New War, All Over AgainMilitary, Politics — By Robin Dembroff on January 5, 2009 at 12:01 am
Like the War in Iraq, Israel’s invasion into Gaza has become controversial.
Is it a just war? Was it a last resort? Is the reaction proportionate to the cause?
If I were to know no history of the tensions and hostilities between Israel and its neighbors, I would probably believe the recent invasion to be, in a way, unjust. After all, Israel did not attempt an economic embargo or attempt to recruit UN involvement in this specific instance.
However, even from the limited amount of knowledge I have regarding Israel’s interactions with Palestinians, I simply cannot answer the question, “If you were Prime Minister of Israel, what would you do?” in any other manner than the course they have taken.
I am a pacifist at heart. Nothing would make me happier than if we could all live out the song, “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” But if, tomorrow, a terrorist group started sending rockets into my city, you won’t find any flower bouquets or peace pipes near me.
Israel has tried diplomacy. The UN, notoriously anti-Israel, isn’t going to be helping any time soon–so what more can Israelis do than to defend themselves forcefully?
The main difficulty of the scenario, I believe, lies in the character of the initial terrorist attacks, and the characters of the terrorists. Like the World Trade Center bombings, Israel’s civilians are being attacked, and in a way in which direct defense is nearly impossible. Hamas is not marching across the border with blazing guns. Rather, they are deploying the blazing guns without the soldiers–same as September 11th. Also like America post-9-11, Israel is faced with a ‘faceless’ enemy insofar as Hamas does not have a country, uniforms, or formal structure.
Confronted with a garden full of normal and poisonous plants that are identical in appearance, both America and Israel have, for lack of a visible better option, been forced to use conventional warfare in unconventional wars. Civilian causalities are part of the result: to Hamas, the primary means of war, and to civilized nations, a horrible, tragic part of war, which seems unavoidable in this conflict.
Is there another way?–I throw the question out to you.
If warfare must be used, (which I believe it must), is there an honorable and unconventional type of warfare that Israel can use against an insidious but also unconventional enemy?