A statement from the Israel Defence Force

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A spokesperson for the IDF sets the record straight.

I wish to address on behalf of the Israel Defence Force the growing international outrage over what are perceived to be Israeli war crimes. We are astounded and dismayed by the reaction of the international community to our purely defensive actions in Gaza.

We are a nation in grave peril. Those crude homemade rockets fired into Israel from Gaza are a direct threat to our way of life, and so we must defend ourselves. It’s true that the chances of someone being killed by one of these rockets are low, but we have every right to take action to prevent further attacks.

This is something that the international community does not appear to understand. If your neighbour is noisy and unsociable and throws beer-cans at your house during rowdy parties, do you not have the right to burn his house down, even as he and his wife and children are sleeping inside?

It is of course regrettable that any civilians should be hurt or killed during a time of war. But the international community should take comfort from the fact that the Israeli Defence Force is extraordinarily careful with its targeting of the enemy. If we plan to strike a building, we always ensure any civilians inside have been evacuated. Those left inside are invariably terrorists or Hamas sympathisers.

It is important that we set the record straight, because a number of people are claiming we are either negligent or downright reckless in our targeting of the enemy. The IDF has been accused in recent days of shelling schools and refuges, places where civilians have sought shelter from the violence.  We are investigating these claims, but our own intelligence indicates that the majority of these reports are without any factual foundation.

We reject as preposterous the claims by Hamas that innocent children have been killed. Why would anyone take seriously the words of a terrorist organisation dedicated to destroying the peace-loving state of Israel? We are of course disappointed that a number of international agencies and journalists have repeated the lies spread by these terrorists, but that only shows how sophisticated Hamas’ propaganda network has grown.

Why would we do these things? Why would we shell hospitals? Why would we kill children? Any sane or sensible person would tell you that it makes no sense to do so. If the aim of the IDF is to destroy Hamas, then killing Palestinian children will only do the reverse. Every dead child must surely only harden the resolve of the Palestinian people to resist, to take revenge.

So there we have it: it would make no sense to do it, therefore it can’t be us doing it. This logic is irrefutable. Besides, we’re the good guys, and good guys don’t hurt kids.

So you can see how difficult it is for us to take these allegations seriously.

But let us suppose for the sake of argument that a few children were killed. What does that establish? Arguably nothing. Would you put it past these terrorists to kill their own children and then hide their bodies in the ruins of bombed buildings, just to make us look bad? I wouldn’t.

And were any of these alleged victims even children? Hamas are experts in propaganda and deception, and the camera can be made to perform all sorts of tricks. Those bodies you saw being pulled from the wreckage of a UN-run school may not even have been real. Can you be sure they were not lifelike dolls? Isn’t it possible that some of the more diminutive Hamas militants have been disguising themselves as children?

It’s certainly more likely than the alternative, which is that the Israeli military have decided that they no longer give a damn about the Palestinians and have lost their humanity.

No, we’re good people. We’ve tried hard to reason with the Palestinians over the years, but it’s not been any use. We have extended the hand of friendship so many times, but what thanks did we ever get? It’s true that we took most of their land and forced many of them into exile and the squalor of refugee camps, but nobody’s perfect. Can’t we all get along? Why won’t these Palestinians just stop complaining about past injustices? The past is the past, and there’s no point in looking back, unless it’s to remember the Holocaust.

We’ve spent so much time and money on making a better life for these people. Look at the great public works we have built for the Palestinian people. Have you seen the huge walls? The barbed wire fences? Do you think those things came cheap? But what thanks did we ever receive from for our efforts in building them?

I don’t really understand where things went wrong. It’s true that our blockade has all but destroyed Gaza’s economy, driving its overcrowded population into desperation and poverty; and our regular invasions and missile attacks have obliterated much of Gaza’s infrastructure, making the place a hell-hole for many of the people trapped there. But all the people of Gaza had to do was appoint moderate leaders who would talk to us and do what they were told. How is that unreasonable? Instead they handed power to a radical terror group determined to fight Israel to the death.  It’s inexplicable. It’s irrational. Why won’t these people just do what we want?

Look, even if it turns out that the IDF are responsible for some of these civilian deaths, it was entirely an accident. We’re very sorry and it won’t happen again, and when it does happen again it wasn’t us who did it, and please read from the top again.

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