26 May '16..
As a fourth Gaza war looms on the horizon, we should be aware of the hypocrisy and demagoguery of past Gaza wars: because we are likely to see more of the same.
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, a candidate in the Democratic primaries for president, claimed that Israel's response in the 2014 Gaza war was "disproportionate," and Haaretz columnist Asher Schechter agreed. Yet neither Sanders nor Haaretz provided evidence to back that claim.
Schechter made one point worth mentioning: the claim of "extremely permissive rules of engagement during the operation that aimed to protect the lives of IDF soldiers even if the cost was a greater loss of civilian lives." If true, it simply means that IDF soldiers, as all soldiers, have to make split-second decisions, and when they do so in a situation when confronted with Palestinians who appear to be terrorists, they err on the side of assuming they are terrorists in order to protect their own lives. That is not unexpected, and Israel has no obligation to do otherwise.
Israel has repeatedly demonstrated how much it values the civilian lives of the people it is fighting. No other military force drops leaflets, telephones its adversaries and "knocks on the roof" to warn them of an imminent attack, so that civilians will have time to evacuate. Israel values the lives of Palestinian civilians, but naturally, it values the lives of its own soldiers more. Israel has repeatedly demonstrated how much it values its soldiers, for example when it freed more than one thousand Palestinian criminals. Why would anyone expect Israel to suddenly to value its soldiers less when forced to fight terrorism in Gaza?
What is disgraceful is not that Israel cares about its soldiers, most of whom have families at home -- in many cases dependent on them for their livelihood. What would morale in any military be if soldiers felt they were merely regarded as cannon-fodder, not cared about?
What is disgraceful is that the Palestinian government in Gaza cares less about the lives of its own civilians, who themselves have families, than about killing Jews.
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Fred Maroun, a left-leaning Arab based in Canada, has authored op-eds for New Canadian Media, among other outlets. From 1961-1984, he lived in Lebanon.
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