As the war in Gaza rages on, I have much to say but not nearly enough time to say it. Rather than add yet another opinion to the cacophony of reports, op-eds, and armchair generals already pontificating about what Israel should do next, I will limit myself to this brief comment about the conflict so far:
For too long Israel has been complacent as Hamas and other terrorist groups have launched qassam missile attack after missile attack at the homes, schools, workplaces, and public parks of the residents of Southern Israel. These “crude rockets” (and some in fact not so crude) are deadly, and they are meant to be.
Israel is not responding now to some idle threat without reason. The terrorists of Gaza have aimed to make life unlivable in the South. The scores of celebrations at the announcement of the deaths of innocents when these missiles find their targets make it very clear that many in Gaza wholeheartedly support these attacks.
Israel is attempting now to change the status quo and make it clear that as a sovereign independent state, they have every right to respond militarily to the acts of war being perpetrated on their soil. Truces, as Hamas has proven by their blatant disregard for and violation of the “ceasefire” over the last six months, are unworkable and counterproductive without a partner who cares to uphold them. Hamas’ version of a ceasefire: one that results in a complete cessation of Israeli reprisals while allowing the continued importation of weapons, the continued launching of qassams, katyushas, and grad missiles, and continued calls for Israel’s ultimate destruction, can not be allowed to return.
War is awful, war is bloody, and war results in the deaths of many innocent people, but the moral onus to end this war does not lie with Israel. If peace is what is sought, the rockets must stop. There is no other way. Hamas cannot scream bloody murder as Israel takes down its headquarters and, as selectively as possible, kills off its leaders, operatives, and foot soldiers while it continues to target its attacks against Israel’s civilian population.
It is time for the world, even the Arab world, to call a spade a spade, and openly condemn, without reservation, the hypocrisy emanating from Gaza. Any agreement which ends Israel’s campaign but leaves Hamas’ infrastructure and hateful ideology in place simply promises the renewal of even more bloody conflict in the near future. As the calls for a ceasefire grow in international plenaries, the media, and on the street, there is a stark choice to be made between the continued power of Hamas and Peace. I pray we have the stomach for the latter option, no matter how costly and difficult in the short term it may be.