What the World Needs to Know About Gaza

A response to Akos Balog’s recent article: “7 Surprising Things I’ve Noticed About The Israel-Gaza War”

A response to Akos Balog’s recent article: 7 Surprising Things I’ve Noticed About The Israel-Gaza War. For some strange reason, the title mentions seven surprising things and yet the article actually lists eight things, so I will also attempt to answer all eight.

Six months have passed since the brutal terrorist attack on Israel, launched by Hamas in Gaza on October 7th. The news of this brutal and murderous attack on mostly innocent civilians shocked the world. Main Stream Media was filled with broadcasts of children being beheaded, baked in ovens, of women being raped and babies killed in the most horrific ways. The reports of the slaughter of roughly 1500 innocent civilians evoked memories of the terrible suffering of the Jews at the hands of the Nazis during the 3rd Reich. The event was even called Israel’s 911.

Since then the retaliation by Israel mostly by bombing the Gaza Strip has caused the death of roughly 31,000 Palestinian civilians, 27% of whom are men, 29% are women and a staggering 44% are children. This means roughly 15,000 children have been killed by the military response by the IDF.

Truth is very often the first casualty of war. In the immediate aftermath of a terror attack emotions run high and rational analysis can be very difficult. Now that six months of gone by we have a sufficient amount of data and journalist professional analysis to verify whether the original reports were accurate.

To understand the gravity of what happened by both the Hamas terrorists and the immediate Israeli response, please follow this link and watch this documentary. Please be aware that the images are graphic and can be distressing. Please note you must sign in to verify your age in order to watch the documentary:

The following facts are now fairly well established and serve as an introduction to my review of the article by Akos Balogh.

  • Hamas killed 1,154 people in the terror attack on Oct 7th. 283 of these were Israeli soldiers.
  • Only 2 babies were killed, one of whom was still inside its mother’s womb.
  • There is no evidence of babies being beheaded and burned in ovens.
  • A number of those killed on October 7th were actually killed by Israeli helicopter gunfire.
  • Several civilian targets – houses and cars with civilians who could have been either Palestinian or Israeli – were bombed by the Israeli military in the chaos.
  • There was no evidence of widespread/mass rape as claimed by the initial reports, although according to testimony reports some rapes did occur.

Let me be very clear, Hamas is a terrorist organisation and the attack on October 7th was callous and monstrous. It deserved to be condemned in the strongest possible sense.

The big question that must be answered is: Is the Israeli military response of bombing Gaza and killing somewhere in the vicinity of 20,000 innocent women and children an acceptable response? I hope you have watched the documentary, and if you have you will likely agree with me that the Israeli response is totally disproportionate.

The conflict in Gaza didn’t start on Oct 2023. Gaza has been an “open air prison camp” for several decades, where now a majority of the young population know nothing of life outside a prison. Honest investigative journalists who have visited Gaza, liken it to a modern day “concentration camp”. Should we go that far? I am not sure, as I have not been there and this question is more difficult to get to the bottom of.

Now to the eight points raised in the article by Akos Balogh. I will review his arguments one by one.

“1. Where you stand on the Israel-Gaza conflict depends heavily on how you respond to the question: does Israel have a right to exist?”

I was somewhat taken aback by this argument. Akos seems to slice all public opinion into two categories. The people who believe Israel does not have a right to exist whom he believes are also the people who support Hamas and who critique the Israeli response. Then there are those who are pro-Israel who think the Israeli response is perfectly justified.

If one just looks at the News coverage of the Free Palestine protests around the Western world, one might be forgiven for arriving at such a simplistic conclusion. My personal judgment of this war is that it is being fought by two evils, Hamas terrorists on the one side and brutal military response by Israel on the other side that appears to have very little empathy for the huge and unjustifiable number of human casualties.

I am assuming you agree that Israel has a right to exist just like any other nation in this world today, else you would likely not be reading this article.

“2, Why are media outlets and Western governments parroting Hamas’ number of people killed? (The UN recently halved the number of women and children killed).”

This has turned out to be untrue and the UN only changed the category numbers but not the total number of dead people. See here and here.

The actual number of dead people is likely to be far higher as there are roughly still 10,000 people buried in the rubble who are not counted for.

Source: OCHA

Proviso: Naturally I cannot be absolutely certain about the final numbers. They could be lower, but they could also be higher, but they are not wrong in the order of magnitudes which essentially means the horror does not change!

“3. The cry of the protesters is that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza. But if that’s the case, Israel is doing a poor job at genocide.”

I personally take issue with the use of the term genocide since this involves much more than the systematic murder of civilians in the process of smoking out terrorists. I lost several of my mother’s side of my family to the Nazi Concentration camps and have read extensively into Jewish and German history, using the comparison with Nazi Germany and using terms like genocide is a shameful misuse of terms and belittles the extreme suffering of European Jews during the Third Reich.

Nonetheless, it is also blatantly wrong to turn a blind eye to the cruel slaughter of innocent civilians in Gaza, just because it is being done by Jewish people. Not all Jews of the world are on the side of the IDF in Israel. Akos tends to compare the war in Gaza with typical urban warfare where civilians are caught in the crossfire of machine gun-style fighting. This is not what is happening in Gaza. Most of the civilians are being killed by bombing campaigns.

It pains me to say this but consider this analogy: An armed student starts shooting other children in a school and barricades himself into the school holding many innocent kids hostage. What should our response be?

  • Carefully try to save as many kids as possible and take the shooter out with an operation by the most skilled armed professionals? Or
  • Bomb the whole school, thereby eliminating the shooter and hope for the best to save maybe a few of the innocent kids?

Which of these two fits the IDF response? The answer to that question should really not be too difficult.

The cry for genocide is likely just making this situation worse as it is making the opposite side of the argument even more willing to turn a blind eye to the obvious and wrongful slaughter of innocents, all in the name of smoking out the terrorists.

“4. Even under Israeli occupation, the number of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza has increased by around 500%: is that a genocidal policy?”

Since I have already agreed with Akos that Genocide is the wrong way to look at this situation, I would say this is just a deflection. In this whole article, I fail to see any kind of realistic and critical analysis of the Israeli response. Akos, being a leading voice in the Evangelical community as a spokesperson for the “Gospel Coalition – Australia”, cannot afford to do such poor journalistic work.

As Christians, we must aim to send the gospel message to all people groups in this world without a hint of bias. I can’t help but draw the conclusion from his report that he is being inconsistent.

“5. Why aren’t Arab countries – especially Egypt – doing anything to help Palestinians in Gaza flee the conflict?”

That’s a good question and I don’t have an answer. It could be the state of their economy, but I don’t want to speculate. However, why should Israel be excused from their obvious murder of Palestinians by the unwillingness of Egypt to take them as refugees?

Imagine a criminal enters your house to rob you and threatens to kill you and your family. He gives you one opportunity to flee to your neighbour through the cellar that connects your house to his. If your neighbour does not take you, he will kill you. Should the criminal be excused by the fact that you have a horrible neighbour who decides to not take you?

This was the very situation many Jews in the Third Reich found themselves in. Some Germans took them in at great risk and hid them in their houses, others however did not. The fact that some Germans did not hide Jews is repulsive but that in no way diminishes the guilt of those who were persecuting them.

The argument raised here by Akos is really hard to understand and whilst it raises a real issue of concern with the Egyptian government, it also deflects from the real issue of the crimes against humanity being committed by Israel.

“6. Why are university protestors so fixated on Israel, while ignoring real genocides like the Muslim Uyghurs in China?”

Again, this is an interesting argument that can and should be raised against all those protesting at Universities claiming Israel is committing Genocide. I find it reprehensible that Akos is taking such a big issue with the word “Genocide” and yet seems entirely unfazed by the real suffering in Gaza, which is being highlighted by the student protests, even if they are mixing categories and coming from students with otherwise questionable ideologies. The fact of the matter is still exactly the same. Israel is committing crimes and nothing is really being done by the world at large to stop this.

“7. So much of the condemnation of Israel is based on ‘headcount’ morality: how many people each side has killed. But this loses all perspective.”

Akos draws on analogies like the bombing of German cities by the British in WW2. I think it is reasonable to conclude that the overall win against the Nazis by the Allied and Russian forces during WW2 was morally acceptable and correct, and yet it is still equally acceptable to conclude that some of the bombing campaigns by the allied forces were unwarranted and unnecessary.

I am thinking of the example of the bombing of Dresden towards the end of the war where the British clearly aimed to maximise civilian casualties. Historical analysis suggests that the bombing of civilians might have been totally unwarranted, that is certainly my view. The comparison between Gaza and WW2 falls down very quickly as Palestine and Israel are not two nations fighting each other.

It is far more accurate to compare Oct 7th with a violent Prison Break and associated uprising that required to be put down with care and precision rather than carpet bombing the entire prison.

“8. If Israel unilaterally disarmed itself, it would lead to a second holocaust. If groups like Hamas and Hezbollah disarmed, it would lead to peace in the Middle East.”

The total military aid package from the USA to Egypt is somewhere between 1.3 and 1.5 billion US$ annually. The total military aid package to Jordan amounts to 400 million US.

In comparison, the total military aid package from the USA to Israel is roughly 4 billion US$ annually. In addition to this just in Oct 2023, President Biden signed off on an additional 14.5 billion US$ to Israel.

The military might of Israel is a direct result of the funding by its closest ally. Is it any wonder that smart Muslim nations are making peace deals with the Israelis?

I think it is both naive and overly simplistic to suggest that just because Hamas as a terrorist organisation would like to wipe out Israel that therefore all other Muslim nations would join in a unilateral attack on Israel and wipe it off the map. This is the typical war drum rhetoric by militaristic nations like the current US administration.

As a Christian and a Libertarian, I am against all war. The only acceptable means of the use of military force is in self-defence. If my neighbour enters my house by force I can use equal force to make him exit. If he attempts to shoot my wife, I can shoot him first. If he happens to shoot my wife before I can shoot him and flees to hide in his house, I do not have the right to enter his house and start shooting wildly killing his wife and children before finally killing him. That is not self-defence but an obvious act of brutal aggression on my part.

Long before the law of Moses was given the Bible lists what we commonly term “lex talionis” – the law of retribution. Israel is not acting in accordance with the Law of Moses or with the law of just retribution. Israel is not defending itself full-stop. Israel is involved in the brutal murder of innocent civilians under the guise of getting rid of terrorists.

For further reading on all the senseless and unprovoked wars of aggression today see here.

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