While Hamas rained hundreds of rockets at Israeli cities, and Arab mobs beat Jews in the streets, the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau appeared to draw an equivalence between Hamas’s “absolutely unacceptable” attacks and the Jewish state’s “settlements and the evictions of Palestinians.” Terry Glavin exposes the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of this sort of attempt at evenhandedness:
Dozens have been killed in a spiraling mayhem that is routinely situated beyond comprehension as a matter of Hamas behaving in a manner that is “unacceptable,” and Israel being in need of advice to exercise “restraint.” That was the tone the United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres set on Monday. . . . The problem is that no amount of Israeli “restraint” would have saved the life of Soumya Santhosh, a thirty-one-year-old housemaid from Kerala, India, who was killed when one of the indiscriminately fired Hamas rockets landed on a house in Ashkelon on Tuesday evening. At the moment of her death, Santhosh was talking with her husband back in India, in a video call.
There is no equivalence between the IDF’s defensive targeting of Hamas and its Qassam Brigades launch sites in Gaza and the Qassam rockets targeting Israeli civilians, but the more important thing to keep your eye on is the way Hamas embeds itself among Gaza’s civilians, effectively using the people it claims to represent as human shields.
For whatever its faults, the IDF has made great strides in limiting civilian casualties in warfare, in its Iron Dome rocket defense systems and in its expertise in flooding Gaza neighborhoods in the vicinity of Hamas targets with cellphone alerts, and hitting targets with rooftop warning blasts in advance of missile attacks.
But innocent people still end up getting killed, and it’s a “win-win” for Hamas when that happens. Hiding rocket-launch sites in civilian infrastructure inhibits military decision-makers’ efforts to target Hamas firepower, and civilian casualties serve as “asymmetrical” propaganda victories. Each Hamas rocket is a double war crime: launched at random human targets, from behind human shields.