Israel is facing a cruel enemy that has no compassion, no empathy, no values and no goals other than the destruction of the only Jewish country in existence. The British conveniently ignore this.
When Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, visited Britain recently, he was confronted with questions from former Conservative party leader, Michael Howard, during a speaking appearance at the Policy Exchange Think Tank in London.
Netanyahu was asked about the Gaza violence on Israel’s security fence, and the necessity to use lethal means to stop the so-called protesters. There were two questions in particular that struck me, as I think it showed a deep misunderstanding of the situation Israel faces.
The first question from Howard was why the IDF, rather than using lethal force, “couldn’t … shoot them in the legs?” Netanyahu correctly answered that after using all non-lethal means, they were forced to use lethal means. He added that if Britain came up with a way to deal with violent rioters in a non-lethal way, Israel would look at it.
And the second comment came afterwards to Fairfax Media when, expressing dissatisfaction in Netanyahu’s answer, Howard said, “we have dealt with situations in Northern Ireland without using force, and when we did use force…we learnt from that.”
I want to address both issues by firstly saying that no army in the world makes the effort to save lives more than the Israeli army. Military commanders and experts have said as much. Because even when confronted with a brutality of an enemy that is unmatched anywhere in the world, Israel still does things that would most likely make any military general cringe – things that are illogical, irrational and some might even say, crazy.
They actually warn the enemy!
Even during the height of battles during Operation “Protective Edge” in Gaza in 2014, Israel actually dropped leaflets warning residents what will happen. They let them know exactly which buildings would be targeted with missiles in an effort to avoid as much risk to civilian life as they could. This action allowed many terrorists to escape, because our enemies know we value life, which is why they purposely attack from within civilian crowds or buildings, understanding the IDF will do the best they can to avoid civilian casualties.
Another example of this was during the Arab violence in 2002 and “Operation Defensive Shield” in the battle of Jenin – heartland of PLO terrorist activity. During that battle, around 50 terrorists died and 23 Israeli soldiers were killed. The Arabs, as is their way, claimed there was a genocidal massacre that took place, but of course this was proven to be another false accusation and lie. Once again, rather than risk harming civilian lives, many who were fighting with the terrorists, Israel sent in ground forces, even though it would have been safer to have carpet bombed the town from the sky, as Russia did in Chechnya or the allies did during World War 2, where hundreds of thousands of people were left homeless and tens of thousands killed.
Now, whether you agree with the IDF tactics or not – it shows the extreme care Israel takes to avoid harming civilians even in the most brutal of battle arenas. I doubt there is another army in the world that exercises the same degree of care and caution for the enemy they are facing.
And for Michael Howard, who has quite obviously watched too many American cop shows, to criticise the Israeli army for not shooting people in the legs, shows a complete lack of knowledge of the realities that Israel faces. If an enemy with an axe or a dagger comes running at you screaming “Kill the Jews,” you aren’t going to ask him to remain still while you aim for his legs. Your duty is to protect your citizens and your comrades and your family with whichever means you can.
In a further gap in Michael Howard’s knowledge banks, he claims that the Israeli army should somehow emulate Britain’s example with Northern Ireland as if the situations are directly comparable.
But Northern Ireland is not the Arab world. The IRA terrorists did not threaten to kill all British. It did not threaten to wipe out Britain. It did not threaten to rip the hearts out of civilians.
The reality is that Israel is facing a cruel enemy that has no compassion, not empathy, no values and no goals save for one – the destruction of the only Jewish country in existence and the extinguishing of all Jewish life.
The way Israel deals with this kind of threat is admirable and incomparable to any other country on earth, because what it faces is unlike any other country on earth.
I think Jews worldwide, whether in Israel or abroad, should be so unbelievably proud of the Jewish army in Israel, because it not only protects the freedom of all Jews, it gives us so much honor and integrity in a world where it’s sorely lacking.
Justin Amler is a noted South African born, Australia-based writer and commentator on international issues.
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