Tags: isreal | embassy | riot | palestinians

Riots on Israel's Border

Riots on Israel's Border
Israeli fire fighters and soldiers attempt to extinguish a fire in a wheat field next to the border with Gaza after it was caused by incendiaries tied to kites flown by Palestinian protesters from across the border, on May 15, 2018 in Nahal Oz, Israel. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

By Monday, 21 May 2018 10:52 AM Current | Bio | Archive

I’d like to offer three reflections on the past week’s long overdue move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and the violence on the Gaza border.

1. Peaceful Protests and Proportionality

Hamas has now admitted that 50 of those killed were Hamas fighters. Islamic Jihad has claimed another three, so we now know that the vast majority who died were terrorists, not civilians. It is remarkable that so many political leaders and media outlets first twisted the violence in Gaza into the denial by Israel of the right to peacefully protest. For example, Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief, demanded that “Israel must respect the right to peaceful protest and the principle of proportionality in the use of force.” This is, of course, deeply ironic because Israel provides its citizens the right to peacefully protest while Hamas in Gaza most decidedly does not.

What is a peaceful protest? What would we normally consider to be a “proportionate response” to even small amounts of violence or weaponry in a protest? Is this really so hard to evaluate? We know what a peaceful protest looks like. We all see them on a regular basis throughout the United States. I’ve participated in many in Times Square, in the heart of New York City. Let’s do a thought experiment and imagine the Gaza protests in Times Square. How are they different from a normal protest there? What would we consider a “proportionate response” by the NYPD if there was a threat of violence similar to that found on the Gaza border?

First, we should note that the NYPD would prescribe a specific small place, set off by barricades, for the protesters. They would not get free reign throughout the city. If opposing factions came to protest at the same time, they would be separated by a good distance to ensure the peacefulness of the protests. Now what do we think would happen if a single Molotov cocktail were discovered? We all know that the entire area would be cleared immediately, by force if necessary. As citizens, we would expect that the area be evacuated, understanding that the right to peacefully protest had been waived by bringing explosives. Just imagine for a moment, what would happen if three people were discovered planting a bomb? Or if rocks were thrown or guns were fired? What if tires were set on fire, so that toxic smoke billowed throughout Manhattan? How about if kites were set on fire and released into the wind with the express purpose of setting fires to buildings and parks in the distance? What if all these things happened simultaneously? Now imagine that tens of thousands were marching at the same time and trying to breach the NYPD barricades, with the express and stated purpose of killing those on the other side of the barricades? The response would be immediate and massive. It should be. If the crowd refused to disperse, it would be made to disperse, by force. Gunfire would be met with gunfire. The planting of bombs would lead to an enormous city, state, and federal law enforcement response. Indeed, with tens of thousands of rioters, the National Guard would be called up and martial law imposed. We’ve seen this before in urban riots. There would be a curfew, and violators would risk arrest and being shot. There would be no talk of allowing further protests. “Proportionality” would mean that deadly force would be used if necessary to end the violence. We would not expect anything different in any American city. Why do we demand so much more from Israel? Israel dropped leaflets warning that like any country it would defend its borders. Why do we have zero tolerance for violence and bombs in Times Square, but expect the IDF to respond mildly when faced with Molotov cocktails, bombs, fires, and gunfire?

2. Personal Responsibility Is a Fading Concept Today

It used to be a tautology to say that rioters are responsible for rioting. Now we live in a world where the victim of a terrorist attack is blamed for upsetting the terrorist, somehow inducing the attack. When the IDF is forced to confront violence with force, Israel and the U.S. are deemed responsible because the U.S. embassy was moved to Jerusalem. A few days ago, the Daily News headline read in part, “55 slaughtered in Gaza.” The imagery is striking. The rioters are not responsible actors, but just passive sheep brought to slaughter. Only Israel and the United States have any free will. Israel is condemned for defending its border and citizens, and the United States is blamed for having the audacity to upset Hamas by choosing where to place its embassy. Haaretz ran a headline stating that “Israel Did Not Lift a Finger to Prevent Lethal Clashes,” arguing it was responsible because it did not improve Gaza’s economy. What about the rioters? Could they have prevented the clash? All they had to do was not bring weapons. Can anyone simply admit that the rioters bear the primary responsibility for rioting? If a peaceful protest had been truly desired, it could have been done in Gaza City. The “protesters” could have left home the Molotov cocktails, bombs, rocks, guns, and burning tires and kites. No one forced them to storm the border. Oh, silly me, I forgot that the embassy move created an irresistible force field that compelled all the violent actions. How dare Israel use force against the rioters when they were so innocent?

3. It is a pleasure finally to see a recognition that we can seek and find truth in the world outside of the UN Security Council.

Some have decried that the UN did not authorize the embassy move. It did not. Nonetheless, Israel has the right to choose the place of its capital. The United States has the right to put its embassy where it desires. Then there is the simple reality that Israel’s seat of government is Jerusalem and always has been. History matters too, and it simply a fact that the Jews have always lived in Jerusalem and considered Jerusalem the capital of their ancestral homeland for millennia. Finally, the Bible makes very clear that the capital of Israel has rightfully been Jerusalem since the time of King David. True, the UN did not bless the move of our embassy, but perhaps there are sources of blessing even more important than the UN.

Dr. Philip J. Rosenthal is the co-founder and president of Fastcase, Inc. (www.fastcase.com) and was the 2016 Republican, Conservative, and Independence Party nominee for Congress in the N.Y. 10th, the district that includes Wall Street and Ground Zero. To read more of his reports — Go Here Now.

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I’d like to offer three reflections on the past week’s long overdue move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and the violence on the Gaza border.
isreal, embassy, riot, palestinians
Monday, 21 May 2018 10:52 AM
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