Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Last And First Temptation Of Israel; A Response to Andrew Sullivan, part II

(Editor's note.  The author of the previous response to Sullivan, takes the time to address the points raised by the comments on the previous article by Chris Gray.)


Thanks so much for your comment.  

You state that Israel has an "abysmal [corrected for spelling] human rights record", which is a form of fanaticism that is on the rise.  This is obviously your opinion, because the facts about Israel are quite the opposite.  Israel, in case you haven't noticed, is the only democracy in the Middle East.  I invite you to travel there and hold up a sign stating such an opinion, and you will find that you are completely within your rights to do so.  Not only will you be left alone, you'll probably be joined by the 100 or so Israelis left who may actually still agree with you.  Now try doing the same thing in Gaza or in any of the surrounding or further afield Arab states, and you will find no such right to which you are entitled.  Good luck getting out of there alive.  Is Israel's human rights record any different than that of the United States (think Guantanamo Bay, just for recent recollection)?

Now as to the "fanaticism" you believe is on the rise in Israel, let's do some basic thought experiments.  Do you know the background of those who make up the bulk of the Israeli army soldiers that recently served in Gaza?  They are reservists representing a cross-section of Israeli society - shopkeepers, entrepreneurs, software developers, doctors, lawyers and accountants.  They have been called up to protect their homes and families from a constant onslaught of missile fire that didn't begin a month ago - it's been going on year after year since 2005.  EVERY YEAR there have been literally hundreds of rockets fired into Israel even when every last Jew (with the exception of Israeli hostage, Gilad Shalit) was forcibly removed from Gaza by Israel (not Hamas).  

What is the everyday occupation of the terrorists (not militants) in Gaza?  They have spent every day for the last several years planning and preparing to commit murder against those same Israeli shopkeepers and other civilians.  How do you think those tunnels got built?  Imagine how much Gaza could have flourished if, instead of using Israeli supplied cement, they built schools and businesses, as opposed to tunnels.  I can assure you there would have been no need for a blockade, which would have been lifted a long time ago, had they actually been productive and shown their desire to live in peace.

Let's try a different angle.  Over the past month, Israel has killed approximately 1,800 Palestinian Arabs.  The overwhelming majority of the country ia saddened by the need to have inflicted such damage, but there is wall-to-wall agreement about the need for the operation, and for who deserves the blame - Hamas.  These deaths are being referred to as "genocide" by the international community.  Genocide?  Really?  Either Israel's army is the most incompetent army in the world, or it's the most precise.  After the sheer amount of ordinance dropped from the sky, and from tanks and artillery, and about 65,000 troops on the ground, would YOU think that 1,800 deaths in a month is genocide?  That amounts to the tally of death in Syria in about a week, or in Iraq in about 3 days, except that there is NO end in sight to that violence, and there is NO attempt to go after purely military targets - those targets are intentionally civilians, as is Hamas's target selection.  In fact, Hamas tunnels are built specifically to bypass Israeli army checkpoints to murder civilians.  If they wanted a military confrontation, those tunnels would be designed to go after soldiers on the border, but they're not.  They extend well beyond the bases, right up to homes and kindergartens in Southern Israel.

Now let's look at it from a different angle.  Say you're an Israeli centrist, or somewhere left-of-center, and you wish to live in peace and give away land for that purpose.  What have you learned from this past month?  You've learned that with one missile, the terrorists in Gaza or in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) can literally shut down Israel's main gateway to the world - it's airport.  You've learned that they are willing to sacrifice their own children for the sake of killing yours.  You've learned that they've specifically chosen the path of war and hatred, rather than peace and reconciliation.  You've learned that the land they control is used to launch attacks, rather than build a functional society, serving the needs of it's populace.  What would encourage you, as an Israeli centrist, to continue along this path?

So…fanaticism?  Hardly.  More like the harsh reality of a formula for peace that has come crashing down on your head at the realization that the other side has no interest in peace.  Why?  Because the more land they get, the more land they seek.  Ultimately, there has to be a long-term solution.  Giving more land has been tried, and the bulk of the "fanatics" you seem to think Israeli shopkeepers, entrepreneurs, software designers, doctors, lawyers and accountants are, have begun to realize this path leads to more death on both sides.  Is that fanatical?  Perhaps in the realm of self-preservation - yes.

What is the real solution?  The Arabs cannot expect a future sate within the borders of Israel (which includes all of Gaza, Judea, Samaria, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights).  They must therefore leave and go to one of the other 22 Arab countries or any other country of their choice, or stay and accept that Israel will always be a Jewish country, where they can have the same civil rights as all other citizens.  Those who choose the path of armed struggle will perish.  Any sane person, including the most level-headed democracy minded individual who applies a modicum of intellectual honesty should understand that.

As to my earlier piece being the best I can do…I was just getting warmed up.

Thanks for taking the time.


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