BY RABBY YOSSI BLESOFSKY
It is happening all over again.
Hamas-controlled Gaza has been showering Israel with rockets consistently for months without letup.
Israel finally responds with a surgical strike aimed at taking out a Hamas military leader, whose absence will hopefully stay the violence. Hamas responds by intensifying their attacks – this time aimed at population centers such as Tel Aviv, areas that had never experienced this kind of terror.
Rafael (Israel’s very own advanced defense systems company) created the “Iron Dome,” which allows Israel to intercept and destroy 90 percent of rockets launched at it. As we speak, Israel is responding with more surgical strikes attempting with all their power to cripple Hamas’ military capability to attack Israel. A ground invasion of Gaza is on the table, and Israel will decide which way to go.
I have always been a proponent of dialogue and discussion. I believe that people of good faith can come together and resolve even the most complicated issues. However, this is all predicated on the parties involved being honest and forthcoming with their intentions. The facts and realities must be clear to all. Only then, can there be any hope of a common understanding. As long as the facts and truths of what is happening are fuzzied, there is no hope of dealing with, and fixing the problem.
Unfortunately, there are those in the mainstream media who insist on portraying this conflict as the Israelis against the Palestinians. Israel is portrayed as a mighty nation with a mighty army, and the Palestinians are portrayed as mostly poor and innocent civilians who are being brutalized by Israel.
That is categorically a blatant lie and distortion of reality.
This is a conflict where on one side you have a sovereign nation that has gone way beyond the call in attempting any which way possible to secure some kind of peace in the Middle East. On the other side you have Hamas, a group classified by the U.S. and EU as being a terrorist organization. Their agenda is simple – to destroy Israel.
Hamas is the greatest enemy of the Palestinians because they refuse under any circumstances to consider peace with the Jewish State, thus allowing for a peaceful coexistence.
They heartlessly set up their rocket launchers right next to playgrounds and hospitals, knowing that the Israeli counter attack will hurt their own people. It is shocking beyond words how they are brutalizing the very people they claim to represent and defend!
Just imagine if G-d forbid Mexico started shooting rockets into California and Arizona. What would the U.S. do? How would we respond? After 9/11, we went half way around the world to punish those who attacked us. I think everyone knows exactly what the U.S. would do if attacked by their neighbor and it isn’t pretty.
It is crucial that the media and the world at large recognize the truth of this crisis. This is not about the Israelis and Palestinians. Israel has always been ready to sit and talk and try to work things out. This is about a dastardly and cowardly terrorist group bringing havoc to an already unstable area and denying its own people the chance of a lasting peace with their neighbor.
In the words of Colonel Richard Kemp a top British military commander, “The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) did more to safeguard civilians than any army in the history of warfare.”
Israel does everything within its power to focus only on military targets in Gaza.
I believe that once the reality of the situation becomes crystal clear to all observers, and once the world at large, recognizes who wants peace and who is obstructing peace, that will be the first step in procuring a lasting stability and hopefully peace in the region.
Rabbi Yossi Blesofsky is the director of the Chabad of Northeast Queens