As the Israeli incursion into Gaza continues, and as the calls for a truce/ceasefire/cessation of hostilities become louder and louder from Europe and the American and Israeli left, it's worth looking back on the last few days and trying to collect some thoughts on what has happened. First, let's gather some background: In 2006 elections in the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank, Hamas won a majority of the seats in the Palestinian parliament. Hamas, you should remember, is a terrorist organization whose mission statement involves the destruction of Israel and who receives monetary and logistical support from Hezbollah and Iran. But they won the election fair and square and were seated in Parliament and then proceeded to violently take over Gaza, killing many Palestinians in the process, and dividing the governance of the Palestinian territories between the Fatah-controlled West Bank and Hamas-controlled Gaza. Then Hamas started lobbing rockets at southern Israel.
The common analogy is that this would be like Mexico starting to shoot rockets into Texas; certainly the U.S. army would respond with violent and direct force against Mexico. The retort is, of course, that the United States has not occupied Mexico, thus forcing Mexicans to mount a violent resistance movement. And that is fair. Israel is entirely reaping what it has sown over the last half century, and more particularly over the last 15 years. The point that is missing from most discussions of Israel's culpability in the situation is that Israel, like any country, has the right and responsibility to defend itself from attack. Does anyone who feels that the Israeli government is morally bankrupt honestly think that Israel should simply allow itself to have rockets shot at it as some sort of penance? Hamas decided to pick a fight with a country with a much larger army, and now they are dealing with the consequences. Someone shoots rockets at you, you shoot back. Whatever you think about the circumstances behind Israel's founding or the country's fundamental right to exist, they have, against all odds, fought their way into statehood. No matter how idealistic you are about our peaceful society, that is the way the world works. Do you want us to give America back to the British? Or the Native Americans? Because that is the conclusion you must reach if you apply that logic to our own country. Israel has earned its place in the world and no country can let people put its citizens at risk without responding.
The rest of the world is happy to criticize Israel for its aggressive actions, because it's not them having their people shot at. Any other country would do the same, and with the same amount of concern for the civilians on the other side. This isn't rogue teams of Palestinians shooting rockets, this is the government of Gaza. That makes this a war between two countries, and in wars, civilians get hurt. Israel isn't being any more or less brutal than they should be.
So where does this leave the Palestinians in Gaza? Well, hopefully the occasional break in the fighting to allow aid to enter the territory is helping, despite stories that Hamas simply takes all the aid for themselves (real men of the people). But the only real solution is for a mass rejection of Hamas and their ideology by the Palestinian people. If you don't want your schools blown up, you need to not support the terrorist organization that shoots rockets from the roof. If you don't want tanks rolling through your streets, don't vote for the government that is dedicated to starting a war with your much more powerful neighbor. It's a lot to ask for a people to rise up against their terrorist government, sure, but its important to note that there aren't air strikes hitting the West Bank. That's because Fatah isn't shooting any rockets.Israel will accept a European-brokered cease fire soon. They will most likely pull out of most of Gaza, leaving troops in key places, and hopefully the rocket attacks will stop. Hamas will be broken, but not destroyed, and a whole new generation of Palestinians will have developed a new hatred of Israel and its methods. Really, nothing good has come from this at all, but that doesn't change the political calculus that Israel cannot and should not do anything but protect its citizens by any means necessary.UPDATE: Hi folks. There are lot of comments below about how upset people are that GOOD is advocating this position or that position. The above post reflects the opinions of just one of the many voices you'll find here at good.is (and in fact, you'll see other GOOD employees disagreeing in the comments, and you might read another blogger disagreeing later on). You should read this post to see where we're coming from. We want to start a conversation about important issues, issues that don't have a wrong or a right side, and this will sometimes involve hearing out positions different from one's own. We're very excited about the conversation going on below this post, and hope that everyone can remain civil, make good points, and learn things from each other. That's GOOD's position.Best - GOOD.Photos via New York Times