Tuesday, May 7, 2019

How Can My Family Be Protected From Rockets?

This article of mine was published in Britain's Jewish Chronicle

As I was putting my youngest child, age six, to bed last Saturday night, he said to me, “Daddy, what if there is an explosion in the night?”

It broke my heart. That afternoon, we had to rush our children to our bomb shelter. An air-raid siren wailed across the skies of our peaceful home town of Beit Shemesh, in between Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv.

We were fortunate: no rocket landed in our town. An eighty-year-old woman in the nearby town of Kiryat Gat, and a man in Ashkelon, were less fortunate. They did not make it to shelters and were severely injured.

An editorial in The Guardian once described rockets like these as “useless fireworks” which “have killed hardly anybody” and do not justify a military response.

This is, of course, absurd. Over 30 people have been killed in the barrage of thousands of rockets and mortars that have been launched from Gaza since Israel withdrew. The mortality rate would be vastly higher had people not routinely rushed to bomb shelters.
Nearly two thousand have been injured, and countless others severely traumatized. In Sderot, the town that has born the biggest brunt of the attacks, the rate of PTSD among children is nearly 50 per cent, and there are high rates of depression and miscarriages.

“But why is Israel’s military response always so disproportionate?” many people complain. This is a very strange criticism. When the civilian population of a country is attacked, the proportionate response is one that neutralizes the threat.

After the 2,753 fatalities of 9/11, it wasn’t the responsibility of the US to kill 2,753 Taliban fighters, but rather to engage in as much military action as necessary to stop any such further attacks. Israel has a duty to protect its population from attacks, and to take whatever military action will achieve this goal. The fact that Israel is vastly more powerful than Hamas is completely and utterly irrelevant. Evidently, Israel’s military actions so far have been insufficient.

“But if Israel would just make peace with the Palestinians, none of this would be happening!” say some. Yet this is a claim without any factual or reasonable basis. There were several occasions when Israel offered the Palestinians a state, and the offer was rejected, without any counter-offer. When even the so-called “moderate” Palestinian Authority leadership refuses to acknowledge the Jewish people’s historic connection to the Land of Israel, and pays stipends to the families of terrorists, how on earth can anyone believe that it’s Israel at fault for the lack of peace? Furthermore, there are hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who are very explicit about not only wanting a state, but also wanting to exterminate the Jewish population of Israel.

“But Israel should just withdraw from the West Bank anyway!” And then what? Risk facing even more rockets, just as happened when Israel withdrew from Gaza?

In fact, the lesson learned from Gaza, and one reason why much of Israel moved to the right, is this: there is never any circumstance in which Israel can defend its population from attacks without incurring international condemnation. That's because it is impossible to engage in any meaningful military action without causing casualties, often unintended, on the enemy side. And although this is deemed acceptable for US and UK forces and every other country in the world, Israel is unfailingly condemned for it. Sky News, for example, headlined the weekend’s events as “Six dead in Gaza amid failed Israel ceasefire talks” without mentioning the 220 rockets fired on Saturday which caused Israel’s response.
Accordingly, at the present moment, Israel cannot afford to make any security concessions.

“But what about the innocent people in Gaza who are suffering as a result?” Well, if they support the rule of Hamas, they are not so innocent. As for the many Gazans who despise Hamas and suffer as a result of everything Hamas has brought about, this is indeed a tragedy. But who is responsible? First, there is Hamas, which instead of using international aid to help the people of Gaza, spends it on terrorist attacks in order to provoke an Israeli response. Then there is the international media and global community, which plays into Hamas’s strategy of starting wars that will cause civilian casualties on their own side in order to obtain condemnations of Israel. Anyone who condemns Israel for its response is only encouraging Hamas to fire more rockets.

Meanwhile, I don’t want my children to live in fear of rockets, just because people living comfortable lives in the West are incapable of recognizing the responsibility that Israel has, and the steps that are required, in order to stop these attacks.

28 comments:

  1. Wonderful article and I agree with most of the arguments in it. My only question is, no additional message on Yom HaZikaron?

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  2. I would be very curious to hear Hominid's take on the many very reasonable points put forth in this article.

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    1. See previous post comments. Basically I have every sympathy with Slifkin junior, and I am seething at his father for voting for the man with a track record of appeasing and tolerating terrorism.

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  3. Harvard Law Professor Alan M. Dershowitz said:

    “But more always seems to be demanded of
    the Jewish nation and of the Jewish people
    than of others. Jews, unlike other groups,
    are expected to be in the forefront of
    defending the rights of their sworn enemies.”

    SOURCE: Chutzpah by Alan M. Dershowitz
    (chapter 5, page 170) published in year 1991
    by Little Brown & Co ISBN: 9780316181372 ISBN: 0316181374

    ===================================

    Harvard Law Professor Alan M. Dershowitz said:

    “When Jews complain about anti-Semitism
    or anti-Zionism, they are often made
    to feel that they are oversensitive.”

    SOURCE: Chutzpah by Alan M. Dershowitz
    (chapter 3, page 83) published in year 1991
    by Little Brown & Co ISBN: 9780316181372 ISBN: 0316181374

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  4. If Israel would respond with peashooters the BBC would call it disproportionate. It's just their propaganda term. Orwell didn't base the ministry of truth on the BBC for nothing.

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  5. "Proportionality" is a widely misunderstood legal term. It means action proportional to what is needed to accomplish the military goal. In other words, if it is expected to take 10 bombs to stop the enemy from attacking, you use 10 bombs, not 100. It does NOT refer to a response proportional to the attack. It does NOT mean that if they fire 10 missiles you fire 10 missiles back.

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  6. "They are not so innocent" - this is a dangerous argument and a slippery slope. Other than that, good article.

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  7. Okay; good. Now spell it out -- if you were the Prime Minister, what would YOU do? How would YOU implement the conclusions that follow from your thoughts here?

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    1. Capture Gaza, crush Hamas,and hand it over to the PA. What's the point of paying for the world's sixth most powerful army which a hysterical public sensitivity to battle casualties has rendered undeployable.

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    2. the pa would not accept a gaza paid for with the blood of 10,000 gazans.

      they would be considred traitors and defacto genocide participants.

      next bright idea?

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    3. 1) Ten thousand Gazans is probably an order if magnitude too large an estimate. And yes, first we would need to cut an alliance with the PA. But if you handed them Gaza on a plate from their bitter rivals who recently ousted them from that location you are being naive to think they wouldn't grab it with both hands. And if they bring prosperity to Gaza, ordinary people won't mind

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  8. Any human being without a bias will readily agree that the terrorists organizations are wrong. What's so hard to see?

    The sad part is how some people are so dedicated to screaming how the New York Times, various European countries, the political left and others don't get it. Hello, it's been so many years of this already, can't you figure it out. They want to side with the terrorists. If they are a media outlet, they report with a specific slant purposefully. They don't plan on changing.

    That said, let's try to view events, to whatever extent we can, from a Torah perspective. Why does Hashem keep on sending scary bombs flying over the border? Could it be because so many people refuse to wake up and return to Hashem? We know that גדול המחטיאו יותר מההורגו – “When you lead somebody astray, it’s worse than killing him because but his eternal soul gets ruined. Maybe its all a wake up call.


    Unfortunately, the leading astray happens all the time. For example, a few days ago Netanyahu gave permission for 30,000 workers to be mechalel Shabbos to accommodate the Eurovision, which will take place in Tel Aviv on Shabbos R”L. It's open desecration, and that's just one out of a million examples.

    Of course, the apologists are going to jump on me. How dare you pretend to know anything. How dare you take Torah seriously. You must keep Torah superficially like us. Sorry, I don't want to. I want to try to see things, as much as possible, in ways that Hashem would want me to. Perhaps I get some things wrong, but it's sure better than keeping my eyes tightly shut!

    Always remember this verse from Tanach: עוזבי תורה, יהללו רשע; ושומרי תורה, יתגרו בם. Those who forsake Torah praise the wicked, but those who guard the Torah quarrel with them. They are our main problem, even more than our external enemies, despite the seriousness of the situation with our wicked external terrorist enemies.

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  9. You miss one or two aspects as follows:

    There always remains an option to (publicly) engage with Palestinian entities and bodies. The reality is that the IL government, the IDF and IL security entities and the PA actively work together on many ongoing practical matters - financially, security, infrastructure / services etc. etc. These are daily, ingrained interactions. Everytime Jews want to go and grave worship at Kever Rachel, the PA has to be engaged to facilitate this. So while the Netanyahu regime has a public facade that essentially declaims that it cannot work with the Palestinians, the reality is that there is a very real engagement behind the scenes and has been for 2 decades now. Sometimes it waxes and wanes, but for all intents and purposes, there is already a de facto Palestinian state - albeit a problematic and belligenrent one on the verge of collapse (only IL sustains it as a kind of bantustan), Why do we fool ourselves?

    The second one is the shift that the government has now made towards annexation of Palestinian areas and the subjugation of Arabs in those areas as second-rate citizens beholden to military or martial laws while Jews live in those areas as Israelis. Of course, this dialogue pre-empts any kind of pragmatism on the matter.

    Netanyahu has sat on the sidelines for 10 years now, waiting for the Arabs and Palestinians to devour each other in Gaza, Syria and Lebanon. They have, but ILs enemies have emerged even stronger. Iran is at our doorstep through proxies and actual 'on the ground' revolutionary guards. They are armed by Russia - a Russia that Bibi embarrassingly embraces, while they send arms and money at the same time. It is a joke. Bibi knows it and plays to fears.

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    1. Would Iran be at 'our doorstep' if Israel had not pushed America to destroy Iraq, which historically served as a counter weight to Iran?

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    2. The US does not listen to IL at the end of the day - and more importantly, IL was not for actually invading Iraq but containing Iran. There is plenty of source material outlining why the US attacked Iraq and it was not because IL 'pushed for it'. But my point is not so much about the (illegal) invasion of Iraq and the subsequent failure of the US (and allies) to secure the country and all that followed, but the actions of IL post-invasion to contain the disaster.

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  10. The residents of Gaza are indeed "not so innocent,."

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    1. "The residents of Gaza are indeed "not so innocent,.""

      Yes, all 2 million of them. And how do you like it when people reference 'the jews."?

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  11. Israel shot and killed a teenager. That's how this started. Then militants shot and wounded two soldiers. Then Israel fired a tank missile at a Hamas outpost, killing several men. Then Is. Jihad fired a mortar at Israel hitting a field. Then Israeli jets started bombing.

    But Israel is always the victim even though it fired the first bullet, the first projectile, and started the killing.

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    1. I saw this argued elsewhere, but haven't found it reported anywhere. Can you send a link?

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  12. No country would tolerate what Israel tolerates. I strongly suspect most countries would bomb the offenders with no mercy until attacks cease.

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  13. We are always told that if the Palestinians were to lay down their arms, Israel would immediately agree to peace.
    Here is the question. After 1967, Israel was on top. They could have made whichever conditions they wanted. Yes, there were terrorist groups, but they did not represent the masses, the children were not ingrained and indoctrinated and they would not have stood in the way of peace. Why did Israel not do anything then, form a position of strength? Why did they not establish a Palestinian state on their own terms? Did they think the situation would stay the same forever? Did they think that occupation was a long term solution?
    The Palestinans have been shown that without terrorism, they will get nowhere. They needed guerilla war to bring the Israelis to the table in Oslo and again with the disengagement. They have been taught that bad behavior will be rewarded. Instead of giving them opportunities to behave better, Israel showed them that it is in their interests to misbehave. (They were only offered those states after they started with their terrorist shtick. They may have been wrong for refusing, but that was long after Israel told them it would be in their leaders' interests to keep the struggle going)
    Israel has shown that they do not think further than a year or two down the road, they do not have long term ideas and who knows what is to come next.

    The biggest danger to Israelis, after terrorism, is the Israeli mindset, especially the right wing currently in power. There is no moderate left wing, only suiciidal extremists, in Israel. So the alternative is equally bleak.

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    1. Three "No"s of Khartoum?
      Violations by Egypt and Syria of the '56 agreements in '67?
      Violation by Egypt of the '49 armistice in '56?

      All could have been avoided had Israel only refrained from provocations. Had Israel the good sense to lose in '48, none of this would be an issue today!

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    2. What violation? Israel started the '67 war and it wasn't preemptive. Israel also started '56. '73 was a result of '67. Israel started every war except maybe '48, but it started that one by declaring a state.

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  14. “But why is Israel’s military response always so disproportionate?” many people complain. This is a very strange criticism. When the civilian population of a country is attacked, the proportionate response is one that neutralizes the threat

    ....


    logical fallacy.

    the only way to end the terror threat from gaza is nuking gaza.

    lets say the hypothesis is correct.
    does that mean nuking gaza is proportionate?

    otoh they started it.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-5Q7yuaXjM

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    1. "otoh they started it." in this round, the israelis started it, fired the first bullet and the first mortar and did the first killings

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    2. There is no start of a round circle.

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    3. the israelis started it, fired the first bullet

      ex nihilo?

      Delete

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