Self-Defense – An Appropriate Response
In every society that refers to itself as “democratic”, there exists the right to defend oneself from an attack by another. This right of “self-defense” covers a wide range of situations and it extends not only to individuals, but to nation-states as well. Israel was attacked time after time, month after month, year after year for the past almost 14 years by rocket fire emanating from the “Palestinian”-controlled Gaza Strip, ruled by Hamas. Over the years, the type of the projectiles fired into Israeli residential communities by militant Islamic groups, like Hamas and its affiliated terrorist organizations, has improved. The explosive nature of those rockets has increased and the range of the missiles has been enlarged from around 40 kilometers (approximately 25 miles) to 200 kilometers (approximately 125 miles). We have seen attempts by terrorists, even during these last few days, to infiltrate into Israel by sea, by land and from under the ground via tunnels.
The rocket attacks are intended to cause as many Israeli civilian casualties as possible. Somehow, this simple fact is overlooked by those who condemn Israel because of the rising civilian deaths in Gaza. The attempts by terrorists to land on our shores, near established communities, was for the purpose of carrying out wide-scale slaughter of civilians. The recent attempts to infiltrate into areas of Israel from tunnels originating from Gaza was intended to wipe out an entire civilian population in locations not far from the tunnel exit, after which the terrorists would return to their tunnel hole and return to their den. Just like poisonous snakes, who crawl out, find and kill their targets and return to their holes in the ground.
The attempt of Hamas terrorist to infiltrate Israel was thwarted by the IDF yesterday. Even though Hamas did not succeed in its efforts, this was said to be “the straw the broke the camel’s back” and prompted Israel’s security cabinet to approve of the ground operation in Gaza.
See the video at the following site (second photo down, with Hebrew words in it), as well as the English version.
For a look at what a Hamas-terrorist tunnel looks like, see here.
This video shows how Hamas terrorists, with full gear, are able to walk upright inside of the tunnels, some of which are known to extend for 2.5 (1.5 miles).
And where do those tunnels start from? Some are under a child’s bedroom, others begin under a kitchen sink. If we allow our imagine to become activated, we may find tunnels in places that we would never normally think they would be. Maybe if we find all of the tunnels, we’ll also find where the Hamas leadership are hiding themselves, while making demands for a cease-fire. We need to ignore their demands and stick to our own.
Just think of a terrorist “commando” force trying to infiltrate your community, with the intention of killing as many people as possible, as quickly as possible and then returning back to their point of entry without being detected. That will give you a good perspective of what is happening here.
Disproportionate and Asymmetrical? Irrelevant!
The international community has officially, or unofficially by not saying or doing anything, taken a position with regard to the “Palestinian’s” rocket assaults upon Israel from Gaza and our response to their attacks upon us. Some countries have stood up and supported Israel’s right to defend itself, without qualification. We are thankful for countries like the U.S., Canada and even Germany for seeing things the way they are and for supporting our right to not only defend ourselves, but our efforts to try to put an end to the ability of terrorist groups like Hamas to continue such assaults upon us. Period!
Other countries, however, seem to miss the point and start to condemn Israel’s response, referring to the fact that civilians are being killed in Gaza, including women and children. Another argument is that Israel’s response is disproportionate to the offense, as the number of Israeli casualties is minimal (thank God!) and that the present war with the forces of evil in Gaza lacks symmetry.
No one wants innocent victims to die – no one, that is, except Hamas and its cohorts. We need to remember who and what Hamas is: an extreme militant, Islamic fundamentalist, political movement, that is vehemently opposed to the existence of Israel. It rejects all agreements between Israel and the “Palestinians”. It is not interested in setting up a “Palestinian” state, but rather, in the elimination of the State of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic nation. Its roots are in the “Palestinian” branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Its very name, Hamas, means “Islamic Resistance Movement”. It absolutely refuses to recognize Israel or renounce violence against Israelis. If it does so, notwithstanding its perspective vis-a-vis Israel, it will be for the sole purpose of taking a break to regroup and re-arm, as its past military encounters with Israel have demonstrated.
Hamas embodies what can only be described as “evil”. It has no value for life, except for the life of its leaders. It has encouraged suicide terrorist bombings, while its leaders cower in underground bunkers and tunnels. Its “soldiers” openly and forcefully use civilians, particularly children, as human shields. It encourages its civilian population to ignore warnings of the IDF to vacate their premises, warnings which are intended to get out the civilians out of harm’s way in an effort to reduce the number of civilian casualties. It cares little or nothing for the people whom it governs and who are beginning, little by little, to wake up to the reality that their Hamas leadership threatens the life of the entire population. The same is true of other Arab leaders, many of whom would be only too happy if Israel were to remove Hamas from the stage of world history.
It is, indeed, sad that civilians are innocent victims of those who rule over them and who reign with a reign of terror. There are always innocent victims of war and, unfortunately, there will always be. Israel has done everything it can to reduce the number of civilian casualties and we should not have to apologize if civilians in Gaza are killed. We can easily compare the number of daily casualties in the civil war in Syria. But, few nations stand up and condemn one side or the other in that conflict for the civilian deaths, which are piling up.
The anti-Israel argument continues that Israel’s response is disproportionate to the offense and that the parties are asymmetrical. The claim of “disproportionate response” has been raised against Israel time and time again, invariably by those who are not in Israel’s shoes, or who have forgotten what is is like to be attacked from outside of its current borders and who buy into the “Palestinian” narrative. What civilized country in its right mind would allow rockets to be fired into its territory, which are aimed at its civilian population, and not respond? How long do you think it would take for the US. or England or Brazil or … or … or Russia to respond to a rocket threat against its citizens, without taking responding in an attempt to eliminate that threat? Do you think that any of these countries would wait for 14 years and allow the situation to be repeated over and over and over again and rely on a promise that it would end, when experience shows that it won’t? The U.S. went after Osama bin laden and al-Qaeda and bombed thousands of Afghanis, many of whom were not even able to read. If one or more of Hamas’ rockets were to hit a high-rise building in Tel Aviv, or in Beer Sheva, or in Jerusalem, causing it to collapse and killing dozens, if not hundreds, of civilians, would Israel’s response then be considered more “proportionate”? The fact that Israel has suffered minimal deaths as a result of all of the missile attacks from Gaza should not be a reason to condemn Israel. Rather, it should be to Israel’s credit, that it has learned from bitter experience how to respond to outside threats, including missile threats, by constructing protective locations and instructing its citizenry how to react upon hearing a siren go off, warning of a possible incoming missile. Israel should not have to apologize for the relatively small number of Israeli casualties. And, as already noted, the larger number of civilian casualties in Gaza is the fault of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups affiliated with them, by either using civilians for defensive purposes, or threatening them if they move out of harm’s way, having been given an opportunity to do so by early warnings from Israel.
As for the lack of symmetry – the one who benefits from this is Hamas, not Israel. Hamas has fewer combatants and does not have the weaponry and military capability that Israel has. But, it is, indeed, the mouse that roared. And, while being condemned by some arab countries and by a growing number within its own population, nevertheless, it has found sympathy from certain “western” countries who argue lack of symmetry. This is particularly true when Hamas displays bodies of innocent victims, including children, who could have lived were it not for the actions of Hamas. Israel, on the other hand, is treated as the bully of the Middle East, despite the fact that it has always extended its hand to its neighbors to live in peace, whose hand has been rejected and whose gesture has been rebuffed. Because it is strong and capable, it is accused of being the aggressor, when, in fact, it is the one who has been attacked time and time again, in an effort to eliminate it and remove its existence in the midst of a sea of Islamic states. Israel has been said to have a secret weapon – it has nowhere to go and has no option but to succeed. But, more than anything else, we have God, Who chose us, called us, removed the peoples of this land from before us, gave us this land as an inheritance and as a place where He placed His glory and will do so again. He watches over and protects Israel, despite all attempts of those who hate Him and hate His people, and who desire to wipe us out as a nation, that the name of Israel would be no more. In reality, they have conspired together with one mind; against [God] they make a covenant (Ps. 83:1-5).
The nations are upset that children die. We are upset and greatly saddened at that fact, as well. Those who sought to kill our children are having theirs killed instead. “I will bless those who bless you and the one who curses you, I will curse.” (Gen. 12:3)
What’s the bottom line? We didn’t want this war and were forced into it. We wanted and still want to live in peace, not in pieces. We will do what needs to be done to protect our citizens, whether the rest of the world likes it or not. Another meaningless cease-fire, without getting rid of the terrorist tunnels and without disarming Hamas and its fellow radical Islamists in Gaza, will only delay the inevitable: another fight with more sophisticated weaponry, more anger, more bitterness and hatred and more deaths. When will they ever learn? When? Will they ever learn?
Don’t Bring God into this War!
Believe it or not, there are those who get upset when we ask God’s help to defeat our enemies. Yes, it’s true. Take the case of Col. Ofer Winter, commander of the elite Givati Brigade, who included several references to God in an operational order that he issued. Among the things that he said were: “History has chosen us to be the spearhead of combat against the ‘Gazan’ terrorist foe, who curses, blasphemes and insults the God of Israel…I lift my eyes to heaven and call out, together with you: Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one.’…Lord God of Israel, grant success to the path on which we walk and stand to fight for Your nation Israel against the foe that blasphemes Your name.”
He was accused of talking about a “holy war”, rather than a war against “terrorist cells firing rockets.” Can you imagine it? This military Colonel was doing the same thing that young David did against Goliath – calling upon his troops to “remove the disgrace from Israel”, to show themselves strong by depending upon “the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel’s armies, whom [our enemies] have blasphemed.”
He continued in his operational order and wrote: “I rely on you, each and every one of you, to act in this spirit – the spirit of Israeli warriors marching in the vanguard of the camp” (like the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh – Numbers 32:31-34). He encouraged them to remain steadfast and resolute, by reminding them of their history as the people of The Book. He used other, well-known prayers, asking for God’s help in the mission that lies ahead of his troops. We do this all the time in Israel. It is part of our daily language, to say “With God’s help …”. May there be an abundance of military officers, like Colonel Winter. Our national leaders could learn a good lesson from his dependence, not on the arm of the flesh, but upon the One with “everlasting arms”, Who drove out our enemies from before us (Deut. 33:27). To those who say that they don’t believe in God, or who are practical atheists, a word of advice from my own time in the military: They are no atheists in foxholes.
First Israeli soldier dies from the present war
With sadness, I am mentioning that the first Israeli soldier died as a result of an exchange of gunfire, after Israel entered the Gaza Strip last night. He was a 20-year-old from Herzliya. We mourn his loss, along with his family. His funeral will be held on Sunday. May his memory be blessed.
Ending on a different note:-
A not-so-peaceful protest against the IDF’s ground operation in Gaza took place today in Haifa. During the course of that protest, Knesset Member Haneen Zoabi was said to be handcuffed and detained for about 5 minutes, before the local police commander ordered her released. She denied attacking the police and claimed just the opposite, namely, that the police attacked her and kicked her. Yeah, just like her claim that the three Jewish teens who were killed weren’t kidnapped.
A video of the protest can be seen by clicking on the following link.
The woman who is arguing with the police at the beginning of the video is Haneen Zoabi.
And that was what brought us to Erev Shabbat (the evening before the Sabbath). Shabbat Shalom (may you have a peaceful Sabbath).
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip. He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper. The LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever. (Psalm 121) May it be!
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.