View from Netanya

I am writing this on Tisha B’Av, the fast that commemorates just about every disaster that befell our people. If ever there was a day to realise the importance of having our own defence forces, not dependent upon the goodwill of any other nation, today is it.

I am sickened by the emergence of anti-Semitism thinly described as agitation on behalf of the Palestinians in Gaza. One of the most remarkable things about Operation Protective Edge has been the absence of Arab demonstrations in support of Hamas. Even in Ramallah, theoretically part of the same state and ruled by a joint Fatah-Hamas government, the silence has been deafening.

There is a pernicious idea among world statesman that views Israel and Hamas as if there were moral equivalence. One is a sovereign democratic state, a full member of the United Nations and a major contributor to world civilisation in numerous fields. The other is a terrorist organisation which will be as likely to observe any commitments towards Israel as Boko Haram would observe towards Nigeria or Al Qaeda towards the United States.

Today Israel is pulling its troops out of Gaza. Doubtless there will be lively political debate in the weeks ahead about what Israel has done and what it ought to be doing. That after all is the nature of democracy, and in the Jewish state the arguments are even livelier!

Much nonsense is talked about bringing democracy to the Arabs, ignoring the fact that theirs is a tribal society. Democracy in Europe took 1000 years to become widespread, and the idea that it can be implanted into the Middle East in a few short years is childlike. Even in the West Bank real authority still resides with the five tribes that inhabit the area, and not the government in Ramallah.

Israel is mourning every single death as if it was a member of their own family. We are also mourning the Palestinians who have been sacrificed in Gaza by a government that stops them fleeing when they are advised to do so by the Israelis, the same government that stops them going to the Israeli field hospital by the Erez crossing when it is painfully obvious that Gaza’s Arab hospitals cannot cope. Hamas knew that there would be war with Israel but built no shelters, despite the risks that their people would face.

And yet the world regards us as the bad guys!! That is why Israel and the Jewish people must be able to rely on ourselves.