Sen. Kaine’s Minimal, Judgmental Support for Israel

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By Paul Driessen

Several of us recently wrote to Virginia Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, urging them to support Israel’s war against Hamas terrorists. We appreciated their detailed responses but were disappointed by their minimal, judgmental support for Israel, poor grasp of reality and focus on Palestinian suffering in Gaza rather than what Palestinian terrorists did to Israelis last October.

Sen. Warner is chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Sen. Kaine serves on the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees. Both should understand the situation better than their comments suggest.

Both acknowledged that the Gaza-based Hamas terrorist attacks were “horrific.” Sen. Warner noted that Hamas’ goal is “the complete annihilation of Israel.” Both mentioned the 240 hostages but said nothing about Hamas kidnapping babies, children, women and sick, elderly people, and starving, sexually abusing or murdering many of them.

Neither mentioned Hamas’ decades of suicide bombings, rocket attacks and other murders – nor the scope of the barbaric Oct. 7 atrocities: 1,200 butchered, 5,400 maimed, babies beheaded, children and adults burned alive, limbs chopped off so that children and parents would bleed to death in agony, women raped and sexually mutilated before being murdered, and much more. Every act was a brutal, pre-planned war crime that the terrorists proudly recorded on GoPros and cell phones.

The senators briefly acknowledged that Israel has “the right to defend itself” – but then criticized the Israel Defense Forces at length, saying the IDF has “an obligation” to “follow the laws of conflict, minimize harm to civilians,” restrict the use of airstrikes that have “killed thousands,” and stop blocking food, water, fuel and electricity aid, triggering a “tragic humanitarian crisis.”

The IDF does more to minimize civilian casualties than any other army. They warn people days and hours ahead of attacks, so they can get out of harm’s way – even though that gives Hamas advance warning and puts IDF soldiers at greater risk. They target terrorists as carefully as possible.

But Gaza is urban warfare at its worst. Hamas has 370 miles of military tunnels directly beneath homes, hospitals, schools, mosques, apartment buildings and UNRWA offices, with thousands of access shafts in the same buildings. Its terrorists stash arms and weapons in all these places, hide among, under and behind women and children, and mostly wear civilian clothing. They launch rockets and ambushes from civilian locations, then disappear into the terror tunnels.

Hamas built its tunnels and weapons stocks by diverting and stealing decades of aid money, concrete and supplies. It spent little on water or electric infrastructure, leaving Gaza heavily reliant on what Israel provides. Even amid the current “humanitarian crisis,” Hamas hoards food and fuel and tells Gazans that Hamas’ needs come first. It hides kidnapped Israelis in apartments and hospitals.

Hamas casualty figures deliberately mix terrorists and civilians; they count as “children” 15–18-year-old males who often work with Hamas. They blame their own mortar and rocket accidents on Israel and wildly inflate the death tolls. They want civilian deaths – for propaganda campaigns.

They often prevent families from leaving battle zones and even shoot those who try to leave, causing the IDF to create safe escape corridors. Hamas also murders people who try to get water and food – and then counts them among the war dead.

Airstrikes are essential and civilian casualties are inevitable under these circumstances. But the civilian tolls in Gaza are far below the hundreds of thousands to millions in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and other conflicts; far below what U.S., U.N. and allied forces have inflicted in recent wars.

It is hypocritical for members of Congress and the United Nations, news media and “humanitarian” groups to condemn Israel so bitterly and often – while saying little about the far worse slaughters.

Hamas could end the deaths by surrendering and repudiating its goal of eradicating Israel and Israelis.

Sen. Warner said Hamas terrorists “do not represent the interests of innocent Palestinians” or the views of U.S. Muslims.

Gaza Palestinians voted Hamas into power in 2006 and still support the terrorist group. Many civilians have assisted in rocket and other terror attacks. Hundreds participated in the Oct. 7 murders and looting and helped kidnap and hide hostages. Many have gladly served as human shields and martyrs. 57% of Gazans and 82% of West Bank Palestinians say Hamas was right to massacre Israelis Oct. 7.

Thousands of American Muslims (and non-Muslims) have joined intimidating and sometimes violent protests in U.S. streets and schools, condemning only Israel and supporting Hamas, the eradication of Jews from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, and even the Oct. 7 barbarism.

Sen. Kaine seeks “long-term solutions that allow Palestinians and Israelis to live alongside each other in peace.”

For now, this is a chimera. Oct. 7 was the most barbarous butchery since the Holocaust. Palestinians were welcomed into these now-devastated communities to work, even have dinner with Israeli families – and then mapped where each family lived, where their safe rooms were, where weapons were stored. Some of them even joined in the massacres and looting.

Just as ominous, Hamas leaders say Oct. 7 was a “dress rehearsal” for worse massacres to come, until Israel is destroyed from “the river to the sea.” Hamas wants no peace, no long-term or two-state solution. It wants Israel gone – and rewrites history and reality to serve its goals.

On Oct. 7, Hamas inflicted Holocaust savagery. Israel cannot leave Hamas as a barbaric military threat, and Israelis no longer trust Palestinians or a “two-state” international “peace process.”

Sens. Kaine and Warner, their staff and congressional colleagues, must become better informed. They should not take Jewish voters for granted, while courting Muslim and other anti-Israel votes.

Regarding the war, they should explain what they would do, if their children were in the IDF or Israeli towns. We would welcome their geo-political, strategic and tactical insights.

Paul Driessen, a resident of Fairfax, VA, has been to Israel multiple times and is the author of books and articles on energy, environmental, climate and human rights issues.

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