Thursday, February 28, 2008

28-Feb-08: More death, more pain in southern Israel

The Gazan Palestinian-Arab jihadists engaged in an orgy of terrorist attacks yesterday, even by their own standards. More than fifty rockets were fired from Gaza into southern Israel during Wednesday. One struck the previously-unaffected Sapir College, a tertiray education institution located near Sderot, killing a student, Roni Yechiah, the father of four children.

One of the other rockets exploded on the grounds of Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon while hospital staff were in the midst of dealing with an influx of casualties from the attacks on nearby Sderot.

Let's be clear that this is warfare. (Sound obvious? Not to everyone. Read on.)

In today's Wall Street Journal, Bret Stephens observes that Israel is urged by almost every international agency and foreign government to limit its response to the murderous attacks of the terrorists to something
"What does that mean? Does the "proportion" apply to the intention of those firing the Kassams -- to wit, indiscriminate terror against civilian populations? In that case, a "proportionate" Israeli response would involve, perhaps, firing 2,500 artillery shells at random against civilian targets in Gaza. Or should proportion apply to the effects of the Kassams -- an exquisitely calibrated, eye-for-eye operation involving the killing of a dozen Palestinians and the deliberate maiming or traumatizing of several hundred more? Surely this isn't what advocates of proportion have in mind. What they really mean is that Israel ought to respond with moderation. But the criteria for moderation are subjective. Should Israel pick off Hamas leaders who are ordering the rocket attacks? The European Parliament last week passed a resolution denouncing the practice of targeted assassinations. Should Israel adopt purely economic measures to punish Hamas for the Kassams? The same resolution denounced what it called Israel's "collective punishment" of Palestinians. Should Israel seek to dismantle the Kassams through limited military incursions? This, too, has the unpardonable effect of resulting in too many Palestinian casualties, which are said to be "disproportionate" to the number of Israelis injured by the Kassams. By these lights, Israel's presumptive right to self-defense has no practical application as far as Gaza is concerned. Instead, Israel is counseled to allow goods to flow freely into the Strip, and to negotiate a cease-fire with Hamas."
Read Bret Stephen's entire article, The Sderot Calculus.

Today, US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice
called in Tokyo for the jihadist rocket attacks on Israel to stop. But in the real world no one imagines that will happen and in fact several more rounds of rocket fire were directed at Israel this morning (it's still not noon). Today's casualties include the bodyguard of Israel's minister of public security Avi Dichter, who was injured by shrapnel close to where some of yesterday's rockets landed.

Let's be clear: this is going to continue until it's forcefully stopped by our side. The bitter history of this ongoing war should leave no one in any doubt about that.


Fran Waddams, Anglican Friends of Israel said...

This is a shocking indictment of Dugard. You might be encouraged to know in a BBC interview just now, a UN spokesman whose name I didn't catch, repeatedly emphasised the right of the Israeli government to defend its citizens and the duty of the Arab League and Egypt to moderate the intentions of Hamas, as well as supporting Abu Mazan's presidency.

I was astonished at such a balanced interview, and even more astonished at the BBC's decision to air it! Unfortunately, in focusing on dead Gazans, neither the BBC news bulletin nor the interview from their Gaza correspondent which formed part of it, said one syllable about the hail of Qassam and other rockets on Israeli cities, towns and kibutzim which had engendered the IDF response.

The-View-From-Ramot said...

There's a pattern that's not hard to discern almost everywhere, including here in Israel: the systematic downplaying by reporters and their editors of the everyday dangers and injuries and anxieties caused by the relentless rocket attacks. Downplaying is not always the right word since, often, the rocket assaults are simply not reported. We're endlessly aggravated by the craziness of this situation: How can anyone make an assessment of whether Israel's response to this provocation or that is proportionate or disproportionate if they did not know of the provocation (or rocket attack, or stabbing or seized terrorist bomber or arms-smuggling tunnel etc etc etc) in the first place? They can't is the simple answer. And that's why it's so vitally important to find and develop ways for those reports to get out, to be aired, to inform people.

This is why we're so infuriated by what the BBC et al do when they succumb to agenda-driven editorial decisions and partisan policies. This is not just a media or good reporting issue. It's quite literally a matter of life and death.