The political leadership in Israel often uses the concept of “friend” and “enemy.” Other countries also use those concepts from time to time, but it seems that they are particularly prevalent in Israeli political language. For instance, Prime Minister Netanyahu talks of “true friend” Donald Trump, “close friend” Narendra Modi of India, while other leaders and nations may be more difficult to place on his friendship scale. Israel is a country I have engaged with professionally and personally for many years, and something I will continue to do. I consider myself a friend of Israel, but that raises the question: what does that mean?
Since the end of March thousands of Palestinians in Gaza have taken part in demonstrations along the border with Israel. The Israeli military response has resulted in many deaths and many more serious injuries among the protesters. The protests are continuing.
Israel claims the protests have acted as a smoke screen for Hamasand its terrorist incursions. They point to the background of persons who have been killed saying that many of the protestors were Hamas operatives and had engaged in violence previously. Israeli statements also point to threatening slogans shouted by the crowds along the border.