Israel Right On Defense
No Matter What. She’s Attacked
Last week’s analysis on the situation in Gaza from Charles Krauthammer is spot-on: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s words ring morally clear and astoundingly concise when he says of the implacability of the confrontation in Gaza, “Here’s the difference between us. We’re using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles.”
And that’s pretty much been the status quo ante bellum — or “status quo bellum,” as the case may be — ever since Hamas gained the upper hand, politically and militarily, in Gaza. And yet it is always Israel, it seems, that is obliged to maintain a delicate balance as it seeks, simply, to defend itself from eradication — a balance keenly described by Mr. Krauthammer as one between maintaining its “moral scruples” and its “nerve.”
Sweeping condemnation remains a fact of Israeli life, even as its government takes great pains to warn — and not to kill — the innocents its enemies use as missile shields. What a world in which to reside, a world in which living in peace and being left alone is never enough. And it’s never enough because the only result that would truly placate your foes is for you and your kind to vanish, preferably through annihilation.
Such a status quo gave Mr. Netanyahu little choice but to send ground troops into Gaza on Thursday. His government had agreed to a cease-fire; Hamas rejected it and not only continued to pour rockets into Israel, but also to persist in its ridiculous demands — i.e., that Israel release known terrorists and transfer funds so Hamas can pay its employees. Such sheer gall can be generated only because Hamas, for all its ill intent, still enjoys widespread succor, even approval, in certain global precincts.
Though Israel’s fabled Iron Dome almost universally protects its citizens from Hamas rocketry, the little nation should not be expected to live under the daily threat of attack. Common sense, not to mention the law of self-preservation, dictates that Israel strike, and strike hard, at Hamas’ military and political capability.
The rules of risk and reward apply. Hamas will not stop its attacks until Israel brings such force to bear that the terrorist entity concludes its particular expression of jihad is not worth the price it is paying.
Sad to say, that’s the only way Israel, an isolated outpost of democracy in the Middle East, can defend itself.