The threat to Israelis by Hamas rockets has been greatly exaggerated, says George Washington Univ. Prof. William Youmans. About 2,500 rockets have killed two people -- a Thai guest worker and a Palestinian Bedouin citizen of Israel.
Youmans, assistant professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs, yesterday rapped Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comparison of the Hamas rockets German V-2 rockets that killed more than 7,250 people in London during World War II.
Netanyahu told a joint conference with U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond July 24 that "There’s only been one other instance where a democracy has been rocketed and pelleted with these projectiles of death and that’s Britain during World War II. Israel is undergoing a similar bombardment now."
The comparison "does not stand up to historical scrutiny," Youmans wrote on Al-Jazeera America.
Nazi German’s missiles were "then-advanced" and armed with "powerful explosives" while the Hamas rockets are "relatively harmless," he wrote.
Netanyahu last week showed United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon "a display of rockets that had landed on Israeli cities" and a "video of IDF soldiers uncovering rockets at an agricultural school in Gaza," said Youmans.
Ron Proser, Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., told the Security Council July 18 that the Hamas rockets constitute a "war crime" and that the "unrelenting threat" of them is "casting a dark shadow over the people of Israel."
Some Statements Minimize Threat
Youmans said Israeli military spokesman Avichay Anraee tweeted in Arabic to his more than 119,000 followers that the Hamas rockets are "weak" and a "failure" and that the threat is exaggerated by Hamas.
| IDF claims Hamas rockets threaten most of Israel.
Israeli spokespeople have said that the rockets are so primitive that about 200 of them have landed in Gaza and some have killed children and other civilians at hospitals and U.N. facilities.
Youmans notes that Israel complained when the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration stopped commercial flights to Tel Aviv airport, after rockets landed nearby, claiming there was no threat to the airport. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg flew to Israel to underscore the safety not only of the country’s airports but the entire nation.
Youmans does not consider the rockets to be "harmless" but says the casualties caused by them "pale compared with what Gaza faces from Israel’s aerial campaign and ground invasion. The remedies that Israel proposes have to fit with the scale of the threat."
"Israel has been far too selective and inconsistent about threats from Gaza to justify the cost in human life and the further destruction of Gaza," he wrote.