With the “March of Return,” Hamas Finds a New Way to Use Human Shields

April 3 2018

On Friday March 30, Hamas gathered thousands of its subjects at the border fence separating Gaza from Israel to inaugurate the “March of Return.” The protests are planned to continue until May, culminating in a massive attempt to storm the border. Oded Granot explains:

[Hamas’s] calculation is simple. Israel has enough military might to repel any military threat to its borders and sovereignty. But it won’t dare slaughter civilians en masse—women and children who are trying to “return to their homes in Haifa, Acre, and Ashkelon.” And if, heaven forbid, it did, it would be immediately condemned by the international community and accused of harming innocent civilians and of crimes against humanity. . . .

About 250 buses brought some 30,000 people to the border area [on Friday]. Some are relatives of Hamas operatives and public officials. Not everyone participated willingly. Some were forced.

This was no peaceful, popular demonstration, as the organizers promised it would be. This was incitement. Rocks were thrown. Attempts were made to vandalize the border fence, and demonstrators were used as cover for an attempted attack against IDF forces. When these attempts failed, and seventeen people had been killed—including ten known terrorists—Israel was accused of perpetrating a mass slaughter. In this sense, Hamas’s tactics during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, in which it located terrorist headquarters and weapons caches in civilian homes, didn’t differ much from the events on Friday. In both cases, civilians were forced to serve as human shields.

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More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism

 

Israel’s Nation-State Law and the Hysteria of the Western Media

Aug. 17 2018

Nearly a month after it was passed by the Knesset, the new Basic Law defining Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people” is still causing outrage in the American and European press. The attacks, however, are almost uniformly incommensurate with this largely symbolic law, whose text, in the English translation found on the Knesset website, is barely over 400 words in length. Matthew Continetti comments:

Major journalistic institutions have become so wedded to a pro-Palestinian, anti-Benjamin Netanyahu narrative, in which Israel is part of a global trend toward nationalist authoritarian populism, that they have abdicated any responsibility for presenting the news in a dispassionate and balanced manner. The shameful result of this inflammatory coverage is the normalization of anti-Israel rhetoric and policies and widening divisions between Israel and the diaspora.

For example, a July 18, 2018, article in the Los Angeles Times described the nation-state law as “granting an advantageous status to Jewish-only communities.” But that is false: the bill contained no such language. (An earlier version might have been interpreted in this way, but the provision was removed.) Yet, as I write, the Los Angeles Times has not corrected the piece that contained the error. . . .

Such through-the-looking-glass analysis riddled [the five] news articles and four op-eds the New York Times has published on the matter at the time of this writing. In these pieces, “democracy” is defined as results favored by the New York Times editorial board, and Israel’s national self-understanding as in irrevocable conflict with its democratic form of government. . . .

The truth is that democracy is thriving in Israel. . . .  The New York Times quoted Avi Shilon, a historian at Ben-Gurion University, who said [that] “Mr. Netanyahu and his colleagues are acting like we are still in the battle of 1948, or in a previous era.” Judging by the fallacious, paranoid, fevered, and at times bigoted reaction to the nation-state bill, however, Bibi may have good reason to believe that Israel is still in the battle of 1948, and still defending itself against assaults on the very idea of a Jewish state.

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Israel's Basic Law, Israeli democracy, Media, New York Times