This is in response to the article appearing in the October 25-31 edition of the Manhasset Press. It is not my intent to be critical of Ms. Corr. Her article relied on interviews with members of the Jewish and Muslim communities, without attempting to mediate between the statements being made by either party and without differentiating between fact and fiction.
On October 7, 2023, terrorists armed and trained by Hamas crossed the border into southern Israel and slaughtered 1,400 citizens of Israel, many of whom were civilians. This was not a military action; it was a wanton act of barbarity and brutality. Women, babies, the elderly and other, largely unarmed civilians were killed and terrorized. They were the target of these attacks, not in any sense to be construed as collateral damage to a military action.
This horrific action was, without ambiguity, an act of war directed at the State of Israel. Under recognized international law, Israel is allowed to take extreme steps to defeat Hamas. In prosecuting this war, you may read or hear statements thrown about, such as that Israel is using “disproportionate force,” or “Israel is committing war crimes.” Both statements present a false and misleading view of events.
There is no question that this war will be brutal, including in terms of the loss of civilian lives in Gaza. Hamas is believed to hold over 200 Israeli hostages. Israel has every right, under established international, law to defend its citizenry, which in this case translates into eradicating Hamas in Gaza and rescuing the hostages. Many civilians in Gaza will perish but only as a direct result of Hamas using Gaza’s civilian population as human shields. The civilians in Gaza were provided with 48 hours’ notice to evacuate the northern sector.
There is precedence for the course of action that has been forced on Israel. During World War II, Germany moved its industrial base into civilian areas, believing that it would forestall the allies from bombing its war-making capacity. The British and Americans heavily leafletted, and used other means, to warn the civilian populations to evacuate. After a reasonable interval, the allies began carpet bombing urban areas in Germany. There was no other way to defeat Germany’s ability to wage war. Millions of civilians lost their lives. Tragically, children and the elderly could have been relocated to the countryside to prevent untold deaths among the innocent. But the Nazi regime prevented this from happening. If the reader notices similarities between the actions of the Nazis and Hamas it is because both are the embodiment of evil. At no time, during World War II, did any responsible government accuse Britain or the United States of war crimes for their actions.
Hamas has not been capable of supplying basic services such as water and electricity, so it has relied on Israel for most of these resources. The economy has been in such shambles that Israel, until the outbreak of this war, allowed 20,000 Gazans to enter Israel to seek employment. Israel has no obligation to provide any of the foregoing and will not likely do so going forward.
David Nemschoff, October 30, 2023
The writer serves in a civilian capacity with the Israel Defense Forces, and lectures on topics related to history and foreign affairs at Long Island University- School of Professional Studies. He is the author of Israel at the Brink: The Yom Kippur War. The views expressed herein are the author’s alone, and do not represent any of the aforementioned organizations.