Free Gaza from Hamas demonstration. Credit: Karen Jaffe

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You live in your house.  A house that has few amenities and is surrounded by neighbors who want to see you dead.  And yet, you have succeeded in decorating your house and educating the inhabitants such that many of the world’s innovations come from your backyard.  But your neighbor still hates you.

This is the charter of Hamas.

Like so many other publications and media broadcasters, a recent article in the Voice of OC appears to perpetuate an inaccurate narrative. The fact that this article was among a crowd is what motivated this factual response. It is presumed and repeated by media outlets that Israel is what the Palestinians need to be “freed” from. The disregarded facts are that Hamas, is what the Palestinians need to be freed from. Hamas is the terrorist organization founded to destroy Israel and the Jewish people. Hamas is a terrorist organization that martyrs its own including women and children. Hamas is a terrorist organization that puts rocket launchers in and near schools, hospitals and international news offices.

Hamas is the Palestinians’ problem. Hamas and its heinous activities are not and should not be yet another justification for the rise in worldwide anti-Semitism. Not in the OC, and nowhere in the world.

If Israeli airstrikes have regrettably killed 60 people and over 300 people have been killed in Gaza, that this means that Hamas is the perpetrator of the majority of the loss of life, not Israel.

Hamas, the Islamic fundamentalist group hell-bent on the destruction of Israel, has masterfully managed to garner sympathy from around the world. It is a hijacking of the Palestinians who most of us here see as innocent victims of a terror group. A people with whom, Israel would love to live with in peace, were it not for Hamas.

The recent Israeli airstrikes on Gaza were defensive operations provoked by Hamas. The media outlets much like this article omitted numerous relevant facts. Below are a few facts (verifiable by basic research):

  • Hamas is a terrorist organization in the position of governing the Palestinian people of Gaza.
  • Hamas was formed in August 1988 to destroy Israel and the Jewish people (ref. above).
  • For 11 days, Hamas ordered and launched more than 4,000 rockets indiscriminately at Israeli cities with the goal of killing as many people as possible including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
  • More than 700 of those Hamas rockets — roughly 15 percent — have landed in Gaza, causing death and destruction and interfering with power, water and other infrastructure within Gaza. 

The people of Gaza need to be freed from Hamas. Now. Let’s rally for that!

Credit: Karen Jaffe

The Voice of OC article, OC Residents Rally, Hold Vigil for Palestinians Amid Global Demonstrations, leaves the reader with the opinion that the deaths are solely resulting from the airstrikes and squarely blames Israel. Blames Israel for having to defend itself against a storm of over 4000 errant rockets directly aimed at Israel’s civic centers and its citizenry.   In response to this rally, a pro-Israel rally was held in Irvine.  Given the security concerns, this rally was not promoted on Social Media and 250 people showed up to support Israel.  It was striking to note that at a similar rally in Irvine the day prior, there were only Palestinian flags.  There were no American flags.

Credit: Karen Jaffe

Israel has named this defensive operation “Guardian of the Walls”. It is intended to stop Hamas from sending those rockets from Gaza into Israel. Even with the best planning and the extreme efforts the Israel Defense Force imposes on itself, it cannot be held accountable for the 60 lives lost by Palestinian families in Gaza. Hamas, the terrorist organization that puts its own people in harm’s way by launching rockets from civilian occupied homes, apartments, schools and hospitals, is to blame. First for using those civilian sites for launching rockets and second for forcing the innocent civilians to “hold their ground” and not flee when warned by the IDF. Hamas stores and launches weapons in civilian centers so that they can cry when the targets are hit.  Using human shields is a war crime.  Hamas is guilty.  Those supporting Hamas are supporting war crimes.

Even with precision planning and weaponry, the IDF has regrettably been accused of 60 civilian deaths. Israel has had 1000 targets within Gaza. 1000 have been successfully hit and destroyed with prior notice to all in the strike zone. Each building was a target because it had been used by Hamas to kill the people of Israel. Because that is the object of the terrorist organization known as Hamas. It is time to free the people of Gaza from Hamas.

Over 200 Palestinians have been murdered by Hamas rockets in Gaza.

Why aren’t Palestinians angry at their own government?  Why aren’t they demanding more of their leaders?  Instead of holding accountable the real orchestrator of this humanitarian nightmare, the article is doing what the human race has been conditioned to do by social media – blame.  Many are using this conflict as a platform to spew hatred and further their anti-Semitic ideals.  

Ask yourselves, where does the international money that is sent to Gaza go?  Hamas receives millions of dollars in aid from the Arab world and virtually none of it goes to education or healthcare of the Palestinian people.  Instead, they spend their money on terror tunnels and rockets.  Their goal is simple.  Eradicate Israel from the map.  They do not care at all for the Palestinians under their charge.

And now Israel is defending itself.  If Washington DC was being bombed relentlessly, would the US stand by and simply let it happen?  No.  Where is the global outrage for the Ukrainians?  For the Uyghurs?  It’s simply more “trendy” or “woke” to be anti-Semitic.

We grieve the loss of ALL civilian life, Arab and Jewish, Palestinian and Israeli.

Unfortunately, the current government in Gaza celebrates the loss of life.  The Palestinians need to look at their leadership and ask why.  They should operate as a democracy and not a terrorist state.  Vote the terrorists out so that the process of healing and negotiation can begin.  A two-state solution has been twice rejected.  You cannot negotiate with terrorists:  

  • Bassem Eid, Palestinian Human Rights Activist: “With my background in Palestinian campaigning and as a resident of East Jerusalem today, you might assume that I am against Israel’s current military actions. But this could not be further from the truth. The blame for this month’s bloodshed lies solely at the feet of Hamas.”

So yes, Free Gaza….but free Gaza from the tyranny and terror of Hamas.  Free Gaza from Hamas and then maybe Peace will have a chance.  Until then, there will be no opportunity.

Karen Jaffe has lived in Orange County for the last 20 years with her family.  She is a member of the Jewish community and avid supporter of peace in the Middle East.

Opinions expressed in community opinion pieces belong to the authors and not Voice of OC.

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