It's hard to see the pictures and videos coming out of the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem and flooding our news reports and social media and not feel sympathy for the Arab Palestinians.
I too have sympathy, but for a different reason than for Palestinians supposedly being "downtrodden" and "oppressed" by Israel.
I have sympathy for the people of Gaza being ruled by a tyrannical terrorist organisation that spends most of its money on preparing rockets, stockpiling munitions and building underground tunnels to kill innocent Israeli Jews and to wipe Israel off the map.
I have sympathy for the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria (The West Bank), who have been made to live in poor conditions while the Palestinian Leadership live lavish lives from the money donated by places such as New Zealand.
I will try to touch on just a few of the points to help clarify the events of the past few weeks.
Firstly, it needs to be said again and again: The Jewish people are the indigenous people, the tangata whenua of the land. We are not colonialists, as many are led to believe. Yes, there was an area known as Palestine, but this was due to the Romans changing the name of Judea, the then name of the Jewish State. Between then and the re-birth of the Jewish state, the area has always been under occupation by others.
In short, you can't be colonialists in your own land.
Much has been said in the last week about the evictions of an Arab Palestinian family from Sheikh Jarrah (or Shimon HaTzadik as it is known to Jews), and linking it to the current situation. This is an oversimplification and is being used to "prove" Jewish colonisation.
The properties in question have nothing to do with the actions of the Israeli Government. This is purely a property dispute between the owners, who happen to be Jewish, and the tenants, who happen to be Palestinian, and their refusal to pay rent. It is a legal dispute that is independently going through the courts and has nothing to do with the current act of war on Israel by Hamas.
Who are Hamas? Hamas are an internationally accepted terrorist organisation committed to the destruction of Israel and the death of Jews everywhere. Don't believe me? Look up their Charter.
For Hamas, their people's wellbeing is secondary to their stated aim of destroying Israel.
Their stockpiling of munitions in or around schools, hospitals and residential buildings, and the construction of underground tunnels comes at the expense of services to their population. They strip metal from anywhere they can - be it sewage pipes, motor boat engines or building supplies - and use them to make rockets to launch indiscriminately into Israel.
Over the past few days, Israel has had over 3000 rockets launched at its population centres. If that was happening to New Zealand, how many would you expect our Government to tolerate? Would it be one? Ten? One hundred? One thousand?
In short, Israel has the right and obligation to protect all citizens whether they are Jews, Muslims, Christians or from other beliefs. They are all Israeli citizens.
But Israel is acting disproportionately? Let's be clear, Israel is targeting military installations which Hamas has built in the middle of population centres. The multi-storey buildings we recently seen destroyed housed Hamas military infrastructure.
The people in the buildings were given plenty of warning to leave by Israel, hence, when the building was struck, there were no casualties.
Contrast that with Hamas who intentionally aim for population centres to kill Israelis. The only reason they are not very successful is that 30 per cen of their rockets fall short within Gaza, often killing their own people, and also because Israel has invested in the Iron Dome and built bomb shelters to protect its people.
Hamas, however, are prepared to sacrifice the people of Gaza for the "greater cause".
If Israel was to take the same tack as Hamas, think about the number of casualties then?
For the sake of "proportionality", should Israel allow its civilians to be killed in order to appease the world and the media?
I leave you with one last thought. What would happen if the Palestinian terrorist groups were to say "we are laying down our arms", and what would happen if the Israelis said this?
The former would bring immediate peace, the later would bring the destruction of Israel and another genocide of the Jewish people.
Anyone who wishes peace, should be standing by Israel. New Zealand should be standing by Israel.
• Rob Berg is president of the Zionist Federation of New Zealand.