Drew Tiene’s Nov. 26 column in the Akron Beacon Journal had many strong points but fell into the misinformation trap and double standards that have been held over Israel since the brutal Hamas massacre of Oct. 7.
Dr. Tiene is correct in acknowledging that Hamas committed atrocities, that Israel is justified in its goal to eliminate Hamas and that Oct. 7 has been described as Israel’s equivalent to 9/11. In fact, the Oct. 7 attack, was the second largest terror attack, only eclipsed by 9/11. Israeli citizens were raped, murdered and tortured with no mercy, coupled with indiscriminate taking of hostages of all ages including infants.
Hamas has not only praised the events of Oct. 7, but has vowed to repeat them. Dr. Tiene suggests that Israel should solve the Hamas problem through “small-scale, targeted operations” instead of using aerial strikes. It is tragic that civilians have lost their lives in this conflict, but there is a significant difference between Hamas and Israel that Dr. Tiene fails to acknowledge.
Hamas not only targets civilians outside of Gaza with indiscriminate rocket fire, but hides military installations under hospitals and schools, rockets under children’s beds, and ensures that Gaza residents, including women and children, are left in the line of fire to achieve their nefarious goals.
In contrast, Israel goes to great length to avoid civilian casualties, often putting soldiers at risk to do so. A “small-scale, targeted operation” would be a failure due to the tactics and sheer number of Hamas terrorists, allowing them to continue to prey on Israeli civilians.
In this conflict, Israel has leafleted, called and text-messaged Gaza residents to encourage them to move away from military targets. Israel even used its own tanks to ensure that these residents were free and safe to move south, protecting them from Hamas snipers. The bottom line is that Israel values human life while Hamas is prepared to sacrifice as many martyrs as possible.
After Israel experienced the indiscriminate slaughter of its citizens and hundreds taken hostage the question that continues to be asked is “What is the correct proportional response?” The more important question is why the onus to stop fighting is solely on Israel? There are several steps that Hamas could take to immediately calm the situation — condemn terrorism, recognize Israel’s right to exist, release all the hostages, stop misdirecting humanitarian aid, firing indiscriminate rockets and hiding behind their own civilians. None of these are unreasonable or impractical steps if there is truly a desire for peace.
Rather, Hamas, after more than 15 years in leadership, has not found a way to live in peace and work to create a prosperous society in Gaza. The despair and poverty in Gaza are a direct result of Hamas’ focus on the elimination of the state of Israel rather than nation building.
The casualty figures coming out of Gaza are in fact coming from Hamas, which is far from a reliable source. There is no independent media or health authority on the ground to verify facts. What we’ve learned throughout this conflict is that Hamas, a recognized terrorist organization, is quick to promote misinformation that helps its cause.
Always quick to blame Israel, Hamas broke both the ceasefire already in place on Oct. 7 and the recent humanitarian one, with rocket fire and a terror attack that killed three Israeli civilians at a bus stop in Jerusalem. No surprise that a group that has no issue committing the most heinous atrocities against babies, children, women and the elderly is willing to say anything to further its own narrative.
Israel, like all countries, has the right and responsibility to respond to attacks on its citizens. Sadly, Hamas, like all terrorist organizations, doesn’t value human life or the truth.
Stuart Glauberman is board chair of JewishAkron. Daniel Blain is the chief executive officer.
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Akron Jewish leaders condemn Hamas for Oct. 7 attack, loss of lives