A letter to Obama
By BEN CASPIT 26/07/2014
An address to the US president on the situation in the Middle East, Hamas and the UN Human Rights Council.
Dear President Barack Obama,
You are the leader of the free world. Here in the Middle East, where we live, freedom is running out.
Countries and entire regions are falling into the hands of brain-washed, hate-filled extremists, who slaughter anyone who doesn’t think the same way they think or agree with all their religious beliefs. Look at what’s happening in Syria, Iraq, in the Sinai Desert and many other places.
You know full well, Mr. President, that in its war against Hamas, Israel embodies the forces of light, and Hamas the forces of darkness. A veritable Gunfight at the OK Corral, where the good guy takes on the bad guy. But let’s put politics aside for a moment, ignore the background noise and the failed peace process. Let’s not mention Binyamin Netanyahu.
Most of the Israeli public genuinely supports peace, and I am one of a large number willing to make painful concessions to achieve peace, with a Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel. Let’s not forget that the most popular person in Israel, way ahead of any others, is our former president, Shimon Peres (whose term in office ended on Thursday). The ultimate prophet of peace.
All this must now be pushed to the sidelines. At the moment we are in a war for our lives against an adversary that calls for our destruction and holds this mission as holy religious project. Hamas is not willing to conduct negotiations, doesn’t recognize existing arrangements, openly supports the annihilation of Israel and calls for throwing the citizens of Israel into the sea. At the same time, Hamas oppresses an entire population, treats women as inferior objects, and persecutes Christians while building an empire of terror and an army of fighters dedicated to holy war.
You know, Mr. President, that I am not depending on a list of slogans here. Hard facts are being revealed to us daily.
On Wednesday, Mr. President, we learned that the United Nations Human Rights Committee ordered the establishment of a commission of inquiry to study “war crimes” committed by Israel in Gaza. The last time this happened was when the Goldstone Committee dealt Israel’s reputation a worldwide blow that was no less than disastrous. Eventually, Richard Goldstone himself regretted the report that bore his name, but it was too late to make a difference.
Today, Mr. President, it is happening again. And it mustn’t be allowed. Actually, several things have happened since Operation Cast Lead in January 2009, which brought us Goldstone. New organizations have come into being, such as the Islamic State group that is currently terrorizing Syrians, Iraqis and Jordanians. The Sunni Islamist Jabhat al-Nusra front is making its presence felt.
Al-Qaida is rearing its head. Hezbollah is still spoiling for war. The enlightened world has begun to understand that what we have here is not a war for an independent Palestinian state, but a war of destruction. A war of cultures.
Yes, we all know that the UN Human Rights Council is a flyby- night body with an automatic majority against Israel. It is dumb and unintelligent and motivated mainly by hate, perhaps even anti-Semitism. Which doesn’t mean we have to put up with all this. We appeal to you, Mr. President to make your voice heard as leader of the free world. To defend us. To stand up for sanity, against the forces of evil. To distinguish between the good guys and the bad. Between human beings and wild animals.
As a journalist, Mr. President, I spend a lot of time in the field. This week I saw a 14-year-old Palestinian girl from Gaza being evacuated in an IDF tank to a hospital in Israel. Yesterday, she and her mother were interviewed by Israeli TV, from inside the safety of an Israeli hospital. They spoke of the fair treatment, the excellent care and devotion they received, and described the soldiers who had saved them as “brave and fair.” Their faces were covered, for fear of being harmed when they return to their homes in Gaza and into the arms of Hamas. Our hospitals are full of wounded Palestinians. By the way, it is not this way only during wartime. Palestinian babies and children receive life-saving treatment in Israel on a daily basis. That never deters Hamas, which even fires at the power station that supplies Gaza with electricity. Even the fact that the only border crossing between Gaza and the outside world is in Israel and that even today, all the provisions, food, medicines and equipment needed in Gaza come via Israel, does not confuse Hamas, which continues with its plan to annihilate Israel. Yesterday, Hamas fired on the field hospital Israel established in Shejaia, a facility which only treats wounded Palestinians. Hamas did this in retaliation for the IDF’s attack on Wafa Hospital in the same neighborhood. The only, small difference is that Wafa Hospital is a launching pad for missiles and anti-tank rockets aimed at us. We have it on film. Just like the footage we have of them concealing missiles in schools belonging to us. We have it on film. Just like the footage we have of them concealing missiles in schools belonging to UNRWA. Just as they place launch sites and rocket arsenals next to homes, parks and schools. They hide behind their civilians. In recent years they have not built so much as a single bomb shelter in Gaza, shelters that could save the lives of many civilians. Instead, they built dozens of underground tunnels from which to attack Israel and try to destroy it.
During the first 10 days of this war, the IDF lost 10 soldiers. In American terms, this is equivalent to 1,600 dead US servicemen. Some of them, like the three paratroopers killed Wednesday, dead because the Israeli Air Force refused to attack a specific target for fear of hurting civilians. Instead, the paratroopers entered a booby-trapped house and were blown up. You no doubt know, Mr. President, of other Western armies that would have used different means to solve situations such as these. But we are Jews and Israelis, Mr. President, and we are denied such measures. Our hands are bound by phony moral excuses, and we are obliged to continue sacrificing our soldiers. You are aware, Mr. President, that Israel withdrew from every last inch of Gaza in 2005. Israel gave peace a chance. Instead of peace, we got war and war again.
You know that Hamas refused to join any cease-fire Israel agreed to. We agreed to a cease fire even though, under the current circumstances, this would have been tantamount to an Israeli defeat. Hamas seeks to wreak death, to terrorize, to continue to brainwash those whose brains are not already drenched with uncompromising hatred.
Mr. President, Hamas must be stopped. For this to happen, the UN Human Rights Council must be stopped first. Someone has to stand up and tell the world the truth. That someone, Mr. President, ought to be you. Only you. Because you are the only one they’ll believe.
Translated from Hebrew by Ora Cummings.