The New York Times on Nov. 3 published an article written by Israeli President Isaac Herzog titled “The President of Israel: This Is Not a Battle Just Between Israel and Hamas.” The article is actually the official opinion of the Israeli state, as Mr. Herzog penned it.
The Israeli president begins his article by mentioning his meeting with Israeli victims of the Oct. 7 attack perpetrated by Hamas. Calling the death of 1,400 Israelis the “unimagined tragedy” of Israel, he claims that Israel is in an existential struggle. Herzog also argues that the current battle is “not just between Israel and Hamas. It is between those who adhere to norms of humanity and those practicing a barbarism that has no place in the modern world.”
From the beginning, Herzog names Israel as the guard of humanity while calling Hamas, a Palestinian resistance group struggling for the existence of Palestine and Palestinians, “barbarians.” We could agree with the Israeli president, but currently, Palestine is about to disappear due to the ongoing Israeli occupation and massacre. It is no secret that Israel did not have any worse day than Oct. 7 but the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is nearly 75 years old, and Hamas’ attack is a rare one as well as just a response to endless Israeli occupation and murders.
We all, including Herzog, know that statistics do not lie. When the deaths of both sides are compared, it can be seen that Israel kills around 20 Palestinians for every Israeli casualty. Thus, in terms of population, if the course continues as it is, Palestinians will be extinct from the world earlier than Israelis. Besides, maps also deny the Israeli president’s claim. When a map of Palestine dated 1948 is compared with those of 1967, 1973 and the current date, it can be seen that Israel occupied almost 80% of the territories of the Palestine state, which was established together with Israel in 1948. Meanwhile, there is no longer a state called Palestine due to Israel.
Herzog then continues with anti-Hamas claims such as the torture of children, rape of women and burnt babies. Such allegations were not confirmed even by the Israeli army, but the Israeli president still narrates them, indicating that he deliberately lies. In this sense, as readers, we can be suspicious of all his claims because if a person does not hesitate to lie about an issue, he will do so for others, too. Meanwhile, Herzog rarely mentions burnt Palestinian babies in Gaza. Perhaps this is because, as he stated in one of his speeches, he thinks there are no innocent people in Gaza, a statement contradicting his assertion that they fight for humanity against barbarians.
Herzog’s discomfort with anti-Israel rallies
He then writes about his discomfort with rallies against Israel in Western cities. Herzog expresses that the Western audience must support Tel Aviv against Hamas. However, what he does not want to see (or deliberately covers up) is that Israel fights civilians rather than Hamas. The Israeli army indiscriminately kills civilians, including babies, by bombing hospitals, schools and other civilian buildings. Herzog might be upset about people’s reactions, but none with conscience accepts holistic punishments. What Israel is doing is not to punish Hamas but to kill as many Palestinians as it can. This is genocide and unlike Mr. Herzog, people of the world never approve of such cruelty.
People also do not accept his claim that Hamas militants were hiding inside hospitals. First, foreign health workers already confirmed that no Hamas militants were in hospitals when they were bombed. Second, if Hamas members were inside an Israeli hospital, would they still bomb it? Probably not. Third, bombing hospitals is forbidden by international conventions. Therefore, instead of accusing foreign audiences of not supporting Israel, Herzog should question how morally they act. However, his article shows that his understanding of morality and compassion is totally different from that of an ordinary person. Whether he has them is a matter of question.
President Herzog continues to write weird views before finishing his article. For example, he says, “Our full withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 was meant to give them free lives and open the door for peace. To our dismay, Hamas and its many Palestinian supporters chose otherwise.” These remarks imply as if Israel voluntarily withdrew from Gaza. Furthermore, he does not mention that Gaza is an open prison due to the blockade since 2007.
Herzog also blames Hamas and its supporters for choosing violence. Does he expect Palestinians to accept oppression and occupation? Also, self-defense is a legitimate response. The Israeli president also claims that they give early warning to Palestinians with leaflets and phone calls. Yes, they do, but when people leave their homes, they are bombed on roads by Israeli jets. In addition, Israeli fighters bombed the Rafah cross-border gate many times, though Israeli officials told people to move there.
Overall, if the Israeli president wrote this article to defend his country’s position, he certainly failed. What happened in the last month countered almost all his claims. Killing civilians does not mean humanity but barbarism. Not Hamas, but Israel burnt babies with bombs. Not Israel, but Palestine is under existential threat. The Israeli army is more brutal than Hamas. Finally, there are innocent people in Gaza, e.g., babies, despite Herzog’s claims.
It is a pity that a president defends his country not with truths but with lies. His article just further damages his and his country’s image. It seems that Israel may soon turn into Gaza for Israelis as they will be isolated from the world due to the cruel actions of the Israeli administration, including President Herzog.
Source: Daily Sabah