Magazine article The Spectator

Under Fire in Israel

Magazine article The Spectator

Under Fire in Israel

Article excerpt

The anti-Semitic West almost seems to want Israelis to suffer



It's the moral equivalence which is so devastating. When Egypt this week proposed its ceasefire in Gaza, a BBC presenter asked whether both sides would now conclude that there was no point carrying on with the war. From the start, restraint has been urged on both sides -- as if more than 1,100 rocket attacks on Israel in three weeks had the same weight as trying to stop this onslaught once and for all.

Israel has been bombing Gaza solely to stop Hamas and its associates from trying to kill Israeli citizens. But for many in the West, the driving necessity is not to stop Hamas but to stop Israel.

Moral equivalence morphs instantly into moral bankruptcy. People have looked at the casualty count -- around 200 Palestinians killed at the time of writing, while only a handful of Israelis have been injured or killed -- and decided that this proves Israel is a monstrous aggressor.

No concern at all for the Israelis who have only a few seconds to rush to a shelter when the sirens start to wail, car drivers flinging themselves to the ground at the side of the road. No concern for the elderly or dis-abled Israelis who can't get to a shelter, the hospital patients left helpless while the rockets slam into the ground nearby.

Just imagine if the Scots, for example, had for years been firing at England volleys of rockets that were now putting 40-50 million people within range. Unimaginable? Of course it is. No country would tolerate it. But that's the equivalent situation in which tiny Israel has found itself. Yet it is simultaneously having to fight another war: against a West determined to demonise it with accusations of deliberate atrocities, lack of restraint or an attempt to conquer more land.

To these people, whatever Israel does to defend itself is bad. Killing Gazans is bad, warning them to flee so they won't be killed is bad, the Iron Dome missile defence system is bad because, while Palestinians are being killed, Israelis are not. Ah yes, that's the real outrage, isn't it? Not enough dead Jews. How dare they defend themselves so effectively!

And so the West does Hamas's dirty work for it. Hamas cannot defeat Israel militarily. Its strategy is not just to kill Israelis and demoralise the population, but also to de-legitimise Israel so that the West, too, will work for its destruction. Hamas's rockets have failed in the first two objectives -- but the third is a runaway success.

In its hundreds of tunnels, Hamas has built an underground infrastructure of industrialised terror the length of Gaza. As a Fatah spokesman blurted out, it has situated its arsenal among civilians, underneath schools and hospitals and mosques, for the infernal purpose of using its population as human shields and human sacrifices.

It has urged Gazans to make themselves the target of Israeli air strikes. It has ordered them to ignore the Israeli warnings to evacuate, which are delivered by leaflet, phone, text and warning shots.

Doesn't the Israel-atrocity brigade ever pause to wonder why Hamas has provided no air-raid shelters for its people, while Israel has constructed a national shelter system? Gazan civilians are dying in order to maximise their numbers killed in the war, so that Hamas can incite against Israel in both the Muslim world and the West.

And it openly games the PR system. …

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