Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Israel's operation ends in a cease-fire


With the collapse of peace negotiations in Cairo on Aug. 19, Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip resumed rocket attacks on the state of Israel. Many believed that Operation Protective Edge—rightfully launched by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on July 8—wouldn’t be over anytime soon. However, on Aug. 26, Israel and Hamas accepted an Egyptian-brokered, open-ended cease-fire; this is the twelfth time in fifty days that Israel has agreed to another cease-fire attempt with this recognized terrorist organization.

According to The Jerusalem Post, Palestinians poured into the streets of Gaza shortly after to celebrate the so called, “victory for the resistance.” Classifying the end of the operation as a victory for Hamas seems somewhat ironic considering more than 2,000 civilians living in Gaza have died and up to 500,000 have been displaced. However, this comes as no surprise to the Israeli community. In the mindset of a Hamas leader, the Arab-Israeli conflict is a psychological war; a war that utilizes and manipulates the media to spark international outrage against Israel, ultimately hoping to weaken its public image and support system.

In light of recent events—particularly proof depicting Israel’s devotion to minimizing civilian causalities and her willingness to accept a cease-fire that will most likely be broken by Hamas yet again—it amazes me how much of the global community is still bent on demonizing and delegitimizing the state of Israel.

According to ABC News, the catalyst for launching Operation Protective Edge can be traced back to Hamas’ direct involvement in the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli yeshiva students: Naftali Frenkel (16), Gilad Shaar (16), and Eyal Yifrach (19). During the intense seven week conflict, the IDF has taken measures like no other to prevent civilians from being caught in the crossfire—sending text messages, making phone calls, air-dropping leaflets, and roof-knocking to warn Palestinians before firing into Gaza. While the IDF does everything in its power to minimize causalities, Hamas calls on its people to serve as human shields, which is a war crime in itself.

According to The New York Times, rockets have been stored in and launched from schools, mosques, hospitals, and civilian housing. Densely populated areas have also been used to set traps for Israeli soldiers and conceal the extensive terror network tunnels running from Gaza to Israel. The civilians of Gaza aren’t victims of the alleged occupation or the alleged Israeli apartheid, but rather victims of Hamas’ complete disregard for the sanctity of human life. The cruelty they inflict upon their own people is appalling and inhumane. We should free the Palestinian people from the ones at fault for oppressing them: Hamas, not Israel.

Even after living, studying, and volunteering in Israel, it never ceases to amaze me how life continues on as usual in times of hardship and struggle. Amidst the sirens and rocket fire, people go about their daily lives. Hamas has launched over 4,564 projectiles towards the state of Israel and if this doesn’t legitimize Israel’s basic right to defend itself and its people, then I don’t know what does.

In 2008, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “The truth is if Israel were to put down its arms there would be no more Israel. If the Arabs were to put down their arms there would be no more war.” Prominent Arab leaders and their affiliates have continuously called for the destruction of Israel; they aren’t subtle about their overarching desire to wipe Israel off the map either. In order to even begin the peace process in the Middle East, the Palestinian population must first recognize the state of Israel and stop dubbing those who kill Israelis as martyrs. The road to achieving peace will not be an easy one, but Israel has repeatedly stated that it’s willing to take the necessary measures to resolve this centuries old conflict.

Shana Medel is a student at UCF, studying journalism, Judaic studies, and international and global studies. She is also an organizer of UCF Knights for Israel programs and is a student intern at the Heritage Florida Jewish News.


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