The Jewish world is aroused with dismay at a biased CBS 60 Minutes report that aired on Sunday, May 3, implicitly blaming Israel for last summer’s Gaza conflict. In last week’s Standard, Rabbi Shammai Engelmayer responded to the CBS attack (“Eye on a big lie,”). Rabbi Engelmayer claims that “the war had nothing to do with the deaths of the three (Israeli) teenagers.”
I agree with Rabbi Engelmayer that the kidnapping and murders did not start the war. Hamas and their proxies created the conditions that resulted in hostilities. The kidnappings, tunnel building, and rocket launches all were part of the package. But of those three, only one happened in July of last year.
The fact is that Palestinians have launched rockets from Gaza for 15 years. Tunnel building has been going on for eight years – ever since Hamas seized power in 2007. What happened last July was not unique. So why did war break out again? Since 2005, there have been three Israeli “operations” (Cast Lead, Pillar of Defense, and Protective Edge). In each case, the catalyst was a Palestinian reaction to (in their eyes) some sort of provocation.
This last time, it was the West Bank manhunt for the killers of the Israeli teenagers. Hamas seized on this as an excuse to attack Israel. With rocket fire escalating, and tunnel terrorists invading in the south, Israel had no choice but to respond. And so the rockets rained down, approximately 3,900 in less than seven weeks. Israel continued until the tunnels were destroyed and rocket supplies were exhausted. Since September 2014, rocket fire indeed has dwindled.
Contrary to the CBS report, Hamas started the war and has the blood of its own children on its hands. But let’s be clear. It is inaccurate to say that the timing of the war was unrelated to the abductions of the Israeli teenagers. Events have consequences. Israel had no choice but to respond.
Operation Protective Edge was just another chapter in the book of Israel’s fight for survival. This cycle of violence won’t end until the PA is able or willing to challenge Hamas for ideological supremacy, convincing the Palestinian people that two states are their only future. Will the Palestinians ever accept this? Will so-called moderate Arab states really back a two state plan? Only God knows.
One thing is sure. The CBS 60 Minutes report was nothing new. It just presented the same old story from a different angle. This kind of journalism may sell papers, but in the long run it does nothing to further the cause of peace and merely hardens Palestinian hearts. CBS deserves to be castigated.