Some further observations on the Israel-Hamas war

By Dr. Harold A. Black

Late last year when most of the world was shocked by the barbaric attack by Hamas on Israeli civilians, there was almost universal support of Israel. However, in November 2023 I wrote, “One thing is certain. As the war progresses people will forget the atrocities that caused it and will turn against the Israelis as the progressive Western press will blame Israel for the suffering of the Palestinians. Hopefully, Israel will ignore all noise and do what it considers best in order to survive.” I don’t claim to be prophetic but with Hamas hiding behind civilians by putting their facilities in hospitals, schools and mosques, it was clear that civilian casualties were going to result from any Israeli retaliation. Such has been the case but I have always had serious doubts as to the casualty figures.  Virtually every news source interjects in its coverage that the fighting “has left more than 30,000 Palestinians dead, according to Gaza health authorities, who don’t distinguish between civilians and militants.” Even the Wall Street Journal, which should know better always includes this quote in its reporting. I have no doubt that civilians have been killed – and that is the fault of Hamas using civilians as shields. However, Hamas is likely lying to evoke sympathy and turn the West against Israel. Remember when it was reported that 400 people had been killed by an Israeli missile at a Gaza hospital? The press ran with that story and there were mass protests throughout the West. Then we all found out that the missile was one that had been fired by Hamas and had landed in the hospital’s parking lot. Yet the media continues to promote the Hamas numbers unchallenged perhaps due to the antisemitism on the far left.

Yes, the pictures of civilians – in particular children – are powerful. Yet so were the pictures from Viet Nam causing our soldiers to be called “baby killers” and spat upon and cursed when they returned home. Dead and wounded children are heartbreaking. However, what Israel is not doing is noteworthy. They are not explicitly attacking civilians unlike the Allies’ carpet bombing of Dresden and our firebombing of Japanese cities. One of our generals stated that if we had lost the war, we would have been convicted of war crimes. From February 13-15, 1945, British and US bombers dropped 2,700 tons of explosives on the German city of Dresden killing 30,000 civilians. On March 9, 1945, the US dropped over 2,000 tons of incendiary bombs on Tokyo. The houses were primarily made of wood and over 100,000 Japanese citizens died. War crimes indeed.

Again those are purely civilian casualties with no military targets. On the other hand, the Hamas figures are inflated and have been exposed as such. Early on Biden and the administration’s spokesman, John Kirby, expressed skepticism about Hamas’ figures. Biden said he had “no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using.” Kirby said “We can’t take anything coming out of Hamas, including the so-called Ministry of Health, at face value.” Now everyone, including the administration, has bought into the civilian casualty figures from Hamas and Biden is now trying to appease both the Israelis and the pro-Hamas crowd. Biden still says he supports arms and aid to Israel but he has tried to coddle the leftists in his party by criticizing Israeli strategy and sanctioning some Israelis on the West Bank. Biden and his secretary of state Blinken (where are Wynken and Nod?) have even advocated the creation of a Palestinian state – something that the Palestinians themselves reject. The Israelis are poised to go into Rafah, the last remaining stronghold of Hamas. Biden has told Israel to essentially stand down and that Rafah is a “red line.” Yet, as the Israelis well know, leaving Rafah intact also leaves Hamas with battalions of fighters with tunnels into Egypt bringing supplies and weapons. Thus, leaving Rafah gives victory to Hamas. That realization has united all the factions in Israel. Not going into Rafah would be political suicide for Netanyahu.

As I wrote, Israel should ignore the noise and the criticism. Biden doesn’t go to sleep surrounded by people who want to exterminate Americans and erase America. Although Israel is an ally, it has always looked out for itself first. It has conducted spying, misinformation, manipulation and bribing of its allies to further its own interests. It is inconceivable that its people will ever forget the Hamas atrocities and even consider a ceasefire until Hamas is reduced to single terrorist bombers and writers of antisemitic propaganda.