Article published in The Sun, 28 October 2023. © Richard Kemp
Hamas is the only ‘army’ in the history of war that has deliberately sought to provoke its enemy to kill its own people.
This is what its entire strategy is based on. Those in Britain taking to the streets to call for a ceasefire should remember this.
Hamas slaughtered more than 1,400 innocent Israelis in their barbaric attack of October 7.
The terrorists will have been stunned at their own success.
Their attack was carefully planned and prepared. They caught their victims unawares.
Israel had no idea it was coming. Many of their victims were sleeping in their beds when Hamas pounced.
But Hamas could never have expected to achieve so much killing and destruction without being stopped by Israeli forces long before they were. There was bloodshed on both sides.
Around 1,500 Hamas terrorists — many in their so-called ‘elite’ forces — were killed inside Israel.
But that doesn’t really matter to them compared to the blow they have dealt to Israel.
That is the point. To Hamas, life is cheap.
They care even less about the Gazan civilians who have died as a result of Israeli air strikes. In fact, they welcome those deaths.
When they launched the assault through the Gaza border fence, they knew what the consequences would be.
It is the same as occurs every time they attack Israel, whether by tunnel, rocket, anti-tank missile or probe from the sea: Israeli air strikes and either limited or full-scale ground incursions.
That is what they want.
They know that fighting from within the population will eventually lead to civilian casualties.
Hamas embed themselves in the civilian population. They have been accused of having military lairs underneath hospitals.
Their infamous tunnels — which they are now holding Israeli hostages in — criss-cross the ground underneath the densely populated city of Gaza above.
Some people call them human shields, but I prefer to call them human sacrifices.
The Gaza Health Ministry, which Hamas controls, will churn out civilian death statistics. These are often grossly exaggerated.
Journalists will be brought quickly to the scene to film dead or wounded civilians.
If there is not enough death or gore, Hamas has been accused of manufacturing it themselves.
It has been accused of using actors plastered with fake blood in a technique so well known it has been dubbed ‘Pallywood’ by some.
Much of the world’s media will then condemn Israel, often branding the IDF as war criminals.
That is despite the fact that Israel scrupulously adheres to the laws of war.
These allow military targets to be struck even when there are civilians present, provided that warnings are given where possible and the likely scale of civilian deaths is proportionate to the military advantage gained.
More often than not, Israel goes well beyond the strict requirements of the Geneva Conventions, often delaying attacks until civilians are clear, or cancelling them altogether.
Irrespective of any of that, when the cries of war crimes go up from Gaza there will be street protests in London and cities around the world.
Human rights groups will issue condemnations and Jewish people who dare to stick up for Israel will be screamed at and sometimes physically attacked on university campuses and in our streets.
As night follows day, after a major Israeli defensive operation there will be a commission of inquiry by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Its terms of reference will be skewed against Israel, and its members will reflect the in-built anti-Israel bias that has existed at the UN for decades.
Their report is guaranteed to convict Israel of war crimes and crimes against humanity while ignoring, or at best paying lip service to, the crimes of the real culprits: Hamas.
This in turn will give more ammunition to the anti-Israel lobbies in the universities, human rights organisations and other international bodies such as the EU.
What the journalists, UN officials and others who feed this machinery of anti-Israel hatred are doing is playing directly into the hands of Hamas.
They encourage Hamas to repeat the operation again and again.
They are sometimes willing, sometimes naive players in the real cycle of violence in the Middle East.
Hamas exists solely to destroy the State of Israel. This is laid down in its founding charter, cleansing or subjugating Jews in every part of the land ‘from the river to the sea’.
They know they can’t defeat the IDF by military means, so their entire strategy is to work towards Israel’s delegitimisation, vilification and isolation in the world, using the lives of their own people as weapons of war.
We must not let them win.