Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Disclaimer: the views expressed here are solely those of the author, weekly Judean Rose columnist Varda Meyers Epstein. 

We hear a lot about the “innocent” civilian of Gaza, and how the “vast majority” of them are peace-loving and do not support Hamas. But what is the basis for this pronouncement of mass Gazan innocence by world leaders, celebrities, and other talking heads? The facts and statistics say the opposite: there is overwhelming support for Hamas and “armed resistance” in Gaza. Which makes a lot of right-thinking Israelis wonder why our army takes such pains not to kill them.

If there are statistics that prove this population is innocent, why don’t they show them to us? Instead, they offer empty words, devoid of reality. “The humanitarian crisis in Gaza — innocent Palestinian families and the vast majority that have nothing to do with Hamas — they’re being used as human shields. We have to reject hate in every form,” said President Biden.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the same thing in not so many words. Speaking in Egypt about his trip to the region to discuss the war, Blinken said, “What I’ve heard from virtually every partner was a determination, a shared view that we have to do everything possible to make sure this doesn’t spread to other places; a shared view to safeguard innocent lives; a shared view to get assistance to Palestinians in Gaza who need it, and we’re working very much on that.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also rushed to defend the “innocent” civilians of Gaza. This time after an errant Islamic Jihad rocket took out a hospital in Gaza.

“I am horrified by the images of the explosion in a hospital in Gaza. Innocent civilians were injured and killed. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims.”

Scholz, like the rest of the Israel-hating world, rushed to judgement: the judgment he preferred: Gazans=innocent, Israelis=guilty. Soon scads of evidence would prove him wrong. Including a recorded conversation between Hamas operatives clearly attributing the attack to Islamic Jihad.

The hospital explosion, of course, catalyzed the entire world to damn Israel for “killing hundreds of innocent civilians.” Which of course, was not true. But like Scholz, none of them were waiting for confirmation of what they wanted to believe about Israel to somehow excuse the atrocities, while Jewish bodies are still being processed.

In the Arab world, the state news agency for Kuwait not surprisingly, “strongly condemned and denounced the Israeli occupation forces' barbaric airstrike on the Baptist Al-Ahli Hospital in the Gaza Strip, where hundreds of innocent civilians were killed.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also rushed to blame Israel. “Hitting a hospital containing women, children and innocent civilians is the latest example of Israel's attacks devoid of the most basic human values. I invite all humanity to take action to stop this unprecedented brutality in Gaza.”

No less than a major in the IDF reserves, Nir Avishai Cohen, repeatedly called the Gazan people “innocent” in his emotional little leftist self-congratulatory op-ed in the New York Times.

For 56 years Israel has been subjecting Palestinians to oppressive military rule. In my book “Love Israel, Support Palestine,” I wrote: “Israeli society has to ask itself very important questions about where and why the blood of its sons and daughters was spilled. A Messianic religious minority has dragged us into a muddy swamp, and we are following them as if it were the piper from Hamelin.” When I wrote these words last year, I didn’t realize how deep in the mud we were, and how much more blood could be shed in so little time.

I am now going to defend my country against enemies who want to kill my people. Our enemies are the deadly terrorist organizations that are being controlled by Islamic extremists.

Palestinians aren’t the enemy. The millions of Palestinians who live right here next to us, between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan, are not our enemy. Just like the majority of Israelis want to live a calm, peaceful and dignified life, so do Palestinians. Israelis and Palestinians alike have been in the grip of a religious minority for decades. On both sides, the intractable positions of a small group have dragged us into violence. It doesn’t matter who is more cruel or more ruthless. The ideologies of both have fueled this conflict, leading to the deaths of too many innocent civilians.

As a major in the reserves, it is important to me to make it clear that in this already unstoppable new war, we cannot allow the massacre of innocent Israelis to result in the massacre of innocent Palestinians. Israel must remember that there are more than two million people living in the Gaza Strip. The vast majority of them are innocent. Israel must do everything in its power to avoid killing innocent people and to focus on destroying the militant army of Hamas.

There is a pattern here, of making a distinction between members of Hamas and the Gazan people. But it is also here critical to note something that people either don't know or don't like to talk about; the people of Gaza, in democratic elections, elected Hamas to rule them. From the Guardian:

Figures from Palestinian officials tonight confirmed Hamas's shock win in the Palestinian parliamentary election over the once-dominant Fatah party.

Polls had predicted a coalition between the two parties as the most likely outcome of the vote, but a surprise surge in support for the Islamists took a party that calls for the destruction of the state of Israel into power.

The preliminary count put Hamas on 76 seats to Fatah's 43 in the 132 seat chamber. The result could complicate hopes of a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. George Bush said the United States would not deal with a Hamas-led government unless the party recognised Israel's right to exist.

As the scale of the Fatah defeat became apparent, its officials conceded defeat and the Palestinian prime minister, Ahmed Qureia, and his cabinet submitted their resignations. "This is the choice of the people. It should be respected," Mr Qureia told reporters . . .

 . . . Mr Bush said a party that advocated the destruction of Israel would never be partner for peace, but also hailed the result as an example of democracy in action.

"If there are people unhappy with the status quo they'll let you know. What was positive is that it is a wakeup call to the leadership," he told a White House press conference.

"People are demanding honest government ... people want services; they want to raise their children in a decent environment."

Everywhere you read about the 2006 Gaza election, you will see the word "democracy" in its various forms and usages. In 2008, Vanity Fair ran a piece about a US plot to remove the democratically elected Hamas-led government from power with the help of Muhammad Dahlan, a Mahmoud Abbas rival:  

Vanity Fair has obtained confidential documents, since corroborated by sources in the U.S. and Palestine, which lay bare a covert initiative, approved by Bush and implemented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, to provoke a Palestinian civil war. The plan was for forces led by Dahlan, and armed with new weapons supplied at America’s behest, to give Fatah the muscle it needed to remove the democratically elected Hamas-led government from power. (The State Department declined to comment.)

Senior Policy Fellow for the European Council on Foreign Relations Hugh Lovatt wrote about the democratic nature of the 2006 Gaza elections, in a piece called, Back to democracy: Europe, Hamas, and the Palestinian elections:

Palestinians may soon be heading to the polls for the first time in 15 years. For some, this will be their first taste of electoral politics and democratic participation. Yet it will not be Palestine’s first democratic experiment. Long before the advent of the Arab uprisings, Palestine held free and fair elections to choose a president and a parliament. In hindsight, these elections, held in 2005 and 2006 respectively, marked the high point of Palestinian democracy.

The European Union and the United States were initially strong advocates of Palestinian democracy, and were a driving force behind the last elections, urging the main political rivals – the Islamist Hamas and the secular Fatah – to engage constructively in the process. The EU and the US proved less comfortable when the democratic outcome went against their interests following Hamas’s victory in the 2006 legislative election and the group’s refusal to endorse international demands such as recognising Israel. Subsequent efforts by the EU and the US to boycott and undermine the democratically elected government led by Hamas significantly damaged the Palestinian democratic and state-building project. This stoked Palestinian political tensions and helped provoke a short civil war in June 2007 that left Hamas in control of Gaza and President Mahmoud Abbas, leader of Fatah, in control of the West Bank. These events reverberate to this day. 

Many will try to convince you that the Gazan people were coerced into voting for Hamas. But they were not. The elections were democratic. They were pleased with their choice and showed it, by celebrating when their party won. Al Jazeera had the story:

Hamas wins huge majority 

Hamas supporters streamed into the streets to celebrate.

In the southern Gaza town of Rafah, supporters shot in the air and handed out candy. Others honked horns and waved Hamas flags from car windows.

The elections were, demonstrably, and by all accounts, free and fair and democratic. So why would anyone call the “civilians” of Gaza “innocent?” All of them supported Hamas. 

They still do. Following Operation Guardian of the Walls, in May of 2021, the people of Gaza were polled.

A new poll released Tuesday finds a dramatic surge in Palestinian support for Hamas following last month’s Gaza war, with around three quarters viewing the Islamic militants as victors in a battle against Israel to defend Jerusalem and its holy sites.

The scientific poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research also found plummeting support for President Mahmoud Abbas, who was sidelined by the war but is seen internationally as a partner for reviving the long-defunct peace process.

The poll found that 53% of Palestinians believe Hamas is “most deserving of representing and leading the Palestinian people,”

The poll found that 77% of Palestinians believe Hamas emerged as a winner, with nearly as many saying that it fought the war to defend Jerusalem and its holy sites, rather than as part of an internal struggle with Abbas’ Fatah party.

Note that while President Biden, in 2023, asserts that the “innocent people of Gaza” are somehow distinct from the party they elected, he knows they are not. In fact, after Hamas won the 2006 election, Joe Biden led a push to cut off US aid to Hamas for winning, and to the Palestinian Authority for losing:

After Hamas won democratic elections in Gaza, Joe Biden called for the U.S. to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority.

When Hamas, which the U.S. government had designated a terrorist organization, won a resounding victory in Gaza, it sent shockwaves through Washington. Biden called the results “sobering” and declared, “Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with a party that calls for its destruction.” Biden said President George W. Bush was “dead right” in his denunciation of the election results. Within days, Biden began suggesting that the U.S. and Europe should sanction Hamas and cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority. “The fact of the matter is, you cannot pour millions and hundreds of millions of dollars into a group that, in fact, calls for the destruction of an ally, or for any country, for that matter,” Biden said. As the Bush administration called on other nations to adopt this stance, Biden said, “Unless they change their stripes, unless they recognize Israel, unless they change their charter, I think we do exactly what the president says.”

In a Senate hearing a month after Hamas’s victory, Biden offered a twisted logic on the importance of elections. “Elections a democracy don’t make,” he said, pointing specifically to Hamas’s success at the ballot. “Democracies cannot come to fruition without elections, but you need the infrastructure for a democracy, and we’ve not done all that well in the elections being held.” By March, Biden had signed onto a bill that called on Bush to “direct the United States Executive Director at each international financial institution to use the voice, vote, and influence of the United States to prohibit assistance to the Palestinian Authority.”

Joe Biden understood, though he pretended he did not, with his “twisted logic” that democratic elections are somehow not really democratic, because um, other things. Biden knows that the people of Gaza are not innocent. They voted for terror, death, and destruction. And they got it.

The innocence of the people of Gaza is in reality, a legend propagated and perpetuated by Hamas. Hamas does not distinguish between terrorists and “innocents.” Why should we? Why would the leaders of the world, including Joe Biden? From MEMRI:

The Hamas interior ministry website included the following text along with its instructional video: "The Information Department of the Ministry of the Interior and National Security has instructed activists on social media websites, particularly Facebook, to correct some of the commonly used terms as they cover the aggression taking place in the Gaza Strip. The following Information Department video calls on all activists to use the proper terminology, in order to play their part in strengthening the home front and in properly conveying information worldwide."

Hamas Social Media Rules: Describe Terrorists as Innocent Civilians

The interior ministry’s “Be Aware – Social Media Activist Awareness Campaign” centers around an instructional video and posters published on the ministry’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Gazans are taught, first and foremost, to refer to all terrorists as innocent civilians.

“Anyone killed or martyred is to be called a civilian from Gaza or Palestine, before we talk about his status in jihad or his military rank,” the guidelines state. “Don’t forget to always add ‘innocent civilian’ or ‘innocent citizen’ in your description of those killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza.”

Screenshot of Hamas Facebook post, telling Gazans to use the word "innocent" in referring to terrorists.

Bearing final mention here is the Ben Shapiro video on the number of radical Muslims in the world. To be a radical Muslim means, of course, to support and/or engage in terror. The “innocent civilians of Gaza” have proven that they number themselves among the “vast majority” who share their sentiments. 

In spite of knowing all of this, President Biden took a moment to inform us that the “overwhelming majority of Palestinians had nothing to do with Hamas’s [sic] appalling attacks.” Even when he knows damned well that no such thing is true. 

Joe Biden is well aware that the “innocent” people of Gaza are the ones who put the terrorists in charge, and he knows that they like it like that. Are their children innocent? Does it matter? The parents of the children of Gaza sacrificed them before they were born, on the altar of their Jew-hatred. Had these children lived, they would have been reared and educated in UNWRA schools to murder Jews and steal their land. They start them young.


There is no doubt that there is much suffering going on right now in Gaza. The people who are suffering, are the same people who rejoiced when their leaders massacred Jews. Now they are suffering, but they are not innocent, and I for one, will not weep. For it is a suffering of their own creation.

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