I have been asked by a couple of people lately what I think about the latest conflict going on in the Middle East. A lot of the time I try not to engage with this kind of conflict as the noise to substance ratio is very high. We hear a great deal of rhetoric and propaganda coming from both sides. Quite often it is very difficult to determine who has the moral authority in these kinds of conflicts.
This conflict seems different though. Hamas (the legally elected government party in Gaza) is a terrorist organization. One of their major tenets is to see the destruction of Israel. Many countries, including Canada, have deemed Hamas a terrorist organization. Since their election in 2005 much of the international community has largely isolated Hamas and much international aid has not been flowing to Gaza. As a poor nation Gaza and the West Bank rely heavily on this aid.
In November of 2008, Hamas was once again firing rockets into Israel. Hamas claims that Israel has not lifted blockades into the country for Palestinians. Israel maintains that Hamas has been firing rockets into civilian areas in the south.
I believe that Israel is completely within her rights to defend the country from Hamas rocket attacks – whatever that takes. Israel cannot tolerate random attacks on civilian population. What Hamas seems to not understand is that, for all intents and purposes, Israel has unlimited resources when it comes to fighting a war. The United States, a staunch supporter of Israel, will ensure Israel’s survival in the Middle East. In fact, there is a policy followed which states that Israel must be able to withstand any combination of countries in the Middle East attacking Israel. Israel can and will protect herself.
The unfortunate reality is that it is the civilian population in both countries who are harmed the most in these conflicts. Gaza, which is already impoverished, is further weakened. Daily three hour cease fires will at least allow civilians to get much needed supplies.
France and Egypt have put together a proposal for a cease fire. However, Israel is concerned that another cease fire will just allow Hamas the opportunity to re-arm so that they can then resume firing rockets into Israel. Israel maintains that they need to sufficiently weaken Hamas so that it is unable to re-arm. For Israel, any cease fire agreement must include provisions that no weapons be allowed into Gaza. Israel also maintains that they are not seeking a regime change in Gaza.
Hamas would be foolish to underestimate Israel’s commitment to ensuring Hamas is unable to wage further terror. Hamas only needs to study the history of other Israeli wars.
My hope is for a peaceful end to this conflict for the sake of all the civilians.