Don’t Blame Israel

The following letter appeared in Forward.com (Wed. Jan. 28, 09)

I take issue with your January 30 article titled “Gazan Doctor’s Tragedy Opens Israelis’ Eyes to Palestinian Pain.” The article describes the unintended deaths of three children of Gazan physician Izzeldin Abuelaish when an Israeli shell hit his home. The article quotes an Israeli army spokesman saying the troops fired on this house because “they had come under attack from somewhere in the vicinity.”

As an American with Israeli citizenship, I believe the title and tone of this article are offensive to the informed mind. That sense is only strengthened by the fact that for many years I was an officer in the Israeli army. I, like all Israeli officers and soldiers, was critically aware of the rules of engagement. Specifically, there is a policy of going to great lengths to avoid harm to enemy civilians.

Your article fails to emphasize that it is Hamas, and only Hamas, at fault for these incidents. These incidents of civilian death play into their public relations efforts. Choosing to ignore Hamas’s behavior is reckless. Hamas forces entrench themselves in civilian homes and buildings. They reportedly placed their headquarters under a medical facility.

Your article claims that “Israelis are mostly inured to Palestinian suffering.” Having lived in Israel for almost 30 years, I believe that the vast majority, myself included, have no desire to see anyone on the Palestinian side suffer. But when it does occur, caution must be exercised to refrain from inferring the innocent are the guilty. And reason demands placing the blame where it belongs. On Hamas.

Rabbi Fishel Jacobs
Kfar Chabad, Israel

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  1. Gnocchi Pronunciation July 17, 2011
  2. Rabbi Jacobs July 17, 2011

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