As casualties mount, we tend to identify with the deemed victims rather than look at the underlying malignancy causing the conflict. Two columnists clarify what is happening in Gaza, and I quote them in part because they express what needs to be remembered before we condemn the Israeli attacks on Gaza.
Ian O’Doherty provides a unique Irish perspective based on his years in Israel. “But there’s a bigger picture here, something which Israelis have been trying to broadcast to the world, but which, thanks to their spectacular inability to accurately and sympathetically portray their point of view, has not been properly transmitted. It’s this — Israel is the front line of the war between democracy and Islamic fascism.
“Would you rather live in a society with a free press, equal rights for women — and anyone who knows an Israeli woman will know that they’re not easily suppressed, anyway — equal rights for gay people and a proud and stubborn belief in the right of the individual to lead their life in the way that they see fit or would you rather exist in a society where women who dare to speak their mind are executed, where gay people are not just shunned but murdered and where having a dissenting thought marks you out for death?
“The civilian deaths in Gaza are to be mourned, and anyone who says otherwise is reprehensible. But in a sick and twisted irony, they are mourned more by Israelis than by Hamas, who know that every dead Palestinian kid is worth another piece of propaganda.
“Here in the West, where we share the same values as Israel, we need to start standing shoulder with this tiny oasis of democracy in a vast desert of savagery. To do otherwise is moral cowardice of the most repugnant kind.”
The New York Post’s Ralph Peters looks at the Arabs’ resentment of Jews, thus giving another dimension to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.
“Islamist extremists and Western leftists want every Jew dead. But Israel’s greatest crime was to expose the global cult of victimhood, to prove that hard work, fortitude and courage could overcome even history’s grimmest disaster. Was it a crime to hand Gaza back to Palestinian authorities, to give peace a chance? Look what Israel received in return for trading land for peace. Let us never forget the fundamental truth that, while Israel longs to live in peace with its neighbors, those neighbors openly profess the desire to eliminate Israel and exterminate its people.
“A crucial point about interfaith and interethnic conflicts that we sheltered Americans refuse to understand is that, all too often, there’s just no good solution — and not even a bad solution, short of acts of barbarism. It’s a rare conflict that results in an enduring peace. Unintended consequences abound. At times, you fight just to buy time, to gain breathing space — or merely to frustrate an enemy’s designs for a limited period. That’s the situation Israel faces: No hope of an ultimate victory, but a constant fight to survive.
“We may sympathize with the average Palestinian family, exploited by generations of corrupt leaders and now caught in yet another round of violence. But let us never forget that Israel hasn’t fired thousands of blind rockets into Palestinian cities, that Israeli suicide bombers don’t attack Arab restaurants and bus stops, and that Israel seeks to avoid harming civilians — while Hamas seeks to kill as many civilians as possible. In a world where there are no good answers, Israel just answered as best it could. The world’s response? ‘How dare Jews defend themselves.’ Humanity doesn’t progress. It just changes clothes.”
We must also remember that Jews, by their tenet to debate their laws and mores in light of the greatest wisdom interpreted for their times, have been the greatest defenders of democracy throughout their history and ours. For this, we should seek to understand why they have had enough and are taking action against the Hamas terrorists who have attacked their cities and villages for years unimpeded. Now it seems the Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon are creating a second front. Unfortunately, simple loving Palestinians are also victims of the terrorists among them who are determined to crush Israel. It is a dilemma that cannot be taken at face value. If Israel falls, so does the whole free world.