Israeli self-defense trumps welfare of Gaza residents

Same old stuff, different day:

[Today] two young children, aged twelve and two, were lightly wounded when a Kassam rocket landed near a playground in Kibbutz Be’eri, in the western Negev.

The two kids, who were playing outside their home, were evacuated to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba suffering from shrapnel wounds. Their mother was sent into shock as a result of the attack.

Hamas claimed responsibility for the rocket fire. — Jerusalem Post

Numerous other rockets struck Sderot, damaging a house. Now here is what Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said:

“Rockets are entirely pointless and must be stopped,” Abbas said in a meeting with Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik.

However, he added that “Israel must not use the launchings as an excuse to collectively punish an entire population and must always allow entry of humanitarian [aid] into the Strip.” — Jerusalem Post

Leaving aside the fact that Israel does allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, it’s time to talk about ‘collective punishment’.

War is always uncomfortable for civilians on both sides. Random rockets hitting playgrounds are uncomfortable. It was uncomfortable for the Jewish residents of Jerusalem in 1948, when Jerusalem was blockaded (and they were getting shot at as well as starved out).

The fact is that Hamas is waging war against Israel. Hamas, leading the legitimately elected government of the Palestinian people — more legitimate than the Fatah rump government in the West Bank — is not hiding its intention to make war, nor of its goal to ultimately destroy the Jewish state. The great majority of the population, whether it supports Fatah or Hamas, supports violent ‘resistance’ against Israel.

As always, the world insists that Israel must behave according to some kind of unattainable standard to which no other nation has ever been held. “Yes, you have the right to defend yourselves. But don’t hurt (or even annoy) anybody doing it.” So Israel is asked to provide electricity for the rocket factories in wartime and to guarantee that when it fires a missile against enemy troops — who do their best to stay close to civilians — that only the soldiers are hit.

The contrast between Israel and her enemies, who make an effort to target civilians, is stark.

It’s a poor argument to compare Israel to the French in Algeria, the RAF and AAF over Germany, the Nazis in Russia or the Russians in Berlin. The ‘siege’ of Gaza is not a siege like the Siege of Leningrad in which a million and a half civilians died of starvation and disease. Israel does allow passage of food and medical supplies, and does supply electricity, despite Hamas’ theatrics to prove otherwise. Nobody is starving.

There’s no doubt that war is undesirable, or that nations should solve their problems with diplomacy. Gratuitous brutality is wrong, even in war. But it is not reasonable to expect a nation that is under attack to provide supplies to its attacker. It is reasonable for a people to do whatever is necessary to defend themselves when they are under attack. And it is reasonable for such a nation to ignore the voices telling them to surrender because self-defense may be uncomfortable for the enemy population.

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