Sunday, July 16, 2006

Give 'em Hell!

Slate says Israelis are really pissed off. I think they're justified.

In spite of the perpetuation of the notion, dearly held by campus progressives and peace advocates, that Israel is a Western-Imperialist Junta built upon second class subjugation of the brownish locals, Israel has been a somewhat unwilling occupier, aspiring to benevolence and final status against fanatical enemies who kill civilians intentionally.

In spite of the vast-right-wing-conspiracy theorists who rank the "Jewish Lobby" ahead of the NRA, Pat Robertson and oil companies in influence, even Israel's right-wing parties haven't been that hawkish. Likud hero Menachem Begin did, after all, give up Sinai for peace with Egypt. And it's duly noted that, subsequent to that historic peace accord, one of those "activists" from Islamic Jihad shot Anwar Sadat over it.

Israel, far from the territorial expansionist imperial power, had attempted to demilitarize Gaza and Southern Lebanon by unilaterally withdrawing troops behind its borders. This has clearly only encouraged the terrorists. (And, yes, I will refer to Hamas and Hezbollah and members of both groups, including the purportedly political members, as terrorists. If you disagree, my comments are unmoderated.)

Israel's key dilemma in the territories and in Lebanon is the same problem the United States is having in Iraq, While the terrorists' war is absolute, Israel isn't at war with the civilians, doesn't consider them enemies, and would prefer not to make enemies of them. That means that Israel has to wage war on terrorists while minimizing civilian casualties, which is probably why it has rarely unleashed its fighter jets against the heavily populated areas in Gaza where Hamas terrorists congregate. Terrorists are not similarly principled. They blow up civilian restaurants and buses, and launch rockets carelessly at cities. They aspire to kill as many civilians as possible, and if Israel responded in kind, the results would be terrible to behold. Lebanon and Gaza would look like Chechnya. Russia has, incidentally, condemned Israel's actions.

This time, though, it's too far, because these attacks have taken place in the wake of Israel's affirmative steps toward withdrawal on all fronts. Hamas and Hezbollah have now manifested unambiguously that their war will not end, despite any withdrawal, the end of any occupation, the withdrawal behind the green line or any line. It's time for Hamas and Hezbollah to be removed from existence, as political movements or militant groups. It's time for their leaders to be killed or imprisoned and their acolytes killed or dispersed. These groups and their backers in Tehran and Damascus, have made their play, and the time for restraint is over.

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