Yet another war breaks out during an inter-semester break from Kent State, this being the second war involving Israel since I’ve been at Kent State between semesters.
As with Israel’s war with Hizbullah in mostly Southern Lebanon, Israel is again typically charged with a “disproportionate” response now against Hamas by international leaders, regrettably including the U.S.-friendly French President Nicholas Sarkozy, according to Time’s Tim McGirk on Dec. 31, 2008.
Although Israel is a force to be reckoned with, it is difficult to imagine why Israel’s use of force would only be necessary and moral if it only used force in a limited capacity against terrorists. While Israel only targets the military apparatuses of Hamas and the leaders of Hamas that deal with their forces, Hamas uses any means available to them, in true terrorist form, in order to reach their objectives.
The LA Times reported Jan. 15 how Hamas not only purposefully targets Israeli civilians with rockets, but endangers Gazan civilians through firing rockets from “school courtyards and mosques.” This makes it more difficult for Israel to respond to terrorist rocket attacks on its territory without unintentionally including civilians in the crossfire, and risks international repudiation.
There can’t be much of a doubt that this despicable conduct by Hamas is mostly responsible for the 894 civilian deaths as well, as the AP reports Jan. 21, as opposed to 13 Israelis being killed, three of which were civilians.
Any scathing to a state that “disproportionately” defends itself from terrorist groups intentionally attacking civilians while utilizing tactics that put civilians in peril in their own territory is horribly short-sighted, na’ve and ignorant. The nature of Israel’s enemy only demonstrates the terrorist nature Hamas is willing to engage in. Demands of Israel fighting terrorists only through proportionality, even for its own defense, is as ridiculous as demanding the U.S. fight al-Qaeda with just a proportional manner as well.
Furthermore, ideological differences between al-Qaeda and Hamas under Islamic supremacy is scant. Bret Stephens notes in his Jan. 13 column in the Wall Street Journal that Hamas is more focused on Islamic Shariah law than a Palestinian state. He explains further that Hamas violates the legal basis for a Palestinian state through the confines of the 1993 Oslo Accords. The Accords demand that Israel’s existence must be recognized in order for a Palestinian state to occur, this being necessary even for the Palestinian Authority to be formed. Hamas, however, neither recognizes the Oslo Accords nor Israel’s right to exist.
Hamas’ likeness to al-Qaeda alone doesn’t go far enough to explain how critical an Israeli victory over the terrorist group is for global security. Bloomberg reported Jan. 14 that Hamas’ access to Grad rockets, which are more advanced than the Qassam rockets Hamas is able to construct, are supplied by Iran.
Bloomberg cites Yiftah Shapir of Tel Aviv’s National Institute of Strategic Studies finding Iranian-backed Hizbullah continues the supply of Grad rockets from Iran to Hamas via Egyptian sympathizers smuggling the rockets through the tunnels between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. The article revealed that most of the Israeli civilian casualties were due to Grad rockets, whereby 100 of 700 rockets fired were Grad rockets.
With international diplomatic talks failing to persuade Iran from acquiring a nuclear arsenal, one that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad states he will use to wipe Israel “off the map,” large-scale military operations by Israel come into better perspective and don’t appear to be as “disproportional” afterall.
Were Israel to wait to rout out terrorists on its borders until Iran received nuclear capabilities, Israel would be faced with a nuclear deterrent just to defend itself against terrorist attacks against Hamas and Hizbullah. The inability to fight terrorists during the age of the War on Terror should be unthinkable. Reuters reported Feb. 20, 2006 that Iran’s foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, clarified Ahmadinejad’s calls to wipe Israel off the map, claiming that it was the regime of Israel that needed to be wiped out.
Hundreds of rockets fired into Israel for maximum civilian damage, high risk of inadvertent civilian death in retaliation of those rocket strikes due to human shields, and the threat of a nuclear-equipped Iran backing terrorists at the Israeli border demonstrates how absurd calls for Israel to be proportional meeting terrorist threats are.
The next time claims are made that Israel is “disproportionately” responding to terrorists, it should be interpreted as if the same were demanded of the U.S. in the wake of 9/11. Only then will the proper rebuttals and outrage ensue.
Stephen Ontko is a senior economics major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]