War Crimes and Propaganda Crimes / Ben Dror Yemini

Israel will never kill as many innocent people as European armies have. So who are they to preach to us?

"We will conquer Rome and then all of Europe. When we are done with Europe, we will conquer both the Americas, and we will not give up Eastern Europe either." The speaker in need of such a large territory went on to say that all the Jews should be annihilated.

Sounds like Hitler, talks like Hitler, but these words were spoken by Dr. Yunis al-Astal, a Hamas member of the Palestinian parliament. Dr. al-Astal and other Hamas leaders do not try to hide their views regarding Jewish extermination and world domination by radical Islam. They are recorded as they appear on Hamas TV broadcasts and are available through MEMRI or PMW websites in Hebrew, English and other languages to anyone who is interested in learning about the true nature of Hamas.

NATO also makes mistakes

The refugees thought they had found shelter. They were wrong. The air strike didn't spare their lives. Over 100 died. This is not the story of the tragic bombing of the school in Gaza. This is the story of the bombing of Korisa in former Yugoslavia. The strikes were carried out by NATO planes. This happened less than ten years ago, on May 13, 1999. There's more. On April 12, NATO planes killed, accidentally of course, twelve civilians. On April 14, they killed 70 refugees. On April 27, another sixteen civilians were killed. On May 1, twenty-three died in a bus bombing. On May 6, sixteen were killed by a cluster bomb. On May 19, a Belgrade hospital was bombed; three died. On May 30, eleven died when a bridge was bombed. On the very same day, an old-age home was hit and twenty inhabitants were killed. The next day another eleven died. Around the same time, the Chinese embassy was bombed, and a missile flew 30 miles off course and hit the Bulgarian capital of Sofia. "It was a mistake, sorry" was the NATO spokesperson's standard response.

This is what happens in war. It's sad; it's unfortunate. And Europeans should look back, not to the distant past, to the bombing of Dresden, but to the recent past, before they wag their finger at Israel. Because Israel hasn't reached, and won't reach, even a hundredth of the number of innocent people killed by European democracies, in just wars.

Israel doesn't have to justify itself to Europe

Has Europe changed? The following is a quote from a report by the UN Secretary General: "Of the 8000 deaths in Afghanistan in 2007, 1500 were civilians." Of those 1500, half to two-thirds were murdered by their Taliban brethren. The rest were killed by various bombings, including by European armies operating in the region under NATO. Experts claim that the real numbers are significantly higher than these estimates. In 2008 the situation escalated and many more thousands were killed. In fact, every week European armies are killing innocent civilians and justifying it as inevitable in the struggle against the Taliban.

Israelis don't owe the Europeans explanations; they owe us. The Taliban hasn't fired rockets at any European city, whereas Hamas does shoot at Israel. The Taliban don't proclaim their desire to kill all Europeans, whereas Hamas encourages Jew-killing in its charter and its leaders' sermons. Yet Europeans continue fighting in Afghanistan, if only to destroy one more branch of fanatic Islam. Just like Israel against the Hamas. However, the Hamas' threat to Israel is far greater than the threat the Taliban poses to Europe.

So why, in the name of heaven, are Europeans allowed to conduct a war on territory that is thousands of miles from their homes, kill hundreds or thousands of innocent civilians and claim that their cause is just, while Israel cannot do the same? Where do they get the nerve?

Thousands of Taliban fighters die each year, compared to a few dozen European soldiers. Hundreds or thousands of civilians die in Afghanistan, compared to zero civilian casualties in Europe. So you in Europe want to teach us about war ethics and "proportional responses"? Are you serious?

Lebanon can and Israel can't?

In May 2007 a conflict broke out between the Lebanese army and a small group, Fatah-al-Islam, in the Nahr-al-Bared refugee camp in Lebanon. The group is yet another cancerous cell of the global Jihad movement. The Lebanese army did not opt for urban warfare. They just bombed and destroyed buildings in a way Israel would never conceive of doing.

The official number of Lebanese army casualties was 168, and more than 300 were left dead in the camp. Some were militants, others civilians. Six UNIFIL soldiers and two Red Cross workers were killed as well. The refugee camp was in ruins. 33,000 of the 40,000 inhabitants of the camp had no homes to return to. The Lebanese soldiers didn't want to take unnecessary risks. The number of combatants they were facing was tiny, certainly less than the 16,000 Hamas terrorists hiding in Gaza's tunnels. If the Lebanese army had to deal with them, there wouldn't be a single house standing – all of Gaza would be wiped off the face of the earth.

When Lebanon was dealing with this offshoot of the radical Islam menace, it was the sweetheart of most of the free and Arab worlds alike. It used means Israel wouldn't dream of using. Most of the casualties were innocent. The terrible pictures of death and destruction, all available to those interested, didn't lead to mass protests on the streets of London or Paris. On the contrary, Lebanon was applauded. Arabs are allowed to "take care" of Arabs.

Why is Lebanon allowed to use brutal measures to uproot this radical Islam growth? Why is Europe allowed to go half-way around the world to kill thousands of fighters and civilians in the name of the same anti-Jihad cause? And why isn't Israel allowed to do the same, even though it faces a greater threat?

The importance of the small screen

In the struggle between Israel and Hamas, there can be no victory without legitimacy. Israel is not Russia in Chechnya, NATO fighting the Taliban or the Lebanese erasing a whole refugee camp and being applauded for it. Israel needs support. And Israel can win support only with the truth.

Official Israel is trying to gets its message through to the world: that Hamas is an anti-Semitic organization calling for the extermination of Jews; that Hamas wants to take over the world; that "proportional response" is complete nonsense that Europe hasn't adhered to in their past conflicts or in their present ones. That Hamas is worse than the Taliban; that Israel's impact on innocent bystanders, as tragic as it is, is less severe than that of Europe.

The world's reluctance to accept this message has reduced the support Israel had during the first days of the war. But that's not Israel's fault. If Hamas wins the propaganda war, the entire free world will be the loser. We cannot afford to lose. The truth must prevail.

Permission from Ben Dror Yemini


good article

very good article

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