WAR: Responses to popular accusations

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“War crimes in Gaza”

The war crime accusation applies not to Israel but to Hamas, which hides weapons in schools, hospitals and mosques and uses its own people as human shields whilst targeting Israeli civilians. Gaza is also committing the war crime of kidnapping and taking hostages – 200-250 by most recent estimates.

Multiple international experts also believe Hamas has also committed the crime of an attempted genocide.

Colonel Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, speaking of Israel’s conduct in the 2014 Gaza conflict, said “the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in the combat zones than any other army in the history of warfare”. That includes warning Palestinian civilians via phone calls, leaflet drops, sms messages. The IDF routinely aborts actions if civilians are detected.

In the current conflict, Israel has been warning civilians to flee while Hamas has set up blockades and IEDs along escape routes.  They apparently want their civilians to be human shields. Hamas glorifies martyrdom and is quite willing to sacrifice its own people.

“Total Siege on Gaza”

There is no total siege on Gaza. Hamas destroyed the access points on Israel’s border when they invaded.

Until the 7 October 2023 massacre by Hamas, Israel delivered thousands of tons of food, water, medicine, fuel, and other materials to the people of Gaza every week. This included providing 50% of Gaza’s electricity for free, according to the Begin-Sadat Center. However, Palestinian civilians living there still suffered tremendous hardships, mainly due to hostilities between Hamas and Israel. 

In response to Hamas’ massacre, kidanppings and all-out war, Israel stopped its deliveries of fuel and water to Gaza, to resume only when all Israeli hostages have been released. The Egyptian government has confirmed that its border crossing with Gaza remains open for deliveries of humanitarian aid to civilians, and numerous countries are sending this aid.

Israeli deliveries of water represent a very small portion of Gaza’s total water supply, according EcoPeace Middle East. However, Gaza’s water infrastructure has been severely harmed by Hamas mismanagement, their endless war against Israel, and their terrorists digging up water pipes to be used to build rockets.

“Israel’s bombardment of Gaza is indiscriminate”

Israel targets only terrorist infrastructure and terrorists. Sadly, Hamas hides weapons in schools, hospitals and mosques. Hamas and its allies intentionally put civilians directly in harm’s way, and even actively encourage them to ignore Israeli warnings. While every civilian death is a tragedy, it is Hamas that is responsible for civilian deaths.

“Ethnic cleansing”

The only ethnic cleansing is Hamas’ attempt to annihilate Jews. The Palestinian population has risen from approx 700 thousand to around 5 1/2 million.

“Israeli Occupation”

In 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew from ALL of Gaza, leaving the entire area for the Palestinian Arabs to self-govern. All political and military presence was withdrawn and all Jewish people with Israeli citizenship were uprooted from their homes. Israel left behind thriving businesses hoping they would benefit the Gazans. All such infrastructure was immediately destroyed. 

Following Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, the Palestinian Arabs elected Hamas, a radical Islamist organisation, whose charter unequivocally calls for the annihilation of Israel. Gaza became a terror outpost. Hamas invested much of their resources NOT into building schools, highways, or hospitals for the benefit of their own people, but into methods for killing Jews: from rockets to terror tunnels. 

In response, Israel established a blockade in order to prevent the flow of weapons. Former NZ PM Geoffrey Palmer, in a UN Security Council report, deemed the blockade a justifiable defensive measure. However, Israel has facilitated the free flow of the necessary material supplies into Gaza, and Israel has for many years supplied water and electricity to its people. In recent years Israel has issued many thousands of work permits to allow Gazans to work inside Israel.

The prospect of ground invasion

The IDF code of ethics requires Israeli soldiers to do everything they can to protect innocent life. Numerous legal and military experts have documented how the IDF does not intentionally target civilians as a matter of policy and goes beyond what the law requires by warning civilians before striking military targets. 

Hamas has dragged Israel into a war which will likely be long and painful. Israel has a right and duty to defend its people against genocidal terrorist groups and has stated its goal is to destroy the “military and governmental capabilities of Hamas.” 

Israel has an obligation to rescue its civilians held by Hamas. 

The conflict has already been widened by Israel’s enemies. Since the Hamas massacre on October 7 and the ensuing war, the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, which controls much of Lebanon, has begun attacking Israel from the north. This has included rockets, guided missiles, sniper fire, and more. Israel has responded with targeted strikes and artillery fire of its own, but these clashes have not yet escalated to a full blown war. Iran’s regime has also begun threatening to expand the war against Israel, resulting in the U.S. stationing aircraft carriers in the region.

Since October 7, at least 100,000 Israelis have been internally displaced due to the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, as well as the clashes with Hezbollah along Israel’s northern border. 

Israel is a very small country with a population of only 9 million. Most Israelis know someone who lost a family member. The whole society is in shock.