We’ve recently watched as Israel and Hamas have slugged it out. As always, when Israel seeks to defend itself, there have been many saying Israel’s response to Hamas has not been “proportional”.
What is, in fact, a proportional response?. Any other country suffering under the weight of literally thousands of rockets landing indiscriminately on their territory would not only have responded with harsher and more deadly methods, but the world community would have likely agreed with their doing so. Yet Israel has to defend its right to survive in the court of world opinion. That’s a discrepancy I’ve never understood.
Some historical perspective is in order. Let’s take World War II, Japan. The Allied offer at Potsdam was rejected. Pottsdam demanded surrender. Japan refused and kept fighting.. Nothing short of total Japanese defeat was going to end the war, So, the only way out of this fight was to win it.
As a direct result of unrestrained force.. (What, after all, is nuclear warfare but unrestrained force?) resulting in defeat of Japan, the war ended years short of where it would have, and with far less loss of life than a conventional invasion would have cost us.
I dare suggest to you that given the experiences in WWII, the demand on Israel to wage a “proportional” war is counterproductive to the stated goal of peace, and further, that our many attempts to broker peace between Israel and her neighbors, are also counter-productive, having extended the war from weeks into decades, and added to an already gruesome death toll.
Consider more recent history. . Jimmy Carter pushed Israel to the bargaining table and pressured her to give up both strategic and cultural assets that she had no business giving away if survival was it all on the agenda, in the interests of peace. For reasons that Jimmy Carter has yet to explain to us, mostly because he hasn’t got a clue, peace didn’t come.
Clinton, by way of efforts of James Carville, the managed to get Ehud Barak into the Israeli prime minister’s chair. Clinton insisted Israel offer the Palestinians 98% of what they wanted. They were offered just about all of the West Bank and Gaza plus East Jerusalem and even Palestinian sovereignty over the Temple Mount. The Palestinians responded by turning it all down and by waves of Palestinian protesters tossing a few zillion rocks at Israeli police, by Palestinians sending their armed forces euphemistically called a policeman to shoot the Israelis, apparently hoping for an excuse to tell the rest of the world how Israel was such a war mongering nation.
These should’ve been a signal that the Palestinians really didn’t care about a brokered peace. A brokered peace deal, you see, requires a point of view on all the parties on both sides, that sees peace as desirable. The events surrounding the presidencies, and the foreign policies, of both Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton are similar, from the Israeli perspective, in that it’s a lesson Carter and Clinton never understood.
Nor have the people involved with those administrations learned the lesson. Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor, Zbignew Brezinsky over the last weekend issued a comment to the effect that Israel and their neighbors will never come to a piece on their own. The thrust of that comment was intended to make the case that the west should get involved and broker a peace deal. Trouble is, we’ve already done that many times over. Those efforts resulted in us being no closer to a real peace than we were 60 years ago.
Contrary to what Mr. Brzezinski says I suggest to you that were we to leave Israel and her neighbors to their own devices, instead of insisting on a ‘measured’ and “proportional’ response, that the issue would have been solved decades ago, the death toll would have been much lower, and that region of the world given the wealth that has a natural resources and natural talent would have been a far better place than it is today.
All the insisted- upon negotiated settlements, have done is prolong the war and increase the number of dead, and serves to give legitimacy to the Islamic extremists ensuring that they attain the power they seek by our winning their war for them, at the peace table thus ensuring further blood shed. Meanwhile, Israel’s neighbors break hose agreements before the ink is dry.
No surprise then, that when Barack Obama, whose stated foreign policy is in the mold of Carter and Clinton and involves the same people came along in November Israel, remembering her immediate past, wanted none of it. From Israel’s viewpoint, it’s bad enough that they have to suffer the slings and arrows from the Palestinians who are chanting “death to Israel” and insisting that the only path to peace is the destruction of Israel, it’s worse yet when western liberals come along, offering the Palestinians both support and legitimacy in that effort.
And so, we have the action we see before us. And Israel catches flak from the world community for not responding in a “proportional” manner.
So again I ask the question, exactly what do they mean by “proportional”? In the cases in WWII that I’ve mentioned, we waited for more or less five years before responding with Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Israel, has waited ten times that….50 years and more. How are Israel’s actions not ‘proportional’? How long do we propose to hold Israel to that myth of proportionality?
It is long past time for us to disabuse ourselves of the notion that this business with Israel and its neighbors is going to come to some kind of mutually agreeable end, anytime soon without the full weight of warfare being brought to bear against the Palestinians. It’s time to dismiss the notion that civilization is going to ultimately have any sway whatever over a group of people who insist on remaining in the fourteenth century and who are by their own words willing to kill a thousand of their own people for the purpose of killing one Jew.
It’s time to let Israel handle this without our interference. I will doubtless be told that what I propose will cause the deaths of innocent people. Again, I point to the examples from WWII. Certainly, in the cities we destroyed, then, there were a lot of innocents who died. Yet, who can deny that as many and more have died on both sides in this conflict in the last 40 years while we shielded the Palestinians from the full consequences of their war waging?