It is of course nothing new to say that an anti-Israeli bias is a permanent feature of the MSM. Thus when its enemies do all they can to wipe Israel off the map, we hear little or nothing about this, or we hear sanitised versions of it. But when Israel says enough is enough, and seeks to target those responsible for sending rockets into civilian populations, the media all of a sudden awakes, and bewails Israeli 'terrorism' and 'bloodshed'.
It is therefore necessary to get some perspective on all this. Three years ago Israel left Gaza. The Hamas-led blood-bath which followed was not a pretty site, albeit largely un-reported by the MSM. Moderate political leaders were killed, and opposition to the Hamas fanatics was quickly wiped out. Dr. Earl Tilford picks up the story:
"Israel offered the Palestinians an opportunity to live side-by-side in peace. How did Hamas respond? Hamas fighters took over Gaza in a wave of violence, murdering hundreds of Palestinian political rivals and destroying much of the urban infrastructure left by the departing Israelis. One example was the destruction of greenhouses in northern Gaza, facilities that could have provided food and potentially agricultural exports for the Palestinian economy. Hamas destroyed these facilities because Jews built them. Israel offered its hand in peace and Hamas responded with shouts of 'Next year in Jerusalem!'"
And consider the role of Egypt in this: "Israel's 'partner in peace' allowed Hamas to dig over 100 tunnels under its border with Gaza. Egyptian border guards looked the other way while weapons and ammunition flowed through those tunnels into Gaza."
And then there is the matter of 6,464 rocket and mortar attacks on Israel during this period. These were of course aimed at Israel's civilian population. Hamas does not distinguish between civilian and non-civilian targets. To them, the only good Jew is a dead Jew.
Israel, by contrast, tries to play by the rules. It seeks to target only military personal and infrastructure. Of course this is made very difficult when Hamas deliberate ensconces itself in civilian populations, ensuring that when it is targeted, civilian casualties will of necessity occur. And of course the Western media is happy to show us these pictures time and time again.
As Charles Krauthammer explains, this tactic has two purposes: "First, counting on the moral scrupulousness of Israel, Hamas figures civilian proximity might help protect at least part of its arsenal. Second, knowing that Israelis have new precision weapons that may allow them to attack nonetheless, Hamas hopes that inevitable collateral damage - or, if it is really fortunate, an errant Israeli bomb - will kill large numbers of its own people for which, of course, the world will blame Israel."
He continues, "For Hamas the only thing more prized than dead Jews are dead Palestinians. The religion of Jew-murder and self-martyrdom is ubiquitous. And deeply perverse, such as the Hamas TV children's program in which an adorable live-action Palestinian Mickey Mouse is beaten to death by an Israeli (then replaced by his more militant cousin, Nahoul the Bee, who vows to continue on Mickey's path to martyrdom)."
But what more can Israel do? It has a right to defend itself, and it even gives advance warning when it will launch a strike, giving civilians a chance to clear out. As Krauthammer points out, Israel went to the trouble of warning enemy noncombatants in advance, by means of thousands of cell-phone messages in Arabic. Thus there is no moral equivalence here whatsoever. One side deliberately targets civilians, hoping for maximum bloodshed, while the other side tries its best to avoid civilian casualties.
Still, critics and the MSM speak of Israel's disproportionate response, and seek to make Israel out to be the aggressor. But as Michael Gerson notes, this is simply more fuzzy thinking: "Israel's response has been criticized as 'disproportionate,' which betrays a misunderstanding of proportion's meaning. The goal of military action, when unavoidable, is not to take one life in exchange for each one unjustly taken; this is mere vengeance. The goal is to remove the conditions that lead to conflict and the taking of life. So far, Israel's actions have been proportionate to this objective. And the convoys of fuel, medical supplies and food sent by Israel into Gaza show an appropriate concern for Palestinian suffering, even during a broad assault on Hamas forces."
He continues, "Israel's immediate goal is simple: to stop missile barrages by Hamas on southern Israel. But it is not a coincidence that this action was taken by the primary sponsors of the peace process in Israeli politics. The Israeli public will not accept any further risks for peace as long as Hamas missiles fly. Those missiles are a daily symbol that Israeli territorial concessions result in the strengthening of committed enemies and the death of Israeli citizens. The removal of this threat is not an obstacle to the peace process. It is the prerequisite for the resumption of the peace process."
Krauthammer puts the story into perspective: "Israel has but a single objective in Gaza - peace: the calm, open, normal relations it offered Gaza when it withdrew in 2005. Doing something never done by the Turkish, British, Egyptian and Jordanian rulers of Palestine, the Israelis gave the Palestinians their first sovereign territory ever in Gaza. What ensued? This is not ancient history. Did the Palestinians begin building the state that is supposedly their great national aim? No. No roads, no industry, no courts, no civil society at all. The flourishing greenhouses that Israel left behind for the Palestinians were destroyed and abandoned. Instead, Gaza's Iranian-sponsored rulers have devoted all their resources to turning it into a terror base â€" importing weapons, training terrorists, building tunnels with which to kidnap Israelis on the other side. And of course firing rockets unceasingly."
Or as Tilford puts it, "Israel and the Palestinian Authority are in agreement over the creation of a Palestinian state. Negotiations are over where the lines will be drawn. Hamas' intransigence and terrorist attacks complicate those negotiations. Indeed, Hamas does not want any agreement with Israel. It is impossible for Israel to reach an accommodation with an entity dedicated to its extermination. The only hope for attaining a just peace in this tragically afflicted region is the complete destruction of Hamas."
It is hard to negotiate with those who want to see you destroyed. It is hard to live in peace with radical haters of Israel who have vowed never to allow it to survive. Israel is in a terrible bind here. If it does nothing in response to the Hamas attacks, it is committing national suicide. If it responds, it is criticised by an amoral and biased media.
Yet Israel has a right to exist. It has defended itself on numerous occasions over the past 60 years, and will continue to do so. It has every moral right to survival. It cannot continue to live in fear and terror as its enemies flex their muscles.
As Gerson summarises: "There is no question - none - that Israel's attack on Hamas in Gaza is justified. No nation can tolerate a portion of its people living in the conditions of the London Blitz - listening for sirens, sleeping in bomb shelters and separated from death only by the randomness of a Qassam missile's flight. And no group aspiring to nationhood, such as Hamas, can be exempt from the rules of sovereignty, morality and civilization, which, at the very least, forbid routine murder attempts against your neighbors."