The events of the past two days are a classic showcase of the options we all face. And also of the dishonesty of certain news-media professionals for whom, when it comes to reporting terror, 'context' is a political categorization to be avoided at all costs.
As Israeli soldiers make their way back to safe territory this morning after an operation in Gaza (see AFP picture above) here's a subjective selection of news reports and commentary on what
AFP calls "a series of operations that killed more than a dozen people".
People indeed. Read on.
The 'massacre': IDF aircraft fired several rockets into a vehicle carrying five 'innocent' Palestinian Arabs in the neighborhood of Zeitun, south of Beit Hanoun
The context: All of the innocent by-standers were armed terrorists. All were active members of the Army of Islam, an organization headed by Mumtaz Durmush. Their vehicle was loaded up with missiles. This is the gang that carried out the kidnapping of BBC correspondent Alan Johnston recently. It was also involved in the abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. The names are Fawzi al-Ashram, Hussein Ahl, Ayman Dalul, Osama al-Sifi and Samer al-Zaim. This morning, Shadi Abu Suraya, 30, a local commander in the Army of Islam, became the sixth 'innocent' thug from the same gang to go to his 72 virgins.
The 'massacre': Wednesday afternoon, an IDF tank fired on a group of Palestinians engaged in preparing to fire a missile into Israel near Beit Hanun. Four 'innocent' Palestinian Arabs were massacred here too. The missile was not fired.
The context: The names of the dead and their affiliations: Hayri Hamdan, a member of the PRC; Tair al-Basiuni, of Islamic Jihad; Muhamad Adwan, 20, and Muhamad al-Basiuni, 24, neither of them a known member of any terror organization in the Strip, but thoroughly enmeshed in the business of sending explosives into our homes.
The 'massacre': Thursday morning around 2am, an IDF helicopter fired and killed two 'innocent' Palestinian Arabs.
The context: Both are Hamas militants: Raji Hamdan and Mohammed Abu Rakba. Both were engaged in preparing to launch a Qassam missile. They did not succeed.
The 'massacre': Thursday night, an IDF force fired a rocket at a small group of Palestinian Arabs busily engaged in launching a Qassam rocket into Israel.
The context: An Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades militant, affiliated with Fatah, Hussam al-Hawihi, 21 died after the attack, and the rocket attack on Israel was thwarted.
Hamas Reaction: Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said: "Israel will pay a heavy price for its attacks in the Gaza Strip... Palestinian organizations would do everything in their power to resist Israeli attacks". Haaretz interprets this to mean a resumption of "suicide" bombings. Nothing new here. Mohammed Madhoun, a top aide to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, said "the Israeli operations would strengthen the resolve of Gazans... honorable Palestinian blood shed by this Nazi army will only make us more steadfast". When Hamas speaks about Nazis, we say they should be respected. This is a subject they know well.
Fatah Reaction: Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority president, condemns Israel's strikes in Gaza Strip and "asks Security Council members in New York to intervene". By intervene, he surely means "intervene to curtail the round-the-clock terror attacks by unrestrained jihadists for whom the only good Jew is a dead or maimed Jew". Or not. Note that this is the 'moderate' Palestinian Arab leader whose forces have been massacred in recent weeks by Hamas 'militants' in riotous internal Pal-Arab brawling. His Fatah faction released an official announcement calling on Palestinians to become unified because of the "[Israeli] abuse, aggression and war crimes." (Puzzled? Consider this report from London today. "Hamas has formulated a new plan for reconciliation with rival Fatah following the crisis in the Palestinian Authority since the Islamist group's violent takeover of the Gaza Strip last June, the London-based Arabic-language newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat reported Friday.")
Headline: Rockets launched from Gaza are only hurting Palestinian civilians. Quote: "...it must be noted that the rockets that keep hitting Israeli towns like Sderot cannot be described as instruments of resistance... the rockets serve no such purpose. Inaccurate and lacking the payload to inflict meaningful damage on any but the softest targets, their only function is to provide a regular pretext for Israeli attacks..." Source: Lebanon's Daily StarUnfortunately, there's nothing neat and tidy about any of this. Still, you need to pick your side.
International Middle East Media Center ("developed in collaboration between Palestinian and International journalists to provide independent English language media coverage of Israel-Palestine") says the Israeli army "carried repeated invasions and attacks in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank... [and] extra-judicially executed five fighters." We say: This notion of 'extra-judicial' is particularly irksome. Men who wilfully fire rockets, grenades and missiles into towns on the other side of the border are not cat-burglars. Their actions are acts of war. Extra-judicial is an entirely irrelevant and irresponsible concept in the war of a civilized society against barbarians.
Either you're with the people who for years have resorted to missiles, grenades, rockets and anything else explosive that they can lob into our homes, towns, playgrounds and schools.
Or you can stand with the Israeli people who are trying to defend an entire society from a jihadist onslaught.