Sunday, November 18, 2012

Israel and Gaza

I have been asked by numerous people about my thoughts on Israel and Gaza. So to begin, I believe in no uncertain terms, Israel's absolute right to defend herself from attack. And let's be clear, Israel did not start this fight. Weeks before Israel retaliated; missiles were being launched into Israel from Gaza by Hamas.

Sederot has spent years under attack, but what is even more worrisome is that Hamas now has missiles (supplied from countries like Iran) that can now reach Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel's economic heart and capital. This is simply unacceptable.

But the question I have been wrestling with is why now?

In the past I have compared Hamas to a petulant child, that when it doesn't get enough attention from the world, it attacks Israel. And there is perhaps part of that still going on.

But Hamas also has been dealing with its own internal problems. As the democratically elected government in Gaza (and by the way just because it was democratically elected, does not make it a democracy), has been unable to live up to its promises to the citizens. It was and is facing increasing unpopularity amongst Palestinians living in Gaza. So what is the answer? Attack Israel. Of course this demonstrates once again that Hamas does not care about its citizens in the least when it invites counter attacks and destruction of its own country for their own political purposes.

However there is still more going on. Hamas also feels emboldened by the "Arab Spring." It feels more support from Tunisia and especially Egypt, than it ever has in the past, which is also playing into the actions by Hamas.

And also, I suspect, that Hamas bought into the narrative that President Obama's support of Israel was not as strong as previous presidents. That assumption is turning out to be a complete fallacy.  Of course, since these attacks have begun, the United States has been unwavering in her support of Israel.

Israel under Prime Minister Netanyahu is poised to engage in a ground assault, whose primary mission is to destroy the missiles and underground tunnels supplying Gaza. This will lead to the deaths of many Palestinians and significant destruction of Gaza, similar to Operation Cast Lead. This in turn may actually raise Hamas' profile in the world, but will also undermine it with their own people in Gaza.

And yet, I am not sure what other options Israel has. When attacked, Israel has to defend her citizens. Tel Aviv sounded air raid sirens for the first time since the first Gulf War in 1991. If our cities in the United States were under similar attack, we would respond swiftly and forcefully. Should Israel do no less?

The only way to ultimately end this situation is with a full and lasting peace.  However, until Hamas is willing to recognize Israel’s right to exist and stop attacking her, this prospect is at best, unlikely.      And yet, we will continue to pray for peace and for an end to the suffering caused by this latest round of attacks. 

In the meantime, be wary of any news agency that makes it look like Israel is the aggressor.  There was little if any reporting to the attacks until Israel responded.  It is like how the player flagged in an NFL game is the always the one who responds, not the one who instigates.  And there are any number of ways you can donate money to help those in need who are in harm’s way from the missiles.

Israel Terror Relief Fund