When Is It Defense Of A Nation, And When Is It just Indiscriminate Killing?

MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANSI have read and re-read statements from Israeli officials, and I still don’t understand their objective in this military action in the Gaza Strip. Of course I understand that they want to stop Hamas from firing rockets into southern Israel. For years, Israeli citizens have been killed and terrorized by these rockets. It’s despicable and it must be stopped.

However, Israel has now dropped bombs from the air and initiated a ground invasion of Gaza, killing more than 500 Palestinians (at least 100 0f whom were civilians) — and guess what: Hamas continues to shoot rockets into southern Israel. When asked what the plan is for Israel’s objective, officials say “the offensive would go on until Israel achieved “peace and tranquility” for residents of southern Israel.”

Not so much for the Palestinians, I guess.

Before anyone leaves comments here and calls me an anti-Semite, let me state: Israel has every right to defend itself. My humble question is this: at what point is the Israeli army no longer merely defending its country and but instead delivering death and destruction to innocent citizens? Of course Hamas is locating its headquarters in heavily populated areas of the Gaza Strip — the whole area is heavily populated.  And as bad as the overhead bombing has been (there are reports that the Israelis have dropped cluster bombs — these will terrorize the civilians for many years to come) the Israeli ground initiative has brought new horror to women and children in  the area:

At least 10 Palestinian children were killed, raising the known death toll from a new ground invasion to more than 80, a Palestinian health official said. The vast majority of confirmed deaths have been civilians, fueling international outrage.

International outrage. So what’s a large nation like the United States to do? Well, in the world of George W. Bush, mere inaction isn’t good enough. We’ve got to block action:

Diplomats say US blocks UN statement on Gaza

The United States late Saturday blocked approval of a U.N. Security Council statement calling for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers, diplomats said….

Libyan Ambassador Giadalla Ettalhi said the United States during the discussions objected to “any outcome” on the proposed statement. He said efforts were made to compromise on a weaker press statement but there was no consensus.

Several other council members, speaking on condition of anonymity because negotiations were closed, also said the U.S. was responsible for the council’s failure to issue a statement.

The Palestinians want a cease-fire. The Israelis refuse. The Hamas militants are still firing rockets into Israel — now further than before. Without a ceasefire and a political solution to to the disagreements between Israel and the Palestinians, the only way Israel will be assured of no more rockets coming from Gaza is when there is no one left alive in the Gaza Strip to fire them.

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6 comments

  1. I’m with you on t his – it seems as if they are going totally overboard with this. I’m half Jewish and my mom (who is not even the Jewish one) is a total Zionist so I have certainly been brought up to believe in Israel’s right to exist and I certainly sympathize with Israel when it comes to the hatred that they face every day from some of their neighboring nations.

    But I’ve always been able to see both sides of every conflict – and in this case, I am seeing innocent civilians being massacred – even a mosque was bombed. I don’t get it. Maybe they are acting too much like, hmmm….the United States?

    I don’t believe in defending Israel at all costs. In fact, I think the problem began when they “gave” the land to Israel in the first place. Maybe it should have been done with more bipartisanship, more agreement from the Arab world. I notice that some of the worst conflicts are the result of countries being broken into two sections based on religion or culture (Pakistan vs. India, for instance). If you live with neighbors who are different from you, you learn to get along. If you are divided up and no longer live together, that’s when the trouble starts.

    I think we need some kind of new long-term solution to this whole mess. I just don’t know what it is.

  2. I think that in most violent conflicts, civilians represent the vast majority of deaths. In the end, whether the motivation is “defense,” or “indiscriminate killing,” the results often look the same. There has to be a better way.
    “When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it–always (Mahatma Gandhi).”

  3. Over at Young.AnabaptistRadicals.org Tim Nafzinger notes how they might be able to begin the peace process simply by limiting these revenge-style attacks to an “Eye for an eye”. Israel has responded with tremendous force, ten times over what the Palestinians have done.

    These people need to get along. Maybe get a beer and watch a funny movie.

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