By Daniel Pomerantz, CEO of RealityCheck Research
The Palestinian terror organization, Hamas, invaded southern Israel on Saturday and its troops went door to door: kidnapping and killing men, women, children and the elderly. So far over 800 Israelis have been killed, the largest loss of Jewish life in a single day since the Holocaust. Over 130 are held hostage inside Gaza: most are civilians, many of them children; over 3000 have been injured; nearly 10,000 rockets have been fired at Israeli communities, with more coming every hour. Hundreds of additional attacks have been thwarted by air, land and sea, with more attempts occurring continuously.
Why Did This Happen?
It’s not “the occupation” as some claim: Israel has no presence whatsoever in Gaza (the area controlled by Hamas) having removed all its citizens and troops in 2005, with high hopes that this gesture might help bring peace. Yet Hamas’s founding charter obligates it to destroy the state of Israel and to murder Jews worldwide. The terror organization follows Nazi ideology, idolizes Hitler, and frequently displays swastikas at official events. The world has many complex situations with multiple points of view - this is not one of them. In this particular case, Hamas is simply dedicated to genocidal antisemitism.
There is another reason for this week’s carnage: Hamas is funded and to a great extent controlled by Iran, which is increasingly desperate to achieve nuclear capacity and to thwart the evolving peace talks between Israel and Saudi Arabia. There is no such thing (anymore) as an “Israeli-Arab conflict” or a “Jewish-Muslim conflict,” but instead an unstoppable tidal wave of peace deals, which Iran feels are a threat to its strategic position in the Middle East.
For this reason, and others, Hamas is designated as a terror organization by most of the Western world, including the United States, the UK and the European Union. Though Hamas has not yet been officially designated by India, Prime Minister Modi has declared Hamas’s attacks on Israel in recent days to be “terrorist attacks.”
What Will Happen Next?
Israel has declared that it is now in a state of war - a war that Israel did not choose nor desire but which has been thrust upon it. From official statements, Israel intends to exact a “heavy price” from Hamas, to “significantly degrade” its capacity to do harm, and possibly to end the terror organization altogether. Hamas hides much of its military equipment and personnel in civilian neighborhoods, intentionally risking Palestinian lives. Israel has already implemented its unique practice of warning before attacks so that civilians can get to safety, and carefully targeting those areas that are least likely to risk civilian harm. The numbers bear this out: international civilian to combatant casualty ratios show Israel’s military to be among the most careful and responsible in the world. However, given the Hamas use of human shields, perfection is impossible, and we should expect unintentional casualties in the days and weeks to come. This stands in stark contrast to the deaths caused by Hamas, which were not only intentional, but were, indeed, the terror group’s primary goal.
To paraphrase a famous quote by former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meier “if Hamas were to lay down its arms, by tomorrow there would be no more war. If Israel were to lay down its arms, by tomorrow there would be no more Israel.” This is the dire situation in which Israel and the Jewish people find themselves today. Yet Israel is determined to prevail in creating a safer world for all its citizens.
Daniel Pomerantz is a resident of Tel Aviv and the CEO of RealityCheck Research: a nonprofit organization dedicated to clarifying complex global issues. You can reach out to comment or donate, at www.realitycheckresearch.org.
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