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Pomerantz: Lack of Accountability Emboldens Hamas

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A man inspects the damage to a house in the village of Alma al-Shaab, close to the southern Lebanese border with Israel on Oct. 30, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas in the Gaza Strip. (AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 30 October 2023 11:39 AM EDT

Israel’s Ground Campaign in Gaza: What You Need to Know — Now 

As Israel begins its ground campaign in Gaza there are three dire misconceptions we must debunk in order to comprehend unfolding events: 1. Gaza lacks humanitarian supplies, 2. Gaza is the most densely populated place on Earth and cannot be evacuated, and 3. Israel is killing Palestinian civilians.

Humanitarian Shortage No, Humanitarian Crisis Yes

Understanding this paradox is the key to the entire situation.

On Oct. 7, Hamas, the internationally designated terror organization that controls Gaza, perpetrated the largest massacre of Jewish life since the Holocaust: including burning alive and beheading some 40 babies, raping hundreds of women, murdering over 1400 innocents, and capturing over 200 hostages who are still held in Gaza today.

Since then, Hamas and other terror groups have attempted hundreds of infiltrations and fired over 8,000 rockets at Israeli communities, dragging Israel into a war for survival it did not seek but cannot avoid.

I myself have run to my nearest bomb shelter in Tel Aviv some half a dozen times just in the last day, and I’m (relatively speaking) one of the lucky ones.

These rockets are powered by fuel: the very fuel that Gaza’s civilians lack for basic necessities, like electricity.

Satellite images released by Israel (also available on Google Earth) show Hamas’s massive 500,000 liter fuel storage depot, all dedicated exclusively to the Hamas military machine.

Hamas has stolen, en masse, food, water and medical supplies, all confirmed by photos, videos, and intercepted conversations between Hamas operatives.

The United Nations confirmed that Hamas robbed its aid facilities, and Israel released a mountain of evidence (including from non-Israeli sources) that Hamas placed a military headquarters inside Gaza’s Shifa hospital.

The international community, in coordination with Israel, is providing humanitarian aid, but faces two impossible problems: 1.) Most aid will never reach civilians but is being taken by Hamas, and 2.) Hamas uses these stolen resources to supply its military machine which is, even now, continuing to attempt a full scale genocide against the entire state of Israel: and doing so with our inadvertent help.

Meanwhile, the human tragedy among Gaza’s civilians continues unabated: mostly due to Hamas’s theft, but partly due to our own naivete.

Gaza Is Not the Most Densely Populated Place on Earth

This myth is widespread but false.

At approximately 15,000 people per square mile, Gaza’s density is slightly more than Chicago (12,000), but roughly half of New York (29,000), and far less than many other cities, including Tel Aviv (21,000).

Nonetheless, Hamas has diverted much of its foreign aid resources to the construction of a labyrinth of military tunnels, estimated at over 300 miles long: longer than the combined length of the entire New York City subway system.

Like the subway system, these tunnels permeate civilian areas, but unlike the subway, they are built for military attack, using the civilian areas above as a massive human shield.

Evacuation: Completely Possible, Realistic

The Israel Defense Forces is one of the only militaries in the world to announce strikes in advance, in order to protect civilians, even when doing so risks Israeli lives.

For over two weeks the IDF encouraged civilians to leave Gaza City which is not the same thing as "Gaza" just as Mexico City is not the same thing as "Mexico."

At 17 square miles, Gaza City is under 12% of Gaza (145 square miles), leaving the other 88% available for temporary evacuation. (It is notable that neighboring Arab countries have universally refused to open their borders to help.)

With a population of about 600,000, an evacuation of Gaza City is actually much smaller than many others around the world, such as prior to hurricanes Harvey and Matthew in the United States, typhoon Hagupit in the Philippines and many more: and Israel has provided Gaza’s civilians with significantly more time.

Yet civilians in Gaza face a threat not present in most natural disasters.

Hamas is preventing the evacuation: including road blocks, stay-at-home orders, and even reports of firing explosives along the evacuation route.

Despite these war crimes, an estimated 400,000 to 600,000 civilians have reportedly succeeded in evacuating.

As a rule, Israel never intentionally targets civilians, but instead makes herculean efforts to the contrary.

Nonetheless, as the ground campaign against Hamas proceeds, we will likely hear of significant civilian casualties.

Some reports will be fake, such as the claim last week that Israel had bombed Gaza’s Al-Ahli Hospital killing 500 civilians (it turned out to be a misfired Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket, with casualties in the dozens).

Other reports will be real and tragic, for example if Israel is forced to attack Hamas’s military headquarters inside Shifa Hospital, or to destroy attack tunnels under civilian infrastructure.

Shortages of food, water and electricity will likely continue, as Hamas continues to steal and hoard inflows of international aid.

Hamas directly perpetrates these tragedies, despite diligent efforts by Israel and the international community.

Unless and until the world holds the correct parties accountable, Hamas will feel emboldened to commit more such atrocities, creating entirely avoidable human tragedies against Israelis and Palestinians alike, and perhaps even inspiring other terror organizations around the world.

Never was the call to action more true and dire, "Free Gaza . . . from Hamas."

Daniel Pomerantz is an expert in international law, a lecturer at Reichman and Bar Ilan Universities in Israel, and the CEO of RealityCheck, an NGO dedicated to clarifying global conversations with verifiable data. Daniel lives in Tel Aviv, Israel. He  can be found on Instagram at @danielspeaksup or at www.RealityCheckResearch.org. 

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GlobalTalk
Unless and until the world holds the correct parties accountable, Hamas will feel emboldened to commit more atrocities, creating entirely avoidable human tragedies against Israelis and Palestinians alike.
holocaust, un, israeli
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2023-39-30
Monday, 30 October 2023 11:39 AM
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