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Israel only protecting its citizens

I take issue with your recent editorial (‘Terror rules in Gaza and in Ukraine, Irish Examiner, July 21), because you refer to "Israel’s terror campaign" and make outrageous comments about my country.

This is not a terror campaign, but a war for the life of Israel’s citizens. It is a military operation to stop the terrorist organisation, Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007, from bombing Israel with rockets. Hamas has done so since 2000, firing 14,000 missiles on Israel. The latest wave of attacks began two weeks ago, and reached a new intensity, placing most of Israel’s population within range of rockets, paralysing economic life and society. What is Israel supposed to do? Stand idly by as its country and people are held to ransom? No country in the world would tolerate this. On Tuesday, July 8, Israel began a campaign of targeted airstrikes to eliminate Hamas’s military infrastructure. Last week, Egypt — an Arab country, but which has diplomatic relations with Israel and is, therefore, an honest broker — formulated a truce. Israel accepted it, Hamas did not.

Therefore, the continuation of the war is entirely the fault of Hamas. Israel is now engaged in a ground operation, not to conquer Gaza, but to make it impossible for Hamas to terrorise the people of Israel in the future.

Time and time again, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that if Hamas agrees to stop its bombing Israel will also stop. How can Israel be more reasonable? Yes, there have been civilian casualties. But this is not deliberate by Israel. Hamas deliberately embeds its military infrastructure among civilian neighbourhoods, because it has no respect for international law and absolute contempt for human life, including Palestinian life. The neurotic, suicidal mentality of Hamas rejoices in death and martyrdom — and the Palestinians pay the price. By contrast, Israel does its utmost to protect its people, through the Iron Dome air defence system and a sophisticated early-warning system that gives its citizens the chance to flee to shelter as rockets come in. I repeat: the ball is in Hamas’s court. If it stops, so will we. There is no ‘victory’ here, only security and safety.

As for other points in your editorial, you make the erroneous comparison that Britain did not take military action against Ireland in reprisal for IRA attacks on Britain. The difference is fundamental; the IRA was never a state, it never controlled Northern Ireland, let alone the Irish Republic. It never had sovereign control over a territory. By contrast, Hamas is not just a terrorist organisation, it is a political force and has been the governing power in Gaza for the past seven years. Furthermore, the IRA, for the most part, consisted of British citizens resident in Northern Ireland.

It is also unfair to say that Israel abuses the spirit of the Balfour Declaration, of 1917, which promised a Jewish homeland on condition that non-Jews in that territory (what became Israel in 1948) would not lose their rights. On the contrary, Israel’s population is one-fifth Arabic, and these Israeli Arabs, both Muslims and Christians, have full civil and political rights, serving in the judiciary, civil service, the military and media, etc. They are certainly safer and more free than are Arabs in the rest of the benighted Middle East.

Boaz Modai

Ambassador of Israel

Embassy of Israel in Dublin

Carrisbrook House

122 Pembroke Road


Dublin 4


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