The Skeptic Conservative is having a fun time at college – Classes have started off well, and his new years resolutions include fun things like making this Blog successful, staying in shape – the usual stuff. This will be a busy week for me, but I’m going to hold myself to publishing at least an article a day – we’ll see how long I can keep it up! As always, write – comment – anything! It will make me a happy blogger, and happy bloggers write more.
The war between Israel and Hamas has been going on for over two weeks, with the end drawing near. We’ve seen it dominate the headlines and the debate on the internet, and we have seen a vehement reaction against almost everything Israel has done – which, I suppose, shouldn’t surprise anyone. Briefly, lets take a look at Israel’s actual goals in this conflict:
1) Stop the current rocket barrage
Call them bottle rockets, call them toys, crude instruments being thrown at a massive, technologically superior enemy – the fact remains that these weapons kill, and they disrupt daily life in Israel. It seems many people are fond of romanticizing these rockets, but reality doesn’t quite support them. It has been documented that rather then being simple bottle rockets, these are unguided explosive devices packed with shrapnel. Some are also more sophisticated rockets smuggled in under the Egyptian border, courtesy of Iran. Because of this, whenever they are noticed, all life stops in Israel for a few brief minutes as everyone takes cover and waits for the impact. The damage of this weapon is psychological, and to a lesser extent economical, and anyone who doesn’t realize how someone may be forever changed by a rocket exploding meters behind them and nearly killing them is being blind to the facts. The rockets can’t be allowed to continue, it endangers Israeli civilians too much.
2) Prevent future rocket barrages
This is something I am afraid that Israel may not do good on – but I sincerely hope they are serious this time. The classic problem with Hamas that every time Israel has ceded territory, the rocket barrages have not stopped. There are several ways this can be done – first, Israel could live up to their “Reputation” of being genocidal maniacs and flatten the entire Gazan strip with heavy artillery and carpet bombs. Of course, they aren’t going to do that because they value human life. The other way – and what it seems they’re doing – Is to more painstakingly secure the entire country, obliterate Hamas, and stabilize the country before they leave. That way, quality of life can improve, the Palestinians can realize that Israeli’s really don’t want to kill them all, and they can live without fear of Hamas killing squads executing those seen sympathizing with the Zionists. This cannot last for too long – but it has to happen at some point for the peace process to move forward.
3)Destabilize and De-legitimize Hamas
Sure, Hamas was a popularly elected government – but it is an illegitimate one and the Palestinians made a poor choice in selecting them. Democracy is good – but in this case it failed because an extremist organization was able to seize power in the immediate aftermath of a bloody civil war. The Palestinians were half forced, half incited to vote the way they did, making them the ultimate victims. Hamas has no incentives to make peace in the region since their stated mission is to destroy and conquer Israel, so they simply must be toppled. They do not truly represent the people and their interests, since they do not value their lives.
4) Put a good face on the war
Israel is simply trying to hard here. Before you chew me out, listen – We have already seen that the media is not interested in supporting Israel in the least. Despite showing tremendous restraint in response to Hamas, every case of friendly fire and collateral damage have been blown out of proportion. Israel needs to continue as they have, without fear – if they continue to be righteous, and ESPECIALLY if they help rebuild Gaza, the world will favor them in the long run. For now, no matter what they do, they will be condemned. I’m not saying they should completely shun the press – but they should not let the media and their headlines dictate their policies. It is weakness, and it is exactly what Hamas is seeking.
Hamas’ simple goals can be summed as follows:
1) Conquer Israel
It should be obvious to people that Hamas has a dedicated vendetta against the existence of Israel the state. It is blatantly, boldly stated in their charter that their ultimate goal is the destruction of Israel. They want to violently reclaim Israel’s territory, and most of all they want Jerusalem. They are not interested in coexistence with moderates, much less Jews. It is simply not possible to make peace with such a group unless you can convince them to change their views with diplomatic means, and as necessary, military means.
2) Maximize Civilian Casualties
Hamas does not value human life. They have demonstrated this time and time again in their struggle with Israel – using human shields is now a common tactic with them. Why shouldn’t they? The media loves to ignore, or sidestep, the fact that Hamas goes out of it’s way to put civilians in harm’s way. Rockets are fired from neighborhoods, Hamas operations are conducted in hospitals, all to guarantee that as rocket positions are destroyed, civilians are caught in the cross fire. Hamas also doesn’t hesitate to kill civilians who oppose their agenda. They even broadcast television shows that seek to brainwash children into hating Israel, Jews, and advocating their violent overthrow. To Hamas, the Palestinian people are useful tools to further their agenda, and nothing more. They do not value their lives much beyond that.
3) Wage Propaganda War Against Israel
This is the number one tactic of Hamas in it’s fight against Israel. Almost all of their public actions are carefully planned and carried out in a way to make Israel look bad. They cater to the West’s disgust of war by making sure Israel is forced to attack “civilian” targets, that women and children are killed, and that civilians get caught in the cross fire. To the mainstream, it seems that they can do no wrong – and they are cast as the David in David vs. Goliath. They also use the internet rather effectively – a tactic that saw widespread use with Al Qaeda in Iraq. They hate the West – but they will not hesitate to exploit the West’s weaknesses in order to fight them.
4) Continue the fight at all costs
Hamas has continually violated cease fires, truces, etc. during this prolonged struggle with Israel. Despite numerous concessions made by Israel, Hamas and their allies have continued the fight. In periods of peace, they smuggle in weapons, consolidate their power and then they begin to provoke Israel into striking back, and ‘breaking’ the truce. You would have to be a careful observer of television news to notice that Hamas had been firing rockets all summer long, despite the truce that had been put in place in July. Hamas cannot be assumed to act in good faith because of this.
Above all else, it is highly essential for you, who are mostly people in the western world, to realize that we are looking at a completely different culture then ours. Hamas takes itself very seriously – they know they are combating a technologically superior enemy that could squash them like a bug, but they are not afraid to go to the horrific lengths that we would not consider. I can almost guarantee that if somehow, Hamas had the strength and military might of Israel, they would not hesitate to massacre the entire nation, annihilate all signs of their presence, and build it over with symbols of their own culture. Hamas practices a branch of Islam that preaches violence, and spreading their religion by the sword. This is a fundamental facet of the ideology we find ourselves battling in Iraq and Afghanistan – to them it is a religious, cultural struggle. It is a sad and unfortunate thing that this branch of Islam has not undergone a reformation like Christianity has – but we must continue to oppose and battle this ideology of hate and oppression. But consider what I am saying carefully – I am deliberately singling out Extreme Islam, not moderate Islam. This struggle – this culture war, is sadly becoming one of the most key struggles in our history, and we must stand strong against it.
EDIT 6/10/13: Light polishing