Explaining the Next Gaza War

Why is the predominant international reaction every time Israel wages war in Gaza that 1) Israel must restrain itself, 2) there are too many civilian deaths and 3) Israel must immediately cease its operations? 

Israel is intensely suspicious of foreign countries and their intentions towards Israel and there are mutual suspicions against Israel. This has caused Israel to not diplomatically build support among political, diplomatic, intelligence and military interlocutors abroad since Israel believed in not revealing its military cards. Official condemnation of Israel leads to foreign journalists turning against Israel and this in turn activates widespread Anti-Semitism on social media. The common international conception is that public messages from combatant parties in wartime cannot be trusted and hence the suspicions among foreign journalists and foreign governments alike against the information that the Israeli military provides in real time during war despite Israel certainly not intentionally engaging in disinformation. Anyone who scientifically reviews the record retroactively from an historical perspective (and yes Israel should commission and fund such studies) will find that Israel does not believe in providing disinformation, yet Israel is still innocently suspected of doing so since the general idea is that combatants offer propaganda as opposed to information from a particular angle, something which is Israeli policy. Ironically would Israeli public diplomacy efforts likely be far more successful in wartime if it indeed engaged in propaganda.

The international laws of war permit deliberate killings of civilians as long a) killing civilians is not the goal but a side effect and b) the number of expected (not actual) civilian deaths is proportional to the military goals set for the strike, known as military utility. Israel goes well beyond that in almost never intentionally causing human collateral damage. There have been exceptions when engaging in targeted killings of Jihadist terrorist leaders in between the wars. When civilians die is this therefore the result of unanticipated consequences, civilians who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is easy to verify that something like 99% of wartime Israeli air strikes in Gaza do not cause any non-combatant deaths whatsoever. However, it must be understood that Israel does not know where every single Gazan is at every particular point in time. Israeli air force pilots always call off strikes when they see civilians near military targets. However, they cannot conceivably know whether civilians are indoor in target buildings since they cannot see this from the air.

Why are the calls for immediate ceasefire heard almost as soon as the war commences? Israel has not made its homework in explaining its military motivations for bombing Jihadist terrorists in Gaza. The wartime explanations are not trusted by the international community due to the false belief that Israel, like nearly all parties to military conflicts, engages in propaganda. There is also substantial and widespread subconscious racism against Jews at play even in normally non-Anti-Semitic persons. Why and how is this so? In medieval times were Jews forbidden from bearing arms in both Christendom and Islamdom and the only way Jews could defend themselves was by hiring armed non-Jewish guards. Hence the widespread implicit notion in wartime that it is somehow illegitimate for Jews to defend themselves against Jihadist terrorism Anti-Semitically targeting Jewish civilians. Another medieval Anti-Semitic myth is that Jews deliberately cause atrocities, enjoy killing innocents and murder children. This subconscious racism is also prominently at play even in normally non-Anti-Semitic individuals, including in many political leaders who count themselves as friends of Israel.

Why are there calls for immediate ceasefire? Israel’s Gaza operations are not intended to destroy Hamas and PIJ (Palestinian Islamic Jihad), but to merely to cause them such heavy damage that they will be deterred from Jihadist rocket terrorism indiscriminately aimed at Jewish civilians as in between the wars. While of course this is never entirely successful, Israel succeeds in limiting the scope of Jihadist rocket terrorism against Israel as to the periods in between the wars. This deterrence must be reinforced with regular intervals or the deterrence will be lost. There is however a general belief that Gaza is all urban when in fact much of Gaza is made up of agricultural and other open lands. The Gaza Jihadist terrorist organizations operate almost exclusively from the urban areas in times of war and this is what Israel refers to when it points out that the Gaza Jihadist terrorist organizations use the Gaza civilian population as human shields. This is a fact or else the Israeli air force would of course be largely targeting open areas of Gaza as it primarily does in between the wars in targeting military facilities outside of the cities. 

The Anti-Semitic conspiracy theory promulgated by al Jazeera and other vehicles of Jihadist propaganda according to which Israel is deliberately targeting non-combatants in Gaza is ludicrous as Israel has the capacity to carpet bomb Gaza and could easily kill hundreds of thousands of civilians from the air within a week if that was indeed its intention which of course it is not. This Anti-Semitic myth is based on the false premise that the IAF (Israeli Air Force) is so militarily sophisticated that it could if it wanted, wage war against the Jihadist terrorist organizations without causing any civilian casualties whatsoever. No military in the world has such capability and there is no way to wage war in populated areas without causing accidental collateral damage. Obviously, the more densely populated an area is the greater the likelihood of accidental casualties. Every military expert knows this and political leaders and diplomats of friendly countries would be particularly well-advised to consult with their own military experts before issuing baseless civilian condemnations of Israel.

The calls for immediate ceasefire almost from the start of Israel’s wars in Gaza are based on the uninformed civilian notion that Israel’s Gaza wars are irrational, needless and that civilians there die in vain. Of course, Israel is partly to blame for this perception since Israel has historically made no effort at preparing its political, military, intelligence and diplomatic interlocutors abroad in advance explaining tactics, strategy and goals of Israeli wars against the Jihadist terrorist organizations in Gaza. 

However, the international criticism against Israel is irresponsible since it was the very same international community which for years called upon Israel to withdraw from Gaza. The pattern is clear: Israel does as the international community asks it to do and is then blamed for the consequences. There is no question that Israel would be blamed for the no doubt extremely tragic consequences were Israel to withdraw from most of Judea and Samaria and dismantle the strategic indigenous communities there which in effect are very successful at keeping the peace. The knee-jerk response of blaming Israel for the consequences of abiding by international advice is also an example of subconscious racism against Jews since the international community apparently have no sense of responsibility for tragic consequences of their own advice. In fact, if Israel were in full control over Gaza on the ground would there be no Jihadist terrorist rocket attacks against Israeli civilians. This is the reality that the international community refuses to acknowledge. Why should Israel follow international advice when it is always blamed for the consequences of doing so? 

The international demand for Israel to refrain from bombing Jihadist terrorist targets in Gaza is an example of this advice founded in subconscious racist bias against Jewish self-defense. If Israel did not wage those wars of deterrence against the Jihadist terrorist organizations in Gaza would there be a hundred times more rocket Jihadist terrorist attacks against Jewish civilians and Israel would therefore be faced with the choice to engage in far more intensive bombings of military targets in Gaza in no doubt causing tens of thousands of accidental civilian deaths, something not abnormal from a military point of view considering how densely populated Gaza urban areas are. Of course this would in practice not happen as Israel would be forced to reoccupy Gaza on the ground and Israel would no doubt be condemned for that too and asked by the international community to withdraw without anyone of course holding foreign leaders accountable for the very consequences of their “advice”. 

This is not to imply that leaders of friendly countries are intentionally hateful against Jews but rather that there is subconscious racism at play and Israel must address this issue well before the next war in Gaza which is anticipated to take place after Israel and the United States destroy the Iranian nuclear weapons program. Israelis of course do not want to accuse their international friends of being Anti-Semitic and hence the importance of the term subconscious racism in explaing the racist bias at play.

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization.

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