Act­ing in de­fence

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT -

When a man like Ger­shon Baskin — steeped in at­tempts to bring peace be­tween Is­rael and the Pales­tini­ans and about as far from a sup­porter of the Is­raeli PM as can be imag­ined — writes that “Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu did not want to es­ca­late this war” and ex­plains that the Is­raeli govern­ment had no al­ter­na­tive but to act, then even the most driven anti-Is­rael ac­tivist should take note. Not that they will. The re­ac­tion to Oper­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge has not — yet — reached the poi­sonous lev­els that marked some pre­vi­ous IDF op­er­a­tions. But there is a weary­ingly pre­dictable tone to much of the cov­er­age — that Is­rael is, once again, wav­ing its mighty sword to crush the Pales­tini­ans al­most for the sake of it. The facts, how­ever, paint a very dif­fer­ent pic­ture. Rock­ets were fall­ing on south­ern Is­rael at the rate of over 5 an hour. How is an Is­raeli leader — how is leader — ex­pected to re­act to rocket at­tacks on over a mil­lion people? One mil­lion Is­raelis is 13 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion — the equiv­a­lent of 8.4 mil­lion people in the UK.

It is sim­ply unimag­in­able that a Bri­tish leader would not re­spond to re­peated rocket at­tacks on 8.4 mil­lion people. And not re­spond with a shrug, but by throw­ing ev­ery­thing at tak­ing out the people and in­fra­struc­ture re­spon­si­ble. In this con­text, the most re­mark­able thing about the Is­raeli re­sponse is its re­straint. Are Jews alone not al­lowed to de­fend them­selves? It is Ha­mas, not Is­rael, that has used the in­no­cent as pawns, with Pales­tini­ans be­ing made into so-called hu­man shields. At root, the prob­lem comes down to this. Imag­ine if one side of the con­flict was some­how dis­armed. If Ha­mas lost all its weapons, there would be no more Is­raeli mil­i­tary ac­tion against it. If Is­raeli was, on the other hand, sud­denly de­fence­less, there would be mass slaugh­ter of Is­raelis. So long as that re­mains true, Is­rael will al­ways have to de­fend it­self against Ha­mas at­tacks on its cit­i­zens.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.