Let’s just check the facts taken from a New York Times report and the Washington Post:
- As of July 19th, the most recent update of records, more than 350 Palestinians have been killed since July 8, when Israel began its air offensive in Gaza, and more than 2,400 have been wounded, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. About 75 percent of casualties have been civilians, according to the United Nations. Many of them children.
- Over 60,000 Palestinians are seeking refuge from the war-zone.
- There have been 5 Israeli deaths since fighting began, three soldiers, two civilians. Edit: Reports are coming out now that 13 IDF soldiers were killed overnight in Gaza.
- A lot of rockets have been fired by Hamas into Israel, but most of those rockets lack sophistication and either fail to land in populated areas or lack the firepower to cause casualties when they do. Sometimes they are even launched without their payload to increase their range.
- According to the Post, Israel has F-16 fighter jets, Apache attack helicopters and armed drones, all of which are capable of firing into Gaza with remarkable firepower and considerable accuracy.
- Most buildings in Israel are required by law to have bomb shelters and warning sirens. There’s also the “Iron Dome,” Israel’s missile defense system which can shoot down threats still in the air. The Israel Defense Force says about 90 percent of the system’s targets have been shot down. Palestinians have none of this.
- Israel engages sometimes in warning signals via telephone or “roof knocking,” the act of sending a warning missile prior to launching at a target. However, this is not always effective.
In war, there are no “good” sides. War sucks, period. Nobody is saying Hamas is a saintly organization, but do the Palestinians and especially Palestinian children deserve to die for the sins of Hamas? Is collective punishment moral? As you can see by the facts mentioned above, this war is clearly lopsided. Not only is Palestine out-gunned, out-manned, out-defensed, but Israel has the unconditional support of the West.
That unconditional support is untenable. How can we continue to support Israel unconditionally when Israel is doing this sort of killing? No doubt, Israel has a right to not have rockets launched at them daily by Hamas and generally terrorized by Hamas; Israel has the right to self-defense. But there has to be the law of proportionality. If my neighbor came over my fence line and punched me in the mouth, that would be wrong and I’d have a right to defend myself by, say, punching him in the mouth back. However, Israel’s course of action seems to indicate they believe they have the right to burn my neighbor’s house down with him and whoever else, irrespective of if they were involved in the mouth-punching, are in it. That’s a disproportional response.
Robert S. McNamara, the Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War, was the subject of a brilliant documentary because of its insight into the mind of a war-planner, The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the life of Robert S. McNamara, and his 5th lesson is that “proportionality should be a guideline in war.” I’ll let him tell you about it:
“What makes it immoral if you lose, but not if you win?” “We were behaving like war criminals.”
Two important, significant quotes that muddle the waters of unconditional support for Israel. This is not even getting into the occupation issue and treatment of the Palestinian people and so on. Just this war and this moment now.
Prior to the recent ground invasion of Gaza, the United States Senate passed a unanimous resolution showing support of Israel. Billions of dollars in aid to Israel, along with diplomatic and military support should cease.
As Omar Baddar, a Middle East political analyst said, “Ultimately, this conflict will only be solved when the side holding virtually all the power, the one imposing displacement, occupation, and apartheid on the other side, is pressured in a meaningful way to allow Palestinians to exercise self-determination. Heeding the calls for a suspension of military aid to Israel would be the beginning of such meaningful pressure, and through it we could hopefully see a process that puts us closer to the ending the needless killing of innocent Israelis and Palestinians.”
I agree fully.
There’s propaganda on both sides, but the fact of the disproportional nature of this war should be readily clear to those that seek the truth.