For days I’ve been struggling with how best to respond to the current and ongoing crisis in the Holy Land, by which I mean the violence visited by the State of Israel on the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip, and the violence visited by Hamas guerrillas upon the State of Israel from within the Gaza Strip. Part of the struggle has been one associated with the oft heard response to any criticism of Israeli policies, i.e. a fear that I would be labelled anti-Semitic because I took exception to the way in which the State of Israel is conducting itself.
And so, in that light and before I go any further, I state the following:
- I support and respect the right of the State of Israel to exist.
- I support and respect the right of the State of Israel to defend itself.
- I support and respect the right of the Palestinian people to their own State.
There is a severe power differential between the State of Israel and the Palestinian people of the Gaza Strip (and other land under the control of the Palestinian state-entity (however described)): the Israeli Defence Forces are highly resourced, high technological military forces, while their opponents are not. This would seem to suggest, at least to me, that the response of the State of Israel, via the IDF, should be more measured than what it appears to currently be. The deliberate targeting of the civilian population – men, women, and children – and civilian infrastructure – hospitals, houses, schools, etc – is simply immoral. That this targeting seems to be random and reckless only heightens the immoral nature of the actions on the part of the State of Israel.
The State of Israel, if it continues to follow its current policy with regard to the Gaza Strip, runs the danger of becoming an international pariah state.
On the other hand, the guerrillas of Hamas would do well to act in a manner that is less focused on perpetrating violence and more on engaging with the world in a way that demonstrates their desire to be recognised as the legitimate State of Palestine. For as long as they continue with acts of violence (which the State of Israel always refers to as “acts of terror”) then the State of Israel will continue to respond with violence which, given the severe power differential, only impacts on the innocent and defenceless.