Israel has pressed further into Gaza, an operation that began yesterday after a respite of several days to allow time for futile diplomatic efforts. Those efforts included the quite reasonable proposal that in return for the release of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit, currently held in contravention of every civilized standard, Israel would promise to release Palestinian prisoners already due for release later this year. Any proposal that obliged civilized behavior from the Palestinian government was likely a non-starter. After furious rejections from the terrorist-led pseudo-state, and after two days of Palestinian rocket attacks against Israeli schools, the Israeli army entered Gaza en masse.
The current actions are in the town of Bayt Lahiyah. From the Washington Post:
Israeli tanks pushed into populated areas here Thursday for the first time since reentering the Gaza Strip and met fierce resistance from Palestinian gunmen using rocket-propelled grenades, roadside mines and rifles to slow their advance.
At least 14 Palestinians were killed in the fighting, most of them from the governing Hamas movement's armed wing, and an Israeli soldier died after being shot in the head by a sniper.
The battlefield was concentrated along a half-mile strip of homes, dunes and orchards in a western neighborhood of this city, the deepest Israel has reached inside Gaza since evacuating its settlements and bases here almost a year ago.
The omissions from the story are almost unnoticable given the drama of what it describes. For sake of the full truth, we should remember the following:
- the tanks pushed into populated areas solely because Hamas terrorists hide behind civilian populations,
- the gunmen described are no better than gangsters, and it is those gunmen who comprise most of the 14 fatalities cited,
- if it is Israel that has "reached" into Gaza, it is because the crimes of the Palestinian pseudo-state have invited them, much like a SWAT team might "reach" into a drug den.
The UN Human Rights Commission, which includes as members Cuba and Saudi Arabia, has dispatched an earnest fact-finding mission to update the legal means by which Israel will be held responsible for the terrorism of Hamas and for the misery of the Palestinians who elected that party to high office. The phoniness of this concern for human rights is obscured by the melodramatic tone of western reporting: the media's need to portray victims with whom their audience can sympathize provides the basis for the mendacious claims of tyrants and terrorists. This passage from the Post is a particularly clear example of this phenomenon:
"God help us all," said Mohammed Risqa, 13, as he watched and listened to the fighting battering his neighborhood.
That one feels for him shields the truth that it is not God who can help him, for God is not responsible for his plight. Rather, the responsibility lay with the adults in his community who voted for Hamas and tolerated Arafat's Fatah militia for decades. It is they who have brought this war down upon him.
It is a testament to Israel that its leaders have guaranteed to provide for the humanitarian needs of Palestinians, because it is not Israel's fault if any humanitarian crisis breaks out. Any such crisis would end the moment Palestinians released the kidnapped soldier and ceased their vicious bombings and rocket attacks against Israeli civilians.
Here is a complete map of Gaza from the University of Texas Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection.