David Horovitz in the Times of Israel has an excellent article, Beyond the Gaza Headlines, debunking the anti-Israel hype and propaganda surrounding the latest round of Palestinian shelling of Israeli towns and the Israeli response to this. (Emphases are mine).
Israel targets a Palestinian terror kingpin, acting on information that he is planning to orchestrate a major attack, but knowing that the act of thwarting him will likely prompt barrages of rockets aimed at towns and villages all over the south.
The rockets indeed start flying, the air force is dispatched again and again to stop the terror cells that are poised to fire still more salvos, and the Gaza death toll mounts.
Not so, mercifully, the toll on the Israeli side. The Gaza terror gangs are certainly trying, firing dozens of rockets. But Israel has alarm systems and protected rooms. It keeps its youngsters home from school. And it has the world’s foremost anti-missile defense systems.
So the numbers tell nothing like the full story.But the numbers – and the Gaza funeral scenes — are flashed around the world as the apparent barometer of proportionality, or rather disproportionality. And Israel finds itself on the defensive, accused of exaggerated use of force, even as it strives to keep its populace safe.
Horovitz goes on to describe just who this arch-terrorist Zuhair al-Qaissi really was. More on that later.
A glance beyond the headlines and the numbers would provide the reminder that Israel has no military or civilian presence whatsoever in the Gaza Strip – no territorial dispute. Wrenching thousands of civilians from their homes, Israel withdrew entirely from the Strip in 2005. The last Israeli who we knew was living in Gaza was Shalit.
After the 2005 disengagement, the Palestinians could have rehoused Gaza’s refugees – there was no reason not to; the occupation was over – but they preferred to keep that wound open. They could have started building a mini-democracy in Gaza – if only to try to persuade an uncertain Israel that it could safely relinquish territory in the West Bank. But all-too evidently, not even the potential prize of territorial concessions in the West Bank was sufficiently compelling.
Instead, the greenhouses that had flourished in the Gaza settlements and could have flourished under Palestinian control were gleefully smashed, Hamas violently took power in 2007 after winning Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006, and the rocket and mortar fire continued almost without interruption. In the period before al-Qaissi was killed, barely a day went by without a rocket salvo being fired into Israel; these attacks didn’t make headlines because they didn’t kill Israelis.
In other words, Israel is a propaganda “victim” of its own success at keeping its citizens (relatively) safe.
As to the character of Zuhair al Qaissi:
Zuhair al-Qaissi, the Gaza terror chief blown up in his car in an Israeli strike on Friday, publicly acknowledged his link to the Shalit affair in the days after Gilad Shalit was freed in a lopsided prisoner exchange last October.
Speaking to the newspaper Al-Hayat immediately after Shalit had been released, al-Qaissi, the head of the Hamas-linked Popular Resistance Committees, detailed the messages that had been received from the day of Shalit’s kidnapping — messages sent via Arab government officials, from Israel — making all sorts of offers and promises if Shalit were released. “We refused to respond to these threats,” he said.
He gave details of the initial interrogation of Shalit by his colleagues in the PRC. He named those colleagues as Imad Hamad, who he said abducted Shalit and who was later killed by Israel, and previous PRC chief Kamal A-Nirev.
Shalit was provided food that “fits him as a Jew,” said al-Qaissi. “The way Shalit looked when he was released proved that he was treated well,” he said.
The assertion was immediately countered by Shalit’s father Noam, who said his son had “endured harsh things.” Gilad, added Noam, was suffering from malnutrition, the effects of isolation and lack of exposure to sun, and also wounds sustained during his capture that had not been allowed to heal.
Noam said claims that his son was not tortured during his time in Hamas captivity should be taken “with a grain of salt.”
May every terrorist meet the same end as him.