August 7, 2023
“The Pain, the Fury, and the Fight!!”
We have marked 30 days of our war with Hamas, a war we did not invite, most certainly did not want, but now must win decisively in order to eradicate the unspeakable evil of Hamas.
We begin with a beautiful video in which Shulem Lemmer marks the death of 1,400 innocents in the massacre of October 7aHamas mam . We will not forget what happened that day, but neither should we let the world forget.
It is with a mix of grief for the suffering of our people and profound anger that I write. Already much of the world has moved past the horror of the massacre, or rationalized it, or, in some cases, actually endorsed it.
My heart breaks for the parents of the 40 babies and young children who are being held hostage by Hamas in Heaven knows what condition. And when I see pictures of Hamas supporters who tear down pictures of these innocent young hostages, I am filled with rage.
And so, while our soldiers battle in the field, we must continue to fight by spreading the truth. Today I begin by taking on the vile Barak Obama.
For those of us who were looking closely, it was obvious early on, when he was a candidate for the presidency for the first time, that he was not going to be a friend. And certainly, this has been the case over the years.
Now, declaring that “we are all complicit,” Obama has opted for the moral equivalency position, which is a profound distortion of reality. In a NYTimes interview, he declared (emphasis added):
“…what Hamas did was horrific and there’s no justification for it, and what is also true is that the occupation, and what is happening to Palestinians, is unbearable.”
Leaving aside for the moment the outrage of his creating a false moral equivalency (what Hamas did was horrific, but so is “the occupation” horrific), I think we need to look at the charge of “occupation.”
Folks, there is no occupation!! This charge is a convenient hook upon which can be hung delegitimization of Israel and justification for Palestinian Arab hostility against Israel. Just as the term “apartheid” is thrown around to discredit Israel, so is “occupation.”
There is a great deal of talk these days about “international law” (and I will come back to it below). Let us then acknowledge the historical reality within the context of the law.
In 1922, the League of Nations unanimously passed the Mandate for Palestine. An article of international law, it gave Great Britain the mandate for establishing a homeland for the Jewish People within Palestine, which included the area of Gaza. This mandate was carried over to the UN, when it replaced the League.
When Israel declared independence and the Mandate expired, according to international law her boundaries were the same as the Mandate boundaries had been. That is Uti Possidetis Juris, an article of customary international law.
However, during the War of Independence, Egypt seized Gaza illegally and retained it until Israel liberated it in 1967. Jewish communities were built there, primarily within Gush Katif.
In 2005, with the “disengagement,” Israel pulled out of Gaza completely. It was turned over to the PA. But in 2007 Hamas seized Gaza by force, driving out the PA.
Israel has not been “occupying” Gaza. “Occupation” would have meant military control of the area, and this was simply not the case. There was no Israeli presence in Gaza.
There was an agreement that was struck with the PA regarding Israel supplying a certain percentage of Gaza’s water and electricity, which was carried over with Hamas control.
There was a closed border between Gaza and Israel. This is a normal state of affairs. All the residents of Gaza could not simply cross over into Israel at will. This was controlled from the Israeli side, but Gaza was not sealed off as in a siege. There are crossways between Israel and Gaza, and it has been routine for goods to come in and out. As well, people have been permitted to cross into and out of Gaza – with medical care sometimes made available in Israel for people in Gaza. (This situation changed during periods of hostilities, as would obviously be the case.) There has been a partial blockade of Gaza because Hamas regularly sought to bring in weapons to use against Israel.
If life is unbearable for the people of Gaza it is not the fault of Israel, but of Hamas, which is supposed to administer the area. Money is used for armaments and rockets and not for improving the conditions of the people. Hamas’s raison d’être is destruction of Israel, not the betterment of the lives of the residents of Gaza.
It must be pointed out, as well, that Gaza has access to Egypt via the Rafah gate, but that Egypt has been less than receptive in terms of allowing people into the Sinai.
As to International Law now, with regard to Israel’s fully justified attack on Hamas, I share the comments of esteemed professor of law Eugene Kontorovich, an expert on international law.
Eugene (pictured) was interviewed by Jonathan Tobin, editor of Jewish News Syndicate (JNS).
The entire interview is available here:
But you might prefer to see the first part of the interview, in which Eugene outlines the basics. This might be the best version to share broadly:
He says that Israel’s attacks on Hamas sites are all legal according to international law.
Hamas use of human shields is not legal according to international law.
But international law permits Israel to continue to hit Hamas even though Hamas is using human shields. It would make not sense for it to be otherwise, for then Hamas could avoid all attack by using human shields. International law recognizes that there will be casualties in a war.
What is not permitted is a disproportionate attack – an attack that kills and injures a large number of civilians proportionate to the military gain. It would not be permitted to hit an entire apartment building, killing many residents, for example, in order to eliminate one sniper.
What is particularly enraging now is the tendency in many quarters of the international community to hold Israel responsible for civilian deaths rather than calling out Hamas’s illegal use of human shields. The onus is being placed on Israel at all times.
We see this particularly with the deplorable statements of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres:
“Ground operations by the Israel Defense Forces and continued bombardment are hitting civilians, hospitals, refugee camps, mosques, churches and UN facilities – including shelters. No one is safe!
“…Gaza is becoming a graveyard for children. Hundreds of girls and boys are reportedly being killed or injured every day…We must act now to find a way out of this brutal, awful, agonizing dead end of destruction.”
I note again here that the reports of casualties, coming from Hamas, are very likely inflated. But much more significantly, he is calling on Israel to stop, which would leave Hamas standing for another massacre. And not once do I see that he condemns Hamas for placing its command centers and tunnels underneath hospitals and refugee camps (sic), mosques, etc. Not once.
The IDF ground forces are closing in on Shifa hospital, where Hamas has its headquarters. There will be an international furor, headed by Guterres, when we go in. But go in we must!
See what Maj-Gen (ret.) Giora Eiland, a former IDF operations chief and former head of the National Security Council, says in this regard. His observations are exceedingly important and should be shared very broadly (emphasis added).:
“[the US is] having trouble appreciating that Gaza is not Mosul and not like the areas where Islamic State was fought… It is the most fortified place in the history of humanity, with the best of Iranian technology, and billions invested.”
“[The Americans also speak of Gaza] “as though there is Hamas, bad people, and civilians in Gaza, who are innocent and need to be saved . That is not the reality in Gaza. Gaza to a very great extent is a Nazi state, in which they have managed to recruit the entire civil society in support of the struggle against Israel. Every other home in Gaza has an entrance down to the tunnels below. These are private homes. All the hospital and school administrators are Hamas workers. There is a great effort by all Gazans against Israel. They are united around their leadership, not opposed to the leadership.”
Lastly, Eiland makes this significant point:
“…we don’t only need to reach a real achievement there, but that achievement has to resonate as follows: This is what happens to those who carry out slaughter against the State of Israel.”
Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, formerly head of the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence, delivers a similar message (emphasis added):
“We hear repeatedly from Western leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden himself, that Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people. I beg to differ. There’s a big part of the Palestinian people who consider Hamas their representative—not only in the Gaza street but even in Judea and Samaria. Hamas represents a very important part of the Palestinian people, something to bear in mind when we speak of ‘the day after’ the war.
Just as Guterres ignores Hamas responsibility for the plight of civilians, so does he decline to mention the illegal action of Hamas in holding hostages, including children. The bias of the international community is beyond shameful here.
The International Red Cross, which has a responsibility to visit hostages, has done nothing.
“Settler leaders in Judea and Samaria lambasted the Biden administration after the New York Times reported US officials ‘fear’ the M-16 rifles Israel was going to buy through a State Department transaction would end up with ‘security squads’ comprising civilians in settlements who guard their community.”
Credit: Oren Ben Hakoon
“According to the report, State Department officials who oversee weapons sales have received ‘reassurances’ that the 24,000 rifles destined to Israel would end up only with the uniformed police force rather than the civilians.
“’The American demand not to provide weapons to the squads shows anything but great friendship,’ Shlomo Ne’eman, chairman of the Yesha Council (on the right above), said in response.
“According to Ne’eman, ‘Over half a million residents of the West Bank face terror attacks and incitement from mosques to carry out attacks on a daily basis, and just last Thursday, we lost Elhanan Klein, may his memory be a blessing, in a shooting attack.’
“Settler leaders also say the misconception about what settlers do is a result of the left-wing organizations maligning them abroad.”
The Binyamin Region, which is part of Samaria, has put out an appeal for funds.
The communities in Binyamin are surrounded by hostile Arab villages and there is fear that they will join the Hamas campaign against Israel.
You can see here a list of things they hope to purchase with the funds, such as helmets, walkie-talkies, ceramic vests, etc.
Please consider making a donation.
Pray to Heaven for Israel, my friends. Pray for the safety of our boys and the rescue of our hostages, and the strength and wisdom of our leaders. Pray with a heart filled with hope, not fear.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.