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In addressing common misconceptions about Israel and the Gaza conflict, it's crucial to recognize two often-overlooked realities amidst the widespread misinformation, especially prevalent on social media.

Firstly, the conflict Israel faces with Hamas, extending to Hezbollah and Iran, is not an isolated issue but part of a broader global clash that transcends Israel, Jews, or American foreign policy. This clash, essentially between jihadists and the proponents of open, civilized societies, manifests in various forms across numerous countries. It's a struggle not against specific nationalities or religions but against a radical ideology that threatens the very fabric of civilized values. This perspective aligns with my broader critique of jihadism, which I've consistently applied to various conflicts, emphasizing that the fight against such extremism is a universal challenge, not confined to any single nation or people.

Secondly, the moral and ethical complexities of warfare, particularly the heart-wrenching images of civilian casualties, demand a nuanced understanding. While the instinctive reaction to such tragedies might lean towards condemning all forms of violence, it's essential to grasp that, in certain circumstances, war becomes a necessary evil. This is not to trivialize the grave consequences of military actions but to acknowledge the harsh reality that facing a fanatical adversary often leaves no room for pacifist solutions. The ideology driving groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, with its glorification of martyrdom and paradise through jihad, poses a threat far exceeding conventional political or territorial disputes. It's a mindset that fundamentally opposes the values cherished in the 21st century, including human rights and democratic freedoms.

The global community, including Muslims worldwide, must confront and critically reassess the ideologies fueling such extremism. Only through a collective effort to challenge and moderate these beliefs can we hope to find a path out of these conflicts, ensuring a safer, more peaceful world for future generations.

Myth #1 : Israel is guilty of “genocide” in Gaza.

The claim that Israel is committing "genocide" in Gaza is fundamentally flawed. Genocide, as defined by the 1948 international genocide convention, involves the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group. The population growth in Gaza from 250,000 in 1948 to over 2 million today contradicts the accusation of genocide, showcasing instead a significant increase that far exceeds the global average.

While the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have indeed caused fatalities in Gaza, the notion of Israel intending to commit genocide is baseless. The IDF has consistently taken measures to minimize civilian casualties, such as warning Gaza's residents before attacks. In contrast, Hamas employs tactics that endanger civilians, including using them as human shields and situating military infrastructure within civilian areas, which are recognized as war crimes.

The broader context reveals that the conflict is exacerbated by the tactics of jihadists, who have normalized the use of suicide bombers, including children, in various conflicts, not limited to the Israeli-Palestinian issue. This extreme ideology, rooted in a distorted interpretation of martyrdom and jihad unique to Islam, poses a significant challenge to achieving peace and security.

Furthermore, the extensive tunnel network built by Hamas under Gaza, funded by significant international aid, could have been used for civilian protection but instead serves military purposes, further endangering the civilian population. The aspiration for martyrdom, as expressed by Hamas, underlines the ideological and practical challenges in addressing the conflict.

In summary, the situation in Gaza and Israel's actions cannot be accurately described as genocide. Instead, it reflects the complex dynamics of a conflict driven by ideological extremism and the tragic use of civilians within these tactics. The responsibility for civilian casualties and the continuation of the conflict lies significantly with the strategies employed by Hamas and the broader issue of jihadist ideology.

Tragic Exploitation: Hamas' Strategy of Civilian Casualties in Conflict

Myth #2 : International Humanitarian Law Requires that Israel’s response to Palestinian aggression be “proportional.”

The concept of "proportionality" in warfare is often misunderstood, especially in discussions about the Gaza conflict. Contrary to popular belief, proportionality does not mean mirroring the exact actions of the enemy, such as replicating the atrocities committed by one side onto the other. Instead, it refers to balancing the military necessity of an action against the potential harm to civilian life and property. International law permits actions like Israel's efforts to neutralize Hamas, especially considering Hamas's intentional targeting of civilians and embedding within the civilian population to maximize civilian casualties.

The reality of modern warfare, amplified by social media, has brought the devastating impact of conflict, including civilian casualties, into sharp focus. Historical and recent conflicts alike have resulted in significant civilian deaths, often with a disparity in casualties between the combatants and non-combatants. This phenomenon is not unique to the Israel-Gaza conflict but is a characteristic of warfare globally.

Israel's military actions against Hamas are scrutinized to a degree not applied to other nations in similar situations. This scrutiny overlooks the existential nature of Israel's conflict with Hamas, a jihadist group employing guerrilla tactics and exploiting civilian populations to shield military operations. The moral dilemmas posed by fighting an enemy that disregards civilian life are profound, with no easy solutions.

The tragedy of civilian casualties in Gaza is undeniable, yet it's crucial to recognize that the situation has been deliberately engineered by Hamas to exploit the moral sensibilities of their opponents. The conflict is exacerbated by the jihadist ideology, which glorifies martyrdom and paradise, making traditional military engagement and the preservation of civilian life exceptionally challenging.

Ultimately, the distinction between those who intentionally harm civilians to spread terror and those who strive, albeit imperfectly, to avoid civilian casualties while defending themselves is stark. Recognizing this difference is essential for understanding the complex dynamics of the Israel-Gaza conflict and the broader struggle against jihadist terrorism.

What is proportional response?

Myth #3 : The Jews Are Colonizers and the Palestinians are Indigenous People.

Jews have maintained a continuous presence in the land of Israel for millennia, establishing them as indigenous to the region. This indigeneity extends to other Middle Eastern countries from which they were expelled by Muslims, yet there's a notable lack of international pressure for a Jewish "right of return" to these nations. The creation of Israel post-WWII, often criticized, is not unique; many nations, including Pakistan, were formed similarly without facing similar legitimacy challenges.

The world hosts 22 official Muslim states and over 50 Muslim-majority countries, a testament to centuries of Muslim conquest, yet Israel, the sole Jewish state, faces disproportionate scrutiny and challenges to its existence. Despite the multitude of UN member states, Israel has been subject to more sanctions by the UN than all other countries combined, raising questions about the fairness and focus of international criticism. This scrutiny occurs despite egregious human rights violations in other countries, including genocides, widespread human rights abuses, and the use of child soldiers in suicide missions.

The disproportionate condemnation of Israel by the UN, despite its status as a democracy fighting for survival against groups committed to its destruction, suggests a moral bankruptcy within the organization. Reports of UNRWA employees' involvement in violence and the problematic content of UN-funded educational programs further underscore issues of bias and corruption within international bodies. The United States' decision to pause funding to UNRWA highlights the growing concern over these issues and the need for a reevaluation of the UN's stance and actions regarding Israel and the broader Middle East conflict.

Myth #4 : The atrocities committed by Hamas (and over one thousand Palestinian civilians) on October 7th were a legitimate response to oppression.

In 2005, Israel withdrew from Gaza, uprooting thousands of its citizens in the process, and since then, Gaza has received billions in international aid. The narrative of Palestinian oppression in Gaza by Israel is complex and contested, especially considering Israel's efforts to secure its border, a measure similarly undertaken by Egypt without the latter being accused of contributing to Gaza's hardships. The response to oppression varies significantly across different oppressed groups, with not all resorting to violence against civilians as seen in Gaza.

Historical comparisons, such as the Tibetan resistance to Chinese oppression and the behavior of Jews during the Nazi era, illustrate that extreme retaliatory violence against civilians is not an inevitable response to oppression. These examples highlight the role of specific ideological and religious doctrines in shaping responses to oppression. In particular, Islamic teachings on martyrdom and jihad are identified as factors that potentially motivate the kind of violence emanating from Gaza.

The call to action is for the global Muslim community to critically examine and address aspects of their faith that clash with contemporary values and peaceful coexistence. This involves a reevaluation of doctrines related to martyrdom, jihad, apostasy, and blasphemy, aiming to reconcile these beliefs with the demands of the modern world. The emphasis is on the necessity for an internal dialogue within Islam to foster a version of the faith that is compatible with global norms of tolerance and non-violence.

Myth #5 : The two sides in this conflict are equally civilized, equally entitled to respect, and equally worth protecting.

In discussions about the tragic loss of life on both sides of the conflict, it's essential to acknowledge that while a human life is invaluable, the valuation of life differs significantly between jihadist organizations like Hamas and modern societies that prioritize equality and human rights. This discrepancy isn't just rhetoric but a stark reality shaped by religious beliefs that motivate and restrict individuals' actions. The brutal treatment of women, persecution of LGBTQ+ individuals, and the celebration of martyrdom in certain Islamic contexts starkly contrast with societies that strive for gender equality and embrace diversity.

The support for Hamas and its actions, particularly the atrocities committed on October 7th, reveals a troubling acceptance of violence within the Palestinian community, justified by religious and political narratives. This support, as evidenced by recent polling, underscores a broader challenge: the need for a profound reevaluation of religious extremism within the Muslim world. The glorification of violence and martyrdom, under the guise of defending religious sites, illustrates a deep-seated ideological divide that fuels conflict and hinders peace.

The disparity in how societies respond to conflict, from parading tortured hostages to providing medical care to enemies, highlights the profound differences in values and intentions. These differences are crucial for understanding the conflict's nature and the broader struggle against a death cult ideology. The intentional targeting of noncombatants by jihadist groups contrasts sharply with the efforts of others to avoid civilian casualties, despite the complexities of modern warfare.

Understanding the motivations behind actions in conflict zones is vital. It's not just the actions themselves but the underlying intentions that define the moral landscape of a conflict. The aspirations of various groups, whether driven by a desire for domination or peace, significantly impact the course of civilization. While diplomacy and economic incentives are preferred paths to minimizing ideological differences, the necessity of force becomes apparent when faced with entities detached from any semblance of shared humanity.

The future of global peace and security hinges on our collective ability to address and mitigate the influence of extremist ideologies. This requires a concerted effort to promote moderation and reform within religious and cultural frameworks that currently perpetuate division and violence.

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Barry Cohen
Barry Cohen
18 ก.พ.

I feel horrible for the innocent people on both sides caught in the middle of this war! HOWEVER, I strongly urge anyone that is pro HAMAS and anti Israel to RIGHT NOW get an english translation of the Quran on Amazon for 8 bucks to read, discover and learn for yourself that the Quran is actually filled with a thousand years of taught drilled in hate to all muslims promoting murder and death to all Jews, Christians and to all of Israel! Then you will learn and discover the real truth and you should enlighten others to also get a copy of the Quran to discover this for themselves! If you then still support HAMAS you are a fool and…

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