For more than a week, Palestinian terrorists have fired at least 1,408 missiles at Israeli civilians. They have used children as their protectors, firing and storing rockets near playgrounds, residential areas, and mosques.
These terrorists have engaged in an unmitigated effort to blind the international community with distortions and lies about the conflict. Hamas has used fake images to claim Israel is committing war crimes and targeting Palestinian civilians. Yet, it is Hamas terrorists who are violating the Law of Armed Conflict. Every time Hamas fires a rocket at Israeli civilians, it commits war crimes.
There is no excuse for the untold bloodshed once again initiated by Palestinian terrorists. Ironically (or more likely intentionally), the latest barrage of rocket attacks on Israel comes just days before the Palestinian Authority seeks statehood at the United Nations. Hamas, the same terrorist group firing rockets at Israeli civilians and “celebrating” a bus bombing in Tel Aviv, whose leaders refuse to recognize Israel, is an obvious roadblock to lasting peace.
As ACLJ-Jerusalem Senior Counsel David Benjamin and I have explained, if the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) votes to grant statehood to the “Palestinian entity,” it would not only violate international law but would set a dangerous precedent.
What the Palestinian delegation is asking from the UNGA is for the latter to throw the Montevideo definition out of the window. It would mean that statehood could exist without any facts on the ground.
Those UNGA member states contemplating a ‘yes’ vote should know that their frivolous vote today could well come back and bite them in the future. Under their proposed new rules, any group aspiring to statehood – regardless of the situation on the ground – can be considered a state. Of course they may be counting on the hypocrisy of their fellow member states to keep them of trouble, but there are no guarantees that a member state won’t find itself on the wrong end of a similar UN vote in the future.
Of course, if the UNGA goes ahead with this folly, it would not change international law. The Palestinian entity would not magically become a state just because a group of countries, however large, decides to call it one. It would however be a sad day for international law if one of its chief custodians decides to trample it underfoot.
Compounding the tragedy, a “yes” vote would not only be a setback for international law, but probably also for the peace process
The American people, and specifically Christian conservatives, are standing up for Israel, demanding that Israel not only has the right to defend its citizens but that the “Palestinian entity” not be granted statehood.
Our support for Israel is as strong today as ever. On Capitol Hill, support for Israel has been unwavering and bipartisan. The Obama administration’s support for Israel has been unclear though the president should be commended for publicly supporting Israel during Operation Pillar of Defense (special thanks to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton). What I wrote two years ago for “On Faith” still rings true today; our support for Israel is based on our common values, love of freedom, and respect for human life.
Some observers conclude that the Christian right’s support of Israel is biblical. The Bible teaches us that “those who bless” Israel will “be blessed.” Time after time, this is an attempt to scare Israelis away from the Christian right. I do not want to take away from the deep spiritual significance of Israel in the hearts of Christians. Yet, to say that religious belief is the sole reason Christian conservatives support Israel is inaccurate. This is not about converting the Jewish people or the end times.
The Christian right stands with Israel because Israel stands for the same values we cherish so deeply - democracy, freedom, and sovereignty. Israel is not only America’s most important ally in the Middle East; it is our greatest ally in the world. Does this mean Israel, its politicians, or its military leaders are perfect? Of course, they are not. We criticize Israel in the same way that we criticize our own country, constructively. That being said, we do not meddle in the domestic politics of Israel. We trust that the Israeli people can and will make the best decisions for their country.
So long as Israel seeks our assistance and support, Christian conservatives - organizations, politicians, lawyers, and grassroots activists - will continue to vocally support the Jewish state. We do not do this because some Christians believe in a future spiritual Armageddon. We are committed to Israel because Israel, a fellow democracy, has asked for our help.
We must stand with Israel and against the repugnant hypocrisy of those who equate Hamas targeting Israeli civilians with Israel defending its citizens. Terrorism and self-defense are not morally or legally equivalent.
As the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas goes into effect, there is little hope that it will end the conflict. Hamas has become one of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s proxy paramilitary organizations. If the Iranian nuclear threat leads to conflict, Hamas will be at the beck and call of the Ayatollah. Ultimately, Palestinian terrorist organizations like Hamas and Islamic Jihad will renew their aggression against Israel with more rockets and bus bombings and Israel will have to defend its citizens. As I finish this blog, terrorists in the Gaza Strip have yet to stop firing rockets into Israel hours after they celebrated a cease-fire.
A vote for Palestinian statehood at the United Nations is a vote against peace. This recent surge of violence by Hamas against Israel reinforces that point. Hamas is a terrorist organization and should be treated like one by the world.
When Palestinians recognize Israel’s basic right to exist and are willing to return to the negotiating table without preconditions, there will be an opportunity for real peace. Until then, we stand in solidarity with Israel in fighting terrorism. That’s what the current conflict is all about.
The world should blame Hamas for all of the loss of life and destruction that occurred during this conflict. Hamas and its allies are responsible for the children killed, the people who have been maimed, the homes and infrastructure destroyed, the families displaced, the fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters who are now gone, and the terror that continues long after this cease-fire.
I was in Israel in 2008 during Operation Cast Lead . Anyone who downplays the terror faced by Israelis has never experienced the blare of warning sirens after an unguided rocket is detected, the fifteen-second rush to get to shelter, those few seconds you wait for the rocket to strike, and the sound of the explosion.
That is terrorism and the battle continues.