I concede that Israel has been provoked. I concede that Hamas is a terrorist organization. I concede that no country can tolerate the continuous barrage of rockets to which Israel has been submitted.
Having said that, I find the butchery in Gaza indefensible.
It doesn’t matter what the circumstances may be, blowing up civilians – including innocent children – is not an option. And I refuse to accept the inevitability of “collateral damage.” If you can’t be 100 percent certain that an attack on some evil person will exclude civilian casualties, you should postpone the attack.
Yes, I am anti-war.
It is a sad fact of life that mad dogs must be destroyed, even when they come in human form. Not as revenge. Not in the name of justice, even. But to prevent further savagery from them.
That is basic law enforcement.
With that in mind, I can justify the execution of Osama bin Laden. And I can understand the reasoning behind America’s drone attacks even though I cannot excuse the sloppiness that results in “collateral” civilian injury and death.
And I do not understand the world’s apparent acceptance of the slaughter in Gaza.
It seems to me that the international community should have taken steps long ago to quarantine Hamas, which has made no effort to disguise its terrorist agenda. This outlaw group, which has openly declared its intention of destroying the Jewish people, should never have been allowed to form a government. By allowing Hamas to pose as a legitimate political party and win control of the government of Palestine, the international community is complicit in the mass murder now taking place there.
Still, that does not give Israel moral justification for wholesale butchery.
The past cannot be recaptured. Swift and decisive action is required today. If Hamas cannot be persuaded to give up its terrorist agenda – and I doubt this is possible – America should call for an international initiative to depose and defeat Hamas. And a two-state solution to the Palestinian stand-off should be demanded of Israel in exchange for the international community’s protection. Not at some vague time in the future, but now.
Before any more babies get blown up.
As Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street, writes in an email message I received this morning:
Military action may stop the rockets for a while at a cost of hundreds or even thousands injured or dead.
But military force alone is inadequate as a response to the broader strategic challenge Israel faces. Only a political resolution to the century-old conflict with the Palestinians resulting in two states living side by side can end the conflict.
Without that, in a few short years, we’ll be right back here again: anger deeper, rockets more powerful, and political forces yet more extreme.
Sadly, too few in Israeli politics today are willing to say that the strategic threat to the survival of Israel is not the rockets from Gaza, but the failure to achieve two states before it is too late.
Even more sadly, there is apparently little audience in Israel for such a message. We are told the Israeli people have given up on peace, that we shouldn’t talk of peace, that it’s a dirty word today.
Our message to Israel’s government, and to our friends and family must be clear: we love you, we care about you, and the volcano on whose edge you sit is on the verge of erupting. We back your right to respond to unconscionable rocket fire, but we do not accept complacency or the argument that there is nothing to be done to resolve the conflict.
Our message to Washington must be equally clear: the United States remains essential to ending to this deadly conflict.
Shalom aleikhem, my Israeli friends.May God’s mercy defend you and may God’s wisdom guide you.
Photo above shows BBC journalist Jihad Masharawi mourning the death of his 11-month old baby boy in an Israeli air strike.