In defense of Israel

The recent conflict in Gaza is difficult to put into scope. The complexities of Israel’s constant conflicts with its neighbors stretch back for decades and, in some cases, centuries.

The recent conflict in Gaza is difficult to put into scope. The complexities of Israel’s constant conflicts with its neighbors stretch back for decades and, in some cases, centuries.

One of the main sources of conflict is that the land now known as Israel has been inhabited and occupied by many different peoples over the years—and by years I mean millenniums. With finite time and space it is difficult to give an entire history lesson, but in a nutshell, the question as to who really owns the land of Israel, to many, is not very clear.

This is where the conflict arises. We have several denominations of people who believe that they are the rightful owners of the same piece of land. This also, very dangerously, mixes religion and politics into one big pot.

Hamas is the organization currently in power in the Gaza Strip, a small strip of land (about 139 square miles) that borders Israel and Egypt. Hamas is a paramilitary organization and political party, which also holds the majority of seats in the legislative council of the Palestinian National Authority.

One of the stated goals of Hamas is to destroy the State of Israel and replace it with an Islamic state, and it seems they will go to any length to achieve this goal.

So after years of rocket attacks, and then weeks of fighting when Israel entered the Gaza Strip in an attempt to stop the rocket fire, Hamas is ready to make a deal. My question is, since when is it proper procedure to negotiate with terrorists?

Canada, the European Union, the United States and Japan all consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization. This is why Hamas is not referred to in news sources as the Palestinian National Authority or hardly even associated with Palestine. This, in my mind, has very little to do with Palestine but rather this terrorist organization, which currently occupies one of Palestine’s territories.

Now innocent Palestinians are being caught in the crossfire when a terrorist organization uses a Palestinian territory from which to fight its enemies. This is a lose-lose situation any way you cut it, but Israel is not the big bad bully here.

This is the result that usually occurs when Israel attempts to defend itself against organizations that abhor their very existence. Does Israel not have the right to defend itself?

Of course the right to defend oneself does not include the right to harm innocent bystanders, but this is what happens when one must fight an enemy that fires their missiles and mortars from mosques, schools and hospitals.

Hamas is the embodiment of an enemy that cannot be reasoned with. An enemy who believes they have the right to your land and will fight to get you off of it at any cost.

Israel, largely due to international pressure, is now withdrawing troops from Gaza. Hamas and its followers are declaring victory and parading empty coffins that read “Death to Israel” through the streets—and they are somewhat correct. Hamas has achieved a victory of sorts.

They have succeeded in portraying Israel as an unprovoked aggressor, a bully and slayer of innocents. They have succeeded in stirring up sympathy for their cause, which may also allow them to recruit more militants into their ranks.

Every person on this planet has the right to defend him or herself from harm. This is what separates aggression from defense. The way one goes about that defense is what makes things difficult. Mainly, do the ends justify the means? The problem is that the means change when your enemy won’t play by the rules and fires at you while hiding behind the very people they are supposed to be protecting.

Once again Israel has been forced to endure terrorism on their soil and forced to allow an organization which wishes their complete annihilation to not only continue in trying to achieve their goal but to rearm and regroup for another try.