January 9, 2009
Guest column: Israel must defend itself, but it still desires peace
"If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I would do everything to stop that, and would expect Israel to do the same thing."
How would you react? Would you want the U.S. government to "negotiate" with the people threatening your family? Would you want our government to respond "proportionately," whatever that means? Would you want our government to put a stop to the rocket attacks by whatever means necessary?
The agreement was formally broken by Hamas in December, and the rocket attacks against innocent civilians intensified until Israel took its recent steps to defend its citizens, first with an air campaign and now with ground forces. Israel took this action only after warning Hamas repeatedly that it would not continue to tolerate deliberate attacks on its citizens.
Contrast this behavior with that of Hamas, which callously uses innocent Palestinians as human shields and stores weaponry (much of which is supplied by Iran) in houses, schools, hospitals and mosques. In these circumstances, civilian casualties, always tragic, are inevitable. Hamas bears the responsibility for those casualties by deliberately putting Palestinian civilians in harm's way.
In May 1948, the state of Israel declared its independence. Within hours, the combined might of five Arab armies attacked the nascent state. Israel defeated those armies in battle. Since that time, Israel has been attacked again and again, and has been forced to defend itself. The current situation is no different. Israel's actions are designed to change the security equation in order to make Israelis safe. Israel is not fighting the Palestinian people; it is fighting the terrorists who have hijacked Gaza, terrorists whose intransigence harms Palestinians as well as Israelis.
Once Israel has met its security objectives and a more robust, verifiable cease-fire has been put in place to protect innocent Israeli citizens, Israelis and Palestinians of goodwill can continue on the road to true peace.
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