Sunday, July 13, 2014

Hamas takes no pity on its children

Nadav Shragai

You Hamas members kill your women and children. This is the truth and we need to hurry up and tell it to the world before the pictures of civilian bodies in Gaza, which are already being broadcast in the West, take over the international dialogue and curtail our actions in the south.
Regrettable as it might be, not the state of Israel, not its army and not its pilots are responsible for the children and their mothers who are being killed. The ones responsible are the ones who place rocket launchers, guns, and soldiers in kindergartens, schools, mosques, and private homes, and from there fire over and over at our civilian population; who purposely place themselves among the civilian population and use hospitals and residences as hiding places, effectively forfeiting citizens' lives by turning them into shields, flak jackets, and fortifications.
War criminals like these cannot expect Israel to opt for the peace and safety of its enemies' children, who have been turned into human shields, over its own children's peace and safety.
Hamas has just finished training 120,000 Gaza children (fifth graders through high school) in its summer camps. The camp "menu" includes paramilitary training: shooting, kidnapping, and inculcation of Hamas' ideology and its extreme Islamist indoctrination that calls for the destruction of Israel. During the program, the kids trampled Israeli flags, jumped through burning tires dressed in Hamas uniforms and holding toy guns, and practiced firing rockets and abducting Israeli soldiers from jeeps and outposts. Undoubtedly appropriate pedagogical content for kids that age.

Now Hamas is placing these children and possibly others as well -- sometimes by force -- as hostages behind the launchers that fire Grad missiles, Qassam rockets and mortar shells, with the same level of "morality" as its former use of ambulances for terrorist purposes.
For years, Hamas has been firing intentionally and methodically at our civilian population -- women, children, and the elderly. We, on the other hand, target terrorism and those who execute it and their operators. When civilians are hurt, it happens unintentionally. This is the vast difference between Hamas, for whom the end justifies the means at any cost, and Israel, which differentiates between means and tries to maintain its humanity even as its citizens are turned into terrorism targets time and again.
Many years ago, this was known here as "purity of arms." Nathan Alterman wrote a lot about it. He once wondered what kind of memorial would befit the three Israeli soldiers -- Hanan Samson, Yossi Kaplan and Boaz Sasson -- who fell during a pursuit of terrorists because they were careful not to hurt a mother and her baby. Behind her, in the entrance to a cave in the Jordan Valley, the terrorists were waiting. Were they deserving of a regular memorial, like the many erected throughout Israel to commemorate the fallen, or one in the image of a mother holding a baby, who were kept alive by the three soldiers' deaths? Today, 45 years after they died, the enemy is still holding children with one hand and shooting at Israeli civilians with the other, and the world is using a false scale to measure Israel's morality.
Alterman wrote of that event in the Jordan Valley: "Even if we push our imagination to the limit, we wouldn't be able to imagine the possibility of another outcome to that pursuit. That is, a situation in which Israeli soldiers would hide behind Jewish women and children, and make a Jewish mother into camouflage to hide them from the Fatah. ... Israeli soldiers couldn't do something like that," Alterman explained. "Even leaving aside all other considerations, for the simple reason that a Jewish mother and her baby aren't a 'deterring factor' to Arab fighters."
Now it seems that even an Arab mother holding a baby isn't a deterring factor for Hamas, who use them as barricades and don't hesitate to turn them into a human shield. Israel, for its part, makes an utmost effort to keep from harming civilians, but sometimes makes mistakes. And they dance in celebration of that blood, which was spilled at their hands.

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