Updated: May 26, 2021
by Asher Intrater
Asher Intrater is the president of Tikkun Global where I served as CEO and where I currently serve on the executive team. Asher has great insight into the conflict.
There were tensions and conflicts in Israel during the first three weeks of May, including Ramadan fasting, incitements on Temple Mount, the Sheikh Jarrah dispute, the PLO cancelling elections to block Hamas gains, and the lack of a stable government in Israel.
Hamas opened fire, shooting 150 missiles into Israel at 6:02 pm on Monday, May 10. This brought a strong Israeli military response. Cease fire was declared on May 20.
The conflict caused other tensions and violent demonstrations within Israel between Arabs and Jews, as well as an onslaught of bitter media attacks against Israel around the world.
Here are some statistics at the end of the fighting:
4400 rockets fired toward Israel from Gaza, 20% approximately fell within Gaza, 90% of those crossing into Israel were intercepted.
100 kilometers of the "Metro" underground terror bunkers inside Gaza were destroyed.
Over 200 Gazans were reported killed, including 63 innocent children, and a majority of Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists, among them 25 of their top leaders.
675 Rocket launching sites of various types and levels in Gaza were destroyed.
35 buildings used by Hamas were destroyed.
Various Hamas and Jihad training camps and weapons development sites were destroyed.
12 Israelis were killed by Hamas rocket attacks: 1 Indian, 2 Arabs, 2 Thai workers, 5 Jews.
Here are some points for consideration in light of media attacks on Israel:
Israel did not want this war; it was started by Hamas.
Palestinian suffering is enormous. It is heartbreaking.
Israelis also suffered greatly in this conflict, mostly because of disruption of life, trauma and fear. The overall damage to the Palestinians was greater.
We have totally equal compassion for all people suffering on both sides.
The conflict is not between Jews and Arabs, as racists on both sides would try to claim. (Actually, within Israel many of the Arabs and Jews live together in very friendly cooperation; and Israeli Arabs have high positions in medicine, parliament, business, judicial - including a Supreme Court Justice.)
The conflict is not even from Muslim countries toward Israel, as Israel has peace with several Muslim nations, notably Egypt and Jordan. The conflict is based in the hatred of Islamic extremist groups toward Israel (and toward Christian Arabs).
The conflict was started by the terrorist organizations Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who along with other Islamic extremist groups like Hizballah, ISIS and the Ayatollah regime in Iran, proudly proclaim their goal of the total destruction of Israel.
The claim that Israel desires genocide of Palestinians is patently untrue. There has never been any government statement to that effect. Nor is it the sentiment of the vast majority of the Israeli public.
Quite the opposite is true: the genocide of Israel is clearly called for by all the Islamic extremist groups.
The 100% goal of every missile shot into Israel was aimed at injuring or killing Israeli citizens.
The 100% goal of every Israeli army attack was to avoid civilians and only reach terrorist infrastructure.
The IDF made unprecedented efforts to protect civilian lives in Gaza, including legal counsel with every attack, scanning areas for civilians present, and even warning those living in an area soon to be attacked.
The deliberate intent of Israel to avoid civilian casualties and the deliberate intent of Hamas and Islamic Jihad to target civilians is a significant moral difference that should not be overlooked.
The claim of Israeli occupation of Gaza is totally incorrect. Israel pulled all of its citizens out of Gaza – 8,600 in number – during the months of August and September in 2005. Not one Jew lives in Gaza. Not one IDF soldier serves in Gaza.
The blockade against Gaza is only concerning material that can be used for terrorist activity. All economic, business and humanitarian goods are given free entry. For this reason, Egypt also cooperates with the blockade.
Terrorist tactics force civilian casualties on their own people in order to influence public opinion. The Shahid (martyr) suicidal mentality is part of their strategy.
Therefore, Hamas and Islamic Jihad place rocket launchers and military infrastructure within civilian locations, including schools, hospitals, banks, etc.
Life is not hard in Gaza because of Israel oppression but because of brutal Hamas dictatorship.
When Hamas took over Gaza in 2006, they murdered thousands of their own people, including the PLO leaders.
Gaza sits on priceless beach property, similar to Ashkelon, Ashdod and Tel Aviv to the north. There is no reason why this area could not be extremely prosperous, a Riviera of the Middle East, other than the fact that Hamas uses the millions of dollars it receives from the international community to build tunnels and weapons, instead of economic development for their people.
Israel has immensely stronger military capacity than Gaza. Therefore, it was bizarre for Hamas to start missile attacks on Israel, knowing that Israel would respond. And it is bizarre for Hamas to claim victory after the conflict, considering the massive damage and suffering it caused to their people. This proves that inciting public opinion against Israel was their real goal.
The presumption that Israel is evil because it is stronger is incorrect. That is an immoral conclusion based on irrational moral equivalency that does not take into account the wider political or historical context.
Israel was almost wiped out in 1948 during the War of Independence and again in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
There are 7 million Jews living in Israel and 350 million Muslims in the surrounding nations.
Israel is 1 Jewish-Democratic nation, surrounded by 22 Arab nations, within a wider group of 49 Muslim countries, including non-Arab nations. (Strangely, these nations have refused to help rehabilitate Gaza or resettle Palestinian refugees. Some attribute that to poor relationships between them and the Palestinians; others to a deliberate effort to preserve a pretext for accusing Israel.)
The rhetoric calling for the annihilation of Israel by Islamic extremist groups is parallel, if not worse, than Nazi rhetoric in the late 1930's and early 1940's.
In the Iraq and Syrian wars and surrounding conflicts between 2011 and 2017, an estimated 850,000 people were killed and 10,000,000 people were left homeless. These conflicts did not involve Israel at all. That is proof that the claims of genocide of Palestinians are patently untrue. And it is proof that the problem of refugees flooding Europe and other nations is not the fault of Israel but of Jihadi extremism.
Israel was even criticized for the effective anti-missile system of the Iron Dome. What would people have preferred? If the 4,400 Hamas and Jihadi missiles aimed at Israel civilian population centers had gone un-intercepted, there would have been an area-wide war with hundreds of thousands killed. Due to the effectiveness of the Iron Dome, untold numbers of lives were saved on both sides.
The Iron Dome is a defense system, with no attack ability. The reason Israel has developed all of its powerful army forces is only because its very existence has been threatened, every day for over 100 years.
The moral question concerning military power is not the quantitative comparison of strength, but whether that power has responsible legal and governmental restraints concerning its use. "Weapons purity" is one of the foundational principles of the Israeli Army, indoctrinated into all of its soldiers as part of the "Spirit of the IDF." The IDF punishes its own soldiers, including imprisonment, for any misuse of weapons.
Let me end by saying that in the midst of all these challenges, communities of Arab Christians and Messianic Jews have been praying together in love, unity and peace. The Arab Christians stand in a place of heroism and faith. We hold together the hope for a better future. Please stand with us.
Editor’s note: This article is a result of efforts to survey all the news reports in Israel in different streams in Hebrew, and try to sift through them to get an authentic and balanced viewpoint in an age of media flooding anti-Israel propaganda.