As I noted this morning, it would not matter how many Israelis were killed before Tel Aviv launched its retaliation. None of it matters to a world community in which the Jewish state will always be branded the aggressor, and where terrorists and murderers are aquitted as "victims." Israel will always be found at fault, simply because it is Israel. It is the only successful democracy in the region. It's free, democratic, and humane. It's women enjoy rights that no neighboring regime grants to their women, including Iraqi Kurdistan. It's moral values are unparalleled, which helps explain why the Jewish state is in danger today. It's introspection is so prounounced as to be debilitating. But Israel is the outpost of Western values in the Middle East. It's existence challenges the reign of barbarism, from Gaza to Southern Lebanon to Tehran. Those who back the Palestinians don't care about proportion. They want destruction of Israel and the decimation of moral right. This is what it's about, readers should have no illusions.
Look at that picture above, via Fox News. Ehud Olmert is no terrorist (and don't even get me started on the demonization of George W. Bush). To a degree unseen in past Israeli prime ministers, Olmert empathizes with - no, grieves for - the Palestinians. Early this month Olmert defended his administration's vision for Middle East peace, indicating that he was like none those that came before:
Israel is the strongest country in the Middle East. We could contend with any of our enemies or against all of our enemies combined and win. The question that I ask myself is, what happens when we win? First of all, we'd have to pay a painful price.And for this he's vilified as a terrorist?
And after we paid the price, what would we say to them? "Let's talk." And what would the Syrians say to us? "Let's talk about the Golan Heights."
So, I ask: Why enter a war with the Syrians, full of losses and destruction, in order to achieve what might be achieved without paying such a heavy price?
...In the absence of peace, the probability of war is always much greater. A prime minister must ask himself where to best direct his efforts. Are his efforts directed toward making peace or are they directed constantly toward making the country stronger and stronger and stronger in order to win a war?
...What I'm saying here has never been said by a leader of Israel. But the time has come to say these things. The time has come to put them on the table.
Readers should spend a few minutes with David Keyes' essay at Commentary, "Sderot Under Siege." I'll leave this passage as a reminder of Israel's tradition of restraint, which has sadly left a bitter wasteland of fear among those within range of Gaza's rockets:
It must be said if General MacArthur or General Patton were in charge, there would be no Qassam problem. The residents of Sderot would sleep like babies—in their own beds. Both Generals would begin with the recognition of Gaza as enemy territory and Hamas as pure evil—unrepentant terrorists who seek the destruction of Western Civilization. Both Generals would occupy Gaza immediately with ground troops and without hesitation. They would pursue total victory and vanquish any semblance of resistance. Both would succeed beyond our wildest expectations. Gaza is an infinitesimally small piece of territory and a rather large joke compared to the mighty Nazi state and once ruthless Japanese army, both of which were defeated and pacified at the hands of MacArthur and Patton. Not a single cent would be spent by either General on absurd plans to shoot down rockets from Gaza . That’s defeatist and passive, they would say, and that’s not how winners act.Read the whole thing at the link.
The reason why Israelis have not found a solution to the Qassams is simple: they’re Israelis. Jews care about what others think and they’re moral to a fault—a very big fault. But there is nothing moral about the depraved state in which the launching of almost 6,000 rockets can pass without an overwhelming retaliation. There is nothing sane about restraint in the face of a vicious war waged upon you. A bumper sticker on a beat-up maroon-colored car in Sderot reads “A Time to Love.” But this is not a time to love. It is a time to hate; it is a time to war; it is a time to win. In other words, it is a time to be American. If 6,000 rockets were launched at San Diego from Tijuana , rest assured that the residents of Tijuana would have little trouble finding parking because their city would be flattened. There would be no talk of ceasefires. America would wage war, it would win, and the rocket fire would cease.
But defeatism is one of the most prevalent characteristics in Israel today. Ask an average Israeli if it is possible to defeat Hamas and the answer is invariably “No.” No where is this resignation more apparent than the government. In 2005, Ehud Olmert said: “We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies. We want that we will be able to live in an entirely different environment of relations with our enemies." Contrast that with Winston Churchill in 1940: "We shall not flag nor fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France and on the seas and oceans; we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on beaches, landing grounds, in fields, in streets and on the hills. We shall never surrender…”
Why have Israelis become so timid? It is in no small part because they have been bombarded for so long by so many enemies. Nearly 10,000 rockets have struck the homeland in the past few years. Put simply, a rocket attack on Israel is no longer the big deal—the supreme violation of decency and act of unspeakable terror—that it once was. Israeli President Shimon Peres exemplified the problem when he blurted out “Qassamim Shmamamim,” the Hebrew equivalent of “Qassams Shmamams.” This is no different than the phenomenon of brushing aside the daily murderous statements of Hamas leaders like Ahmad Bahr, former Speaker of the Parliament, who openly called for the slaughter of Jews “down to the very last one.”
Pamela Geller has more on the global left's reaction to Israel's exercise in self-defense (and self-restraint).