By Mick Krever, CNN
Growing international condemnation of Israel’s conduct in its offensive against Hamas in Gaza seems to have totally backfired in Israel, The New York Times’ Jerusalem Bureau Chief, Jodi Rudoren, told CNN’s Hala Gorani, in for Christiane Amanpour, on Wednesday.
“Many people just feel like nobody understands them,” Rudoren said.
Indeed, the Israeli public is overwhelmingly supportive of the operation in Gaza – 95% according to a recent poll by the Israel Democracy Institute. (Rudoren said the numbers she had seen were somewhat lower.)
In her two years covering Israel, Rudoren said she has been examining what effect, if any, the criticism writ large of Israel – from European countries, among others – would have on public opinion.
“I think we've really seen that it's just reinforced this notion that nobody outside of Israel really understands what they're going through, that they're surrounded by enemies, and that they have no choice but to defend themselves”
The astronomical support for the Gaza operation can be attributed, she told Gorani, to several factors.
“One is that there is serious palpable fear here, particularly from the threat of the tunnels that go into Israel from Gaza, through which there have been several attempted attacks during this war. And also of course from the ongoing rocket fire, which they have been dealing with for thirteen years now, and has become much, much more intense and also much, much more widespread within Israel.”
Israelis, she said, see the operations as “the war of no choice.”
The Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency says, “We have moved beyond the realm of humanitarian action alone. We are in the realm of accountability. I call on the international community to take deliberate international political action to put an immediate end to the continuing carnage.”
Israeli politicians and spokespeople routinely blame Hamas for civilian deaths in Gaza, saying they fire rockets from civilian areas and purposefully expose their own people to harm. That view, Rudoren said, extends to the Israeli public as well.
“They really do see Hamas, the group that dominates Gaza, as complicit in those deaths because they operate from civilian areas.”
“You can see, on social media in particular, just a real polarization, a real hardening of attitudes, a lot of hate.”
“And there are a lot of examples here, too, of the very, very small remaining anti-war left getting quashed.”