Here we go again. Israel takes the actions necessary to protect its citizens and remove a menace that is intent on exterminating Jews and wiping Israel off the map.
Guess who's being held at fault?
The propaganda machine of Hamas is proving once again its ability to sway public opinion and sympathy its way.
If you still have a Dec. 29 copy of The Daily Star, take a look at the very dramatic AP picture on Page 1. Tell me it's not posed. I can hear the photographer setting up the scene.
"OK, now, let me get down on the ground so the picture will be looking up at you. Much more effective. Now I want you to look off into the distance and look heroic. That's it, good. Now, I want you pointing off into the distance. No, it doesn't matter what you are pointing at, just point. One last thing. Move over here so that the smoke and dust are much heavier. Good, now hold it."
Click, click, click.
Another picture, among many, created for maximum impact. This one comes from the Dec. 31 online copy of the New York Times, the main propaganda arm of Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, Syria, and any other "hate America" group.
This one shows a solitary man, hunched over and attempting to plant a shredded Hamas flag on top of the rubble of a supposed mosque hit by an Israeli bomb.
I can imagine that picture being set up. The photographer says, "OK, I want you off in the distance, appearing hunched over and exhausted. Wait, does someone have a Hamas flag we can use? Not that one, it's too new. Tear it up first. Now take the flag and move over there so I can get the top part of the destroyed 'mosque' in the picture. That's it, good. Now hold still."
Click, click, click.
Give me a break. First of all, it is not a mosque if it is being used as an arms depot, thereby making it a military target. And what about these innocent civilian casualties?
Of course it's a tragedy when an innocent civilian is killed. No civilized person wants this to happen. But who bears the responsibility? The blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the despicable terrorists, the ones hiding themselves among the civilian population and firing rockets from playgrounds, schools, homes, mosques and wherever they think they are safe.
They know Israel values human life and will do anything to avoid civilians. What cowards!
Now what really is an innocent civilian? A Palestinian spokesperson says 45 innocent civilians were killed, including 25 children, and the reporter's pen streaks across his notepad, treating this as a fact. Who cares where the figures came from?
Also, it's really amazing how they can tell an innocent from a militant. Is it because they aren't wearing a uniform? Smart move for these cowards. They saw what happens when it is Arab coalition armies against Israel's. How long did those wars last? Three days? Six days?
Are they innocent when they dance in the street and celebrate what happened on 9/11 or as they do every time innocent Israelis die because of a suicide bomber?
How about the mothers who allow bombs to be strapped to their children and are proud of them when they kill innocent people and become martyrs?
How about the "innocent civilians" who allow Hamas terrorists to roam their streets and are allowed to mingle among them? Are they innocent? Who can truly tell the difference?
Also, who can tell whether these "innocents" were killed by Israel or Hamas? It has been documented that Hamas will kill anyone who is suspected of collaborating with the enemy. No jury, no trial, no decision, no proof needed, just a judgment call by these worms.
And talk of cowards. The real cowards are those leaders who have abandoned their people and are safely living in Syria, supposedly out of the reach of Israeli bombs. Can anyone remember a little effective group called the Mossad?
So, now the facts. 9,400 rockets and mortars have been fired from Gaza since 2003, 3,200 fired in 2008 alone. At least 6,500 have been fired since Israel withdrew completely from Gaza in 2005.
Lastly, how about the 543-plus rockets fired during the six-month "cease-fire" from June 19 to Dec. 19. And do you think Hamas was concentrating on hitting military targets only?
If you do, then you are probably a New York Times subscriber.
So keep it up, Israel, until the animals are no longer a threat to your peace-seeking citizens. Egypt, I'd be very careful who you associate with, allowing arms and fighters to get into Gaza from your borders.
And you Palestinians, innocent or not, try to stay out of tunnels for the foreseeable future.
Tom Sears is a professor of accounting at Hartwick College in Oneonta. He can be reached at SearsT@hartwick.edu. His column appears every other week.