Hamas operatives burst into the Associated Press (AP) Gaza bureau during the 2014 war with Israel, angered by a picture shot by an AP photographer. Gunmen threatened the AP staff, which never reported the incident.
Thursday, March 30, 2017
Hamas operatives burst into the Associated Press (AP) Gaza bureau during the 2014 war with Israel, angered by a picture shot by an AP photographer. Gunmen threatened the AP staff, which never reported the incident.
The incident shows that Hamas can control what journalists report, and what they don't, former AP Middle East reporter Matti Friedman says in a new documentary, "Eyeless in Gaza."
Producer Robert Magid's 50-minute film, which is screening via pay-per-view online, examines the flaws and challenges in reporting on the 50-day war.
Magid said he wanted to "set the record straight and provide context," after being appalled at news coverage that ignored Hamas' practice of launching rockets from civilian areas. That omission allowed the media to push a false narrative that "Israel was callous in their bombing."
The sullied moral image of Israel that emerged from the media's biased coverage sparked public outrage and anti-Semitism. "Muslims will crush the Jews as they did in Khyber 14 centuries ago," protestors in the film shout. Another says: "I see the Jews in Israel as total Nazis."
Reporters routinely failed to show the history leading up to the conflict or how Hamas instigated it. Magid provides viewers with some brief historical context: Israel expelled 10,000 of its own citizens from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and offered the Palestinians their first chance at self-rule. But Hamas took over the territory and turned it into an Islamist terror state, rather than a model for responsible self-rule and peaceful coexistence with Israel.
Viewers see how attack tunnels exemplify Hamas policy of diverting public resources to pursue terrorism. Israel allows high-quality cement into Gaza in response to the humanitarian need to rebuild damaged buildings, only to discover the same cement being used to build massive underground tunnels whose only purpose is to target Israelis. Each tunnel costs about $3 million, and an Israeli military spokesman interviewed in the film estimates $100 million in resources were diverted.
Despite Israel's unprecedented efforts to minimize Gaza's civilian casualties, the film shows how Hamas works to maximize them.
"The Israeli army called me, they asked me to leave Al-Sajaeya," says one Gazan. "We stayed at home because Al Aksa and Al Quds [Hamas] radio stations told us 'Don't leave your homes, it's rumors.' We remained in our homes, but when we saw the bombs pouring on us, we miraculously got out...Five of my brothers' sons were killed, and the houses destroyed."
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) went to great lengths to spare civilians, issuing warnings by leaflets, SMS messages, the "roof knock" technique, and social media. Col. Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, notes in the film "the immense efforts that the IDF took when fighting in this very challenging environment, to minimize the number of civilian deaths [even though] Hamas used human shields virtually constantly. They deliberately site their weapon systems, and their fighters among the civilian population."
"Eyeless in Gaza" shows the underreported perspective of Israelis trying to survive Hamas rocket attacks, including a huge explosion on a populated beach, and people racing to shelters with just 15 seconds to reach them. Israel's Iron Dome defense system is no silver bullet: "10 percent [of] rockets...could hit you," notes Tal Inbar, head of the Space Research Center at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies in Herzliya. "And...if the enemy is firing thousands of rockets...10 percent...is quite a lot." Even intercepted rockets can still cause shock and injuries from falling shrapnel.
Kneejerk global condemnations of Israel triggered by a lopsided casualty count resulted, at least in part, from the media's failure to cover the true nature of the mass casualty-threat facing Israel. Hamas launched thousands of rockets at schools, hospitals, and densely packed Israeli neighborhoods, demonstrating the group's intent to kill many thousands of civilians. Hamas failed only because Israel had invested billions in a rocket defense system and Israelis regularly scurried to bomb shelters despite the disruption to their lives.
Former Russia Today correspondent Harry Fear, who calls himself "one of the most Palestinian-sympathizing journalists in the world," notes that Palestinians "rejected cease fires, which could have saved...thousands of lives..."
Fearing violent retribution from Hamas, journalists engaged in collective self-censorship, he told Magid. Just about all foreign correspondents witnessed Palestinian war crimes without reporting them. "Rockets were being fired consistently from densely populated areas," he said. He was expelled from Gaza after reporting on Twitter such fire.
An Indian television crew aired footage of Palestinian terrorists firing rockets from civilian areas only after it had left Gaza. Its report, shown in "Eyeless in Gaza," notes that the rocket fire "will obviously have serious consequences... for those who live here, should Israel choose to retaliate."
Hamas' intimidation of journalists produces flawed, misleading coverage, as Friedman elaborates: "Most of the work of the international media in Gaza is done not by western journalists ... but by local Palestinians from Gaza: fixers, translators, reporters, photographers ... their families are in Gaza, and they're not going to get Hamas angry. And because these people largely shape the coverage, that ends up having a very significant effect."
Fear decries the limits to free speech in Gaza, citing a 2014 poll indicating that 80 percent of Palestinian journalists exercise self-censorship for fear of retribution.
Similarly, Friedman says in the film, "I understand why reporters censor themselves ... in Gaza. What I don't understand is why the news organizations haven't made clear the restrictions under which they operate in Gaza, so that news consumers can understand that they are seeing a warped picture."
The intimidation can be worse for Palestinian journalists. Ayman Al Aloul describes his imprisonment and torture by Hamas after he refused to stop writing about Gaza's extreme poverty, and Hamas' failed economic policies. "They started beating me and cursing at me. When I went back inside [my cell], I feared someone would be sent to end my life... I was scared they would say, 'He died from cold or hunger.' I was really scared."
While the Western media and United Nations Human Rights Council obsessively harp on any alleged Israeli human rights violation, it completely ignored Al Aloul's case.
Conflicts that receive far less media attention than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, despite being exponentially bloodier, also have been neglected, thanks to the media's obsession with Israel. The film notes that, since 2011, nearly half a million people have been killed or wounded in Syria, compared to about 2,000 in Gaza. "160,000 Palestinians lived in Yarmouk prior to 2011. [Because of] Syrian...bombing and starvation policies, there are now 18,000."
Thus, campus protesters who routinely accuse Israel of "genocide" and "massacre" are either grossly misinformed (at least in part because of media bias) or simply anti-Semitic.
UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) spokesperson Chris Gunness acknowledges a double standard by the media and Arab governments' in terms of attention given to the plight of Palestinians in Syria versus Gaza. But when asked why UNRWA failed to condemn Egypt's security-motivated destruction of thousands of homes along the Gaza border, he says only, "we are not mandated to work in Egypt."
Friedman notes, "If Israel did 1 percent of that, of course the international community would be in an uproar. I think people aren't interested in Arabs in general, or what Arabs do to each other. I think they're basically interested ... in the actions of Jews. And that's why Egypt can destroy entire neighborhoods [bordering] Gaza, as it did recently, and the world kind of yawns. That I think proves that ... the story being told here by the international media is not a story about current events. It's a story about something else. It's a morality play starring a familiar villain [the Jews]."
This hostile paradigm explains the failure of Western media to report on the anti-Semitic nature of the Hamas charter, which blames all of the world's woes – including every major war and revolution, and even the Holocaust – on the Jews, while calling for their annihilation, Friedman says in "Eyeless in Gaza."
"If you say that Hamas is anti-Semitic, if you quote their charter, if you look too closely at exactly what their goals are, and who they are, then it would disrupt the narrative, according to which Israel is an aggressor, and the Palestinians are passive victims who have reasonable goals," Friedman says.
Nevertheless, the media's failure to include critical facts like those exposed in "Eyeless in Gaza" encourages terrorist groups like Hamas to embrace tactics intended to maximize civilian casualties. The resulting global condemnation of Israel for Gazan deaths only encourages Hamas to jeopardize civilians in the next round of violence.
As "Eyeless in Gaza" highlights, the kind of journalism that covered the 2014 war in Gaza distorted the truth, abetted a terrorist group, and strengthened the party most responsible for Gaza's misery and ongoing hostilities with Israel.
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
J-POST - NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN DOCUMENT PENNED BY NAZI LEADER HIMMLER UNCOVERED IN ISRAEL - The National Library has uncovered a telegram written by Heinrich Himmler and sent to Mufti al-Husseini, in which the Nazi leader expressed his support of the Palestinian struggle against the Jews.
Trump's US Ambassador to Israel Sworn In - Bankruptcy attorney David Friedman has been sworn in as U.S. envoy to Israel, becoming President Donald Trump's first ambassador to take office. (March 29)
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
How many times have you heard that the only way to achieve peace in the Middle East is through a two-state solution?
Among most politicians, journalists, and academics, that’s a given.
But have you heard that Israel has already offered the Palestinians a state five times? And every time, the Palestinians have turned down the offer.
When were Israel’s five offers of peace? Why do the Palestinians keep saying no? And what can be done about it?
David Brog, author and Executive Director of the Maccabee Task Force, explains.
Monday, March 27, 2017
Fatah students: "From the sea of blood of the Martyrs we will create a state" - Fatah student movement h Fatah message to its students: Israel will be erased and become "Palestine" and it will be accomplished through violence and terror
[Official Fatah Facebook page, March 21, 2017]
tamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
At two Palestinian universities, An-Najah National University in Nablus and Al-Quds Open University, Fatah's student movement Shabiba is sending a clear message as to the path they advocate. On their logos (above and below right), the following text appears:
"From the sea of blood of the Martyrs (Shahids) we will create a state."
|[Facebook page of Fatah's student movement Shabiba at Al-Quds Open University, Tulkarem, August 6, 2014]|
The logo of An-Najah National University recently appeared on Fatah's official Facebook page in an announcement publicizing the upcoming elections for the student union council. [Official Fatah Facebook page, March 21, 2017]
The ideology that "Palestine" is to be created from the blood of "Martyrs" echoes Fatah leaders' promotion and encouragement of terror and glorification of terrorists, which Palestinian Media Watch has recently documented in a report released earlier this month in the American Congress.
Last year, Shabiba at Birzeit University campaigned with a poster calling for murder. It showed a knife dripping with blood, shaped as the PA's map of "Palestine" that includes the PA areas as well as all of Israel. The poster's text:
"Plant it [the knife] in the heart of your enemy"
[Official Fatah Facebook page, April 26, 2016]
At Birzeit University, Fatah's Shabiba has also adopted the fist shaped as the PA's map of "Palestine" and added the text "We will return." Above the logo: "Volunteering, Giving, Sacrifice, and Self-Sacrifice."
[Facebook page of Fatah's student movement Shabiba at Birzeit University, Jan. 28, 2017]
The map also appears on Fatah Shabiba's general logo (left), which is also the logo used by Shabiba at the Arab American University in Ramallah (right):
Text under logo (right): "The Shabiba Student Movement the State of Palestine The Arab American University"
Text on logo under map: "Fatah - The eternal revolution"
[Facebook page of Fatah's student movement Shabiba at the Arab American University, Ramallah, May 14, 2013]
The use of the PA's map of "Palestine," which rejects Israel's existence in any borders reflects the PA's and Fatah's general message that all of Israel is "Palestine," as PMW has documented for years. Other branches of Fatah's student movement at different universities also erase Israel's right to exist by using the map:
[Facebook page of Fatah's student movement Shabiba
at Al-Aqsa University, Gaza,
[Facebook page of Fatah's student movement Shabiba
at Palestine Ahliya University, Bethlehem,
The message Fatah university groups send to their student body through their maps and symbols is that Israel will be erased and become "Palestine" and it will be accomplished through violence and terror.
You won’t know whether to laugh or to cry when you listen to the incredible conspiracy theories disseminated by Sheikh Khaled Al-Maghrabi in Jerusalem.
In a lecture given recently at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, Sheikh Khaled Al-Maghrabi described an episode of “The Simpsons” – a TV show “created by devil worshippers” – in which Trump was elected US president.
“They were plotting for 17 years to make it reality,” he stated.
Al-Maghrabi was imprisoned in the past for incitement and for making racist comments.
Click below to hear some incredible conspiracy theories from a dangerous anti-American, anti-Israel Palestinian cleric, translated by MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute).
Friday, March 24, 2017
“Hamas is a genocidal organization that proudly touts its charter calling on the annihilation of Jews utterly unconnected to any conflict. It seeks the murder of all Jews, including those sitting in the Oxford Union chamber. It aids and abets honor killings of Palestinian women, shoots gay Palestinians in the head on false chargers of collaboration, machine-guns all Palestinian protesters who dare to defy its rule, violently punishes any form of criticism, engages in daily forms of deadly incitement against Jews, celebrates when Westerners, including in Britain, are blown up by bombs, ended any vestige of democratic rule once it was elected, and builds its military installations under hospitals and nurseries so that the infirm and the vulnerable can serve as human shields to its cowardly terrorists. Israel has tried since its creation to make peace with Arab states and has endangered its security with repeated territorial concessions that were met with nothing but terror attacks. Arabs in Israel live with greater freedoms and human rights than any Muslim country on earth. There is no excuse for terror. Jews even under the horrors of Hitler didn’t turn to blowing up German children. The justifications for terrorism that were being offered were an affront and an abomination to Islam which, just like Judaism, abides by the commandment not to murder.”
Is illegal construction taking place in Israel, including Judea and Samaria? If so, who is responsible?
Shacks and structures donated by the European Union (EU), built without permits by Arabs on Jewish land zoned for a green area, are situated near the Israeli capital.
These huts, filmed just three months ago, are located across from the Israeli city of Ma’ale Adumim in Judea, seven kilometers (4.3 miles) east of Jerusalem.
Indeed, the EU has reportedly spent enormous funds on illegal settlement in Israel, in collaboration with the Palestinian Authority.
This is the real “illegal building” in Israel.
Montreal Imam: Jews are the most evil of mankind, human demons, quotes kill Jews passage from hadith
A Jordanian Muslim cleric recently delivered a sermon in Montreal, inciting his audience to murder Jews as an Islamic duty.
In a sermon given on Dec. 23, 2016, at Dar al-Arqam mosque in Montreal’s Saint-Michel neighborhood, Sheikh Muhammad bin Musa Al Nasr described Jews as “the most evil of mankind” and “human demons,” quoting Islamic sources calling to kill all Jews.
The imam, a Jordanian, reportedly was an invited guest of the mosque.
On Monday, B’nai Brith Canada, a Jewish human rights organization, filed a complaint with Montreal police regarding the incitement.
Recent data has concluded that Jews are the most targeted group in Canada.
Click below and listen the vile words of an Islamic religious leader in a major Canadian city.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
“Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Algeria: Where are your Jews?” Viral Video: Hillel Neuer tells U.N. where real apartheid is — room goes silent
U.N Human Rights Council
Agenda Item Targeting Israel
Agenda Item Targeting Israel
March 20, 2017
PLO: “Israel has used the worst kinds of abuse, ethnic cleansing and imposing a regime of apartheid.”
Qatar: “Israel continues to exercise apartheid in Palestine, which constitutes a crime against humanity.”
Sudan: “Violence and terrorism are being exercised against the Palestinian people.”
Syria: “Violations including building of apartheid walls… to legitimize theft of land and to Judaize Jerusalem.”
Bahrain: “The separation wall is an example of the apartheid policy practiced by Israel.”
Saudi Arabia: “Israel’s practices of discrimination and extremism…”
UN Watch (Executive Director Hillel Neuer): Mr. President, let me begin by putting the following on the record: Everything we just heard — from the world’s worst abusers of human rights, of women’s rights, of freedom of religion, of the press, of assembly, of speech — is absolutely false; and, indeed, Orwellian.
Today’s report does not consider Israelis to be deserving of human rights — consistent with the approach of this council, where today’s notorious agenda item against Israel completely ignores their human rights.
Over the weekend, President Abbas announced he was giving his highest medal to Rima Khalaf, who resigned from the Economic and Social Commission of Western Asia, a Beirut-based UN agency of 18 Arab states, after Secretary General Guterres rightly instructed her to remove an absurd report which accused Israel of “apartheid.”
Mr. President, why is Mr. Abbas celebrating a report written by the notorious Richard Falk, after his own Palestinian Mission here, tried in 2010, to remove Mr. Falk on the basis that he was “a partisan of Hamas,” as we know from WikiLeaks?
The accusation against Israel is absurd. Israel’s 1.5 million Arabs…
[Interruption with objections by Palestinians, Egypt, and Pakistan.]
President gives UN Watch back the floor.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Israel’s 1.5 million Arabs, whatever challenges they face, enjoy full rights to vote and to be elected in the Knesset, they work as doctors and lawyers, they serve on the Supreme Court.
Now I’d like to ask the members of that commission, that commissioned that report, the Arab states from which we just heard. Egypt, Iraq, and the others:
How many Jews live in your countries? How many Jews lived in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco?
Once upon a time, the Middle East was full of Jews.
Algeria had 140,000 Jews. Algeria, where are your Jews?
Egypt used to have 75,000 Jews. Where are your Jews?
Syria, you had tens of thousands of Jews. Where are your Jews?
Iraq, you had over 135,000 Jews. Where are your Jews?
Mr. President, where is the apartheid?
Why is there a U.N. commission on the Middle East that does not include Israel? From the 1960s and the ‘70s they refuse to include Israel. Where is the apartheid, Mr. President?
Mr. President, why are we meeting today on an agenda item singling out only one state, the Jewish state, for targeting.
Where is the apartheid, Mr. President?
UNHRC chamber goes silent.
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
With a list of potential recipients, the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) authorized the release of financial aid for needy Palestinians. The money is supposed to support humanitarian projects to improve the livelihoods of Gaza's residents to purchase food and basic necessities. Instead, a lot of the money was diverted to buy weapons and train terrorists to kill Israelis.
This is Hamas' financial modus operandi.
Israeli authorities arrested TIKA's leader in Gaza last month for funneling money to Hamas' military wing, Israel's domestic security agency announced .
"The investigation showed that Murtaja deceived TİKA by misusing the organization's resources and funds, which were intended for substantial humanitarian projects in the Gaza Strip, by diverting them to Hamas's military wing. This fraud was carried out in collusion with the senior ranks of Hamas in Gaza, headed by Ismail Haniyeh," Israeli Government Press Office statement said, adding that Murtaja sought "information that would improve the accuracy of Hamas rockets being launched at Israel."
Senior Hamas officials gave Murtaja the names of Hamas terrorists and their family members to be listed as poor Palestinians who required financial assistance. Murtaja would then give the names to his TIKA superiors, who would authorize the release of "benefits and stipends." The Hamas operative successfully diverted "millions of shekels" for terrorist activities during the 2014 Israel-Hamas war and beyond.
In one example, members of Hamas' military wing received TIKA food packages intended for Gaza's civilians.
"Hamas prospers at the expense of the residents of the Strip and uses donations meant for them to finance terror," said Major Gen. Yoav Mordechai, Israel's coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. "How long will the world and the Gazan people ignore this?"
Shin Bet also announced that Turkey's IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation directly financed Hamas terrorism. Israeli authorities accused the coordinator of IHH's Gaza office, Mehmet Kaya, of providing "Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Raad Saad cash from Turkey that was earmarked for the Hamas military wing."
Some of the IHH money helped buy weapons and build a training facility for Hamas naval commandos.
These two separate episodes show how Hamas exploits charities worldwide to finance its terrorist infrastructure at the expense of needy civilians. The terrorist group repeatedly demonstrates that it prioritizes its fight against Israel over the well-being of its own citizens and societal development.
Last year, Shin Bet revealed that Hamas diverted "tens of millions of dollars" from World Vision, a U.S.-based Christian charity, to rebuild its terrorist infrastructure.
The terrorist group reportedly siphoned 60 percent of the charity's resources in Gaza to reconstruct Hamas' tunnel network and military installations, in addition to buying weapons intended to kill Israelis. This amount translated to roughly $7.2 million each year.
The alleged scheme involved Hamas operatives, posing as World Vision employees, filing fake proposals for World Vision-financed projects in Gaza, before laundering the cash to Hamas and its military wing.
For example, a Hamas operative launched an initiative to build greenhouses to hide terrorist tunnel sites, while a proposed project intended to help Gaza's fishermen ended up using the money to improve Hamas' naval capabilities. Since the end of the 2014 summer war in Gaza, Hamas continues to rebuild its elite forces – including its naval commando unit – dedicated to infiltrating into Israel to carry out terrorist attacks.
Hamas terrorists also falsely listed their children as injured to collect money intended to help children in Gaza who were actually wounded. Tens of thousands of dollars from the charity's finances were also used to buy weapons in the Sinai during ousted Egyptian president Muhammad Morsi's reign. World Vision is still independently investigating to confirm whether Israel's allegations are credible.
$82 million dollars in cash to Gaza, primarily from Gulf States and the European Union. The money is meant to cover the salaries of about 50,000 Palestinian Authority employees in the Gaza Strip. Based on these latest developments, however, Hamas operatives could try to siphon some of the money to finance their terrorist efforts against Israel., Israel enabled the transfer of roughly
Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah recently warned Israel that his Iran-backed terror group could attack targets producing mass Israeli casualties, including a huge ammonia storage tank in Haifa, and a nuclear reactor in Dimona.
Also last month, Tower Magazine reported that, since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, Iran provided Hizballah with a vast supply of "game-changing," state-of-the art weapons, despite Israel's occasional airstrikes against weapons convoys.
In a future conflict, Hizballah has the capacity to fire 1,500 rockets into Israel each day, overwhelming Israel's missile defense systems. Should such a scenario materialize, Israel will be forced to respond with unprecedented firepower to defend its own civilians.
Hizballah's advanced weapons and the systems needed to launch them reportedly are embedded across a staggering 10,000 locations in the heart of more than 200 civilian towns and villages. The Israeli military has openly warned about this Hizballah war crime and the grave threats it poses to both sides, but that alarm generated almost no attention from the global media, the United Nations, or other international institutions.
Like the terror group Hamas, Hizballah knows that civilian deaths at the hands of Israel are a strategic asset, because they produce diplomatic pressure to limit Israel's military response. Hizballah reportedly went so far as offering reduced-price housing to Shiite families who allowed the terrorist group to store rocket launchers in their homes.
But if the global media, the UN, human rights organizations, and other international institutions predictably pounce on Israel after it causes civilian casualties, why are they doing nothing to prevent them? Hizballah's very presence in southern Lebanon is a flagrant violation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1701, which called for the area to be a zone "free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons" other than the Lebanese military and the U.N. Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
The resolution also required Hizballah to be disarmed, but the terror group today has an arsenal that rivals that of most armies. Hizballah possesses an estimated 140,000 missiles and rockets, and reportedly now can manufacture advanced weapons in underground factories that are impervious to aerial attack.
"Israel must stress again and again, before it happens, that these villages [storing Hizballah weapons] have become military posts, and are therefore legitimate targets," said Yoram Schweitzer, senior research fellow at Israel's Institute for National Security Studies (INSS).
Meir Litvak, director of Tel Aviv University's Alliance Center for Iranian Studies, agrees, adding that global attention would "expose Hizballah's hypocrisy in its cynical use of civilians as... human shields."
Even a concerted campaign to showcase Hizballah's war preparation is unlikely to change things, said Eyal Zisser, a senior research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies. Hizballah exploits the fact that "the international community is too busy and...weak to do something about it," Zisser said. All of "these talks and reports have no meaning. See what is happening in Syria."
Israel has targeted Hizballah-bound weapons caches in Syria twice during the past week. Syria responded last Friday by firing a missile carrying 200 kilograms of explosives, which Israel successfully intercepted.
If Hizballah provokes a war, Israel can legitimately attack civilian areas storing Hizballah arms if the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) first attempts to warn the targeted civilians to leave those areas, Litvak said. But "it will certainly be very difficult and will look bad on TV."
While Sunni Arab states are generally united against the Shiite Iranian-Hizballah axis, Litvak, Zisser, and Schweitzer all agreed that Israel could hope for no more than silent support from them when the missiles fly.
Indeed, the "Sunni Arab street" is likely to be inflamed by the images of civilian death and destruction caused by Israel that international media will inevitably broadcast, further limiting support for Israel from Iran's Sunni state foes.
Rather perversely, the Lebanese government has embraced the very terrorist organization that could cause hundreds of thousands of Lebanese civilian deaths by converting residential areas into war zones. "As long as Israel occupies land and covets the natural resources of Lebanon, and as long as the Lebanese military lacks the power to stand up to Israel, [Hizballah's] arms are essential, in that they complement the actions of the army and do not contradict them," President Michel Aoun told Egyptian television last month. Hizballah, he said, "has a complementary role to the Lebanese army."
Aoun's declaration means that Lebanon "takes full responsibility for all of Hizballah's actions, including against Israel, and for their consequences to Lebanon and its entire population, even though the Lebanese government has little ability to actually control the organization's decisions or policy," said INSS Senior Research Fellow Assaf Orion.
MK Naftali Bennett, a veteran of Israel's 2006 war with Hizballah, believes that Lebanon's official acceptance of Hizballah and its policy of embedding military assets inside residential areas removes any constraints on Israeli targeting of civilian areas. "The Lebanese institutions, its infrastructure, airport, power stations, traffic junctions, Lebanese Army bases – they should all be legitimate targets if a war breaks out," he said. "That's what we should already be saying to them and the world now."
In a future war, Hizballah is certain to try bombarding Israeli civilian communities with missile barrages. Israel, in response, will have to target missile launchers and weapons caches surrounded by Lebanese civilians.
But it need not be so. Global attention on Hizballah's abuses by journalists and diplomats could lead to international pressure that ultimately reduces or even prevents civilian deaths.
Those truly concerned about civilians do not have a difficult case to make. Hizballah has shown a callous disregard for innocent life in Syria.
It helped the Syrian regime violently suppress largely peaceful protests that preceded the Syrian civil war in 2011. Last April, Hizballah and Syrian army troops reportedly killed civilians attempting to flee the Sunni-populated town of Madaya, near the Lebanese border. In 2008, its fighters seized control of several West Beirut neighborhoods and killed innocent civilians after the Lebanese government moved to shut down Hizballah's telecommunication network.
Hizballah terrorism has claimed civilian lives for decades, including a 1994 suicide bombing at Argentina's main Jewish center that killed 85 people . As the IDF notes, "Since 1982, hundreds of innocent civilians have lost their lives and thousands more have been injured thanks to Hizballah."
If world powers and the international media genuinely care about avoiding civilian casualties, they should be loudly condemning Hizballah's ongoing efforts – in flagrant violation of a UN resolution – to cause massive civilian death and destruction in Lebanon's next war with Israel.
Noah Beck is the author of The Last Israelis, an apocalyptic novel about Iranian nukes and other geopolitical issues in the Middle East.