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Monday, June 12, 2006
CHORUS OF HYPOCRITES [reactioon to Gaza Beach incident]

(Article by Editor Amnon Dankner, Ma'ariv, 12.6.06, p. A1,18)
[Translation provided by Israel Government Press Office

It is still not at all clear what caused the deaths of seven members of the
Palestinian family on the Gazan beach. They may have touched an old shell;
they may have also stepped on a mine prepared by the Palestinians themselves
against a seaborne infiltration of Israeli forces.

Yet, already, even before the matter has been fully clarified, that
well-known international chorus is bewailing that moral image of Israel is
in decline by these very acts that it has yet to be proven to have
committed. This joy for self-flagellation and simultaneous dragging of the
IDF through the mud alongside the hypocritical choir of condemnation by the
Arabs' and their automatic supporters is daunting and reprehensible.

Even if it is eventually proven that that which killed and maimed on the
Gazan beach was an Israeli shell, that was fired - of course - without the
intention of attacking innocents, there is still no place for the moral
indignation that represents - in actuality - a very faulty position,
precisely from a moral point-of-view. The State of Israel has every right
in the world to aggressively defend its citizens from Kassam rocket fire.
This right must permit it that which the IDF is doing - to shell open areas
from which the Palestinian cells are launching the Kassam rockets. The
Palestinians in Gaza can only make claims on themselves: We withdrew from
the Gaza Strip, down to the last centimeter, in a painful, wrenching step;
we shattered communities and families and we are entitled to demand complete
quiet from the Palestinian side in Gaza. We are also entitled to respond
with force when the lives of Israeli residents are put at risk and to try to
remove the harrowing nightmare that is hanging over our heads day and night.

It is very easy to claim, as [Israeli author] David Grossman did here
yesterday, that all of these military efforts are in vain because the
Palestinian fighting continues. But if we do not take the steps that we are
taking in the face of this aggression, would it be better? Will the
Palestinians not be encouraged to continue with greater impetus and thereby
claim many victims? The call to declare a ceasefire and sit down to
unconditional negotiations without preconditions no longer sounds as good
since the experience of those blood-soaked years after the Oslo accords. It
has an anachronistic and irrelevant taste, certainly after the Palestinians
crowned themselves with an extremist and uncompromising Hamas
administration. To think that this would lead to quiet and bring a halt to
the killing of Israelis is surprising in both its naivet? and its
non-learning from experience. Once, my lot was with those who thought that
if we would only be nicer, show more goodwill, be more humane and offer more
concessions - everything would be just fine. But the lesson that we
learned, and which cost us so much blood, is that this
1960's-flower-children-who-have-not-really-matured approach which thinks
that if we just give peace a chance, it will crown us with garlands and we
will be borne by white Hamas doves; if only we do not respond with force and
do not stand for our lives, a warm sun of marvelous tranquility will shine
upon us - is so stupid in the perspective of what we have gone through, that
the brain bubbles with astonishment at hearing such things.

We are living on our swords in the face of a tangible threat that is being
heard loud and clear from Gaza, Ramallah, Damascus and Tehran. We are
fighting against those seeking our souls, who are killing and maiming us. As
is the way of war, the defending sword, as it is being swung, does not
always strike those who are actually guilty. But if we exaggeratedly
flagellate ourselves due to a shocking television photo and if our hearts
soften due to a pointed article in The Guardian or the moral condemnation of
the Quay D'Orsai, we will also undercut both the will and the ability to
defend ourselves.

There are no magic military solutions; this is true. But the conclusion
that David Grossman drew here yesterday that in place of a non-existent
military solution, there is a magic diplomatic solution, is also incorrect.
There is the hard work of assertive self-defense replete with the military
measures without which even David Grossman would not feel safe in his home.
The perspective of time requires forbearance, restraint, determination and
patience. And it is also not worthwhile to hastily cast guilt upon
ourselves because we dare to stand up for what is ours and for our lives.

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