First off, I’m well aware that this is a gray area. Few people would dispute the right of a country to counter attack when under fire. While it’s true that Israel’s Iron Dome defense system is the most efficient in the world and stops a stunning 90% of rockets launched from Gaza, it can’t just sit back and take it. Israeli bombings are one way of retaliation. Principle aside, you don’t just defend and wait for the enemy to get better and find new ways to screw you over. So let’s get that out of the way. The question is “How much”?
How Much is Too Much?
According to independent UN reports, 75% of casualties are civilians including children. For a moment, let’s ignore the heartrending pictures of innocents that have spread throughout the social media. Even if Israel’s retaliation was extremely mild, there would still be innocent casualties. Look at the statistics instead.
There is one set of people, including a certain gleeful right wing segment in India, who support Israel without hesitation. They bring up the same points I did in my first paragraph. That Israel has the right to retaliate. But completely skip the next question – to what extent? Listening to them, you would think that Israel has the right to retaliate to any degree. That if tomorrow they decided to drop a tactical nuke to wipe out all of Gaza, it would still be justified. Because…defense!
Much of the glee behind the support of unlimited Israeli bombings stems from a fierce dislike of Muslims and Islam in general. It’s hard to miss. The discussion invariably turns to India and Pakistan and how they wish India had the “guts” to respond to Pakistan the way Israel is responding to Palestine. They ignores the fact that Pakistan is not only a much more formidable adversary, they have the trump card of nuclear weapons. If Israel had Pakistan as a neighbor, they would be doing exactly what India is doing. It’s easy to bully a country that has limited military strength. Try that with a nuclear state and you’re an idiot.
But back to the main question – are there no limits to how many innocents die in the pursuit of terrorists? Clearly right now Israel thinks a 1:4 ratio of terrorists to civilians is fine. How far are they willing to go? 1:10? 1:100? Would Israel be willing to kill a hundred civilians to get one terrorist?
Obviously there has to be a line. Or you just throw up your hands and say there is no line. In while case, just nuke the whole country and be done with it. I’m genuinely interested in knowing where the supporters of Israeli bombing fall on this issue. Do they feel all bets are off, or do they yet believe that Israel must have some restraint? If so, what is the magical number? So far a 75% innocent casualty rate doesn’t make them blanch. So what number will?
Israeli Bombings Create the Next Generation of Terrorists
Right now at this very moment, there are thousands of innocent people whose lives have been ruined due to Israel. They’ve lost their family, and their homes. Children whose parents have been killed are not going to be bothered with Israel’s justifications. I don’t think I would have the moral rectitude to calmly look at the political situation and say “Oh well, I guess Israel had no choice. I know my parents were killed for no fault of theirs, but…that’s what happens in war!” Screw that. I will probably grow up with thoughts of revenge. And a feeling of persecution which will not be unjustified.
Forget the history of the Israeli Palestinian conflict. At this point no one gives a crap. When your life is ruined out of nowhere, you’re not in a position to sit and wonder who’s in the right and who’s in the wrong. As far as you’re concerned, Israeli bombings have condemned you to a life of misery.
The very best that Israel can hope for is that these people do not grow up to be full fledged terrorists. But they will always retain hate in their hearts for Israel. And with a 75% civilian casualty rate, there’s a lot of hate going around. The only way to avoid it now is if Israel simply wipes out all of Gaza. And maybe that’s what many people want.