down their weapons, there would be no more war but if the Israelis put down their weapons, there would be no more Israel. This is not to say that all Palestinians are warmongers and all Israelis are doves. But the vast majority of Israelis are not driven by a radical ideology that calls for the extermination of their Arab neighbors, nor are they teaching their children songs about the virtues of religious martyrdom.

Israel does not relish spending a major portion of its budget on defense, nor does it relish sending its sons and daughters into military service. It simply will not surrender Jerusalem, its historic and religious capital, and it will not commit regional suicide by retreating to indefensible borders. In return it simply asks the Palestinians to say, “We embrace your right to exist.”

I think point #4 tells you everything you need to know.

 

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