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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    More Thoughts on Gaza

    To the detractors of my previous article on the current Gaza conflict: let me make this clear. I do not support violence against the refugees living in Gaza. But whose fault is it that those refugees are living there in the first place? Is it Israel’s, or is it the Arab nations who attacked Israel in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, and so on, and who have continually refused to agree to a negotiated settlement?

    My opinion, based on years of study of books — not unsourced web sites — is that the state of Israel is a democratic, well-developed nation, and an American ally. Israel’s military is made up of its citizens, who must serve by law, and who risk their lives for the good of their nation. The decisions that the Israeli military makes are based on strategic information that we have no knowledge of, and so I realize that no outsider can possibly understand all of them, despite the our desire to criticize them.

    Regarding the 1967 borders issue, history clearly shows that the 1967 war was an attack on Israel’s borders by armies from Egypt, who had precipitated the Sinai war in 1957, Jordan, and Syria. In that war, Israel successfully defended herself and also captured additional territory from Jordan and Syria.

    Israel eventually signed a peace deal with Jordan, but Israel has not reached an agreement with Syria about the Golan Heights, which were annexed by Israel in that war. Since Hezbollah used the Golan as a platform from which to launch attacks onto Israelis below, however, Israel has held onto it as a strategic necessity, out of tactical considerations.

    As for the United Nations, except for the shining moment in 1948 when it endorsed the initial partition plan, with even Stalinist Soviet Union voting “yes,” the United Nations has repeatedly served as a mere vehicle for propaganda against Israel. A close look at their many unenforced resolutions shows little regard for Israel’s right to defend herself or keep secure borders.

    The biggest mistake one can make is to criticize Israel’s actions when one does not have a true understanding of the history of the conflict. Arguments that uses the United Nations’ politically correct, but hopelessly idealistic resolutions, and the 1967 borders issue are at heart tricks to convince people that Israel has repeatedly acted without provocation.

    The history, however, clearly shows that Israel has always acted to defend herself. The proof lies in the fact that Israel has built itself into a modern democratic power, while the under-developed nations that have continually attacked it have lagged behind both militarily and economically.

    Who should we support — a democratic, progressive, nation, or an extremist front supported by Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas? Although the violence against the refugees living in Gaza is, by all accounts, deplorable and regrettable, history clearly shows that Israel has acted in defense for the last 60 years.

    Due to the impassioned response to my last column, I would like to spell out my position a little clearer in the hopes of strengthening my point.

    First of all, regarding the terrible plight of the refugees living in the Gaza Strip: it is a tragedy, and it saddens my heart to think of each person suffering because of this conflict. However, I would argue that any action Israel feels necessary to take is justified. Period.

    The killing of innocent Israeli civilians is not only terrorism, it is anti-Semitism. The rockets that have been falling on Israel for years now are an open statement of hatred for Jews.

    Whence does this hatred come from? In my last column I tried to briefly detail the beginning of the conflict, and the irrational hatred of Jews that has kept the region from peace. I believe that this hate comes from a dark place in the human soul, and that as such it is pure evil.

    The only way to confront evil is to fight it head on, but the enemy that Israel is fighting is almost invisible. It is spread out through a population of millions of civilians, with weapons hidden in mosques and schools, and even young children taking part. I cannot blame these poor victims of this war; if they choose to pick up weapons, it is probably because they know of no other way to respond.

    The worst part of it all, however, is that the entire Arab world lets the refugees fight their battle for them. They turn a blind eye to the suffering of these refugees, nations like Egypt restricting movement from their side of the Gaza fence, despite little security reason to do so.

    Any people with an ounce of feeling would have tried to solve this crisis decades ago, by accepting these poor people into their own lands, rather than using them to act as a constant thorn in Israel’s side. In 1948, however, the Arab world refused to accept refugees from the newly created state and so the crises continues to this day.

    What I do not understand is how Israel does see that the crux of this dilemma is the refusal of the Arab nations to come to a negotiated settlement regarding the refugees. I would guess that Israel is adamant about refusing to give up Jerusalem or any of the other demands that the Israelis consider out of the question, and that this prevents them from seeking peace more directly.

    Israeli political structure gives power to small, but vocal, extremist political parties, so that proposals that could potentially partition Jerusalem in a two-state solution are too easily blocked. In order to have a lasting solution, there has to be a strong partner for peace and so far there have only been weak allies and soft associations between Israel and Arab organizations and governments.

    Despite this political problem, in the end, Israel has an entire military full of people who go to work everyday in order to defend their country and their people. When they decide to act, they do it rationally and based on strategic goals. Compare this to rockets fired at random, in an effort to hurt anybody possible.

    I will never believe that these two strategies are comparable. It is sad that the refugees have to suffer, but they are merely serving as the surrogate for the desire to fight Israel. What the Israeli military does to shake up the world and make them see what is going on is a necessity.

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