Despite the resolutions and comments made by the United Nations throughout the past five decades demonstrating a clear institutional bias against the State of Israel, it is the international community’s unwillingness to legally and explicitly define terrorism which continues to perpetuate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Through a well strategized victimization policy, the Palestinian Authority has overlooked Hamas’ terror infrastructure aimed at targeting civilians and marketing of a “resistance” campaign by using Palestinian civilians as human shields. Despite my difficulty understanding how the international community has condoned the thousands of rockets fired indiscriminately or the clear evidence of using schools and hospitals as launching grounds, this new wave of agro-terrorism leaves little room to question Hamas’ malicious tactics against Israel.
In recent weeks, Hamas has orchestrated violent confrontations with the IDF to revive attention to the Palestinian cause in a region where several other dynamics are shaping new politics and alliances. From clear land and maritime infiltrations into Israel proper, slingshots aimed at IDF soldiers, and of course, burning kites. Yet these kites receive little or no attention in the international community. The eyes of the world were once again focused on numbers and not the context of the situation. These same eyes clearly decided that as long as these burning kites were not responsible for any lives, it should not be labeled as violent.
But the following numbers must be acknowledged and addressed nonetheless. Over six hundred incendiary kites were launched during these violent clashes and almost two hundred managed to land in Israel proper. These were responsible for countless fires throughout southern Israel and have destroyed over 9000 dunams (1 dunam= 10,763 sq. ft). With dozens of kibbutzim surrounding the Gaza Strip and relying heavily on agriculture, regions in the Negev Council will be faced with economic burdens that may prove too difficult for the communities to bear. The direct targeting of civilians and their livelihood must be acknowledged by the UN as terrorism, not resistance.
Natural reserves, crops, and irrigation systems have been damaged, some beyond all repairs. Reptile animals have been killed. The Karmiya Reserve has suffered devastating losses, with 75 acres of land destroyed. With the reserve closed and the flames proving difficult to control, greenhouses in surrounding communities have become extremely vulnerable. Avner Yona, resident and crops director for Kibbutz Nahal Oz, shared with Haaretz some of the disastrous results of these burning kites:
“I can’t deal with these fires,” he says. “They kill me. You can’t do anything about them, it’s a catastrophe. The wheat is the small money, the big damage is, for example, in a 300-dunam field with irrigation infrastructure; everything’s burned…”
Yet the United Nations chose not to address these numbers, or the lives impacted by the devastating losses. Instead, Kuwait was allowed to introduce a resolution to the Security Council requesting more detailed assistance to Palestinians. While Kuwait’s decision to introduce this resolution was expected, the voting results should be alarming. France and Russia voted in favor of this resolution while Britain, Poland, Netherlands, and Ethiopia abstained. The United States was the only country to oppose the resolution with the explanation that guarantying more protection to Palestinians at the expense of demonizing Israel will not yield compromise. Oddly enough, many of the nations, which abstained or supported the resolution, have been victims of horrific terror attacks in the past two years.
Terrorism can only be stopped through a strong policy of deterrence. How can such policy be implemented when the only legitimate legal body representing the international community refuses to reach a final consensus on the need to define terror. Agro-terror cannot and must not be excused by Hamas’ authoritarian grip in the Gaza Strip.
With all this in mind, there is a bigger picture here which is not being addressed by mainstream media. How can this conflict be solely about land if those fighting to “liberate” it are willing to destroy it? It seems to be, for Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, that targeting and tormenting the population in southern Israel reigns above all aspirations to establish self-determination for the Palestinian people based on coexistence and tolerance.
Contributed by West Coast Campus Coordinator Yoni Michanie.