Democracy

The Asymmetric War in Gaza – An Israeli Perspective


Koby Gur*

Tel Aviv, July 14, 2014 (Alochonaa): Once again Israel finds itself in a military campaign as it tries to deal with the terrorist group known as Hamas.  International media reports usually highlight the Israeli attacks on Gaza but in the last 6 days Hamas has fired over 750 rockets at Israeli cities.  Unlike Israel, Hamas doesn’t provide any warning to Israeli citizens nor could its targets be considered military targets; the fire from Gaza is targeting cities all over Israel.

The reality in Israel is that rockets from Gaza have been fired at Israeli cities for the past 13 years.  I don’t think any country in the world could tolerate this kind of aggression against its citizens.  Considering other states’ approaches to “the war on terror” one wonders how Britain or Russia would react to daily rocket attacks, or how tolerant they would be if some entity bombed their cities.

Above some of the rocket  that have hit Sderot over the years- Google Image

Above some of the rocket that have hit Sderot over the years- Google Image

 

A country is obliged to defend its citizens from attack, and for too long Israel has ignored and tolerated attacks on its cities.  Now, enough is enough.

The war in Gaza is an asymmetric war.  On one side there is a country with a strong army and superior technology and on the other side there is a terrorist group which is acting against any moral or ethical law.  They deliberately target civilians and use their own people as human shields, they conceal rockets in schools, houses, mosques and hospitals, and yet during the conflict in 2008, when the Israel Defense Force (IDF) entered Gaza in a ground campaign, they faced very little resistance.  Evidently, the “warriors” of Hamas took off their uniforms and hid in civilian places (like the Shifa hospital).

The people that suffer the most from Hamas’ control over Gaza are the people of Gaza.Since Hamas administers Gaza they set the priorities, and when a terror group sets the priorities it is a recipe for conflict.  Today, massive amounts of funds, materiel and human resources are used by Hamas for one purpose only – to fight Israel and terrorize Israeli citizens.  Hamas has bought and built thousands of rockets, whilst the city of Gaza has an underground city of tunnels that took years to build, cost millions of dollars and used tons of much needed cement.  Some tunnels are used to hide terrorists, rockets and smuggle materials, others are used to try and circumvent border posts and kidnap soldiers or initiate terror attacks on nearby Israeli cities.

The people of Gaza deserve better conditions to live in, of course, but since their efforts and resources are being used to maintain the fight with Israel the people of Gaza will remain poor and suffering.  Importantly, the suffering of Gaza’s people is something Hamas likes to show to the world, but don’t think that the leaders of Hamas suffer the same conditions; no, they are doing fine.

Hamas is willing to sacrifice the lives of the people of Gaza for its own political purposes.  When this conflict started, most of Hamas’ human assets quickly went underground, literally underground, whilst sending threats and enlisting the exposed civilians as human shields to defend Hamas homes and their ammunition storage.  In Hamas’ strategic calculations, the bigger the reported death toll and the more injuries of uninvolved citizens in Gaza the better it is for Hamas.  Civilian casualties are desirable because it makes for good Palestinian propaganda by showing Israel as a vicious attacker that “targets” civilians.

Iron Dome

Iron dome defense system- Google Image

Israel has developed and installed a one of a kind anti-rocket defense system.  The result of this system, called “Iron Dome”, is that over 90% of the rockets from Gaza are being intercepted, and this system has saved the lives of hundreds of Israelis that would have otherwise been hit by rockets.  This expensive defense system is the main reason why there are very few casualties on the Israeli side, but still, no one should live their life under constant threat of rocket attacks, waiting for the next alarms to set off.  The consequences can be seen in the children of the city of Sderot, where those under the age of 13 have grown up to this reality and often suffer from mental trauma.

In the last few years, as Hamas managed to smuggle and build more rockets that reach more distant cities, over 3.5 million innocent citizens have come to live under the constant threat of terror from Gaza.

Trying to judge the situation objectively is hard, especially given the media coverage.  The images and voices from Gaza are truly heartbreaking, many of the causalities are uninvolved citizens, some are children, and the collateral damage is tremendous.  Although the IDF is truly trying to avoid any hurt to civilian population, even giving alerts and carefully choosing targets, collateral damage is a sad part of war.

If you compare this conflict to other asymmetric conflicts such as Iraq or Afghanistan, where the combat is also between an army and local terrorist groups, you’ll find that Israel is truly trying to minimize the hurt on civilians.  One only has to look to Syria, where the death toll could be 170,000 people, to see what cruelty conventional armies can inflict if they choose.

Of course, this doesn’t interest the people of Gaza who, once again, find themselves bombed by Israel, however, the real question is who is to blame for this situation?  Hamas is using houses and mosques to hide bombs; Hamas ordered the people of Gaza not to leave their homes after being warned and to remain as human shields; and Hamas is firing from schools where they feel safe knowing that Israeli planes won’t fire at them.  As the administrators of Gaza, the responsibility for the lives of the people there are in the hands of Hamas.  Israel is not looking for war.  If the Palestinians will choose to develop their cities instead of attacking Israel they can have peaceful lives but as long as their leaders constantly talk about destroying the state of Israel, and initiate terrorist attacks, the next round of violence is just a matter of time.

* Kobi Gur writes from Tel Aviv, Israel and he is a freelance videographer.

 **Alochonaa.com is not responsible for any factual mistakes (if any) of this analysis. This analysis further is not necessarily representative of Alochonaa.com’s view. We’re happy to facilitate further evidence-based submissions on this topic. Please send us your submission at alochonaa@gmail.com

*** Alochonaa.com does not politically orientate itself with either side involved in the conflict, and we maintain to serve as a platform to foster dialogue. We welcome both Palestinian and Israeli accounts of the war. If anyone is wishing to submit an account from either side please email your submission to alochonaa@gmail.com

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2 replies »

  1. Question: Which country alone in the Middle East has nuclear weapons?
    Answer: Israel

    Question: Which country in the Middle East has just recently used a
    weapon of mass destruction, a one-ton smart bomb, dropping it in the
    center of a highly populated area killing civilians including children?
    Answer: Israel

    Question: What country on Planet Earth has the second most powerful
    lobby in the United States , according to a recent Fortune magazine
    survey of Washington insiders?
    Answer: Israel

    Question: Which country in the Middle East receives U.S. weapons for
    free and then sells the technology to the Republic of China even at
    the objections of the U.S. ?
    Answer: Israel

    Question: Which country in the Middle East regularly violates the
    Geneva Convention by imposing collective punishment on entire towns,
    villages, and camps, for the acts of a few, and even goes as far as
    demolishing entire villages while people are still in their homes?
    Answer: Israel

    Question: Which country in the Middle East routinely kills young
    Palestinian children for no reason other than throwing stones at
    armored vehicles, bulldozers, or tanks?
    Answer: Israel

    Question: Which country in the Middle East refuses to sign the nuclear
    non-proliferation treaty and bars international inspections? ?
    Answer: Israel

    Question: Which country in the Middle East seized the sovereign territory
    of other nations by military force and continues to occupy it in defiance
    of United Nations Security Council resolutions?
    Answer: Israel

    Question: Which country in the Middle East routinely violates the
    international borders of another sovereign state with warplanes and
    artillery and naval gunfire?
    Answer: Israel

    Question: What American ally in the Middle East has for years sent
    assassins into other countries to kill its political enemies (a practice
    sometimes called exporting terrorism)?
    Answer: Israel

    Question: In which country in the Middle East have high-ranking military
    officers admitted publicly that unarmed prisoners of war were executed?
    Answer: Israel

    Question: What country in the Middle East refuses to prosecute its
    soldiers who have acknowledged executing prisoners of war?
    Answer: Israel

    Question: What country in the Middle East created millions of refugees
    and refuses to allow them to return to their homes, farms and businesses?
    Answer: Israel

    Question: What country in the Middle East refuses to pay compensation to
    people whose land, bank accounts and businesses it confiscated?
    Answer: Israel

    Question: In what country in the Middle East was a high-ranking United
    Nations diplomat assassinated?
    Answer: Israel

    Question: In what country in the Middle East did the man who ordered the
    assassination of a high-ranking U.N. diplomat become prime minister?
    Answer: Israel

    Question: What country in the Middle East blew up an American diplomatic
    facility in Egypt and attacked a U.S. ship, the USS Liberty, in
    international waters, killing 34 and wounding 171 American sailors?
    Answer: Israel

    Question: What country in the Middle East employed a spy, Jonathan Pollard,
    to steal classified documents from USA and then gave some of them to the
    Soviet Union ?
    Answer: Israel

    Question: What country at first denied any official connection to Pollard,
    then voted to make him a citizen and has continuously demanded that the
    American president grant Pollard a full pardon?
    Answer: Israel

    Question: What Middle East country allows American Jewish murderers
    to flee to its country to escape punishment in the United States and
    refuses to extradite them once in their custody?
    Answer: Israel

    Question: What Middle East country preaches against hate yet builds a
    shrine and a memorial for a murderer who killed 29 Palestinians while
    they prayed in their Mosque.?
    Answer: Israel

    Question: Which country in the Middle East deliberately targeted a
    civilian U.N. Refugee Camp in Qana , Lebanon and killed 103 innocent men,
    women, and especially children?
    Answer: Israel

    Question: Which country in the Middle East is in defiance of 69 United
    Nations Security Council resolutions and has been protected from 29 more
    by U.S. votes?
    Answer: Israel

    Question: Which country in the Middle East receives more than one-third
    of all U.S. aid to the world yet is the 16th richest country in the world?
    Answer: Israel

    Question: Which country in the Middle East had its Prime Minister announce
    to his staff not to worry about what the United States says because “We
    control America ?”
    Answer: Israel

    Question: Which country in the Middle East signed the Oslo Accords
    promising to halt any new Jewish Settlement construction, but instead,
    has built more than 270 new settlements since the signing?
    Answer: Israel

    Question: Which country in the Middle East has assassinated more than
    100 political officials of its opponent in the last 2 years while killing
    hundreds of civilians in the process, including dozens of children?
    Answer: Israel

  2. When you want to hate, no reason, is good enough, when your want to love no reason is good enough. The question is what do you want? Whatever you want you will get.

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