The current Hamas assault on Israel has lured the predictable coven of Palestinian nationalists, Islamists, Leftists, and anti-Semites from the woodwork to bash the Jewish state. But, more surprisingly, Israel is getting support, or at least restraint and fairness, from unexpected sources:
‐United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: “Today we face the risk of an all out escalation in Israel and Gaza with the threat of a ground offensive still palpable and preventable only if Hamas stops rocket firing.”
‐The Lebanese Internal Security Forces detained two persons for having fired rockets into Israel.
‐Egyptian security forces seized 20 rockets on their way to being smuggled into Gaza.
‐Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestinian Authority, attended a Ha’aretz “peace conference” in Israel the day the current fighting began and has infuriated Hamas by his willingness to continue to work with the government of Israel.
‐Jordan’s foreign minister Nasser Judeh demanded that Israel “stop its escalation immediately,” but balanced this with calls for “the restoration of complete calm and avoidance of targeting civilians” and “the return to direct negotiations.”
The media too is displaying an unwonted fairness to Israel.
‐The BBC published an article, “Are #GazaUnderAttack images accurate?” about pictures claiming to show the effects of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza and found that “some of the images are of the current situation in Gaza, but a #BBCtrending analysis has found that some date as far back as 2009 and others are from conflicts in Syria and Iraq.”
‐CNN’s Jake Tapper asked former PLO legal adviser Diana Buttu about a tape of Hamas spokesmen encouraging civilians in Gaza to protect homes of Hamas’s leaders with their bodies. When Buttu retorted by calling this a racist accusation, Tapper replied, “It’s not racist, we have video. . . . That’s not racist, it’s a fact.”
Overshadowing all these indications, but less surprising, Rasmussen reports that likely American voters by a nearly 3-to-1 margin (42 to 15 percent) blame Palestinians more for the conflict in Gaza than they blame Israel (according to a survey conducted on July 7–8, just as hostilities began). This is perhaps the single most important statistic from outside the Middle East, certainly more so than Security Council votes.
Comment: (1) In large part the coolness toward Hamas results from the belated realization that Islamists pose a greater threat than Zionists. But media sobriety suggests that, in part, it also follows from a weariness of Hamas’s vile tactics and revulsion against its hideous goal of destroying Israel. (2) As Hamas’s goal in this war is political, this lesser support is of supreme importance to it.