Sunday, December 28, 2008

When you defend yourself, you don't hold back

The Israelis have begun a long-overdue response to the unprovoked, dastardly and cowardly rocket attacks on its civilian population by Hamas from inside Gaza. 

For months, even while spouting propaganda about a ceasefire, the Iranian-backed Hamas has fired rocket after rocket into Israel. The latest bombardment used longer-range rockets that can target large population areas. Israel could not sit on its hands.

Most rational people will agree with those statements, but some are saying that Israel's response was disproportionate. Hamas fired off many rockets and mortars, and then Israel came back like an avenging angel, dropping bomb after bomb and firing missile after missile. It looks as if Israel will go back into the area that it left three years ago, at least for a little while.

Some people, however, say that Israel's response is disproportionate.

Let's look at that. 

Is it disproportionate to use whatever force you have available to stop an enemy from harming your civilian population? Isn't the protection of its citizens a primary duty of any government, be it city, state or national? 

A little runt goes after the big guy, kicking him in the shins, hitting him from the back, telling lies about him, making his life miserable or worse. When the big guy finally has had enough and hauls off and cleans the runt's clock, it is disproportionate?

When I was 16 and my sister was 10, she was being bothered by a kid a year or two older. He was bothering her at the school bus stop. One day, I made it my business to be at the bus stop because she had complained about this little twerp's bothering her. 

When I arrived, he was sitting on his bicycle and had her pinned up against a fence. I told him to knock it off. He asked what I was going to do about it. I told him I would throw him over the fence. He said he wasn't going to get off his bike, so I wouldn't be able to carry out my threat.

Well, it so happened that I had gone out for football that year and I was in pretty good shape. So, I picked up the bike, with him on it, and tossed both over the fence. As my sister and I walked away, he was crying and screaming threats. Needless to say, he never bothered my sister again.

Was that a disproportionate response?

The point is if you attack someone who can wipe up the floor with you, then you shouldn't be surprised if they do just that. 

What should Israel do? They tried talking. They used their own soldiers to pry its citizens out of their homes in Gaza and gave Gaza to the Palestinians. What did the Palestinians do? They used Gaza as a base from which to attack Israel.

Should Israel count the number of rockets and mortar shells fired from Gaza and fire only that number back at Gaza. Most of the rockets used by the Hamas against Israel are not guided. The gunners have no idea where the rockets will go and couldn't care less. They have killed their own people in Gaza with errant rockets. They don't seem to care? Should Israel do the same?

At the same time that Israel is targeting Hamas bases and rocket pods, it is allowing food, medical supplies and fuel into Gaza so the civilian population will be harmed as little as possible. This is not the action of a cruel tyrant state.

The Palestinian population must realize that its election of Hamas as the ruling entity in Gaza is the worst mistake it has made and  it must do something about it. It will take guts to toss out the ruling Hamas thugs. Until the Palestinians living in Gaza do that, however, they will continue to be the pawns in a chess game directed not by their elected representatives, but from Tehran and Damascus.

The Palestinians are the ones being hurt by the Hamas and its Iranian rulers. And they are being hurt disproportionately.  But only they can free themselves. 

Until next time...


Anonymous said...

Bombing universities and hospitals is not self defense, it's murder. There is nothjing justified about this. The Israelis are murdering palestinian civilians and holding the entire population hostage. To defend those kinds of policies is really inexcusable.

Jay said...

The "university" that was bombed was a research lab for developing new weapons and explosives.
No hospitals have been bombed. Check your facts!
It is Hamas that is holding the Palestinians hostage to their violent agenda.

James said...

Len, this article should have just been entitled "might makes right." If that is your moral position, then you don't need to feign interest in Palestinian lives. If that is not your position, then you have to ask the question, Under what circumstances is the death of an innocent person justified. Because like it or not, the corpses are not just Hamas militants/terrorists/fighters/whatever; they are prisoners, they are cops, they are children, they are adult non-combatants, they are janitors, and they are professors, and at least one was in fact an Israeli informant.

Another question your article raises: From whom do Gazans need to free themselves? And what means should they use to do it? Do you support Palestinians taking up arms against Hamas? How should they go about this? Should they take arms up against Israel, but not bomb civilians? Is it OK if they bomb Israeli army installations, under the assumption that most of the people in those installations are legitimate military targets? Or should they not be concerned with Israel?

Wait, don't answer yet!

Len, if you're interested in safety and freedom for Gazans, as you say you are, I would advise you to 1) Talk to Gazans, 2) listen to Gazans 3) Think about what you've heard, and then 4) Give advice, if it is still your want.

Otherwise, might makes right, we get it!

Ragnar Redbeard said...

Living in one of the most hated countries in the world is hard on a person's self-esteem. Israel's current military adventure is an attempt to lift the people's spirits; the whole thing is not unlike Russia pounding Georgia. It is indeed an embarrassing and horrific display, but not surprising given Israel is a nation of conscripts who have spent years training for war.