I Stand With Israel

Spare me from listening to officials of the thugocracy-infested United Nations complaining that Israel’s assault against Hamas is “disproportionate.” Of course it is. It should be.

When a sovereign nation gets goaded into war by terrorist attacks upon civilians, its goal should be to destroy the terrorist infrastructure and kill as many terrorists as possible. The best way to do that is to attack with overwhelming force. Yes there will be civilian casualties, although Israel, like the United States, takes care to avoid excessive collateral damage (unlike the atrocity-seeking jihadists who deliberately target civilians, and who use their own people as human shields by mingling their fighters with civilians).

Civilians die in any war, and it’s tragic. But if Palestinians want to safeguard their civilian population, they need to start by taking control of their own territory and creating a government that will crush the terrorists, rather than a government operated by the terrorists.

15 thoughts on “I Stand With Israel

  1. You shouldn’t take civilian casualties so lightly, the Palestinians don’t. The “terrorists” certainly don’t. If you actually think massacres such as what we’ve seen these last few days will do anything positive for Israel, you’re completely out of touch.

  2. Sammy, thanks for your comment. After looking at your blog I can see that we’re not going to agree about who is to blame for this conflict. But at least you acknowledge that “groups like Hamas are partly to blame with their rhetoric and idiotic need to fire rockets blindly into Jewish settlements.”

    Israel, OTOH, is not firing blindly. This footage shows the precision targeting Israel employs with its sophisticated weapons systems.

    And here is AP’s description of Israel’s offensive:

    Early Tuesday, Israeli aircraft dropped at least 16 bombs on five Hamas government buildings in a Gaza City complex, destroying them, setting fires and sending rubble flying FOR hundreds of yards, witnesses said. Rescue workers said 40 people were injured.

    In Monday’s attacks, Israel focused its bombing on the houses of Hamas field operatives in a campaign meant to tear at the roots of the extremist group ruling Gaza. Israel’s defense minister promised a “war to the bitter end against Hamas” and allied militants.

    Me: There is a world of difference between killing some civilians while attacking military targets (Israel, U.S.) and deliberately targeting civilians (Hamas, other jihadists).

  3. I share your views. Hamas is to blame for the terrible suffering of the Gazans. Until they halt their culture of hatred and violence then nothing much will change.

  4. @Kirk: When you look at the death tolls, your argument doesn’t hold any weight.

    Total Palestinian Deaths Since 2000 – 4,228
    Total Israeli Deaths Since 2000 – 1,024

    The numbers get much worse than that, unfortunately. 854 of those Palestinian deaths are children, which makes up about 20% of all Palestinian deaths. Compare that to 116 Israeli children deaths, or 12% of total Israeli deaths.

    However, the following statistics are the most relevant to your argument points: Of the total number of Israeli deaths, about 69% were civilians, 31% were members of the IDF (Israeli Defense Force). On the Palestinian side, 59% were civilians and 41% were actual hostile targets. The vast majority of Israeli civilian deaths have come from suicide bombings, not rocket attacks. This is in sharp contrast to the many argument points you brought up, which is that one side is targeting civilians while the other apparently is not. If that were the case, the disparity in these statistics would be much higher given the difficulty of verifying actual enemy combatants on the Palestinian side.

    Bombing an apartment building that houses some members of Hamas does not mean everyone in that building is a member of Hamas, but there’s no way to confirm because everyone is dead. For a side that is supposedly targeting only civilians, they sure manage to accidentally kill a lot of IDF soldiers.

    This is a conflict that certainly produces casualties on both sides, that is indisputable. But it is also indisputable that one side is clearly killing orders of magnitude more people than the other. More civilians and many more children. Add to this the original cause of this conflict and you can see why no one with any modicum of morality or intellectual honesty could possibly defend Israel when they feel it necessary to bomb city blocks in retaliation for blind rocket fire by an underfunded and unequipped resistance force.

  5. Sammy, where do you get your statistics on casualties? Given the difficulty (that you acknowledge) of getting reliable information on the Palestinian side, I have to say I’m suspicious of statistics stated that precisely.

    The responsibility for most deaths of Palestinian civilians lies with Hamas, not with Israel. Hamas, like other Islamic terrorist groups, routinely mingles its fighters and equipment with civilians for the purpose of being able to publicize civilian casualties on their own side.

    Even a precision rocket can go astray or be mistakenly targeted, but Israel is not “bombing city blocks.” Watch the 3-minute video I linked to in my prior comment — skip to the second half for the most striking footage.

    The reference in your last paragraph to “the original cause” really puzzles me. The original cause of the immediate conflict is the Hamas rocket attacks. The original cause of the broader conflict is Hamas’s goal, stated in its charter, of destroying Israel. How can you interpret the cause as an argument against Israel?

  6. Kirk, you sound like a sophisticated fellow. So maybe you’d be interested to understand what “proportionality” means in conflict. It is not about simple casualties. It is a measurement of the effectiveness of a strike against the objective of a campaign.

    e.g. If Israel wants to cease rocket fire by destroying weapons caches, destroys all weapons caches and kills hundreds, and finally is still being hit by rockets, then the attack was “disproportionate”.

    from wiki:
    The incidental (i.e.- unintended) harm caused to civilians or civilian property must be proportional and not excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated by an attack on a military objective.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proportionality_(law)

    So unless the rockets stop falling, each attack by Israel, no matter how great or small the casualty, will be effectively disproportionate. It is really irrelevant whether a casualty is a combatant or not if Israel is still under threat in the end and Hamas remains empowered.

    Proportionate attacks by definition should PROPORTIONATELY further your goal with the destruction of each target. Unfortunately, it has little to do with collateral damage to your enemy.

    It seems the only achievement of Israel’s recent wars has been collateral damage and psychological terror upon its enemies.

    I don’t think Sammy was pushing responsibility but instead arguing the discrete logic of proportionality. Take another look please.

    My opinion is if USA ran this military campaign, it would be settled already and done proportionately.

    What do you think Israel might do differently/better to advance its campaign?

  7. Hi Sammy, even if your numbers regarding death tolls on both sides are accurate, what exactly does it prove. First of all, Israel isn’t “killing orders of magnitude more people than” Hamas, infact it isn’t even killing one order-of-magnitude more, according to your numbers (if accurate) it’s only 4x more. Even with that, it seems you believe that Israel can only kill as many terrorists as its own citizens are killed. Well I pose to you this question: if 5 people were to collectively get together to plan and kill your wife, and 10 more sat back and cheered, would you be satisfied if only one went to jail (or was killed in retribution)? I don’t think so…simple fact is NO Israelis should die from missiles or bombs, and when they do they have every right to respond with OVERWHELMING force. If Palestinians want to avoid getting caught in the crossfire, then they should stand up for what is right and stop Hamas!

  8. abu, you seem to be trying to convince me that Israel’s assault is disproportionate. I started my post by saying “Of course it is. It should be.” When dealing with an implacable insurgency, proportionality makes sense only so long as there is a chance of resolution through negotiations. That ship has long since sailed.

    Once the decision has been made to escalate from a tit-for-tat approach — once it becomes an actual war, which this clearly now is — then Israel should attack with overwhelming force, which it is. (There are limits to how far I think Israel should go — nuclear Israel could presumably kill every resident of the Gaza Strip from the air with zero Israeli casualties. That would be excessive. Israel’s current campaign is disproportionate, but I think it stops well short of being inappropriate or excessive.)

    For both humanitarian and PR reasons, Israel is making efforts to hold down casualties to civilians — even though doing so may result in additional Israeli casualties. Israel cares more for Palestinian civilians than Hamas does. As Krauthammer said, “For Hamas, the only thing more prized than dead Jews are dead Palestinians.”

    C C, well put.

  9. Sorry, forgot to post the link. The statistics were from the UN’s OCHA in their report on August 2007. http://domino.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/d9d90d845776b7af85256d08006f3ae9/be07c80cda4579468525734800500272!OpenDocument

    @Kirk: You have to string along a desperate line of logic to somehow blame Palestinian civilian deaths on Hamas. The people who do the killing are to be blamed. If you’re attempting to blame Hamas for locating themselves amongst civilians, than we have to conclude that the Israeli’s are mindless robots with the inability to think rationally. I hope you’re not saying that.

    The problem with your argument is that Hamas is not a military organization. Remember, there is no Palestinian state, which means Hamas simply represents a group of civilians who are actively fighting the Israeli occupation. Thus, it is outrageous to try and blame an opposition group for the deaths of thousands of civilians. However, I’m not interested in blame. Abu hit that right on the head. You actually quoted part of the paragraph where I mention that these kinds of attacks do not help Israel’s situation one bit. This is just mindless killing, nothing more.

    Also, the original cause of this conflict is NOT Hamas. That shows a very shallow understanding of this conflict. The original cause was when the Palestinians were bulldozed off their land to make way for Jewish-only settlements. Even after the Oslo accord was signed, Israel continued to deport Palestinians off their land using armed forces and continued to arrest and detain Palestinians without trial. Hamas came later. You cannot defend Israel for their excessive and disproportionate killing sprees when you understand why Hamas does what it does.

    Again, I’ll reiterate that I don’t support what Hamas does in any way. Who’s to blame doesn’t matter to me, I’m simply speaking out against those who are killing indiscriminately. Also, considering Israel, the Gaza strip, and the West Bank are fairly small areas, dropping a nuke would not only hurt Israel, but all of the neighboring countries as well. This includes Jordan who has been very helpful toward Israel.

  10. I’m with you. Excellent post. I can’t understand how so many are taken in by what’s going on.

    Where was the outrage when Hamas launched it’s rockets? And where was the outrage when Hamas was running suicide attacks in to Israel?

    And, how about the outrage when the US invaded Iraq? Or even Afghanistan for that matter, where we certainly killed many, many civilians?

    And how about the outrage when Hamas dropped members of the opposition party off sky scrapers in Gaza during the 2007 coup?

    The Gaza people elected a terrorist org to run their government. While I am horrified at the deaths of innocent civilians, I also am outraged at the idea that Israel should not be allowed to defend itself. How utterly preposterous.

  11. @Kirk – I then have to disagree with the half of your statement encouraging disproportionate military campaigns. The very basis of modern warfare insists that military campaigns are only successful if they are proportionately waged. I can’t imagine attending West Point Academy and meeting a single mind that would think disproportionate warfare has any place in successful military campaigns or anti-terror strikes. I think that behavior is plain silly and perhaps a bit childish.

    I want to make my point plain: Israel should not lie about the intent of its campaign. Obviously they cannot stop rocket fire. Their quiet goal seems to be to collectively punish all corners of Hamas. If that is their campaign, then they are certainly on pace to achieving that objective. The sad part is that it is morally dubious and that the people of Israel have long since stopped caring what their military does. If monolithic apathy is the democracy of the 21st century…

    May G’d empower the oppressed and make strong the weak, make rich the poor, enlighten our minds, purify our hearts, and guide our leaders. aameen.

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