Monday, June 12


(From the Government Press Office: a scathing op-ed on international coverage of the tragic death of the seven members of a Gazan Palestinian family, by Ma'ariv Hebrew-language daily Editor in Chief Amnon Dankner, 12.6.06, p. A1,18. A bit long, but worth reading closely)

And Palestinian Media Watch has, what they charge is a falsified PA TV broadcast of the evacuation.

"It is still not at all clear what caused the deaths of seven members of the Palestinian family on the Gazan beach. They may have touched an old shell; they may have also stepped on a mine prepared by the Palestinians themselves against a seaborne infiltration of Israeli forces.

Yet, already, even before the matter has been fully clarified, that well-known international chorus is bewailing that moral image of Israel is in decline by these very acts that it has yet to be proven to have committed. This joy for self-flagellation and simultaneous dragging of the IDF through the mud alongside the hypocritical choir of condemnation by the Arabs' and their automatic supporters is daunting and reprehensible.

Even if it is eventually proven that that which killed and maimed on the Gazan beach was an Israeli shell, that was fired - of course - without the intention of attacking innocents, there is still no place for the moral indignation that represents - in actuality - a very faulty position, precisely from a moral point-of-view.

The State of Israel has every right in the world to aggressively defend its citizens from Kassam rocket fire. This right must permit it that which the IDF is doing - to shell open areas from which the Palestinian cells are launching the Kassam rockets. The Palestinians in Gaza can only make claims on themselves: We withdrew from the Gaza Strip, down to the last centimeter, in a painful, wrenching step; we shattered communities and families and we are entitled to demand complete quiet from the Palestinian side in Gaza. We are also entitled to respond with force when the lives of Israeli residents are put at risk and to try to remove the harrowing nightmare that is hanging over our heads day and night.

It is very easy to claim, as [Israeli author] David Grossman did here yesterday, that all of these military efforts are in vain because the Palestinian fighting continues. But if we do not take the steps that we are taking in the face of this aggression, would it be better? Will the Palestinians not be encouraged to continue with greater impetus and thereby claim many victims? The call to declare a ceasefire and sit down to unconditional negotiations without preconditions no longer sounds as good since the experience of those blood-soaked years after the Oslo accords. It has an anachronistic and irrelevant taste, certainly after the Palestinians crowned themselves with an extremist and uncompromising Hamas administration. To think that this would lead to quiet and bring a halt to the killing of Israelis is surprising in both its naivete' and its non-learning from experience. Once, my lot was with those who thought that if we would only be nicer, show more goodwill, be more humane and offer more concessions - everything would be just fine. But the lesson that we learned, and which cost us so much blood, is that this 1960's-flower-children-who-have-not-really-matured approach which thinks that if we just give peace a chance, it will crown us with garlands and we will be borne by white Hamas doves; if only we do not respond with force and do not stand for our lives, a warm sun of marvelous tranquility will shine upon us - is so stupid in the perspective of what we have gone through, that the brain bubbles with astonishment at hearing such things.

We are living on our swords in the face of a tangible threat that is being heard loud and clear from Gaza, Ramallah, Damascus and Tehran. We are fighting against those seeking our souls, who are killing and maiming us. As is the way of war, the defending sword, as it is being swung, does not always strike those who are actually guilty. But if we exaggeratedly flagellate ourselves due to a shocking television photo and if our hearts soften due to a pointed article in The Guardian or the moral condemnation of the Quay D'Orsai, we will also undercut both the will and the ability to defend ourselves.

There are no magic military solutions; this is true. But the conclusion that David Grossman drew here yesterday that in place of a non-existent military solution, there is a magic diplomatic solution, is also incorrect. There is the hard work of assertive self-defense replete with the military measures without which even David Grossman would not feel safe in his home. The perspective of time requires forbearance, restraint, determination and patience. And it is also not worthwhile to hastily cast guilt upon ourselves because we dare to stand up for what is ours and for our lives.

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