Dear Sir
ALL of us with regard for humanity cannot fail to be moved to tears by the plight of innocent civilians trapped in the carnage of Gaza. But to unilaterally blame Israel for the high civilian death toll completely ignores the truth and no amount of Hamas propaganda disguises it.

The extremists, who seized control of Gaza and broke the six-month ceasefire, demand the complete annihilation of Israel and its replacement, not with a free and democratic Palestinian state, but by an Islamic one covering the entire region.

And, by adopting Sharia law, Hamas has already demonstrated its cruel disregard for human rights, equality of women, tolerance towards homosexuals and respect for other faiths.

Encouraged by its paymasters in Iran, the fanatics ruling Gaza deliberately chose to pick a fight with their more powerful neighbour, relishing the consequences of a bloodbath of its own people for nothing but crude PR reasons.

Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia rightly condemned Hamas's cynical provocation of Israel, when, over a long period of time, it deliberately targeted unarmed Israeli civilians with more than 6'000 missiles (imagine Spain's response had Portugal or France acted with similar, calculated hostility).

Having incited Israeli retaliation, Hamas willfully employs defenceless women, children, the sick and elderly as human shields, turning their homes, mosques and hospitals into ammunition dumps, and systematically invites Israeli retaliation against United Nations safe areas by using them as fire-bases.

The first duty of any responsible government is the defence of its citizens and – just as it had to do in 1948, 1967 and 1973 when it was attacked – once again, Israel, has reluctantly been forced to go to war to ensure the security of its people.

In contrast, by normalising relations with Jordan and Egypt, Israel has demonstrated its readiness to live in peace with non-belligerent neighbours and, more than once, it has signalled its agreement for the establishment of a democratic, peaceful Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza.

People who share the common values of decency and democracy should understand Hamas and its Iranian sponsors, whose avowed intention is to wipe Israel off the map and threaten the destabilisation of the entire Middle East, have nothing to gain by the outbreak of peace in the region.

Jacqueline Tobiass, Institute of Baleares-Israel Cultural Relations

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