Dear President Obama,
When Palestinians kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teenagers, Palestinians danced in the streets, and the terrorists were praised by PA officials. Rather than helping capture them, the PA facilitated their escape; they still have not been apprehended. Palestinians who expressed regret over the kidnapping received death threats.
In contrast, when Israelis kidnapped and murdered a Palestinian teenager, the act was universally condemned by Israeli leaders, and Israelis and Jews all over the world. The Israeli police quickly apprehended suspects and promised to bring them to justice. The families of the SUSPECTS received death threats.
THIS is why there is no peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Not because of new housing built by Israel in “settlements.” Not because Israel defends itself. Not because of the security wall which shut off suicide bombings almost like a light switch. There is no peace because Israelis want to live, and Palestinians want to kill them.
Of course, that is a simplification. There are Israeli extremists, and there are Palestinian doves. But they are the exception that prove the rule.
My wife and I lived in Israel in 1995-6. We experienced first-hand the threat of violence experienced daily by Israelis: Yitzchak Rabin was assassinated and there were six suicide bombings during our time here.
I say “here” because I am currently vacationing with my family in Jerusalem. Last night, as the air-raid siren blared, we huddled with our five children in the safe room of our apartment, comforting them and praying silently for our safety and for that of the millions of others within reach of the rockets, as well as of the tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers who defend Israel and its people against these barbaric attacks.
Some day, a Palestinian leader will emerge who recognizes that only a lasting peace with Israel will secure the future of the Palestinian people. In the meantime, since peace is not being offered, Israel can do only one thing: defend itself and its citizens.
I call upon you and the entire U.S. government to clearly, consistently, unequivocally, and without hesitation condemn the ongoing attacks against Israel by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad; acknowledge and support Israel’s undeniable right to defend itself against those attacks; and provide Israel with the political, diplomatic, and material support it needs to put a stop to them.
[Also sent to Senator Warren, Senator Markey, and Representative Capuano.]
Hi, I came across your blog looking up information about deficiencies in us airways, and made the random comment above.
It’s clear you have a strong association with Israel. I don’t, nor do I have any associTion with Palestine. The thing is unless you have some kind of strong association, ethnic or religious, with Israel I don’t see how someone would end up on Israel’s ‘side’.
From my perspective, I see two sets of not particularly clean hands brawling. But one side is getting its ass kicked by the other, and it’s hard to be sympathetic to the guy with bruises when the other guy has a couple broken bones. And the fight is ongoing, and the more powerful entity is still pummeling the losing entity.
That said, Israel is in a tough spot, and has better intentions in their targeting. But intentions don’t count for anything, the simple fact is the Palestinians are getting the rawest deal by a ridiculous margin, and to blame anyone but the people who fire the weapons seems ridiculous.
I freely admit I have no great ideas for how to improve things, Israel is in a tough spot. But as long as one side is crushing the other, and neither side seems to be on the side of the angels, my sympathies will be with the downtrodden.
Others have responded to that irrational, facile line of thinking far better than I ever could…
And then there’s this… Gaza shows (again) how the underdog can be wrong
Israel kills between 10 and 100 Palestinians for every Israeli. A Palestinian family in the situation you describe your family in, hiding in a safe room, is in substantially more danger than you were. Objectively, the Israeli govt causes more justifiable fear, in that the fear is rational, and unjustifiable death to innocents than the Palestinian govt.
Why are more Palestinians killed by Israeli air strikes than vice versa?
Is it because Israel is less careful about targetting civilians than Hamas? Nope. Hamas fires their rockets at civilian areas with no military value. They explicitly, proudly admit to this. Israel, on the other hand, takes great pains to identify the locations of military targets (rocket launchers, command centers, arms factories and storage facilities) and target only them. Furthermore, Israel regularly aborts strikes on military targets to avoid injury to nearby civilians.
Is it because Israel’s weapons are less precise than Hamas’s? Nope. Israel’s military technology is the best in the world. While there are always mistakes in war, the vast majority of the time, when Israel aims for a specific target, they hit that target. Hamas’s rockets, on the other hand, land indiscriminately all over Israel.
Is it because Israel targets civilians intentionally? Nope. Israel drops leaflets, sends broadcast SMS messages, and drops harmless “roof-knocker” mortars on targets before bombing them, to alert the civilians located at those targets tht they should leave for their own safety. They don’t leave, because Hamas tells them to stay, because to Hamas, they’re more valuable dead as PR chits than they are alive. Some of the civilians killed this way actually believe that they will die as martyrs and go to heaven, and I suppose it’s their right as adult human beings to make that choice if that’s what they really want. Others are being forced to stay, because if they stay there’s a chance that they’ll be injured or killed by an Israeli strike, but if they try to leave they will definitely be punished by Hamas, so in their (rational) calculus, staying and taking their chances makes the most sense. And then there are the children, who are clearly not mature enough to make a rational decision for themselves, and in any case are prevented from doing so by their parents. None of this is Israel’s fault.
Is it because Israel’s weapons are better are penetrating Palestinian “safe rooms” and bomb shelters than vice versa? Nope. Gaza doesn’t have any safe rooms or bomb shelters, because the concrete, construction materials, and labor that could have been used to build them was instead used to build underground tunnels into Israel whose sole purpose is to enable Hamas to send terrorists into Israel to kill and/or kidnap Israelis.
Every single rocket that Hamas fires into Israel is a double war crime — a war crime because it is intentionally aimed at civilians, and a war crime because it was fired from a civilian area without any steps taken to minimize the risk to those civilians.
In contrast, every single missile fired by Israel at a military target in Gaza is justified under international law and the laws of war. You don’t have to take my word for it; the Palestinians agree.
A Palestinian family that leaves the area when warned to do so, with plenty of time to spare, by Israel, is in substantially less danger than an Israeli family within range of Hamas missiles, exactly because Israel’s strikes are so precise and Israel’s weaponry is so advanced. What puts the Palestinians at risk is not the fact that Israel is trying to destroy Hamas’s ability to wage war; it is the fact that Hamas intentionally puts civilians in harm’s way, won’t let them leave, and hasn’t provided bomb shelters or safe rooms like Israel has, despite the fact that they could have done so if they’d wanted to. None of that is Israel’s fault.
You’re right that the deaths of so many civilians in Gaza at the hands of Israel’s defensive missile strikes are unjustifiable, but Hamas is causing those deaths, not Israel.
The second Hamas stops firing rockets at Israeli civilians and building tunnels through which to send terrorists into Israel, Israel will have no military targets in Gaza to destroy, and they will stop. It’s that simple.