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Jewish Journal

Winning the war, losing support

by Noga Gur-Arieh

July 14, 2014 | 8:38 am

A rocket fired from Gaza landed in the middle of this road. Luckily, no one was hurt. This won't be published on foreign media. (Photo credit: Israel Under Fire Facebook page.)

The fact that 70% of the Israeli population spend their nights and days running for shelter and that more than 1000 missiles were fired at Israel from Gaza does not matter to the world, as long as the death toll stands at zero.

In the past week, more than 1000 missiles were fired at Israel by Hamas, a terror organization operating from the Gaza strip. About 70% of the Israeli population are under fire. Every day, people find themselves running for shelter in fear as the tseva adom "code red" rocket alert goes off. Every day, more and more children are being traumatized, scared for life. Thankfully, we have a cutting edge technology that keeps us relatively safe and shelters to run to, so our number of casualties, so far, stands at zero. At the same time, in the Gaza strip, the death toll stands on more than one hundred civilians, according to foreign sources. The Israel Defense forces managed to weaken Hamas, but while Israel is on the winning side of this war, it is losing in the battle for public opinion.

One of the most basic differences between the two sides of Operation Protective Edge, is the fact that while Hamas aims at civilians with the purpose of “destroying the Jews,” the IDF aims at terror cells with the purpose of putting an end to the constant attacks on Israel. This means that while striking Gaza, Israel is taking serious measures in order to avoid civilian casualties. For instance, the IDF is dropping leaflets above northern Gaza and sending cellphone messages to Palestinians, warning civilians to move away from Hamas terrorists and command centers, which pose a grave risk to their safety. Moreover, Israel keeps its border crossings to Gaza open for medical supplies, humanitarian aid and other goods to be transferred to Palestinian civilians in Gaza. On Monday, after operating in northern Gaza, the IDF escorted wounded Palestinians to Israeli hospitals, where they received medical treatment.

 

                                        

(A photo released by the IDF, showing on of Hamas' operation centers) (An English translation of the message sent by the IDF to Palestinians in Gaza) (The original message sent by the IDF to Palestinians in Gaza)

At the same time, Hamas warns Gazans to not follow the IDF warnings and not evacuate from their homes. The leaders of this terror organization want to show the people living under their rule who is in charge, and encourage them to be used as human shields, with the knowledge that Israel wants to avoid civilian casualties there. For the same reason, Hamas terrorists also operate close to schools, hospitals and churches. Add to that the fact that Gaza is a crowded place, with 1.8 million people living in a 139 sq mile territory, and you’ll get an impossible situation for the IDF. No matter how many efforts are being put on avoiding civilian casualties, innocent people in Gaza are being killed. The fact that Hamas encourages those deaths does not matter to the outside world, which looks at the bottom line: Zero deaths in Israel, more than a hundred deaths in Gaza.

Anti-Israel advocates also add fuel to the fire by filling social networks with extremely graphic photos of children’s bodies (which I will spare from you here, but if you search for #GazaUnderAttack on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll see.) Some are edited photos, taken from Syria and other places in the Middle East, some are the few unfortunate outcomes of people listening to Hamas and not evacuating after receiving a warning from the IDF. But once again, when facing the image of a dead child, the reasons or the bigger picture don’t matter.

It doesn’t matter how humane the IDF is, or that Israelis are spending their days running for shelter and their nights with hardly any sleep – they are united, living in a western country, with cutting edge technology providing them with protection. This may be an upside for Israelis and Israel supporters, but when it comes to foreign media and world-wide support, it is a downside. In the world we live in, no one can win in all battlefields. The fact that, thankfully, no Israeli was killed and that Hamas is losing its strength means we are winning this war, but losing in the battle for public opinion.

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