Israel has nothing to apologize for in the recent war in Gaza. The force it used was both necessary and appropriate. Hamas lobbed missiles at Jewish towns for years, an intolerable situation. Their charter explicitly calls for the death of all Jews everywhere.
Has the phrase “never again” become completely meaningless?
The goal of war is to destroy the enemy, and killing enemy combatants takes precedence over sparing enemy civilians. This is especially true in Gaza, where the line between combatants and civilians is very thin. Many combatants wear civilian clothes, and even women and children are pressed into combat roles and combat support roles.
If the Israeli government owes anyone an apology, it’s to the courageous Jewish soldiers who risked their lives to defend the nation, only to be pulled off the battlefield before the job was finished, thereby guaranteeing that they’ll have to do it all over again.
It’s very important to realize that Hamas was desperate to take Jewish prisoners, knowing that the Kadima government would be willing to free almost any number of Hamas terrorists in order to get them back. Some critics have accused Jewish troops of “immorality” for being too quick to open fire.
But the real immorality would have been for Jewish commanders to endanger their troops, and their nation, by ordering their soldiers to hesitate in combat in order to show unwarranted compassion toward people who hadn’t earned it.
Israel’s enemies have taken a handful of reports of very dubious accuracy, and tried to magnify them into a sweeping indictment of Israel in general, and the Israel Defense Forces in particular. Of course, they take no notice of the true crimes committed by Hamas, including the use of women and children as human shields.
Joining Israel’s enemies in the attempt to defame the IDF are members of Israel’s own “peace camp,” who claim to be pro-Israel, but who continually agitate against any attempt by the Jewish state to defeat its foes. In their naive worldview, enemies are nothing more than misunderstood friends, whose good will can be gained by treating them with kindness and sympathy, and helping them achieve their goals, even at the expense of one’s own.
With their weak understanding of Judaism, they seem to think it’s a core Jewish value to show compassion to the cruel. As a result, they continually undermine Israel’s existence, hindering its ability to fight its foes, and publicly denouncing it to all the nations of the world, with defamatory accusations that incite hatred and revulsion against their own country.
What the peaceniks are unable or unwilling to understand is that in certain cultures, warfare is not just a response to grievances, but a complete way of life in itself, and a cornerstone of their very existence.
Against such cultures, the solution is not negotiation or compromise, but to do as King David did to his enemies: Hit them so hard that they can’t get up again.
Some critics say that the action in Gaza, even though it may have been justified by the constant missile attacks on Jewish towns, was still wrong, because it angered the nations, which is something that Israel, with its small size and vulnerability, can’t afford to do.
However, aside from the fact that much of this anger is deliberately stoked by Israel’s own “peace camp,” there’s another important issue to consider. The founding principle of the 4,000-year-old Jewish nation is belief in God. This belief is what has enabled us to survive for so many centuries, despite repeated attempts to destroy us.
Fear of what the nations will say indicates lack of belief in God, and tends to lead toward defeat.
Some left-wing commentators have expressed alarm that there were many “religious soldiers” in Gaza, and that they were less sympathetic toward the Gazans than the non-religious ones. In fact, the religious soldiers, who are more and more becoming the backbone of the IDF, are the nation’s best hope for the future. They have a clear understanding of why Jews have the right to live in all parts of the Land of Israel, and they grasp the true nature and goals of Israel’s enemies, as well as Israel’s own true strengths, much more accurately than the non-religious.
Those who live in fear of what the nations will say don’t understand that the attitude of the nations toward Israel is a reflection of Israel’s own attitude toward them. When Israel displays weakness, fear and self-doubt, the nations become bold and aggressive toward it and treat it with contempt.
When Israel displays confidence in the justice of its cause, refuses to compromise its principles, and offers friendship to those who seek its friendship and an iron fist to those who seek its destruction, the nations will accept Israel and treat it with respect.
Martin Wasserman was the producer and host of “Spotlight on the Middle East,” a community access cable TV show in Palo Alto, from 2005 to 2008. He is a longtime pro-Jewish and pro-Israel activist.