At what price, war?

This is currently featured on Lay of the Land:

At what price, war?

Heavy is the head that wears the crown – or in this case makes the unenviable decision on behalf of a nation to go to war.

I don’t envy any leader or general who has to make this decision.

Over a period of two days, nearly 500 rockets and mortars were fired by terror factions from the Gaza strip into Southern Israel, sending hundreds of thousands of civilians scrambling for safety in their bomb shelters.

One person (a Palestinian from Hebron) was killed when a rocket hit his apartment in Ashkelon, a 19 year old soldier is fighting for his life, a beloved family pet was killed and 68 people have been treated for injuries as well as the horrific destruction of property.

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Bus burns after sustaining direct hit from rocket fired from Gaza, 19 year old soldier was critically injured

At the moment there is an Egyptian-brokered a ceasefire in place and many have opined that we should “obliterate Gaza” “flatten it totally”. I am very perturbed and offended by this kind of rhetoric.

Please allow me a moment to rant. I share the frustration of many that we need to put an end to the terrorist actions of Iranian-backed Hamas and various other terror factions in the strip for once and for all. These terror groups hold both their own and the civilian population of Israel hostage with their thirst for bloodshed. Many have called for an all-out war with our Gazan neighbours and it is easy to be an armchair general from the safety of our homes, far away for the proverbial battlefield.  I am not a military expert and I cannot fathom, like many of you, the difficult decisions Israel’s government, security cabinet and Generals have to make. But I am a human being and holding on to my moral compass, my humanity is sacrosanct.

The decision to go to war or “boots on the ground” is profoundly difficult. War is not glamorous or an easy decision to make. For Israelis, this situation is profoundly painful and as much as we would like to deal a death blow to the likes of Hamas, we are well aware of the consequences.

War is fought on the backs of our sons and daughters, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, lovers, friends and colleagues. Some of them don’t return. War is more violence inflicted on our civilian populations. War is experiencing PTSD (which by the way many of us, including me experience at the sound of sirens). War is going to funerals for those fallen and gone too soon. War is sleepless nights because we worry our loved ones in the battlefield have not contacted us. War is our heart stopping every time our phones ring or whatsapp beeps.

And war is suffering inflicted on the Palestinian civilian population who do not deserve to be punished because of the actions of their leaders. War is women, children, the disabled and vulnerable being used by Hamas as human shields. War is our diaspora communities under threat and more anti-Semitism because Jewish communities outside of Israel are seen as the de facto representatives of the state.

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 Fallen.

I am proud and grateful for our armed forces and security establishment who abide by the strictest code of ethics and conduct. These brave men and women protect us 24/7 while retaining their humanity in the most extraordinary of circumstances. Who are we to behave in a way that is disrespectful to them and fellow innocents by baying for blood? I am proud of a country that takes our duty to be humanitarians even to civilians belonging to an enemy entity very seriously. This is why we continue to ensure that humanitarian aid is delivered to the beleaguered strip unabated.

I hope this offers an explanation. Some of you may disagree, and that is your right. All I am asking is that in a time of conflagration we do not lose our perspective – or humanity.

My gratitude to our brave men and women of the  IDF, IAF, and security services, police, first responders and firefighters for exemplifying the best of us and keeping us safe.

Am Yisrael Chai.

tumblr_nb0t6kFRyH1txx6x7o2_1280Iron Dome intercepts incoming rockets

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3 thoughts on “At what price, war?

  1. The issue is indeed one of humanity. Humanity demands an end to the savagery and violence committed against Israel’s citizens. Humanity insists on innocent people to live in security and peace of mind, not having its children sleep in fetid bomb shelters or having to fear every day for their lives and cower under their school desks when the piercing wails of sirens reverberate in their ears and the sounds of explosions rock their classrooms. Humanity requires that aggression by halted by whatever means necessary to put paid to the acts of barbaric regimes. Humanity demanded an end to Nazi atrocities and Japanese imperialism. To that end, Allied forces used all their available weaponry, including the fire bombing of Dresden, Hamburg, Berlin, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Cities whose very streets and pavements boiled and seethed after tons of napalm and white phosphorous bombs were deliberately and with malice of forethought dropped on both military and civilian targets. And Germany and Japan, unlike our enemies, did not seek the liquidation of the United States and Great Britain, nor the extermination of their entire populations.
    Why isn’t it our right, as Israelis, to demand that our government act no less justifiably against our foes?
    The glaring hypocrisy of those nations to condemn Israel for executing pinpoint attacks as opposed to what they themselves did in their defense? Are the lives of our citizens as less then worthy that those of the Allied nations that celebrated the tens of thousands of German and Japanese civilians killed by their actions? Are our children no less entitles to play, learn and sleep in quiet and security?
    It is far more humane to guarantee the security of Israel and her citizens than to repeatedly and with limited success tip toe around the bastions of our malevolent foes.
    Certainly we are not privy to the underlying reasons for our disastrous policy of restraint in the face of evil but I believe that the fault lies within the sickening Diaspora mentality of many of our leadership that bends its knees in an insane desire that the world should love us. History has proven that the world does indeed, love Jews…..dead ones. Only when we, as Israelis, demand that our government act in a manner that will make our enemies scream for mercy, will our children in Sderot, Ashkelon, Kissufim and all the communities in our south live no longer in fear of our enemies.
    Yes, war is a tragedy and our best men and women often fall in the defense of our nation but the greater tragedy is when weakness becomes policy and deterrence degenerates into impotence.
    Israel. like any other nation on Earth has the right to defend itself. It does not have the by your leave, to sacrifice her people on the altar of self-flagellation.

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  2. First of all there is no such thing as a Palestinian. They are Arabs and that’s it. The only reason there is a cease fire is so Hamas can regroup and resupply. The people in the south want the IDF to take strong measures and retaliate heavily. The IDF also wants to use heavy arms and get them back. The only thing holding them back is Netanyahu who is running scared of the ICC. Let him step down and let someone who can handle the job do it. Liberman had the right idea. Send in the bombers and tanks. As the daugter of Hagannah company commander and US army sergeant and wife of a former US army captain I was taught it’s not the bombing and the tanks that are hard it’s the house to house searches that are the most dangerous for our boys. We need to go in and level Gaza. Then maybe they will realize that Israel is a force to be reckoned with. We
    can’t let these people keep holding us hostage. They have disrupted a whole way of life. Think about what you have to go through just to travel. That’s not the way we are supposed to live.

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    • Netanyahu is not running scared. As a matter of fact he is doing the smart thing, at this point because an Israeli attack on Hamas would play right into Abbas’ trap. There is nothing that Abbas would enjoy more than watching Hamas, his political enemy being destroyed as well as clapping his hands watching Israeli soldiers bleed. Furthermore, the Sunni Arab states that are becoming less intransigent to Israel and are actually realizing that the “Palestinian” problem is not their objection to recognizing Israel but would find themselves hard pressed not to express their diplomatic (both covert and overt) disdain for applauding Israel for killing Arabs. Also, we are not privy to the pressure brought on the government to hold back and respond to the attacks by Hamas with measured responses. As an example, the US, for the first time, supported the Israeli government position on the Golan Heights by not voting with the majority demanding Israeli withdrawal and handing the heights back to Syria, this might seem like a small thing but diplomatically, it speaks louder than thunder.
      Also, one has to take into account the possibility of a combined Hamas/Hezbollah assault on all of Israel when tens of thousands of rockets would target our country simultaneously overwhelming the Iron Dome system. In the last war in Lebanon, 4000 missiles hit Israel during the entire campaign. Today 4000 missiles an hour could be launched by Hezbollah, which would make the mullahs in Teheran have orgasms.
      Yes, the Israelis in the south must be protected and defended. But it must be done smartly, timely, and with a certainty of quiet in the north. Netanyahu has demonstrated statesmanship with our allies, diplomatic elan with our Sunni neighbors and an iron fist when called for against our enemies.

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