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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Deja vu all over again in Gaza

It's deja vu all over again in Gaza, with the European Union decrying Israel's 'disproportionate' response to Kassam rocket attacks by the 'Palestinians.'
"The Presidency deplores the growing number of civilian casualties the Israeli military operation has caused," Finland said in a statement.

"The right of all states to defend themselves does not justify disproportionate use of violence or actions which are contrary to international humanitarian law."
For those who have forgotten, let me remind you what I said about this in connection with Lebanon this past summer. Just substitute Hamas for Hezbullah and the shoe will fit perfectly:
The real issue is: what are Hezbullah's goals? On that score, I think there is little doubt: Hezbullah wishes to 'drive the Jews into the sea' - to bring about the demise of the State of Israel. Israel has to respond to those goals, not just to the Hezbullah action taken. The only response that is appropriate to an existential threat is a disproportionate response - one that will make the other side either disappear or crawl back into its cave and find something else to do with its time.

How have other countries responded to similar challenges in the past? During World War II, in the Atlantic theater, the axis powers wished to subjugate all of civilization to the 'superior Aryan race'. The war's end came about because allied carpet-bombing of cities like Dresden caused disproportionate civilian casualties and convinced ordinary Germans that they had no chance of winning the war. That left their leadership the choice of conceding or facing a coup. In the Pacific theater, the Japanese wished to establish dominance over the entire Pacific rim. The US administration correctly calculated that a ground invasion of Japan would cost the lives of thousands of US servicemen. So it responded disproportionately: it dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those bombs cost thousands of Japanese lives, but they saved thousands of other lives. On the whole, the disproportionate response was appropriate. (The last time I wrote this, someone pointed out in the comment section that the Union did the same thing to the Confederacy in the United States Civil War - the Union army brought the war home to the Southern plantation owners who were financing it. The burning of Atlanta - and the accompanying civilian casualties - helped bring about the end of the war).

On a smaller scale, after 9/11, the Bush administration understood that Islamic terrorism orchestrated by al-Qaeda was a threat to the American and western way of life. The President decided that the best way to remove the threat was to remove al-Qaeda's base of operations. If the Taliban government of Afghanistan would not remove al-Qaeda from their midst, they were part of the problem rather than being part of the solution. So the President went after the Taliban and removed them from power.

There's an obvious difference between Israel's situation and the other situations I have cited. But if anything, it is a difference that militates even more in favor of a disproportionate response: the United States is thousands of miles from Afghanistan. The al-Qaeda attack on the United States was not launched from Afghanistan but from airports in Boston and Washington. The United States is thousands of miles from Europe and Japan. In all of World War II, there was no attack on the continental United States, and only one attack on Hawaii.

We in Israel are in much closer proximity to our terrorist threats. Even here, in the relative safety of Jerusalem, we are less than 100 miles away from the front lines. It is much easier for the terrorists to continue to hit us again and again - if we let them - than it is for al-Qaeda to hit the United States or than it was for Nazi Germany or Hirohito's Japan to hit the United States. When the person who is trying to hit you is staring you in the face, you have to hit him even harder to scare him away. If you flinch, he can look into your eyes and see your weakness.
There's another 'deja vu all over again' aspect to today's events in Gaza. The 'Palestinians' are seeking out 'collaborators' again:
Meanwhile, Islamic Jihad gunmen paraded two men suspected of collaborating with Israel through the streets of Gaza City. The gunmen said they would hand the suspects, who had hoods placed over their heads, over to the Palestinian Security Services.
Sure they'll 'turn them over.' And if they're not executed quickly enough, we'll all get to watch real 'Palestinian justice' in action.


At 10:19 PM, Blogger Jukka said...

Shalom! I hope you understand that the opinions of our left wing foreign minister of Finland, Mr. Erkki Tuomioja, no not equal to those of most of Finnish people. It’s pity that he may now speak with the voice of European Union with our presidency period, ending very soon. We have a LOT of real friends of Israel in Finland, as was seen e.g. in the Jerusalem March during the Succot. We want to stand with Israel and support you!


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