Being neighborly

Allen Hines

Despite minimal coverage in the mainstream media, Israel’s war on Palestine continues. Israeli forces killed five people in Gaza Sept. 21. According to the New York Times, only one was confirmed to be a militant, and three of them were children taking care of sheep.

Israeli forces have been in Gaza since Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit was captured July 25. And with the United States, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union pushing the Palestinians to recognize Israel as part of a ceasefire, this most recent incursion into Gaza has no foreseeable end.

Let’s take a brief detour from Palestine and look at Larry M. Wortzel’s “Conservative Principles, Political Reality, and the War on Terrorism,” in which he talks about just-war theory as applied to Iraq. Wortzel used the analogy of Iraq being a harmful neighbor who keys your car and attacks your child. “This is essentially the position in which the United States found itself with Iraq,” he writes. The United States had to defend itself.

So now let’s apply this analysis to two nations that actually are neighbors and can hurt one another: Israel and Palestine.

Palestinian suicide bombers struck Israel, and they kidnapped one Israeli soldier. Going off Wortzel’s analogy, though, the worst the Palestinians have done is lit a crap-filled bag on fire and tossed it on Israel’s doorstep.

For instance, let’s peruse the BBC archives:

• Israel implemented a land and sea blockade in Gaza, stopping food and fuel shipments.

• Israel is withholding $50 million a month in taxes from the democratically-elected Palestinian government.

• Israel destroyed Gaza’s main power facility, plunging most of the Gaza Strip into darkness.

• Israel kidnapped members of the Palestinian Cabinet and legislature.

In addition, the Boston Globe reported Israel is keeping at least 3,800 Palestinians in 20 prisons around the country.

Back to the Wortzel analogy. Israel has taken the whole Palestinian family hostage, deprived them of any way to get food, put them in a dark room, locked the door and put duct tape over the mouths of anyone who could speak out about the situation.

And this doesn’t even count the settlements built on Palestinian land, the wall that is carving out Palestine’s water supply or the extrajudicial killing of Palestinians, all of which preceded the July 25 kidnapping of Corporal Shalit.

Israel didn’t just key the Palestinians’ car; it ran over the car with a bulldozer. And now the bulldozer is headed full speed toward their home.

Even Wortzel – a conservative – would have to agree: The Palestinians have a right to defend themselves. Palestinians have the right to live in a sovereign Palestine. Israel’s practices are inhumane, and they must be stopped.

Tensions between Israel and Palestine make the area one of the most hostile in the world. Neither group can move. They are going to have to find a way to live peaceably. That may mean more violence in the short term, but if Palestine gains sovereignty sustainable peace may result.

Allen Hines is a sophomore pre-journalism and mass communication major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].