JERUSALEM, ISRAEL — June 7, 2021 — As fast as it started it ended, and could start all over again. A short few weeks ago, Israel was under attack from rocket barrages fired by terrorists in Gaza, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), two terror groups whose goal is to destroy Israel. In addition to terror, they use hateful lies and rhetoric, and prey on the ignorance of millions around the world who believe their lies. As much as there is a military conflict, there is also a public relations one. Nobody seems to care about the terrorists’ lies. But make no bones about it, they are not just speaking rhetorically. If they could destroy Israel, they would, any way possible.
During the latest fighting Israel defended itself, using one of the most sophisticated armies in the world, innovative technology and hardware, incredible intelligence, and precision targeted strikes to eliminate all terrorist threats while trying to limit if not prevent, any civilian loss of life, both among Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arab Gazans. Where in the world would people get a two-hour warning before the building in which they live or work, and which is a cover for terrorist operations, is about to be destroyed? As many lives as were lost (most of whom were the terrorists being targeted), this practice of the Israeli army saves many more. Whether it’s a phone call warning residents to leave, or a non-lethal “knock on the roof” indicating that a building is about to be targeted, not only is Israel able to prevent loss of life, but even the terrorists who are being targeted are often able to flee, blending in with the civilians behind whom they hide for cover, knowing that Israel will not strike them wantonly.
In the latest conflict, over 11 days, Hamas/Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) fired more than 4,300 rockets at Israel. Israel fired back with such precision that even UN officials and others who tend to parrot the terrorists’ party line acknowledged this. It is so egregious for UN officials to slip and affirm that Israel is not engaged in ethnic cleansing or war crimes that Matthias Schmale, the head of UNRWA in Gaza (the UN agency that sustains Palestinian Arabs’ perpetual and hereditary refugee status) was forced to apologize. Yet, that was still not enough. He and his deputy, David de Bold, were “recalled” according to the UNited Nations. In normal-people language, that means they were fired for offending the mafia-like terror groups that rule Gaza.
Among the targets in Israel’s attacking terrorist leaders and their infrastructure, was what’s called “the Metro,” miles and miles of underground tunnels used by the terrorists to move throughout Gaza, transporting weapons and other nefarious supplies, without being detected by Israel. It’s hard to believe Hamas/Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) claims ever, especially when relating to casualties. Death and lying are their currency. Whether that’s regarding civilian deaths which Hamas/PIJ inflates, how many of these died from terrorists’ “friendly fire,” why they don’t have electricity or fresh water, or how many miles of “the Metro” were destroyed, deceit is the Hamas/PIJ language. Any of their “reports” are filled with lies and inaccuracies, and not to be trusted.
For instance, Israel reported that out of the vast network of “the Metro” terror tunnels, it destroyed 100 km. That’s 62 miles. It’s estimated that the cost to build each kilometer is $500,000. Rounded down, that’s about $1 million per mile. With 62 miles destroyed, that’s over $62 million worth of infrastructure. Trying to save face, Hamas claims that Israel “only” struck 5% of a claimed 500 kilometers of its terror tunnel network. That would mean “only” 25 kilometers as compared to the 100 kilometers that Israel reported.
However, that’s “only” 25 kilometers of an alleged 500 kilometers that Hamas/PIJ claim as part of its terror metropolis. Incredibly, this means the terrorists actually admit to having over 300 miles of tunnel in a territory that’s just 141 sq. miles. It’s beyond belief that there’s enough room to have 300 miles of these terror tunnels crisscrossing beneath a territory that’s so small. It would make the Gazan “metro” the second longest network of tunnels in the world, behind only the Seoul subway, and more than 100 km longer than the London underground and New York subway respectively.
Perhaps because there are so many people so willing to believe any lie that Hamas/PIJ puts forward, neither facts nor optics matter. Nevertheless, the fact that Hamas would make this claim, also means that it admits to absconding with $300 million to build terror tunnels to begin with. That’s $300 million that could have gone to building homes, schools, sewage treatment, water desalination, and energy plants. It’s $300 million stolen from the Palestinian Arabs of Gaza who they claim to defend and protect.
It’s egregious. All Palestinian Arabs should be up in arms, as should be everyone who supports them. It’s bad enough that Hamas/PIJ use their own people as cover, just one of the war crimes they commit on a daily basis. They, and the European, Arab and Islamic countries that have underwritten this terrorist kleptocracy for decades, are also culpable.
Rebuilding Gaza Before the Next War
Each time foreign aid is sent to rebuild Gaza, Hamas/PIJ simply steal the wire mesh, reinforcing bar, structural steel, and best concrete to build their tunnel system. This leaves Gazan contractors without high quality concrete, steel reinforcements, or any ability to add seismic bracing in an area that’s prone to earthquakes. They do the best they can with bad leftover materials that Hamas/PIJ leaves for actual civilian use.
The results are evident in the debris of the latest conflict. It does not take a civil engineer (or a rocket scientist) to note that the demolished buildings have little or no steel protruding from the ruins. If one examines the piles of concrete, it is easy to note that there are no large pieces or slabs either. The poor quality of the construction of civilian structures that Hamas/PIJ allow means that very little above ground is little more than a sandcastle. This may very well be another war crime, deliberately creating a situation in which loss of life, no matter the reason for a building falling down, is inevitable.
In addition, Hamas/PIJ built “the Metro” deliberately adjacent to or under homes, hospitals, schools, mosques, or roads that would be targets. The impact of Israel’s targeting “the Metro” was sufficient to turn many adjacent houses and other buildings to dust. Cynically, this was done deliberately to increase the casualties. Only Israel’s precise targeting and advance warning (for which acknowledging the UNRWA head had to be “recalled”) prevented more deaths and injuries. Any journalist with integrity would note that blast patterns of many targets came from within the structure, where weapons stored in civilian structures exploded and created enormous damage, from inside out. Where are the pictures of these?
If the cost of the terror tunnels wasn’t enough, the Palestinian Arab terrorists have developed a good little industry of producing their own rockets to fire at Israeli civilians, another war crime for those keeping score. These rockets are still somewhat crude, but they have longer range and greater explosive impact now than a decade ago. It’s estimated that it costs $500-1000 per terrorist rocket. So, using the average cost of just $750, multiplied by 4300 rockets, represents more than $3.2 million of additional funds absconded from the Palestinian Arabs in Gaza. Now that their inventory has been depleted, it’s safe to assume that they will step up production, representing even more money stolen from what could have been invested for the Palestinian Arabs’ well-being.
Israel’s critics speak of a lack of proportionality, usually relating to the number of dead. The inference is that if only more Israelis died, Israel’s response would be more legitimate. It’s evident that Israel goes above and beyond to limit civilian casualties, while at the same time Hamas/PIJ do their utmost to increase these. That’s another aspect of “proportionality” that people do not discuss, as part of the clear double standard and racist lack of expectations of Palestinian Arabs to sanctify life. The “logic” is, we don’t expect more from the Palestinians anyway, so let’s dump as much blame on Israel for that as possible.
Compared to Hamas/PIJ investing in an evil terrorist network and infrastructure designed to create the greatest loss of life, Israel’s Iron Dome exists to save lives, both Arabs and Jews. Nobody seems to blink at the fact that Hamas/PIJ pilfer hundreds of millions of relief funds, and put Palestinian Arabs at risk daily. Conversely, Israel’s Iron Dome costs $100,000 per interception of each crude rocket that only costs $500-1000 to produce. Maybe, at the risk of offending the terrorist masters, some of those who cry about the disproportionate use of force and deaths among Palestinian Arabs, ostensibly to advocate for the well-being of the Palestinian Arabs, should send a memo to Hamas/PIJ that their actions are no longer acceptable. Surely if Israel can invest in protecting lives, so can the terrorists. That’s a side of proportionality that nobody seems to mention.
To those who will cry poverty on behalf of the Gazans, it’s important to note that they have their own Iron Dome that costs much less, and can prevent any Israeli attacks: by stopping firing rockets and terrorizing Israel.
Now, as people reflectively talk about “reconstructing” Gaza, it needs to start with the foundation. Of course, that ought to start by eliminating the terrorists, but nobody is brave enough to suggest that, much less devise a foolproof plan to bypass them. Even those who talk about rebuilding Gaza know that money and supplies will end up in the terrorists’ clutches.
Rebuilding Gaza should also begin with the regulation of importing concrete and other building materials, which the world seems too ready to pour into Gaza for Hamas/PIJ to abscond with again. We should make sure all the concrete for humanitarian relief is dyed blue. That way, at least when the next round comes, and it will, the Gazans and the world media can see with their own eyes, in color, the evidence of Hamas/PIJ theft. Plus, shouldn’t any underground metro like that in Gaza have different color lines. Let’s start with the Blue Line.
Maybe one day, as a next step, rather than being victims to the terrorists’ theft and war crimes, Gazans will take responsibility for their future and uproot the terrorists once and for all. When talking about such important life and death issues, it’s important to deal in concrete facts.