Israel's behavior and position on the recent outbreak of violence with Hamas is morally justified, which should, at the very least, be acknowledged by the global community, said Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer.
"Rarely does international politics present a moment of such moral clarity. Yet we routinely hear this Israel-Gaza fighting described as a morally equivalent 'cycle of violence.' This is absurd," the conservative commentator wrote.
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"Everyone knows Hamas set off this mini-war. And everyone knows the proudly self-declared raison d'etre of Hamas: the eradication of Israel and its Jews."
Krauthammer says that arguments by Hamas supporters that the violence is a result of the Israeli occupation and blockade of Gaza are simply not supported by the facts.
"It was less than 10 years ago that worldwide television showed the Israeli army pulling die-hard settlers off synagogue roofs in Gaza as Israel uprooted its settlements, expelled its citizens, withdrew its military, and turned every inch of Gaza over to the Palestinians. There was not a soldier, not a settler, not a single Israeli left in Gaza."
He added there was no blockade, as some claim, and that Israel wanted the new Palestinian state to succeed, as evidenced by the fact that Israel tried to help the Gaza economy by giving it 3,000 greenhouses to help produce fruit and flowers for export, and also opened border crossings and encouraged commerce.
In addition, Krauthammer says, Israel dismantled four smaller settlements in the northern West Bank nine years ago to try to achieve an amicable two-state solution.
"And how did the Gaza Palestinians react to being granted by the Israelis what no previous ruler, neither Egyptian, nor British, nor Turkish, had ever given them — an independent territory? First, they demolished the greenhouses. Then they elected Hamas. Then, instead of building a state with its attendant political and economic institutions, they spent the better part of a decade turning Gaza into a massive military base, brimming with terror weapons, to make ceaseless war on Israel."
Krauthammer said that the Palestinians have not worked to build their own infrastructure such as roads and rail, instead focusing on building miles of underground tunnels to hide weapons, and spending millions importing and producing rockets, launchers, mortars, small arms, and drones.
"They deliberately placed them in schools, hospitals, mosques, and private homes to better expose their own civilians," he wrote, the point of which he said is to draw Israeli counterfire.
"This produces dead Palestinians for international television. Which is why Hamas perversely urges its own people not to seek safety when Israel drops leaflets warning of an imminent attack."
Krauthammer argues, however, that Hamas' strategy is rational if one considers the geopolitical context in which Israel is overlooked and there is a general moral equivalence about the conflict in the Middle East.
He concludes by saying, "It's to the Israelis' credit that amid all this madness they haven't lost their moral scruples. Or their nerve. Those outside the region have the minimum obligation, therefore, to expose the madness and speak the truth. Rarely has it been so blindingly clear."
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