Sunday, January 11, 2009
Are the civilians being hurt and killed in Gaza innocent?
According to Steven Plaut on the Israel Forum blog, "there ain't no such animal" as an innocent civilian in Gaza. More accurately, Plaut says, "Let us bear in mind that the years of rocket savagery by the Hamas were a direct result of the vast majority of the residents of the Gaza Strip voting for the Hamas in the elections,such as they were, that were held there". Do I really buy this? I don't live in Israel, so I can successfully be accused of lacking a certain perspective on this matter. While I generally believe that Israel has the right to defend itself against the rocket attacks by Hamas from Gaza, I don't believe that every man, woman, and child in Gaza is worthy of extermination just because some or most of the adults foolishly voted Hamas into power. That would be like saying the children of people who voted George W. Bush into power deserve to have shoes thrown at them by an Arab journalist. Ironically, Hamas is doing more to put Gaza civilians into danger than the IDF, by setting up their operations in civilian quarters, hospitals, and schools. Perhaps Golda Meir's most famous quote, "We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us" applies here. If Israel backs out of Gaza now, without definitively stopping the threat posed by Hamas as this CNN story suggests, then they will have spared children in Gaza injury and death at the expense of their own. Yet, it is Hamas who puts children and adult civilians at risk, first by hiding their operations behind the innocents and secondly, by continuing to attack Israel from Gaza, provoking Israeli response. Are their innocent civilians in Gaza? Yes. You can say that voting a dictatorship into power means you are responsible for the results, but how many people have agreed, voluntarily or otherwise, to a particular ruler, without being able to see the future consequences of their actions? Many Germans whose votes allowed Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party control of that country lived (or died) to regret their decision. During the cold war, Americans generally thought all citizens of the Soviet Union were corrupt and "evil", only to find out decades later that those citizens didn't want to be controlled in a dictatorship. Once under the totalitarian thumb however, they couldn't easily escape. What does this say about the citizens of Iraq who are now no longer under the Hussein regime? What does this say of the citizens of Gaza under Hamas? Natan Sharansky, a former Soviet dissident and current Jewish Israeli citizen, dedicated his book A Case for Democracy to the belief that almost no citizen of a totalitarian state voluntarily wants to be there. Although the liberal media machine and those who believe their every word, may consider me at least insensitive and at most a monster for agreeing that Israel has a right to defend itself from Hamas rockets; I don't actually celebrate the deaths in Gaza. Children are the same the world over; they're not responsible for the decisions of their parents or the adults around them, and they shouldn't have to be maimed and killed because of those decisions. Unfortunately, history teaches that innocent people are always victimized by war. Even when the cause is just, innocent civilians died in the firebombing of Berlin and the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima. Even when the cause is just, innocent civilians are dying in Gaza, and their blood will be on all our hands, especially when we fail to do justice and call terrorism "fighting for freedom". Stop Hamas, and the innocent won't die in Gaza from anyone's bomb. Stop supporting Hamas with "world opinion" and we stop supporting terrorism. Challenge the one-sided perceptions of the news media and U.N. who can't see that allowing Hamas to operate unchecked and preventing Israel from defending itself, won't stop the deaths but instead, will accelerate them. Of course, if you only care about children in Gaza dying and don't concern yourself with children in Ashqelon and Ashdod, I guess it doesn't matter.