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International community must hold Hamas accountable

Hamas in Gaza rained down more than 450 rockets in the space of four to five hours. Imagine if even one—just one—rocket was to hit an American city?

The scene where a house was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon on Nov. 13, 2018. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90.
The scene where a house was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon on Nov. 13, 2018. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90.
Arsen Ostrovsky
Arsen Ostrovsky is a human rights attorney and CEO of the International Legal Forum, an Israel-based NGO and global network of lawyers standing up for Israel and combating antisemitism in the legal arena. You can follow him on Twitter at: @Ostrov_A.

Hi, how was your day?

In southern Israel overnight, thousands of families had to spend the night in bomb shelters, after Hamas terrorists in Gaza rained down more than 450 rockets in the space of four to five hours.

That is more than one rocket every minute, representing the most number of rockets fired at Israel in one day—ever!

The bombardment is unrelenting, with rockets still having been fired as of early Tuesday morning. Imagine if even one, just one, rocket was to hit an American city? How would the United States react?

The only reason there have not been more casualties is not because of lack of effort on the part of Hamas, but because whereas they invest millions of dollars in foreign aid for tunnels and rockets, Israel invests money in fortified bomb shelters and Red Alert advanced warning systems.

If you’re lucky, the Red Alert affords you the “luxury” of 15 seconds to find adequate shelter, though often even less, depending how close to the Gaza border you are.

So far, rockets have struck a number of homes, a bus and many residential areas, causing tremendous damage and destruction.

What Hamas is doing is essentially committing a double war crime: It is indiscriminately firing at Israeli civilian areas while hiding behind Palestinian civilians and using the Palestinian people as human shields, with Israelis hostage to their terror.

No one should tolerate even one rocket fired at them, let alone more than 450!

Yet one of the most striking observations is the lack of outrage from the international community, which has shown barely a whimper as Israel has been bombarded with rockets.

Only two weeks ago, on Oct. 27, a gunman entered the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh and murdered 11 Jews, shouting “all Jews must die.”

In essence, Hamas is no different. It is a genocidal terrorist organization sworn not only to the destruction of Israel, but to the murder of all Jews.

All those who, rightfully so, condemned the Pittsburgh shooting without reservation must now also condemn Hamas.

Although Hamas, a jihadist terror organization, and the Pittsburgh shooter, a neo-Nazi, might follow different ideological paths, they are united in their bloodthirsty unrestrained hatred of the Jewish people and the Jewish state. To suggest otherwise would be not only a display in gross hypocrisy and naiveté, but an insult to the 11 victims of Pittsburgh and those killed at the hands of Hamas.

Israel, like any sovereign nation, has the inalienable right and duty to take whatever steps necessary to defend its citizens.

But the international community also has a role to play.

The fact of the matter is that attacks like this do not occur in a vacuum. With the exception of this U.S. administration, they are the direct result of the international community’s ongoing refusal to hold Palestinian terror groups like Hamas to account.

How can it be that there is a supposed “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza when clearly Hamas has enough money to fire off hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians in one day?

International leaders cannot say they truly care about peace when they continue to single out the Jewish state for special opprobrium, while repeatedly turning their backs to the rocket attacks from Hamas and the funneling of foreign aid intended for welfare of Gazan civilians to build a growing terrorist infrastructure.

However, it is not just lawmakers from Europe and the diplomats from the United Nations who are turning their backs; the human-rights community is doing the same.

Human Rights Watch is nowhere to be seen because for them, the rights of Israelis are seemingly not a priority. Meanwhile, Linda Sarsour, the darling of the progressive left and best friend of notorious hate-monger Louis Farrakhan, who only a week before the Pittsburgh shooting called Jews “termites,” is also conspicuously absent.

Enough is enough!

With news of a reported ceasefire being negotiated, the situation on the ground remains incredibly tense.

Unless the international community and the true champions of human rights start to hold Hamas to account, they will only further embolden and empower this terror group, becoming complicit in every rocket and mortar fired at the Jewish state and Israeli citizens.

In the meantime, as I write this article, another 25 rockets have just been fired at Israel from Gaza. So again, I ask you, “How was your day”?

Arsen Ostrovsky is an Israel-based international human-rights lawyer and activist. You can follow him on Twitter at: @Ostrov_A.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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