"A Sickness in the Soul of Middle-Eastern Islam"

I don’t agree with every syllable of Ralph Peters’s column in today’s New York Post, but this part works:

Israel hasn’t killed a single civilian in the Gaza Strip. Over a hundred civilians have died, and Israeli bombs or shells may have ended their lives. But Israel didn’t kill them.

Hamas did. …

Peace is the last thing Hamas terrorists and gangsters want. Peace means the game is up. Peace means they’ve disappointed their god. Peace means no more excuses. They couldn’t bear peace for six months.

This is a war to the bitter end. And we’re afraid to admit what it’s about.

It’s not about American sins or Israeli intransigence. It’s about a sickness in the soul of a civilization – of Middle-Eastern Islam – that can only be cured from within. Until Arabs or Iranians decide to cure themselves, we’ll have to fight.

Instead, we want to talk. We convince ourselves, against all evidence, that our enemies really want to talk, too, that they just need “incentives” (the diplomat’s term for bribes). The apparent belief of our president-elect that it’s possible to negotiate with faith-fueled fanatics is so naive it’s terrifying.

Yet, it’s understandable. Barack Obama’s entire career has been built on words, not deeds, on his power to persuade, not his power to deliver. But all the caucuses, debates, neighborhood meetings and backroom deal-making sessions in his past haven’t prepared him to “negotiate” with men whose single-minded goal is Israel’s destruction – and ours.

Pictures: Little Green Footballs

Gaza: A Time for War, a Time for Peace

At Pajamas Media, Middle East commentator Eli Bernstein examines Israel’s war against Hamas in the context of the ancient doctrine of a “just war.” He concludes, of course, that Israel has the right to use military force to protect its people. Further, he argues that Israel now has a moral obligation to continue its operation until Hamas’s ability to wage terrorist attacks is crippled:

An ethical exit strategy must be in place with a peace settlement that ensures the violated rights are enforced (Rights vindication). For the war not to be fought in vain, Israel must ensure the original just cause is rectified through a sustainable cessation of violence. Israel must therefore not agree to the unilateral ceasefire, proposed by the Europeans.

Bernstein’s closing paragraphs are particularly strong in describing the stark differences in the motivations of the combatants (emphasis added):

Israel as a democracy surrounded by rogue regimes has to balance its inherent abhorrence of violence with the violent zeal of the rogue regimes it is surrounded by. Israel cannot be expected to act like Sweden when its neighbours are neither Norway nor Finland.

As nations around the world increasingly confront the menace of terrorism and rogue regimes, the Western world will have to learn the unpleasant truth that there is a time for peace and a time for war. Bill Clinton’s pacifist stance on Rwanda caused more deaths than any act of war America has ever engaged in. The pacifist does not necessarily have the shorter sword than the warrior.

It is time the world stops the double speak of moral equivalence. Every Palestinian innocent life lost is a tragic undesired outcome for the Israeli side, whereas the loss of Israeli civilian life is the aim rather than an incidental outcome for Hamas. In the conflict between Israel and Hamas, there simply is no moral equivalence. It is time the world recognised this truth and spoke in one voice.