A coward?s war wages between Israel and Palestine

Jonathan Mann

Sixty seconds is how long it takes to brush my teeth in the morning. Thirty seconds is how long it takes to dry myself after a shower. Fifteen seconds is the amount of time an Israeli boy has to run to a bomb shelter ‘- this would be easy if last week’s attacks hadn’t taken his leg.

For eight years, rockets have been fired indiscriminately from the Hamas-controlled Gaza territory. It’s no surprise 94 percent of children in the Israeli town of Sderot suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Like any other responsible government, Israel reserves the right and responsibility to defend its citizens.

In the words of President Barack Obama, ‘If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that, and I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.” ‘

Attempting to begin a new peace process, Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005, displacing 8,000 Israeli Jews and leaving behind greenhouse industries and priceless memories. Millions of dollars in financial aid were given to the Palestinian government to build playgrounds and support the economy. Instead, the greenhouses were destroyed, along with the opportunity to construct a better life for the Palestinian people.

In June 2007, Hamas, categorized by the U.S. Department of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, overthrew the democratically elected Palestinian government, ruthlessly murdering all other parties and their affiliates.

Article 13 of the governing Hamas charter reveals their true agenda: ‘There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.’ Hamas continues to refuse to recognize the state of Israel and calls for its total destruction despite international pressure.

Why would a government be so violently opposed to recognizing a country that’s supposed to be a partner in peace? Why do Hamas school textbooks have no mention of Israel? Why does Hamas’ version of Mickey Mouse preach world domination and Jewish hatred on HamasTV?

It’s unfair to Palestinian children who must grow up in a society and public educational system that’s a breeding ground for hatred and violence. Until kids are taught peace, there’ll be no peace.

Hamas’ charter states, ‘The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight, killing the Jews’hellip; The stones and trees will say O’Muslims’hellip; there’s a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’ It’s important to emphasize this isn’t the majority view of Muslims, but the radical view supported by Hamas. Moderate Muslims believe they’re to live in harmony with the masses and accept differences in religious beliefs and practices.’

Headlines such as ‘Israel targets a UN school’ or ‘Israel attacks mosque’ are misleading. People are deluded into thinking Israel intentionally attacks educational and religious civilian institutions. Instead of building bomb shelters and protecting Palestinians, Hamas fires rockets from civilian-populated centers using them as human shields. Why are Iranian-made weapons and artillery stored in mosques and schools? On Al-AqsaTV, Abu-Bilal al-Ja’abeer proudly proclaimed when he received a telephone warning from Israel, instead of evacuating the area, Hamas announced a huge party and invited everyone to the building. Palestinian lives aren’t meant to be gambled with.

In the past year alone, more than 3,200 rockets and mortars have showered Southern Israel. In America, using a gun to shoot a person and missing is attempted murder and grounds for prosecution. During a six-month ‘ceasefire,’ Hamas fired more than 600 rockets and mortars into Southern Israel. The world is crying humanitarian crisis, yet when both sides agreed to a three-day ceasefire to allow for in humanitarian aid, Hamas deliberately fired more than 300 missiles at Israeli towns.

Since the beginning of Operation Cast Lead, Hamas has seized more than 73 million pounds of humanitarian supplies provided by Israel and selfishly distributed them solely to its operatives. Instead of smuggling weapons, why doesn’t Hamas ‘smuggle’ in the food and water Palestinians so desperately need?’ Why does Hamas not allow injured Palestinians to cross the Egyptian border to seek medical attention?’ And why can Palestinians in Gaza be legally executed for speaking out against Hamas?

To Israel, every civilian death is a tragedy on both sides; to Hamas, a victory. None of us want this war, not Palestinians and not Israelis. It sickens me to see civilians dying and getting injured on both sides. However, I understand before peace can be achieved, the infection must be removed. Palestinians shouldn’t be punished for their democratic choice. I hope and pray moderate Palestinians who fear the extremists will finally rise to the peace negotiating table.

Israel is at war with Hamas, not the Palestinian people. Some may say Israel’s actions are disproportionate. I agree. If Israel exercised proportionate force, it would indiscriminately shower Gaza with more than 7,000 rockets and mortars, just as Hamas has done to Israel. Instead, Israel takes all possible precautions to minimize unnecessary loss of life and solely targets Hamas’ infrastructure.

If Hamas laid down its weapons and accepted Israel’s right to exist, the Palestinian people would have food on their tables and we would be one step closer to peace. If Israel laid down its weapons, there would be no Israel.