IN THE MEDIA
The Oct. 7 atrocities are already being forgotten
Oct 25, 2023 | Justin Amler
A version of this article was published in the Courier-Mail – 25 October 2023
Well, that didn’t take long.
Much of the Australian and world media have already been gripped with amnesia. The horrific atrocities committed against Israelis by Hamas on Oct. 7 have been almost forgotten and replaced with a laser-like focus on the plight of Palestinians in Gaza instead.
But let’s not forget why there is fighting in Gaza in the first place.
Just over two weeks ago, in a completely unprovoked attack, more than 2500 Hamas terrorists invaded Israel. More than 1800 Israelis were brutally massacred in their homes, in their beds, in their cars, in bomb shelters seeking safety, at a music festival and at bus stops – at least 1500 of them innocent civilians. Thousands more sustained serious injuries and more than 210 people, including babies and Holocaust survivors, were kidnapped to Gaza.
Yet almost all the headlines are now about the humanitarian disaster for Palestinians in Gaza.
While the death of any innocent civilian is always tragic, the responsibility for people being hurt and killed in Gaza lies not with Israel, but with the Hamas terrorist group which launched this terror war with such brutality and naked aggression on Oct. 7, and which deliberately conceals its military infrastructure among civilian homes, mosques, hospitals and schools.
This Islamist terror entity has a charter which includes a call for the murder of all Jews worldwide, not just Israel. Yet somehow, many are prepared to treat its words and claims as equally valid as that of any other state or political party, in a way they would never do with al-Qaeda or Islamic State.
These people should read a recent Jerusalem Post article in which Israeli forensic pathologists, examining the bodies of murdered Israelis, detail the sickening and brutal torture Hamas terrorists inflicted upon their victims, whose ages ranged from three months to 90 years old. In one particularly gut-wrenching case, a parent and child were bound together with metal wires and burned alive.
Yet incredibly many continue to believe the lies of this terrorist organisation. Take the case of the al-Ahli Arab Hospital, which Hamas claimed was struck by Israeli bombs last week. Some in the international media appeared totally energised at the thought of Israeli bombs having slammed into a Palestinian hospital killing hundreds – allowing them to return to their traditional storyline of brutal Israelis deliberately terrorising innocent Palestinians.
Israel quickly released ample video, photographic and radar evidence, as well as phone intercepts of a conversation between Hamas operatives, demonstrating that the carnage was caused by a rocket launched by Palestinian Islamic Jihad that fell short. Yet despite this proof beyond any reasonable doubt, many in the media preferred to ignore the evidence, saying in reports there were conflicting versions and nothing more.
It’s also important to note that Israeli hospitals, such as Ashkelon’s Barzilai Hospital, have also been hit by Hamas rockets – yet this has barely been reported, much less sparking any comparable outrage.
It is a telling fact that while the hospital incident was immediately accepted as an Israeli airstrike, without any verification, the now amply verified story of the discovery of Jewish babies whose heads Hamas terrorists had severed was treated with widespread scepticism and disbelief.
Meanwhile, there is outrage over Israel’s thousands of targeted bombing strikes directed strictly against terror targets in Gaza – even while the thousands of rockets fired indiscriminately and illegally on Israeli civilians, which continue to this day, are ignored.
The displacement of hundreds of thousands of Gazans, warned by Israel to leave their homes to keep them out of harm’s way, is labelled a war crime – yet there is virtually no mention in the media of the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who have been forced to leave their homes, both in the country’s north and south, due to ongoing attacks from both Hamas and Hezbollah.
For many, it appears all blame for the fate of Palestinians must always be automatically laid solely at the feet of Israel – even though Israel completely withdrew from Gaza in 2005, creating what is effectively a de facto Palestinian state there. There was also no blockade until Hamas violently seized power in Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in 2007. The responsibilities of Egypt, which shares a border with Gaza, are ignored, along with those of the rest of the Arab world, which refuses to take even one Palestinian refugee in the current war.
It should be simple: Israel experienced one of the worst, bloodiest, most inhuman terror attacks in modern times, perpetrated by a genocidal extremist group listed as a terrorist organisation in Australia and around the world. It has the right and duty under international law to do whatever is necessary to defend itself from this terror group, which in the current circumstances can only mean removing that terror group’s ability to run Gaza as a permanent armed terrorist camp. Why is this so hard for people to remember and understand?
Justin Amler is a Policy Analyst at the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC).