Monday, October 16, 2023

Redeem the Hostages, Destroy the Missiles

Did anyone really believe Israel would have unlimited support to bomb Gaza back into the Stone Age after Hamas’ ruthless attack on October 7?

Cracks in the wall of almost universal Western sympathy and support for Israel were not too surprising given media saturation of Israeli bombing of building after building in Gaza and the resulting deaths of more than 2,300 and 8,700 casualties. 

In an age of battlefield news immediacy, public opinion wavers depending on which side cries out the loudest and most often, which side can caramelize the most intense images of grief, which side can even fabricate with pictures the most outrageous charges of brutality. 

Equivalency has little regard for who started it. In any war all sides share responsibility for untold, innumerable disasters far beyond military targets. 

The pope along with other world leaders has asked for restraint, that civilians not be attacked. A little late for such counsel considering some 1,000 Israeli civilians including mothers, children and grandparents were killed by Hamas terrorists. Should the residents of Gaza be considered civilians or complicit members of Hamas subject to the same punishment as Hamas fighters for their support of the evildoers, a moral equivalency standard set by Hamas which considers any Jewish resident, regardless of gender or age, a member of the military that oppresses Gaza?

Gaza residents voted in Hamas some 17 years ago. While Hamas has denied them any followup elections, residents could have warned Israel about the pending attack. Surely it was well known beyond the Hamas troops. Silence, in this case, is tantamount to support. 

The battle between Hamas and Israel is manifestly a war of divergent cultures. Hamas strictly applies selective quotations from the Koran, specifically the prohibition on giving up any land previously owned by a Moslem and, most heinously, a directive attributed to Mohammed to kill Jews wherever they may be hiding. 

Judaism at one time bade its followers to annihilate people who lived in Canaan, but for the last 2,000 years has followed a Western, more humanistic theology.  Revenge killings are rarely preached, much less practiced. 

Redemption of hostages, however, trumps any thoughts of restraint. 

And, Israel is driven by a further necessity to declaw its enemy of its cache of missiles compiled over years. Thousands of missiles are buried within Gaza. Any invasion by Israel would not be complete until the missiles are neutralized. 

By the end of this war Gaza will resemble a junk yard, a vast tangle of concrete and steel. Sure, there will be pledges of aid to rebuild Gaza, but safeguards must be put in place to insure well-meaning monies are not siphoned off by Hamas or other terrorists as happened in the past. 

A central question, for which we surely know the answer, is what did Hamas do with the billions upon billions of dollars given to Gaza to make it a better place to live? Did it create businesses and schools and hospitals to enrich the lives of the populace, or did it funnel the funds into tunnel building and war materiel production? Did it generate loyalty out of fear or gratitude? Did Hamas believe Israel would simply accept terror attacks, or did it simply reason that Palestinian deaths were of no worth other than as political pawns in the court of international deliberations? 

The next few days, weeks, even months will be hard to stomach. Massive casualties on both sides. A strong resolve is required.