The Biden administration is demanding that Israel take even more extraordinary measures to avoid harming “innocent civilians” as it tries to eradicate Hamas. Around the world, politicians and others express dismay at the alleged number of innocent civilians who have been killed by Israeli bombardments, even while admitting that Hamas’s casualty numbers include its own terrorists, people killed by terrorists’ awol missiles, and so on.
But my complaint is more fundamental. Watching videos of Israeli captives being paraded through Gaza, and seeing “civilians” spitting on them, hitting them, joyously celebrating their capture, I have asked: where are these innocent civilians we keep hearing about?
In the Times of Israel, Avigdor Liberman makes the point in a column titled “Innocents in Gaza? Don’t be naive.”
[T]here is no shadow of a doubt that among those who took part in the attack on southern Israel, provided the intelligence on the homes of the residents, and led the mob in the second wave of looting and destruction were Gazans who worked in the kibbutz communities they invaded. They earned a living and ate in the homes of the massacred residents, some of whom were the very residents who helped Gazans and their families when they were sick, and took care of transporting them from Gaza to Israel for life-saving treatments in Israeli hospitals.
Meanwhile, scenes within Gaza paint a sickening picture:
Some will say Gazans are afraid of Hamas and that is why we have not heard any condemnation from them, but the scenes we witnessed every evening when our kidnapped were being transferred to the Red Cross and the testimonies of those who have returned from captivity suggest otherwise. It’s clear that Hamas has massive support in Gaza: The frenzied crowd jeering and spitting on the abductees, the testimonies of Israeli children who say they were beaten by Gazans of all ages, and the demonstrations of joy and support for terrorists throughout Gaza testify to the cruelty of a populace that educates its children to hate Israel and is raising a new generation of terrorists and supporters of terrorism whose goal is the destruction of the State of Israel and all its citizens.
The story of Roni Krivoi, who was kidnapped from the Supernova festival by the bad guys, is a case in point. Roni managed to escape from captivity and hide for a few days until Gazans caught him and returned him to his captors. …
Further evidence of the cooperation of the population can be found in the corridors of Shifa Hospital, where the hospital director and other senior doctors helped the terrorists hide hostages and turn the hospital into a haven for terrorists. But it’s not only in hospitals that you find collaborators, it’s also in private homes of Gazans, including a reported case of an UNRWA employee, where hostages were held in terrible conditions.
Like people everywhere, Gazans express themselves on social media. No one forces them to publish posts cheering on the massacre of Jews, but that is what they do:
This reality is also reflected on social networks in the Arab world and in Gaza, where an avalanche of posts are words of praise and wall-to-wall support for Hamas and the horrible acts of October 7th.
So tell me, where are those innocent people in the Gaza Strip hiding?
The idea that Hamas is the source of Gaza’s sickness, and that Hamas can be excised leaving a normal society, is false. Hamas is a symptom, not a cause. The root cause of Gazans’ horrific actions is their culture, which promotes Jew-hatred above all other virtues. Unfortunately, the people of Gaza are suffused with that sick culture and, seemingly with very few exceptions, have bought into it. Calling them “civilians” doesn’t change that reality.