lookout over Khan Yunis and Deir al Balah.
(photo credit: SETH J. FRANTZMAN)
A deep breath – we all need to take a deep breath. No war is going to be easy, clean, sterile, and without casualties. That is not war. We all realize that, in theory. We all understand that in our minds.
But then the reports of soldiers being killed start to arrive, as do the pictures on the television screen of civilians killed in Gaza – lots of civilians – and the heart sinks and the doubts begin to gnaw at the mind.
What are we doing? Why are we there? Why are we placing our sons, brothers, fathers, friends, and countrymen in harm’s way? Why are we doing this? Why? Because Hamas has given us no other alternative.
This is a war of no choice par excellence. We did not pick this fight; we were not itching for this campaign. We were dragged into it when three Israeli teens were brutally murdered and we responded to that atrocity by going after Hamas in the West Bank.
Hamas as a result retaliated by indiscriminately rocketing our cities – seemingly all of our cities.
This is not about a two-state solution or settlements or negotiations or whether a future border should run here or there. This is about a brutal enemy with no regard for human life, ours or theirs, who simply wants to make life for the Jews here unbearable and unlivable.
We need to remind ourselves of that when our eyes fill with tears, when our hearts get heavy, when our knees go weak.
We need to remind ourselves of that when our ears can’t listen anymore to protesters – most of them Palestinians or Muslims – denouncing and damning us around the world.
We need to remind ourselves of that as voices are brazenly raised wanting to deprive Israel of its right to defend itself. Sure, you can defend yourself – some of these voices will argue – but just don’t fire on Gaza. Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg astonishingly expressed that sentiment last week, even before the IDF’s ground incursion began, even before the pictures from Shejaia.
You can defend yourself, but don’t fire on Gaza. Then how, pray-tell, are we expected to defend ourselves? How can we stop the firing on our children? It is just and right and natural to fight to prevent the indiscriminate rocketing of our cites; it is just and right and natural to stop terrorists from burrowing tunnels into our communities to blow-up our soldiers, kidnap our civilians.
Before we can convince others of the justice of our cause, we need to be convinced ourselves – even, especially, when the going gets rough, very rough. And we should be convinced – indeed, the vast majority of us is convinced – because this fight is just: This time we were simply left with no choice.