Israel in limbo about war
The people of Israel are in a limbo of their own making. They suffer an unremitting and unprovoked attack. That attack would provoke almost any other country in the world to go to all-out war. But Israel will not. Or will it?
Israel v. Philistia
For the past five days the Republic of Israel and the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS in Arabic) have shot missiles back and forth at each other. HAMAS now has missiles that can reach almost to the Golan Heights to the north, and Eilat (formerly Etzion Geber) to the south. By some accounts some HAMAS rockets have hit targets in Judea and Samaria. (The outside world has called this region “The West Bank,” after the Jordanians annexed it outright in 1950. See here for a history of the phrase “West Bank” and other politically correct buzz phrases.) At last report (Agence France-Presse via Yahoo.com), 135 residents of Gaza have died. No Israeli civilian has died, but only because the Israel Defense Forces (IDF or Tzahal in Hebrew) can intercept incoming missiles, while HAMAS cannot. The Obama administration offers only to “mediate” in talks for a cease-fire. Agence France-Press again reports neither side even wants to talk.
Meanwhile, the Tzahal have been moving armor, artillery, and infantry to the Israel-Gaza border. The Ministry of Defense openly says it is thinking about invading on the ground.
So: why won’t they?
What would other countries do?
Today the Deputy Minister of Defense for Israel asked American correspondents (on Fox News Channel) what other countries would do, if missiles kept raining down on their cities from across a border. Would they not invade at once, to stop the missiles from flying?
Good question. The Obama administration would likely negotiate the retro-cession of the American Southwest to Mexico if missiles rained down on Los Angeles, San Francisco, Albuquerque, Phoenix, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, and so on. So that might not be the best example.
The larger question is: why won’t the armies of Israel move now? They have the tanks, the mortars, and the troops to take Gaza back and they know it. (Recall that, twelve years ago, an essayist wondered why Israel didn’t do the same.)
Alan B. Brown, Pastor of Parsippany Baptist Church (Morris Plains, New Jersey), suggests a reason:
The people of Israel are not even united on whether to go to war, even as they are under some sort of attack at all times.
Your correspondent can vouch for that. He saw that directly when traveling through Israel three years ago. Anyone else can verify that by comparing the editorials of The Jerusalem Post to Ha’aretz.
But that Israel would even hesitate about going to all-out war, should give the lie to the various canards about Israel in the world press. If the people of Israel did conform to the caricature of them in that press, they would not hesitate.
The politically correct buzz phrases in this list show the problem. Which is: the Gentiles (“Nations” in the Bible) have never liked the Jews. That dislike goes back to the beginnings of the Diaspora, or the Great Scattering. The Roosevelt administration turned back the “Ship of the Damned” when it tried to carry Jews out of Europe. The one American officer who made up for that, was a Jew himself. To wit: Lieutenant Colonel David Marcus USAR, also known as Aluf Michael Stone.
By any reasonable standard whatsoever, the Republic of Israel has all the casus belli it needs. The only good reason for Israel not to strike, is it might calculate HAMAS will run out of missiles before Israel runs out of interceptors. But maybe the people of Israel will have the debate that is long overdue, about whether they are ready to believe they have a moral right even to exist.