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Israel should stop warning of air strikes

Posted by Richard on July 14, 2014

The vilest, most disgusting comments on Twitter regarding the Hamas-Israel conflict are posted under the hashtags #HitlerWasRight and #HitlerDidNothingWrong. No, I’m not providing links. If you decide to check those out, plan on a shower afterwards.

Less hateful, but either stupid or disingenuous, are the many “disproportionate response”-type comments like this one:

The Western left seems to find it deeply “unfair” that the Israelis created a relatively effective anti-missile defense system and have enough bomb shelters so that virtually the entire population can get to one within the 15 or 20 seconds’ warning of incoming rockets. (Gaza has bomb shelters too, and many miles of deep tunnels, but they’re only for the Hamas leadership and their troops.)

The reasons for the difference in fatalities appear to be irrelevant to the left. Benjamin Netanyahu succinctly identified one key reason:

Netanyahu - the difference

Hamas has a long-standing practice of storing munitions in and firing rockets at Israel from residential areas, particularly adjacent to schools, hospitals, and mosques. Israel has a long-standing practice of warning Palestinians in advance (dropping leaflets, primarily) before striking such a Hamas target, urging civilians to leave the area. It’s a very humanitarian idea (and something virtually no other combatant has ever done), but it has two negative consequences. First, it gives Hamas some time to start moving its rockets, munitions, etc. Second, many civilian Hamas supporters (the vast majority of Gaza residents) — who as they often remind us love death more than we love life — don’t leave. In fact, at the urging of Hamas, at times additional people come to the target area. This ensures a steady supply of “martyrs”/victims for Western media consumption.

I think it’s past time for Israel to stop issuing advance warnings of specific strikes. They should instead blanket Gaza with a generic warning leaflet that says something like this:

If you are near a location from which rockets are fired at Israel or where such weapons are stored, and you want to live, leave the area. That location is subject to attack without any further warning.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of Palestinian civilian casualties actually declined.

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