1. “On the one hand, I oppose the missile attacks by Hamas on Israel. On the other hand…”
There is no “other hand." Opposition to rocket fire on innocent civilians in Israel must be unequivocal and absolute. No more excuses and rationalizations. Every single missile firing from Gaza is intended to kill and terrorize the innocent and is a war crime. Civilized people do not look for ways to justify these attacks, even by implication.
2. “I don’t know what Israel should do, but I do know that this war will accomplish nothing.”
The missile fire has continued for 11 years. During that time, other countries and the United Nations have mostly been silent. Military action at this point is, in fact, a necessary response, and this much is certain: Israel not does not need and will not accept advice from those who shrug their shoulders and say “I have no idea what should be done and anyway, probably nothing will work.”
3. “It’s acceptable to use force, but Israel has used disproportionate force.”
What this almost always means is that if only more Jews had been killed, we would be more understanding. It is almost as if they were wishing for more Jewish deaths. This statement is usually accompanied by the observation that in the recent fighting “only” 3 Israelis have been killed, and only a small number over the last decade. But for those who say this, the fact that a million people have had their lives disrupted for years, every school requires a bomb shelter, children have been traumatized to an almost unimaginable degree, and normal life has simply come to a standstill is somehow not enough of a reason to take vigorous action.
4. “The Hamas missiles are not missiles, but inaccurate homemade contraptions.”
What difference could this possibly make? These “contraptions” sow fear, cause chaos, force the population into shelters, and must be treated in Israel as if they were more advanced weapons—because, of course, in any given instance they could be.
5. “Israel, the major military power in the region, could never be defeated militarily by Hamas.”
I used to believe this, but I must admit, with great regret, that I am no longer certain. It is absolutely true that Israel could not be defeated in a conventional war by Hamas. But a prolonged campaign of missile fire could, eventually, force citizens of the south to flee the area, demoralize Israelis everywhere, discourage investment from abroad, undermine Israel’s deterrence, and encourage Arab governments to adopt a rejectionist course. And all of this is a reason why, after so many years of unrelenting attacks, Israel must do what is necessary to put an end to rocket fire into her territory.
I do not know what will be in the days and weeks ahead. American involvement may create possibilities for political progress, and even now, approaches must be made to the voices of relative moderation in the Arab world. But if a peace is to be created, it must be built on the truth about Gaza, and the truth is this: Hamas is the guilty party, and there is no reason to tolerate the lies and deceptions of those who say otherwise.