Sunday, January 04, 2009

A Just War in Gaza

Right now the war Israel is fighting in Gaza is on the minds of everyone. Or at least it should be. I am certain that all who read this blog or post comments on it are on the same page on this one – no matter what our Hashkafa. We all pray for a successful and speedy conclusion of this operation and that no Israelis get hurt.

Israel has begun its ground incursion into Gaza. They did so last night under the cover of darkness using infrared technology to see in the dark – a technology not available to Hamas. As of this writing, there have been no casualties. There have been some minor injuries to the troops - and if I understand correctly - I’m sad to report 3 soliders have been seriously wounded. I pray that they have a complete recovery.

The predictable protests from Arab nations and their lapdog European nations have been heard and registered in the UN and in media reports. What is interesting to note is how muted these protests have been – even from the Arab nations themselves. I think that’s because they realize that Hamas is just as much their enemy as it is Israel's - and an even greater danger to their regimes than it is toIsrael.

The UN has convened and tried to come up with a resolution to end the fighting - a cease fire. It hasn’t succeeded due to the veto of the United States. Thank God for this great Medina Shel Chesed and its current leader, George Bush. But what is also interesting is that there has as of yet been no call for condemnation by the member states of the UN - not even by the Arabs.

There have been only calls for a cease fire. This is the first time in my memory where the protests by world leaders including Arabs has been so tepid. The entire world realizes who is at fault this time - regardless of how they feel about Israel, settlements or occupation. It is clearly Hamas. There has never been more moral clarity about this.

I was also pleased to hear senate majority leader Harry Reid come out this morning in complete solidarity with Israel. No call for ending the fighting. He blamed Hamas completely for this and supports Israel’s invasion unreservedly. He almost sounded more pro-Israel than the President.

When asked by a reporter if he agrees completely with the administration’s approach to this conflict he answered with an immediate and unequivocal one word answer: Yes! That’s quite amazing for someone who has done his level best to disagree and condemn the President at every available opportunity. It’s good to know that there is unequivocal bi partisan support for what Israel is doing even though much of the rest of the world doesn’t see it our way.

That raises the question about the Arab street and much of the ‘street protests’ seen in the media that vehemently protest Israel right now. This should surprise no one and thank God world leaders – especially the United States – is ignoring it.

Why are they protesting? It’s very simple, really. When people are fed a constant diet of hatred toward the Jewish people over many decades it doesn’t take much for them to protest with a hateful vengeance. On top of that, you have an Arab media that has 24/7 negatve coverage of fleeing civilians and images of innocent women and children being killed and maimed. That is what the street – who already thinks all Jews are vermin – sees. No context. No mention of why Israel is doing this. No mention of Israel’s years of patience while innocent Israelis were being bombarded indiscriminately with rockets smuggled into Gaza from Iran. No mention that Israel gave up Gaza peacefully in the hopes that that its citizens would begin building a state but instead dedicated themselves to firing rockets at Israel.

They also hear reports of Israeli blockades causing starvation and a ‘great humanitarian crisis’ without mentioning the fact that these blockades were designed to stop the flow of weapons into Gaza with which they attack Israeli civilians. Nor do they mention that Israel allowed humanitarian openings of those blockades anyway so that vital products like food and medicine could get through.

The Arab media always paints Israel as the oppressive aggressor whose heavy handed and violent tactics are destroying the lives of Gazans. And if by chance they do mention the rocket attacks against Israel it is in the context of Isreal’s ‘disproportionate response’. If I were fed this daily media diet about people who I am predisposed to hate, I would be participating in violent protests in the street too. The United States realizes this, and to a lesser extent, so too does Europe and the moderate Arab States, like Egypt and Jordan who interestingly have not recalled their ambassadors from Israel.

A word about President-elect Barrack Obama. He has been completely silent about this. His standard response when asked about it is that we only have one president at a time. It is true that his attitude is hard to gauge with this kind of tepid response. But in point of fact I can’t really blame him. He is playing this very smart. I am fairly certain that he supports Israel’s actions here too, just as does his party.

He has in fact already endorsed this kind of action back in the summer during his campaign when he visited Sederot a city that has been hit regularly with rocket attacks. He basically said then that if his family lived in Sederot, he would do whatever it took to stop those rocket attacks. That is precisely what Israel is doing.

By keeping silent, he can maintain his credibilty with the Arab street who seems to adore him. I’m sure he hopes the Gaza war will be over by the time he takes office. He will then have a new reality on the ground that may auger a better chance for peace.

Not that I think there should be any kind of peace deal even if Hamas is defeated. That isn’t enough. Islamism itself has to be defeated in order for me to be back on the ‘land for peace’ track. Without defeating Islamism – giving up land to the Palestinians and then allowing them to create a state will just create an even more dangerous situation for Israel than it has now.

My hope is that a President Obama will realize this too.