Tuesday, April 7, 2009

DEBATING GAZA

A debate over Israel's recent offensive in the Gaza Strip

I suggested having this debate because it is critical to understand your opponents. Realizing the humanity of your opponents is important, but this is about more than that. No one can truly understand their own views without understanding the beliefs of those who disagree with them. The dialogue within Israel is worth remembering, it is generally as revealing as it is disturbing. The recent actions in Gaza are not isolated, but are rather emblematic of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, it is worth recalling the words of leading Israeli military analyst Zeev Schiff spoken years before the latest assault on Gaza, as he summarized the sentiments of IDF Chief of Staff Mordechai Gur, "the Israeli Army has always struck civilian populations, purposely and consciously ... [it] has never distinguished civilian targets ... [the army] purposefully attacked civilian targets." [1] Later Israeli statesmen Abba Eban criticized Prime Minister Menachin Begin for issuing a report depicting "an Israel wantonly inflicting every possible measure of death and anguish on civilian populations in a mood reminiscent of regimes which neither Mr. Begin nor I would dare to mention by name." [2] Ebban agreed with the factual validity of the report, but was angry that Begin's comments were made public, he was, evidently unconcerned that Israel was behaving like regimes he would not name.

An Israeli intelligence officer acknowledged the IDF was targeting "both aspects of Hamas -- its resistance or military wing and its dawa, or social wing," [3] Bombing schools, hospitals, universities, the water system, police stations, and other civilian infrastructure was entirely justified because, as NYT correspondent Stephen Erlanger makes clear, "in a war, [Hamas's] instruments of political and social control were as legitimate a target as its rocket caches." [3] Of course, when Hamas acts on a smaller scale, but in a similar fashion, it must be denounced as terrorism.

If Israel's apologists are to be believed these actions, namely the firing of rockets, necessitated the bombing and subsequent invasion of Gaza. The attack was launched to save lives, Israeli lives that is, Palestinian blood is worthless. [4] But even if we accept the premise that Palestinian deaths are of no consequence this justification quickly falls apart.

Six months before the offensive began in earnest Hamas and Israel signed a cease fire: both sides would halt their attacks and Israel would open the borders. Rocket attacks essentially stopped, although a trickle of fire from dissident groups continued with no fatalities, but Israel refused to open the borders. [5] Nonetheless Hamas was interested in a renewal of the cease fire before it expired, Israel repudiated this offer with violence. [6] This was not the long term settlement endorsed by Hamas and the entire world save Israel and the U.S where Israel and Palestine would recognize each other on the June 1967 borders and all hostilities would cease, this was a short term agreement to end immediate attacks. [7] Israel not only refused to renew the cease fire, it violated it with a Nov. 4 raid that killed several Palestinian fighters. [8]

Immediately, and predictably, Hamas responded with a barrage of rockets in what the MFA acknowledged was "retaliation" for Israel's violation of the cease fire agreement. If the sole objective of Israel's leaders was to save Israeli lives they would have pursued an extension of the cease fire. The attack, as predicted, resulted in more Israeli deaths. As it launched its offensive the IDF was preparing for scores of Israeli casualties, in the end only eleven Israeli soldiers were killed, several by friendly fire, but this was still many more than had been killed in the preceding six years by rocket fire. [6]

The air attacks began shortly before noon on the Sabbath, Dec. 27 just as children were returning from school and midday crowds were out on the streets. Within moments over two hundred people were dead. [9] Israel's deterrent capabilities, terrorism is lay man's terms, were quickly reestablished to the applause of over 90% of the non-Arab population. One Israeli political analyst predicted that the parties of then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's governing coalition would capture one additional seat in the upcoming Parliamentary elections for every forty Palestinians killed, a prediction that ultimately proved false but still reflected well on the mood of the country. [10]

Israel's PR arm has claimed civilians were warned to leave by the world's most moral army before the fighting began, they couldn't leave the conflict zone through the sealed border crossing, but Israel nonetheless quickly absolved itself of all blame for deaths inflicted by its forces. Unfortunately civilians were not given an opportunity to flee, the result was nearly a thousand dead Palestinian non-combatants. Writing in the nation's leading newspaper Israeli intelligence analyst Reuven Pedatzur noted "[t]he IDF, which planned to attack buildings and sites populated by hundreds of people, did not warn them in advance to leave, but intended to kill a great many of them, and succeeded." [11] Indeed, on one occasion Israeli soldiers ordered a family to evacuate the fighting to a shelter which they promptly bombed, killing scores of people. [12]

The IDF made little effort to distinguish between civilian and military targets, often it deliberately attacked civilian targets. It ordered its soldiers to shoot at medical workers. [13] It destroyed the warehouse of UNRWA on whom most Palestinians depend for sustenance, it used banned chemical weapons against civilians, it destroyed the al-Quds hospital where hundreds of terrified residents had taken shelter, it refused to allow emergency aid in, ramming and nearly sinking a relief vessel in international waters, and shooting at ambulances attempting to evacuate the injured during Israel's "three hour daily humanitarian cease fire". [14] These reports come from Palestinians, the U.N, and those westerners in Gaza when the attack began, the IDF refused to allow foreign doctors or journalists into Gaza. Who did they want to die from lack of medical attention? What were they hiding? Perhaps the scale of the violence was too great even for Israel's well oiled propaganda machine to talk away. IDF soldiers, some of whom proudly dawned T-Shirts bearing images of a pregnant Palestinian women in a sniper's crosshairs with the words "1 shot 2 kills", [15] killed even the animals at the Gaza zoo during their rampage through the coastal enclave. [16]

Norwegian Mads Gilbert, one of only two western doctors on hand for much of the conflict, estimated half of the casualties were woman and children and almost all casualties in Israel's "[a]ll out war against the civilian population of Gaza," were civilian. [17] But perhaps the onslaught was justified, because as the Jerusalem Post noted one Sephardic Rabbi wrote to the Prime Minister that there is "absolutely no moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians during a potential massive military offensive on Gaza aimed at stopping the rocket launchings," [18] Perhaps the only fault in killing over 1,300 people, mainly civilians, was that it did not go far enough in reestablishing Israel's deterrent and it failed in returning Kadima to power. Perhaps a 100:1 kill ratio was just not good enough. Perhaps what Israeli commentators frequently refer to as the "Palestinian peace offensive" was not sufficiently thwarted. As for the official pretense, the attack was, as predicted by Israeli officials, counterproductive to its declared aims. When the fighting subsided thirteen Israelis were dead and Hamas remained in power in Gaza, more popular than ever.

We are told if there were no rockets than Israel would not have been compelled to massacre Gaza, but in the West Bank there are no rockets, but there are land seizures, there are checkpoints, there are regular IDF kidnappings, there are daily incursion into Palestinian communities, there are Jewish only roads, there are illegal settlements, there are attacks on peaceful demonstrations, and there is still the occupation. If peace is what Israel wants then it will engage the Arab world with words and not weapons.

Bar Kochba responds:


An Israeli intelligence officer acknowledged the IDF was targeting "both aspects of Hamas -- its resistance or military wing and its dawa, or social wing," Bombing schools, hospitals, universities, the water system, police stations, and other civilian infrastructure was entirely justified because, as NYT correspondent Stephen Erlanger makes clear, "in a war, [Hamas's] instruments of political and social control were as legitimate a target as its rocket caches." Of course, when Hamas acts on a smaller scale, but in a similar fashion, it must be denounced as terrorism.

My fellow blogger is making a false distinction between Hamas's military and "social" wings. They are both parts of the same entity, Hamas using its "social" wing to build schools that indoctrinate Arab children in hatred. Just as the Allies during WWII made no distinction between the Nazi Wehrmacht and the social centers built by the Nazi regime, so too this is completely irrelevant. The media has succeeded in portraying the Arabs of Gaza as poor victims of Israeli aggression. Such a characterization is demeaning and in fact bigoted, because it implies that the Arabs cannot be held accountable for their own actions, essentially infantilizing them. Israel withdrew its 7000 Jewish citizens from Gaza in 2005, in a bid to give the Arabs a chance at self-government and a better future. Israel poured aid into the Gaza and even left behind the greenhouses and agricultural infrastructure that had made the Jewish communities so successful. [1] While Israel extended the olive branch, they got terror in return. In the 2006 Palestinian elections, Hamas was elected with a clear majority of 74 of the 132 available seats. Hamas is recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union. It was founded with an explicit dedication to the destruction of the State of Israel and has carried out hundreds of murderous suicide and other terrorist attacks against Jewish targets. Hamas' charter is based on rejections and says that "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it." Lest anybody claim that Hamas makes a distinction between Jews and Israel, its charter declares its genocidal intent. "The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (related by al-Bukhari and Muslim)." Concerning this intended genocide, the charter promises that " the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realisation of Allah's promise, no matter how long that should take." To claim that the Arabs who voted for Hamas as their legitimate representatives were not aware of their goals and aspirations is simply dishonest. The Arabs of Gaza must take collective responsibility for freely choosing Hamas as their government. During the past 3 years, there was not a single protest against Hamas using homes, schools, hospitals and mosques to fire rockets against Israeli civilians. The Arabs cannot allow Hamas to use their homes as rocket launch pads while at the same time claim innocence.

NYT correspondent Stephen Erlanger's statement reveals a dangerous lack of moral clarity and hypocrisy. There is no comparison between a terrorist organization attacking civilians and a sovereign state trying to protect its civilians. This is the same twisted mentality that would denounce both a robber and the law enforcement officer who tries to neutralize him.

If Israel's apologists are to be believed these actions, namely the firing of rockets, necessitated the bombing and subsequent invasion of Gaza. The attack was launched to save lives, Israeli lives that is, Palestinian blood is worthless. But even if we accept the premise that Palestinian deaths are of no consequence this justification quickly falls apart.

This last statement is mere rhetoric, intending to portray Israel as a racist state. The obligation and responsibility of the Israeli government is to protect Israeli citizens, just as it is Russia's duty to protect Russian citizens.

Six months before the offensive began in earnest Hamas and Israel signed a cease fire: both sides would halt their attacks and Israel would open the borders. Rocket attack essentially stopped, although a trickle of fire from dissident groups continued with no fatalities, but Israel refused to open the borders. Nonetheless Hamas was interested in a renewal of the cease fire before it expired, Israel repudiated this offer with violence. This was not the long term settlement endorsed by Hamas and the entire world save Israel and the U.S where Israel and Palestine would recognize each other on the June 1967 borders and all hostilities would cease, this was a short term agreement to end immediate attacks. Israel not only refused to renew the cease fire, it violated it with a Nov. 4 raid that killed several Palestinian fighters.

Hamas never abided by the truce for even a moment. Almost immediately after the truce was signed in June 2008, Hamas fired rockets into Israel. Despite such a flagrant violation of this truce, Israel promised "restraint" [2]. In fact, during the entire 6 month truce period, Hamas fired a total of 329 rockets at Israel [3].

Immediately, and predictably, Hamas responded with a barrage of rockets in what the MFA acknowledged was "retaliation" for Israel's violation of the cease fire agreement. If the sole objective of Israel's leaders was to save Israeli lives they would have pursued an extension of the cease fire. The attack, as predicted, resulted in more Israeli deaths. As it launched its offensive the IDF was preparing for scores of Israeli casualties, in the end only eleven Israeli soldiers were killed, several by friendly fire, but this was still many more than had been killed in the preceding six years by rocket fire.

Dozens of Israelis have been killed by Hamas rocket attacks. The small number of casualties has been nothing short of miraculous yet it is twisted thinking to argue that Israel should have waiting until a higher number of Jews had been killed before responding.

The air attacks began shortly before noon on the Sabbath, Dec. 27 just as children were returning from school and midday crowds were out on the streets. Within moments over two hundred people were dead. Israel's deterrent capabilities, terrorism is lay man's terms, were quickly reestablished to the applause of over 90% of the non-Arab population. One Israeli political analyst predicted that the parties of then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's governing coalition would capture one additional seat in the upcoming Parliamentary elections for every forty Palestinians killed, a prediction that ultimately proved false but still reflected well on the mood of the country.

Israel's PR arm has claimed civilians were warned to leave by the world's most moral army before the fighting began, they couldn't leave the conflict zone through the sealed border crossing, but Israel nonetheless quickly absolved itself of all blame for deaths inflicted by its forces. Unfortunately civilians were not given an opportunity to flee, the result was nearly a thousand dead Palestinian non-combatants. Writing in the nation's leading newspaper Israeli intelligence analyst Reuven Pedatzur noted "[t]he IDF, which planned to attack buildings and sites populated by hundreds of people, did not warn them in advance to leave, but intended to kill a great many of them, and succeeded." Indeed, on one occasion Israeli soldiers ordered a family to evacuate the fighting to a shelter which they promptly bombed, killing scores of people.

Israel's army went to great lengths to prevent unnecessary civilian casualties, unfortunately often putting Israeli soldiers in harm's way. Following international allegations that Israeli soldiers acted immorally in Gaza, Israel's military launched an investigation into the matter. The military probe revealed that there was little truth behind the accusations. [4] Maj. Yehoshua Gurtler, a military lawyer, said that "these allegations were based on hearsay. They were not based on firsthand evidence. They were rumors. They did not reflect the operational circumstances which had actually taken place on the ground." We are still waiting for the NY Times and other news agencies to publicize the findings with the same zealousness with which they smeared the reputation of the Israeli army.

The IDF made little effort to distinguish between civilian and military targets, often it deliberately attacked civilian targets. It bombed a U.N school housing refugees killing scores of innocents claiming it was sheltering Hamas fighters, a claim the IDF was later forced to retract, it destroyed the warehouse of UNRWA on whom most Palestinians depend for sustenance, it used banned chemical weapons against civilians, it destroyed the al-Quds hospital where hundreds of terrified residents had taken shelter, it refused to allow emergency aid in, ramming and nearly sinking a relief vessel in international waters, and shooting at ambulances attempting to evacuate the injured during Israel's "three hour daily humanitarian cease fire". These reports come from Palestinians, the U.N, and those westerners in Gaza when the attack began, the IDF refused to allow foreign doctors or journalists into Gaza. Who did they want to die from lack of medical attention? What were they hiding? Perhaps the scale of the violence was too great even for Israel's well oiled propaganda machine to talk away. IDF soldiers, some of whom proudly dawned T-Shirts bearing images of a pregnant Palestinian women in a sniper's crosshairs with the words "1 shot 2 kills", killed even the animals at the Gaza zoo during their rampage through the coastal enclave.

Just as in the case of the case of the 2002 Jenin massacre that wasn't, Israel was falsely accused of crimes against humanity. rael faced a similar rush to judgment after reports of an Israeli attack on January 6, 2009 on a UN-run school in Jabalya. The building was not being used as a school at the time but was sheltering Palestinian noncombatants. Initial reports said at least 30 (the figure was later revised to 43) Palestinians were killed and UN officials claimed they had given Israeli forces coordinates of this building and others that they said were not associated with Hamas. The incident was immediately portrayed as a deliberate Israeli attack on innocent people.

Israel maintained that the building was being used as a shelter and that Israeli forces fired in the direction of the building because they were attacked by Hamas terrorists launching mortars from the area. Israel later identified two of the casualties at the site as Imad and Hassan Abu Asker, who served as heads of the Hamas mortar units in Gaza. A witness from Jabalya said that he had seen Abu Asker in the area of the school right before the attack when he answered a call for volunteers to pile sand around the camp “to help protect the resistance fighters.” In addition, two residents of the area near the school told the Associated Press they had seen a small group of terrorists firing mortar rounds from a street close to the school. [5]

Journalists who investigated the incident and spoke to eyewitnesses, including a teacher who was in the schoolyard at the time of the shelling, concluded that no one in the school compound was killed. “The 43 people who died in the incident were all outside, on the street, where all three mortar shells landed.” As the Globe and Mail noted, this is very different than the UN’s allegation that the IDF had fired into a schoolyard crowded with refuge-seekers.

Nearly a month after the incident, following the publication of accounts discrediting UNRWA’s story, Maxwell Gaylord, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Jerusalem, was forced to admit that Israel’s account was true after all, that the IDF mortar shells fell in the street near the compound, and not on the compound itself. Gaylord said that the UN “would like to clarify that the shelling and all of the fatalities took place outside and not inside the school.” [6]

One explanation for the inflated civilian casualty figures is that Hamas routinely hides among civilians, since more Arab dead is better for their propaganda purposes. Hamas has stored weapons in schools, mosques and hospitals, and used them as bases for rocket attacks.

Norwegian Mads Gilbert, one of only two western doctors on hand for much of the conflict, estimated half of the casualties were woman and children and almost all casualties in Israel's "[a]ll out war against the civilian population of Gaza," were civilian. But perhaps the onslaught was justified, because as the Jersusalem Post noted one Sephardic Rabbi wrote to the Prime Minister that there is "absolutely no moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians during a potential massive military offensive on Gaza aimed at stopping the rocket launchings," Perhaps the only fault in killing over 1,300 people, mainly civilians, was that it did not go far enough in reestablishing Israel's deterrent and it failed in returning Kadima to power. Perhaps a 100:1 kill ratio was just not good enough. Perhaps what Israeli commentators frequently refer to as the "Palestinian peace offensive" was not sufficiently thwarted. As for the official pretense, the attack was, as predicted by Israeli officials, counterproductive to its declared aims. When the fighting subsided thirteen Israelis were dead and Hamas remained in power in Gaza, more popular than ever.

Pure anti-Israel rhetoric. Official Israeli statistics put 300 of the 1200 casualties as civilians [7]. This amounts to one-third, not the two-thirds Arab propagandists claimed. This is a much lower rate of civilian casualties than the United States in Iraq or Afghanistan, Russia in Chechnya or NATO in the Balkans. It is despicable to argue that Israel's operation was not justified because a fair or equal amount of Jews hadn't been killed.

The rage over the T-shirts worn by Israeli soldiers highlights the selective anger of the world. While many brimmed with righteous indignation about these T-shirts, nary a word has been said about Hamas' explicit genocidal statements and the constant and deadly anti-semitic and murderous incitement in Arab culture.

We are told if there were no rockets than Israel would not have been compelled to massacre Gaza, but in the West Bank there are no rockets, but there are land seizures, there are checkpoints, there are regular IDF kidnappings, there are daily incursion into Palestinian communities, there are Jewish only roads, there are illegal settlements, there are attacks on peaceful demonstrations, and there is still the occupation. If peace is what Israel wants than it will engage the Arab world with words and not weapons.

In typical anti-Israel fashion, history began yesterday. The Arab assault on Jews in Israel has continued unimpeded for over a hundred years. In 1920-21, 1929 and the 1930s, Arabs rioted and massacred hundreds of Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa, Hebron, Safed, etc. This was before there was a state, let alone an "occupation" or checkpoints. When Israel declared its independence in 1948, its was attacked by a million Arab soldiers from 7 different countries. Again in 1967, Israel was threatened and attacked, before any "settlements". Israel has offered the Arabs peace numerous times. Former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert recently announced that he offered the PA more than even Ehud Barak did [8]. Barak offered Yasser Arafat practically 95% of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, with a capital in East Jerusalem and control over the Temple Mount. In typical Arab fashion, Arafat wanted everything and walked away. "At one point, I put everything on the table and offered Abu Mazen [PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas – ed.] an offer that had never been made before, that touched on the core of the conflict and the most heavily emotionally charged issues, the rawest nerves, the historical baggage,” Olmert said, recalling his negotiations with Abbas. “I told him, 'Come on, sign.' That was half a year ago, and I'm still waiting,” he added. The ball is in the Arab's court.

5 comments:

Bar Kochba said...

YA,

This will have to wait until after the first Yamim Tovim (holy days) of Pesach. I'm in too much of a Pesachdik mood for this.

Redemption's in the air! Can't you feel it?

Have a happy Pesach! May the Jewish nation, and the entire world, be speedily redeemed!

Paul said...

Hi YA, I will get back to you on this. One note however can you point me in the direction of your sources? So you can reference your claims, everything I said about Hamas on my blog I backed up with references. Sorry for not getting back to you sooner I've been tired; fortunately the upcoming Easter festival should allow me to recharge my batteries. I will get back to you either on here or my blog by looking at:

1. The aims of the belligerents during the conflicts. (Hamas's charter here poses a few problems here for your standpoint)

2. The tactics. Here you need to look at the options available to either side or how they prosecuted their campaigns. Contrast them to recent US/UK NATO operations.

3. What was said by either side or defensive measures employed? i.e. One side actually sheltered their civilian population, the other used them as shields and unambiguously said so in public.

I'll provide references for all of the above, I don't mean to be rude YA but I have little choice to ignore some of your claims in my argument as you did not reference them. Speak soon, Paul.

Young Activist said...

As par the agreement with Bar, I will make no further comments on this here. However, I did add a few sources to my article, let me know if there are any other sources you'ld like.

Young Activist said...

BTW Paul,
This is a debate about Israel's attack not Hamas, your comments about the Hamas charter only offer support to your position if:
(a) you can prove they reflect the present position of the leadership and not just empty rhetoric and (b) you can prove Hamas has the capability to implement this position, in both cases your arguement falls apart.

As for the aims and tactics of Israel I already discussed this in my post, and as for your third point, parts of this are debatable and the whole point is irrelevant to this discussion.

Young Activist said...

I have to admit this is a noble, though seriously flawed attempt. Although I am revolted by your view that civilian infrastructure is a legitimate target I do appreciate your honesty. It is a sad thought though that you would attempt to use past war crimes to create new norms of conduct. Of course, like I said in my original argument it is not really a norm of acceptable conduct, because when Hamas bombs Israeli schools or other aspects of civilian infrastructure it is rightly condemned as terrorism, not a legitimate act of resistance.

Israel's decision to withdraw its settlers offers no justification for its decision to attack the civilian population of Gaza. But you seem to think of this as some altruistic move when in fact it was not. The relatively small number of settlers in Gaza required a relatively large number of soldiers. The settlers in Gaza were withdrawn so that the soldiers protecting them could be redeployed to protect the larger settler colonies being constructed and expanded in the West Bank. This was in fact not an olive branch. Israel has terrorized the Palestinians for the last sixty years.

Hamas won the Palestinian elections with a minority of the vote in a move of frustration with the corruption of Fatah, however it is the sovereign right and sovereign prerogative of the Palestinians to elect whatever party to represent them that they please. This is called democracy. I have not heard anyone suggest that the Egyptian air force has a right to bomb Israeli towns because Israel has elected a fascist foreign minister who has in the past suggested the Israeli air force should bomb Egyptian dams to kill as many civilians as possible. A threat far less remote than any Hamas has made. Hamas's charter can say what it will, but Hamas's leadership has already joined the international consensus on peace with Israel. Just because the Israeli parties laid claim to Jordan in their founding documents does not mean that Israel wasn't able to achieve peace with Jordan. The same is true here. And at any rate Hamas lacks the capability to carry anything similar to this out.

Of course "[t]here is no comparison between a terrorist organization attacking civilians and a sovereign state trying to protect its civilians," unfortunately this is not what Israel was doing in Gaza. The IDF deliberately attacked civilian targets and the Israeli political leadership pursued a military option when they knew this would be counterproductive to their stated goals. I do not support Hamas, but in Gaza it was the IDF that was the terrorist organization and Hamas which was the elected government fighting to defend itself, in Gaza.

The statement that the operation was harmful to its declared objectives is not rhetoric, it is a reflection of the fact that the operation both strengthened Hamas and lead to the deaths of more Israelis.

Your sources are very sparse, most of your statements are not sourced, but I find it interesting that both sources 2 and 3 contradict your assertion that "Hamas never abided by the truce for even a moment. Almost immediately after the truce was signed in June 2008, Hamas fired rockets into Israel. Despite such a flagrant violation of this truce, Israel promised 'restraint'" saying "Hamas, the militant Islamic group that rules Gaza, promised to rein in the Iran- and Syria-backed faction that carried out the rocket attacks and pledged to remain committed to the truce that went into effect June 19 and urged restraint by all sides." and also noting that Israel originally violate the truce on Nov. 4 and that Palestinian rockets were in response to this violation.

As for your other sources, you cite official Israeli propaganda, not exactly a reliable source. Gaza is the most densely populated area in the world. Everything is near civilian areas, this is hardly a deliberate effort by Hamas to kill Palestinian civilians.

I'll leave your revisionist history for another day, it has nothing to do with the Gaza attacks.