October 23, 2018

Jewish Chronicle Writer Admits He Was Wrong to Criticize Israel’s Handling of Gaza Violence

A writer for the Jewish Chronicle wrote a column on Tuesday criticizing Israel’s handling of the Gaza violence. He recanted that criticism in a May 17 column.

The writer, Daniel Sugarman, initially wrote that Israel was wrong to use “live fire” at the Gaza rioters.

“Every bullet Israel fires, every life Israel takes, makes this situation worse. There are ways to disperse crowds which do not include live fire,” Sugarman wrote. “But the IDF has made an active choice to fire live rounds and kill scores of people. You cannot tell me that Israel, a land of technological miracles which have to be seen to be truly believed, is incapable of coming up with a way of incapacitating protestors that does not include gunning dozens of them down.”

Sugarman added that Israel was playing into Hamas’ hands by killing these rioters.

In his May 17 column, Sugarman wrote that he began to reconsider his criticism when confronted with arguments about how he shouldn’t deal in hypotheticals.

“The traditional crowd stopping technology would not have worked effectively. Rubber bullets are only short range,” Sugarman said. “The same with water cannons. And with tens of thousands of people rushing the border, this would have been extremely unlikely to work effectively. The border would have been broken through. And then, without much of a doubt, a lot of people in Israel would have died.  That was, after all, Hamas’s stated aim.”

After Hamas and Islamic Jihad claimed that most the dead rioters were members of their respective terror organizations, Sugarman realized that his criticism was completely invalid.

“I failed to acknowledge that, either way, Israel would be giving Hamas what it wanted,” Sugarman wrote. “Shoot at those charging at you and Hamas would have its martyrs. Fail to shoot and Hamas would break through the barrier and bring suffering and death – its stated aim – to Israelis living only a few hundred metres away from that barrier.”

Sugarman concluded his column with the words, “I said that Israel should be ashamed of its actions. But today I am the one ashamed.”

The full column can be read here.