Foreign Policy magazine is a premier publication for serious discussions of world affairs and US foreign policy. Although its circulation figures are far lower than those of the most widely read media heavyweights, it is read by countless policymakers, lobbyists and those seeking to understand the world.
This is why an essay by Somdeep Sen, entitled “Why Israel Hates Gaza, “ published in the magazine Dec. 26, needs to be addressed.
Before we go any further, it’s important to note a fundamental fact about Sen’s remarkably one-sided rant: It doesn’t dismiss Israeli concerns so much as it omits them altogether.
Litany of omissions
For an essay seeking to establish why Israel “hates Gaza,” it is instructive to note what readers are not Recount:
At the outset, the article refers to “Israel’s 11-day military campaign in Gaza in May” and focuses on the damage caused by the Israeli airstrikes.
In fact, the conflict erupted because Hamas fired rockets at Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, knowing full well that this would force Israel to react.
Additionally, in 2006, Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists during a cross-border raid on Israeli territory in which the Shalit border patrol was a part was attacked. Three of his teammates were killed and when Shalit surrendered he was kidnapped in Gaza and held there, without access to humanitarian personnel and in violation of international humanitarian law (IHL), for over 5 years. His family could not speak to him, again in violation of IHL.
Shalit did not return home until 2011 after Israel agreed to an exchange in which more than 1,000 Palestinian security prisoners, many with blood on their hands, were released. Despite assurances that they would not return to their murderous ways, a number of them did just that and helped orchestrate new attacks on Israel.
It should also be noted that the same year Shalit was kidnapped, a British journalist, Alan Johnson of the BBC, was also captured. Although he was released 44 days later, his treatment served as a warning to all foreign journalists in Gaza: don’t question the story Hamas and other Islamist groups want to hear.
Many UN officials and journalists covering the Gaza Strip who confirmed Hamas ‘”Israeli claims” about Hamas’ war crimes (more on this later) have been declared persona non grata or have had their images suppressed.
Another startling omission is any reference to the tens of thousands of rockets fired at Israel by terrorists based in Gaza. Many of these rockets are built, stored and launched from behind the cover of densely populated civilian areas – a war crime by definition. And by firing this ammunition at Israeli population centers in the hope of killing Israeli civilians, another war crime is being committed.
Moreover, with Hamas and Islamic Jihad routinely violating international law, Israel is forced to retaliate without being able to decisively win, and the terrorists are able to continue their rule in Gaza. Street executions and arbitrary imprisonment are central to understanding why many Israelis view Gaza as a far more extreme place than the West Bank. While Ramallah may be the stronghold of Fatah, Gaza is on a whole new level.
At one point in the essay, Sen explains how “figures at the head of armed factions like the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas grew up in dire conditions in the refugee camps in Gaza.” There is much more to it: Hamas has built a creeping kleptocracy, in which millions and millions of dollars for humanitarian aid have been funneled into the bank accounts of its members, thus perpetuating poverty.
Yet all of this is completely omitted from the article.
Blatant distortion of reality
Time and again Sen’s essay excuses Palestinian terrorism. For example, he depicts Gaza as having “no access to formal politics under Egyptian rule”, so “military tactics were the only available means of political engagement in Gaza.”
While citing several political leaders who, like the Israeli public, are tired of the endless waves of terror emanating from the territory, and openly speak of it as a fortress of terror, Sen dishonestly characterizes these depictions of Israel having to confront. terrorists in Gaza as somehow “expressing their contempt for the place.” If Sen cannot tell the difference between malicious actions and the desire to root out terrorist attacks, while also removing the agency from people in an entire region, then at least the Foreign Policy editorial staff should have drawn attention. about this blatant lie when writing the play.
Attempts to vilify Israel take readers back to the days before the state’s founding, with Israeli leaders described as having deliberately destroyed Arab villages and oversaw an attempt to suppress all evidence of an Arab presence in the country. Of course, nowhere in this essay is there room for the multiple peace offers accepted by Israel, including the UN Partition Plan which was approved in 1947 and would have offered two peoples the possibility of living. side by side in their respective sovereign states. .
The fact that the Jewish rulers accepted this plan, despite the fact that the majority of the designated land is located in the arid Negev desert, and despite the fact that it would likely have forced the vast majority of Jews to live in a small strip of land vulnerable along the coast, wedged between three different regions dominated by Arabs, is totally ignored.
Instead, readers are fed with blatant lies about “the memory of Israel’s violent birth and how it sought to erase the existence of Palestine and the Palestinians,” and casually informed that “As a result, Gaza is today at the heart of militant action. commitment to the Palestinian national movement, ”as if one simply flowed from the other.
It should be noted that the writer is associate professor at a Danish university. The descent of academia into interest-oriented “research” and identity politics has been well documented. Yet the media remain accountable to the public and must do better. It is important that the media continue to present a range of opinions. But not at the cost of undermining the truth through a litany of unfounded assertions and decontextualized defamation.
Ultimately, if Israel “really hated Gaza” it would not have invested in defensive measures such as Iron Dome, which saves Israeli lives and thus greatly reduces the need for Israel to retaliate against terrorists firing rockets. Without Iron Dome, a purely defensive weapon which, although largely funded by the United States, was designed by Israeli engineers, the damage inflicted on Gaza would have been much greater. More than protecting Israeli civilians, the Iron Dome actually protects Gazans.
Finally, returning to Sen’s point of departure, it is important to note that it is possible to debate how the UK government’s decision to ban all of Hamas as a terrorist organization will affect the people of Gaza in its own right. together. It is legitimate to open a discussion on the guarantee of human rights and how to meet the needs of people. There is no doubt about this.
But when the argument fails to take into account the reality that Gaza is run by an organization determined to destroy Israel, and regularly acts on that ideology, then the resulting conversation is fundamentally skewed and in fact pushes the odds away. to achieve a more level playing field for people on all sides.
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