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Don’t Reward Terror

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is only one of many territorial and religious conflicts worldwide, but it seems to draw more international attention than any other. Here is a fact, which in this context cannot be disputed: In 2005, Israel vacated 10,000 settlers from the Gaza Strip, pulled out all its military forces, and withdrew to the last centimeter of the international border. This move, it should be mentioned, was highly disputed within the Israeli public.

Here are a few more facts that cannot be ignored:

Four years earlier, 20 years ago this week, the Palestinians started to fire rockets at Israel. The thought that if Israel pulls out, then the Palestinians would stop the rockets and build their independent community was refuted. Not only that the rocket launches didn’t stop; They were even amplified. Hamas, which won the Palestinian elections in 2006, took over the Gaza Strip completely. Instead of investing its funds for the welfare of the Palestinian public, it harnessed the money to further develop its terror capabilities. These capabilities included improving the rocket array and building an insane system of tunnels with one purpose: Inserting terror squads into Israel and murder as many Israelis as possible. They did not care whether the victims were women, children, even babies – anything goes, as long as they were Jews. A point that is important to mention is that a part of the financing to the Gaza Strip comes from Western governments and institutions.

In 2007 Israel started a military blockade on Gaza. It wasn’t the only one. Egypt, which has a border with Gaza (on its southern side), is part of this blockade. We mustn’t forget, though: It is not a regular blockade. Israel makes sure that there is a humanitarian structure that takes care of Gaza’s innocent population. Israel transfers commercial goods that let the inhabitants live reasonably despite the situation. On the other hand, Israel tries to block the border for weapons smuggling and assistance to the war apparatus. This goal was not fully achieved, as terror groups, on the other side of the border, have broken the siege. In parallel, Iran and Turkey take care of cultivating Hamas’ power, and they do it by economic and military support, as well as advocacy.

The amazing fact is that to date, Hamas and other Islamic groups launched close to 22,000 rockets and other means from Gaza towards Israel. On the other hand, we have developed the Iron Dome system – a rocket interception miracle – which has prevented massive loss of life. Still, about 150 Israelis, including Muslims, have died from these rockets. One of the latest casualties is a six years old boy whose tragedy broke our hearts. Moreover, Hamas has launched many of these rockets from places where there are children, knowing that Israel will avoid hitting back at that place for this reason.

Let us think what Hamas could do for the Palestinian population with the Billions of dollars it has invested into developing rockets and digging tunnels. Instead, Gazans are hungry, and has it not for Israel, they would have collapsed long ago. Unfortunately, reality shows that Hamas has invested in death rather than life, and it continues doing so, especially these days.

In parallel, and shamefully, not a few voices in the international community haven’t stopped condemning Israel and demonizing it. As in a page from Orwell’s 1984, the Goldstone Committee was established right after operation Cast Lead (2009) to investigate Israel’s response to ongoing rocket launching from Gaza. The committee blamed Israel for its “disproportional response” to the rockets and heavily criticized it. A year later, though, the chairman of this committee, Richard Goldstone, wrote in a NY Times article: “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.”

Moreover, the Hague International Criminal Court is determined to push forward demonization and illegitimacy for Israel. It blatantly ignores that Israel is a democracy that does its utmost to avoid hurting innocent people, even though it can obliterate the whole Gaza Strip. Instead, Israel assists Gaza’s population and even takes sick and wounded patients to its own hospitals, the ones that Hamas is trying desperately to destroy…

While the Hamas goal is clear, to destroy Israel, the ICC actually encourages and protects those who want to advance death while sabotaging the ones who sanctify life.

Therefore, it is essential to remember: Supporting Hamas advocates evil and terror while supporting Israel is standing by morality and life. You can make your choice, I already did.

Eli Vered Hazan is the Foreign Affairs Director of Likud – Israel 

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