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Defending Israel: Facts, not Fiction

La haye palais paix jardin face. Photo credit: Velvet, Wikipedia
Israel’s representative, Dr. Gilad Noam, presented vital facts about Israel’s military activities at the ICJ hearing last week at The Hague.

Anti-Israel sentiment is trending. Watching the average news report might give one the impression that Israel is a violent country systematically causing harm to Palestinians. The facts, images, and negative attitudes of the seemingly reliable reporters are difficult to hear, even for long-time supporters of Israel. There are violent protests against Israel on college campuses and in cities around the world. One might wonder, if so many people are so adamantly against Israel, can they all be wrong?

In this column Defending Israel: Facts, not Fiction, we will look at the issues from various perspectives to answer the tough accusations that are often directed at Israel to explain why they are incorrect, and to go deeper to explore why this might be happening in general. Our goal is for the reader to feel empowered and uplifted regarding Israel’s response to the October 7th massacre and military policies in general. The short answer is yes, they can all be wrong.

Last week, South Africa again accused Israel of violating the Genocide convention in the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Israeli Justice Ministry official Gilad Noam said that argument was, “completely divorced from facts and circumstances.” In this column, we will start by covering the important words of Dr. Gilad Noam which received very little press coverage outside of Israel.

Fiction: Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza.

Facts: Dr. Noam opened his comments by stating that South Africa’s “egregious and repeated efforts to bring Israel before this court is the obscene exploitation of the most sacred convention. South Africa presents the court yet again for the first time within the scope of less than five months with a picture that is completely divorced from the facts and circumstances. Israel is engaged in a difficult and tragic armed conflict. South Africa ignores this factual context which is essential to comprehend the situation and also ignores the applicable legal framework of national humanitarian law. It makes a mockery of the heinous charge of genocide. As Israel has previously stated before this court, when dealing with the law, facts matter. Truth should matter. Words must retain their meaning. Calling something a genocide again and again does not make it genocide.”

Fiction: Israel launched an attack on the Palestinian people.

Facts: Dr. Noam detailed basic facts that South Africa continues to conceal. “Israel is engaged in a war it did not want, and did not start. It is under attack and fighting to defend itself and its citizens. Since the horrific onslaught that began on the 7th of October 2023, we saw thousands of Israeli citizens brutally slaughtered, mutilated, raped, and injured and 254 women, men, and children taken hostage in Gaza. Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza continue to attack Israel including by indiscriminate rocket fire into Israeli cities and towns. They have vowed to try and repeat the atrocities of 7th of October many times over. Since the beginning of the hostilities, more than 10,000 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel with the aim of killing as many Israelis as possible. In the last 2 weeks alone, 278 rockets were launched. Damage of an unprecedented scale has been caused to Israeli homes and infrastructure with entire communities destroyed. Approximately 60,000 residents of towns in Southern Israel remain displaced from their homes 7 months on. It may be years before they are able to return to their homes and rebuild their communities. Sirens continue to go off across the country as rockets, missiles and drones are launched against Israel from several fronts.

Fiction: Israel wants to attack Rafah because over 1 million Palestinians are sheltering there.

Fact: the IDF has been assisting and encouraging non-militant Gazans to move to other areas to seek safety elsewhere in the Gaza Strip. Dr. Noam detailed some of the important reasons why the Israeli army entered Rafah. “Rafah in particular is a focal point for ongoing terrorist activity. It is a stronghold for Hamas’ operatives with several battalions belonging to the Rafah brigades entrenched in the area. Also present in Rafah is an intricate underground tunnel infrastructure that runs underneath the city and provides ample space for operatives, military control rooms, and military equipment. Nearly 700 tunnel shafts have been identified in Rafah from which approximately 50 tunnels cross into Egypt. These tunnels are used by Hamas to supply itself with weapons and ammunition and could potentially be used to smuggle out of Gaza hostages or Hamas senior operatives. Since the start of the present hostilities. More than 1,400 rockets were fired from Rafah alone. Including 120 in the last 2 weeks. Approximately 600 launch sites were identified in the Rafah area. Many of which are hidden within or in close proximity to civilian infrastructure.”

We will continue to report on Dr. Gilad Noam’s powerful speech at the ICJ, as well as delve deeper into the true facts about the Gaza war and explanations from various disciplines as to why fictional heinous accusations continue to be made against Israel.

 

Leah Bowman is a licensed tour guide in Israel and is completing an MA degree in Religion and Politics in the Middle East at Bar Ilan University.  

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