Last year we have heard a lot about the Israel-Gaza conflict. We have seen Gaza being pounded by the Israeli Defense Force with all its might. The civilian death toll has reached 1900+ and hundreds of children have died in the process. With more than 8000 Palestinians injured and the estimated infrastructural loss to gaza ranging from 4 to 6 billion dollars the life of Gazans has hit a new rock bottom. With no power and electricity and now no homes, millions are in need of humanitarian aid. Here are a few myths about the Israeli-Gaza conflict that one should know before taking sides in this conflict.
1. The war started by the kidnapping of a few Israeli teenagers
Western media has shown the war started with the kidnappings and alleged killings of 3 Israeli teenagers. This might be the starting point of the war for the media but in fact just a day before the killings of the teenagers Israel had conducted airstrikes in Gaza which killed a 10 year old boy and a Palestinian man. Isn’t this the start of the war? The media has taken this was as a response to violence rather than Israel initiating it.
2. Hamas Fires rockets into Israel
Hamas has been strictly observing the ceasefire agreements, brokered by Egypt, of 2012. Since then it has not fired rockets into Israel and arrests the members of other Palestinian fractions who fire rockets into Israel or who attempt to fire rockets into Israel. These arrests happened until last month.
But since the start of the war Hamas has resumed firing of rockets into Israel.
3. Hamas kidnapped and killed the 3 teenagers
Israeli intelligence officers reportedly noted as early as June 30 that there was no evidence implicating Hamas as an organization. BuzzFeed reporter Sheera Frenke was the first to report that the 3 teenagers were not Hamas members. They acted independently.
There were repeated inconsistencies in Israeli descriptions of the situation. Israeli intelligence is also said to have known that the boys were dead shortly after they disappeared, but to have maintained public optimism about their safe return to beef up support from the war.
4. Significance of the timing
On June 2, 2014, a Palestinian unity government was formed under the leadership of Mahmood Abbas. The new government was formed under the agreement between Fatah and Hamas. As a sign of goodwill Fatah released all the Hamas prisoners. The European Union, the United Nations, the United States, China, India, Russia and Turkey all agreed to work with it. The Israeli government condemned the unity government because it views Hamas as a terrorist organization. On the night of 6 July, an Israeli air raid on Gaza killed seven Hamas members and on 8 July, Israel launched Operation Protective Edge.
5. Israel is acting out in Self defense
When comparing the Israeli Army and Al Qassam Brigade (Military wing of Hamas); Israel is nuclear armed and has some of the most sophisticated weapons system in the world. As for Hamas they are armed with menial rockets that lack the basic precision guided systems.
Apart from this Israel has been occupying the Palestinian land and has been using an apartheid system to crush the Palestinians. It has kept Gaza under economic blockage since 2007 and controls the flow of goods into Gaza.
Norman Finkelstein put it best: “The refrain that Israel has the right to self-defense is a red herring: the real question is, does Israel have the right to use force to maintain an illegal occupation? The answer is no.”
6. Israel is only targeting Hamas fighters not Palestinians
Israel repeatedly says that it targets only members of hamas and other resistance fighters. But with the shelling campaign and the bombarding campaign there is no proof of Israel targeting just militants. The proof of this is that according to the ministry of health in Gaza nearly 1800 people have died and 80% of them are civilians.
7. Hamas uses the Palestinian population as human shields
There has never been any proof that Hamas has been using civilians as human shields. The only irony of this situation is that the Palestinians have no place to go.
8. Israel wants to weaken Hamas
Benjamin Netanyahu proudly announced that it wants to weaken Hamas and that’s the main reason why the IDF attacked. If this is the purpose that he is taking the fight right to Hamas’s door step he is utterly wrong. The war came at a time when Hamas was being criticized for not being able manage Gaza properly. But then this war has created more support for the Hamas not just locally but internationally.