As I’m sure you are aware, the Israel/Palestine conflict has heated up again. It looks like the IDF is getting ready to invade Gaza any day now and the usual suspects are spouting their usual memes. If I had my druthers I would just stay out of it but this time it seems pretty clear where the blame lies.
Imagine if you and your neighbor were having a feud. He claims the property you live on because before you both were born his grandparents lived there but your grandparents moved in and claimed part of the land. Both of your families have been fighting over the land ever since the Bronze Age. There is now a big fence separating the two sides.
You thought you had settled all this years ago, but lately he’s started taking pot-shots at your house with his .22 rifle. He’s broke a few of your windows, scared the hell out of your family, and even killed your dog. The cops won’t do anything. You warn him if he doesn’t stop you will retaliate.
Finally he wounded your daughter. So you grab up your AK-47 and empty a clip into his house. “You bastard!” he yells from inside his bullet-riddled domicile. “You have murdered my son! I will not rest until he is avenged!” Then he starts taking pot-shots at your house again.
Who is at fault?
The nation of Israel is about the size and has about the population of New Jersey. That’s not very big. You could easily drive the length of it in one day, or drive across it in a couple hours. The Gaza strip is even smaller – about 141 square miles. That makes it slightly larger than Philadelphia. But it has about 1.7 million people in it, which means it is pretty crowded.
The Gaza Strip is occupied by Palestinians and controlled by Hamas. Since the beginning of the year they have launched over 1200 Qassam rockets into Israel, mostly at civilian targets. These rockets are not like our ICBMs or Tomahawk cruise missiles, they are fairly small and can be launched from portable launchers set up on rooftops. They are short range and not very powerful, similar to a hand grenade or mortar round.
The goal of these rocket attacks is not to destroy Israel’s military. It is simple terrorism. Every time an Arab army has tried to stand toe-to-toe with the Israelis, they have lost, and lost badly. So now the main Palestinian tactic is to try to provoke a reaction.
The problem is that Hamas is basically holding their own families hostage, daring Israel to respond. It’s just like the Intifada – have boys throw rocks at Israeli soldiers, trying to goad them into shooting back. Then when the soldiers do shoot back, they scream about how terribly they are being oppressed.
Hamas lobs missiles at Israel, so Israel strikes back. No, it’s not a fair fight. Israel has much more military force than Hamas. But the issue is not which side is stronger, it is which side keeps initiating hostilities.
I’m not saying that Israel is wholly blameless in all the things that have occurred over the last 70 years. But as my grandma once told me, “Don’t go pokin’ that dog with a stick lessen you wanna get bit.”