Gaza: Replies to Anti-Israeli Arguments

“Many more Palestinians get killed than Israelis, and Israel has some of the deadliest and most advanced weaponry in the world that it’s using against the Palestinians.”

I do realize that most people are trying to point out that the conflict is somewhat disproportionate, but there’s a very dark implication in this complaint. “If only more Jews could be killed, we’d have a bit more of a fair fight. We need to fill the quota so that it matches up to the Palestinians. if only these crafty Jews would stop defending themselves so effectively with that Iron Dome system and let a few more missiles fall on their cities and towns, we could have more of an equal body count to read about”.
Just ask yourself if you’d like to have more of a fair fight with Al Qaeda or ISIS.

“Most Palestinian casualties are civilians.”

Correction: close to 100% are civilians. Most people seem to be confused about what militants are, and about what it means to launch a rocket one second, and to run into a house as an unarmed civilian a second later. Does a person somehow go in and out of ‘civilianhood’ depending on what he/she does at any given moment? Pretty much any suicide bomber is a civilian, ISIS militants are civilians, every one of the 9-11 hijackers was a civilian. The distinction we need to make is between combatants and noncombatants. Enough with this “civilian casualties” nonsense.

“The only way this will end is if Israel ceases fire and sits down to negotiate with the Palestinians.”

Here’s a beautiful illustration of confused ‘halfway-round-the-world’ thinking.
For starters, this conflict isn’t between Israel and the Palestinians, it’s between Israel and two militant Islamist organizations called the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hamas. I realize it’s easy for many people to get confused about this, but the majority of Palestinians actually live in Israel proper and in the West Bank.
And if you think there’s not much of a difference between members of Hamas who are in control of Gaza, and members of the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA), who are in control of the West Bank, look up Fatah-Hamas Conflict to see how in 2007 hundreds were killed when fighting erupted between the two sides over who would control the Gaza strip. Feel free to watch some of the grizzly videos, showing Hamas militants throwing Fatah members off high-rise rooftops and mowing down rows of tied up Fatah members with AK47s, as they violently took control over the Gaza strip.
As for negotiating with Hamas, there’s nothing to even talk about. The Hamas has vowed to never negotiate and never stop trying to obliterate the state of Israel—the entire state. It’s very much like the idea of the US negotiating with Al Qaeda or ISIS, but it gets even crazier than that because Israel is often told that it has to negotiate with this militant Islamist organization (that doesn’t want to negotiate) while it’s being shot at. Just imagine for a moment how it would feel to be told you have to negotiate with Al Qaeda while it’s flying commercial jetliners into buildings.
So, even though military operations alone cannot ultimately solve all our problems, try not to swing the pendulum all the way to the opposite extreme and embarrass yourself with ludicrous suggestions about negotiating yourself out of a firefight with Islamist extremists who vow to never negotiate.

“Israel might warn people to clear out before a building gets bombed but where can the people go?”

Short answer: out of the fucking building!
I’m not trying to be insensitive here. Yes I do realize that Gaza is very small and crowded, and that for many people living halfway around the world, it sounds a bit ironic to tell folks to go from one spot to another within a crowded region, but this gets cleared up as soon as you give it a moment’s thought. Is it ironic for people to flee a burning building in Manhattan, for example? After all, where can they go? Manhattan is a crowded island, is it not? And since I already mentioned Manhattan, wouldn’t it have been nice if the 9-11 hijackers had warned the people in the World Trade Center to evacuate before crashing their hijacked airplanes into them? Just ask the people who did manage to run out of the Twin Towers in time if there was anything ironic about being able to escape death only to run into an enclosed crowded area.
This ridiculous question seems to make light of the difference between life and death, and of the fact that no other military on the planet cares enough to warn a target before it’s hit.
As for the buildings themselves, why do you think they’re being targeted in the first place? These are either structures from which rockets are being launched, structures that are used for storing rockets, structures that are used for command and control over rocket launches or infiltration attacks into Israel, entry points into tunnels that go into Israel, or all of the above. The people inside these structures are either part of the Hamas or PIJ military wing, or people who are unfortunate enough to be living in a house that the Hamas or PIJ is using, and that are oftentimes forced to remain there, despite—or because of—the danger.

“This is just part of an Israeli plot to take over the region and eliminate the Palestinians.”

One of the things that makes this filthy claim so ridiculous is that it’s often made by the very same people that complain about Israel being the strongest power in the region—indeed a nuclear power. For some reason, no contradiction between Israel’s actions (trying as much as possible to pinpoint its attacks to rocket launchers, tunnels and ammunition; warning people before bombings, setting up field hospitals for Palestinians, etc.) and Israel’s actual capabilities (the ability to carpet-bomb, or nuke, the whole area) can convince some people that Israel is something other than a genocidal monster.
And finally, yet again, I need to point out that the majority of Palestinian land and population is not in the Gaza strip. What is unique about Gaza however is that it’s controlled by a militant Islamist organization that keeps launching rockets into Israel. There’s really no mystery to any of this, and no secret conspiracies either. Hamas and PIJ make it very clear that they will not stop until Israel is eradicated (just read the Hamas Covenant), and Israel makes it clear that it will not tolerate having hundreds of rockets shot at its cities.

“This is all because of the occupation, and because of the blockade on the Gaza strip.”

For starters, the blockade only started after Israel pulled out of the Gaza strip. I’ll be the first to say that indefinitely blockading this stretch of land is neither morally nor politically sustainable, but when you have militant Islamist organizations that are plotting your annihilation and actively trying to stockpile weapons and deploy them for that very purpose, it leaves you with very limited options. If you want a blockade or an occupation to end, shooting rockets into Israel is absolutely the wrong way to go about it. Shooting rockets into Israel will demonstrate exactly why the blockade is so important to maintain. If you want an occupation or a blockade to end, there’s a very clear way to do this—it’s called a peace process.

“OK, we can sort through all that later but for now, we have to start with a ceasefire, which has to start immediately!”

You’re acting like this is the first time all of this is happening. We’ve had multiple ceasefires before. And the only thing we got for them are more Hamas and Islamic Jihad attacks later on. Yes, I do realize that a ceasefire must come at some point, and that there should be a time for some kind of dialogue or negotiation, but then I remind myself that the Hamas and PIJ are militant Islamist organizations that are bent on the full annihilation of Israel, and that have vowed to never negotiate, never stop fighting and only use ceasefires for rearmament. Not only do they keep saying this—indeed, screaming it out—they’ve consistently demonstrated it. This is not, as I’ve mentioned, ‘our first rodeo’.
Ceasefire sounds like the logical and humane thing to do, right until you consider how many more rockets they have now compared to what they had before the last ceasefires. Every time we have a ceasefire things only get worse the next time around. You don’t need to be a genius to see a pattern here.

I really hope that all of this doesn’t make me seem like a hard-line reactionary cheerleader for every Israeli policy. For the record, I never liked Benjamin Netanyahu, I strongly disagree with all construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and I obviously think that the Palestinians deserve to have their own sovereign nation. And though this situation is very complex and I don’t have all the answers (newsflash: nobody does), I do feel the need to say a few things when utter garbage is spewed at Israel.

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