For a moment, forget every narrative and focus only on the children. Babies beheaded. Burned in their cribs. Toddlers torn away from their parents, taken as hostages, thrown in cages, and currently being tormented like zoo animals. Infants in body bags. Children, but a few years old. Alone, confined, and terrified. The most innocent of lives.
If your first reaction - let alone any reaction - was analogous to “this is resistance,” or “this is justified because of…” or “you can’t look at this in a vacuum,” or “I condemn this but understand why Hamas did it,” take a deep breath and do some soul searching. Anybody attempting to justify or contextualize decapitating an infant or a three-year-old taken hostage and held captive in a cage not even fit for a farm animal makes them grossly and willfully misinformed, demented, or abjectly anti-Semitic.
Chopping babies heads off – and let us be clear, be them Jewish babies, Palestinian babies, any babies - and holding children hostage, and there is no need to preface with “innocent” - because all babies and children are innocent - is never justified, not a form of resistance, and not understandable because of A, B and C, or X, Y or Z, or ever.
Imagine if it was an African child, an Asian child, an Irish child, or any child. Imagine if it was your baby in a body bag or in a cage. Ask yourself, would your response be the same? Would your silence still be heard everywhere?
Racism, self-serving lies shaped to conform to a predetermined narrative, and sheer laziness in learning about the Israeli / Palestinian conflict have created a gaping asymmetry between the grasp of facts and strength of opinion on this topic.
Many of our readers make the valid argument that Palestinians in Gaza are suffering mightily. At TQC, we agree - Palestinians are suffering, but why are they are suffering? This is the most important question, yet it is constantly neglected.
Palestinians anguish in Gaza is because of Hamas – a globally designated terrorist organization - and their political leaders, not Israel, Jews, or the United States. This is one of the most significant but neglected facts. Regrettably, too many “human rights” activists, politicians, and journalists refuse to accept this fact, and other key facts below, that might not conform to their own ideology:
1) Hamas is a terrorist organization. Its own governing charter (you can find it online) in 1988 called for Israel’s destruction and whose leaders have urged militants to “cut off the heads of Jews.” They obliged last weekend.
2) Like most Israelis, many Palestinians want peace too. In the past, Israel in concert with other world leaders have offered/proposed land, a two-state solution, and multiple other initiatives in exchange for peace. Every time, those offers were rejected. That should come as no surprise. Hamas’ corrupt leaders depend on Palestinians’ hopelessness and sense of despair to remain in power. Peace and productivity will not keep them there.
3) There have not been free and fair elections in Gaza in almost 20 years.
4) Hamas strategically hides missiles and launches offensives from schools, hospitals, and civilian buildings within Gaza. When Israel warns, they are going to hit back, Hamas tells civilians not to evacuate. Why do they do this? Because when Israel is left with no choice but to defend itself and root out the aggressor – like now - Hamas can say “you see, Israel is barbaric, they bombed a school and a hospital. They are committing genocide.” (Ask yourself, who would purposefully engage in warfare from civilian locations and willfully sacrifice the lives of their own people to advance an agenda? The answer is terrorists. Barbarians that do not value human life, including those of their own citizens.)
5) Hamas strategically forces Israel into a no-win predicament: When Israel is left no option but to fight back – like now - and destroy Hamas’ artillery, they are accused of targeting civilians. If Israel does not respond to eliminate the aggressor, more babies will be buried without their heads – like now - more children will be murdered or end up in cages – like now – and more women will be raped, burned to death, and paraded around Gaza – like now.
6) The leaders of Hamas steal money that has been bequeathed to their people and enrich themselves. (Some senior Hamas officials reside in sheltered luxury in Qatar). Funds from both Israel and the international community intended to build housing, roads, bridges, power plants and other critical infrastructure in Gaza are diverted and used to purchase military gear. Hamas then (tactically) blames Israel for Palestinian’s decrepit standard of living. “Look, no schools, no electricity, no clean tap water!” and demand that Israel must pay for oppressing them. It is more convenient (and persuasive) for Hamas to blame a Jew, Israel, or America rather than themselves.
7) Hamas launched ~4,500 rockets into Israel in ~24 hours. Israel is the size of New Jersey. Think about that for a moment. Each sophisticated rocket costs ~$45,000. That equates to ~$200,000,000 million dollars that was intended for infrastructure upgrades in Gaza for the betterment of the Palestinian people but instead used to line the pockets of Hamas’ leaders while their people starve. This is primarily why the Palestinian people in Gaza continue to suffer.
8) Year after year, that $200 million dollars and billions more is stolen by Hamas from the Palestinian people and stashed in corrupt Palestinian leaders’ slush funds. If those funds were allocated as intended - towards basic services and improving the education of Palestinian children - there is no reason that Gaza could not be a launching ground for rocket scientists, as opposed to being a launching ground for rockets.
9) Israel will defend itself. Regrettably, there will be Palestinian civilian casualties (as of this writing there already have been), including children, and families will be displaced from their homes. Some Palestinians that will die want nothing to do with Hamas, reject their ideology, and want peace too. We cannot stress enough, like any civilian casualty, one Palestinian civilian casualty is one too much especially heaven forbid if it’s a baby or child. We make this point without any stipulation. Another point we make without stipulation is this: Although Hamas purposefully seeks out innocent Israeli civilians, Israeli soldiers do not intentionally target innocent Palestinians. Indeed, Israeli soldiers will not rape and kill Palestinian women and teenagers, desecrate their bodies, and parade them around Tel Aviv. Israeli soldiers will not drag the elderly out of nursing homes and shoot them in the face. Israeli soldiers will not kidnap 3-year-old-Palestinian children, hold them hostage in cages and encourage Israeli children to beat them with sticks. Israeli soldiers will not decapitate Palestinian infants. Every innocent civilian casualty, regardless of if they are Jewish or Palestinian, is a tragedy. However, any Palestinian civilian death will be the very lamentable result of collateral damage; it will never be Israel’s direct objective, ever. That is a fundamental difference between a professional army defending its citizens and Hamas, a terrorist organization that purposefully targets Israeli civilians and deliberately puts its own citizens in harm’s way.
At TQC, we pray for the safe return of all hostages, minimal civilian casualties, and peace. Finally, we respectfully challenge anybody who comes across this post, regardless of your political affiliation or ideology, to carefully consider the facts listed above. Admitting facts or even considering ideas that do not conform to your ideology takes introspection and courage; be somebody.