I felt both stunned and saddened to read a letter written by a medical student studying at Beer-Sheva Hospital by the name of Rachel Pope. What is so unusual about this particular case is that Rachel’s article appeared in the medical journal The Lancet (Jan. 2009). Indeed, the Lancet, is a prominent scientific journal and, as such, should avoid interfering and intermingling with political issues and rather focus on scientific and medical topics. The publication of this article by the Lancet detracts from adhering to responsible and fair journalistic practice. The content of Rachel’s letter with rushed accusations and unfounded slanders are too important to ignore. In this blog, I will answer directly to Rachel’s naΓ―ve discourses in hopes that she will be able to read my response and learn from it:
Rachel, I read with curiosity your blog commenting on your frustrating and sad experiences as a medical student in Beer-Sheva at the time of Israel/Gaza conflict. There are several instances in your address that I found disturbing, albeit they could be excused due to your lack of knowledge on the circumstances of war engagement in Gaza. For instance, you start by saying “this seems like an endless war” further onwards alleging that “each other (Hamas) accusing the other (Israel) of breaking the truce.” According to the tone of your rhetoric, it appears that both sides, Hamas and Israel, are at fault, that we are on equal footing, and indeed that Israel could appear equally as a warmonger. You state that you participated in a massive protest to raise your voice for peace. Do you really know that Israel has been restraining herself against Hamas unprovoked rockets for the past eight years? Who is provoking war in this particular case Rachel? As you so well expressed in your letter, people in the South of Israel has lived under constant fear and stress for very long. How much longer do you think any Western country could wait before acting? Longer than eight years or just continue to be hit like sitting ducks forever?
Another significant line in your blog, which is even more disturbing, is that you are alluding that both sides (Hamas and Israel) “have committed blunt acts against the lives of civilians.” This is a most erroneous and utterly naΓ―ve statement on your part. Do you really know who Hamas is and what is their covenant toward Israel? We, Israel, are the most moral army in the world; unlike other countries, we did not carpet-bomb Gaza, which would have resolved the terrorist infrastructure and leadership once and for all; rather, we put our soldiers in harm’s way and exposed them to being killed or maimed so as to spare innocent civilians. We targeted known terrorist infrastructures and warned citizens to leave before striking. In contrast, Hamas hid behind civilians and used civilian infrastructure such as hospitals, mosques, and schools to send their rockets. In fact, millions of dollars given to Hamas to rebuild their lives after our complete evacuation in 2005 was used to buy weapons and train their army to war with Israel. This money could have been used instead to improve the lives of Gazans and to build shelters and improve their lives. The next round of a billion of dollars recently pledged by the U.S. and Europe will surely fall again into terrorists’ hands.
Rachel, the responsibility for this terrible situation falls squarely on the shoulders of the terrorist organization, Hamas, and no one else. Hamas is a death-worshipping cult; their aim is the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state (it is written in their covenant) and their tactic is to use civilians as human shields, and civilian buildings as cover for terrorist attacks.
Rachel, it would be nice to have peace and this has been our aim and in our prayers for the past four decades. Unfortunately, we have been provoked over and over and we need to protect ourselves, our values and our land from terrorism and vacuum just as any other country in the world. A little advice: Wake up, identify and study the problem; before putting the executioner and the victim on equal footing, try to analyze our dilemma and the Islamic threats facing the free world.