Windows and Doors

Windows and Doors

1 American and 2 Israeli Perspectives on War in Gaza

After thousands of rockets and mortars landing in what virtually the entire world accepts as the sovereign and unoccupied State of Israel, Israel began a large-scale bombing operation of Gaza this weekend. This new fighting, focusing on military and governmental targets is almost certainly justifiable.
To quote President-elect Obama from an earlier visit to the often bombed Israeli town of Sderot, “If somebody was sending rockets into my house, where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that, and I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.”
But justice alone is not necessarily a sufficient reason to go to war. Having the right to do something does not always make it the right thing to do. Those of us, who appreciate the justice of this action, should also be asking if this escalation is wise. And about that, I am not so sure. Having spoken to numerous Israeli friends and relatives in the past twenty four hours, I can report that the people of Israel are of many minds about the intensified war against Hamas in Gaza.
As one friend from Tel Aviv remarked, “there is no apparent exit strategy and little reason to believe that Israel will be so destructive as to make Hamas re-think its commitment to destroying Israel. This means that sooner or later the two sides will need to speak, and sooner is better than later.” Is he wrong? It was the failure to recognize the elements of truth is my friend’s observation which dragged Israel into decades of fruitless conflict in Lebanon.
But, as many more friends and family members commented,


“The equation needed to be changed – there needs to be a sufficient level of deterrence established so that hundreds of thousands of Israelis do not spend the next decade living in bomb shelters.” They are certainly correct that no nation would tolerate the situation as it was. So what to do? How does a nation establish a reliable truce with people not only ideologically committed to their destruction, but actively perusing it?
Sitting at a distance, the readers of this blog have more options than those on the ground, on either side, in the Middle East. Of course, we can follow the usual path, mounting arguments for the rightness of our current interpretation of events and do battle in the press. Or, we can begin to ask ourselves the kinds of questions which people find hard to ask when physically threatened.
We can ask ourselves if justice is really being served in this war, and if it is, are we also acting wisely. We can ask about the appropriateness of any cause which demands the total destruction of its opponent. We can ask ourselves if we see any other possibilities than the ones being played out currently, and if not, why not? Those are the questions that are asked by people seeking peace and they are the ones we have the safety to ask, regardless of how we view current events in Gaza.

  • Ruvain

    This is a morally intolerable situation for us Jews. The choice between letting Hamas grow stronger and continue to refine its target practice on our homes and taking action to end the danger. The intolerable aspect is not the shelling of our homes, but the fact that Hamas has situated itself so that any Israeli response has to kill a “disproportionate” number of Palestinians. If Hamas did not hide behind women and children, then civilians would not be harmed, but Hamas uses women and children as shields for the express purpose to cause their deaths in order to create anti-Israel propaganda.
    I ask myself, Why Now? Is the danger so much greater on December 29, 2008 than it would be on Jan 2009?
    I speculate (I emphasize that I speculate) that the Israel has watched the Democrats and Obama closely. The Democrats including the Jewish Democrats did nothing to support Israel when it was fighting Hamas and Hezbollah a couple summers ago. In fact, many Jewish Democrats indirectly attacked Israel by their verbal attacks on Bush during this time.
    We now see that Obama has learned the Clintonian ploy to stab-your-friends-in-the back. The first to be stabbed by Clinton were the Gays with Dont’ Ask Don’t Tell. The first to be stabbed by Obama are the Gays with Obama’s honoring the vicious Anti-Gay bigot Rick Warren to give the inauguration invocation. Obama calls his inviting Warren to be inclusive, despite the fact that Warren is a man who actively excludes Gays from his congregation and worked to have the Gays’ constitutional rights stripped from them.
    Will Iran become Obama’s new BFFF? Will OBama place his so-called reaching out to Hamas and Hezbollah in the same category as his reaching out to the bigoted, anti-constitutional right wing religious Thumpers?
    Perhaps Israel saw the hand writing on the wall and knew that it had to move now. For all we know, Obama would join with Iran and seek an anti-Israel vote in the UN Security Council.
    It is hard for one to distinguish Obama’s alleged inclusiveness with his stabbing friends in the back. Thus, I speculate that Israel may have been forced to act now rather than risk being Obama’s next victim.

  • Your Name

    How would I feel if my neighbor blocked all supplies coming to my home,which would be food, medical supplies, etc. in order to force me to support there way of thinking.(On the border)
    I would be angry.
    I don’t like who you have in your house (nation/town)which is next door to me, so I will punish all of you for keeping that which i hate in your home. Is this fare?
    Well that which you hate is willing to help me/us but you won’t let them help because you block humanitarian aide so in reality you are violating a truce of peace.
    Because you don’t like someone why make me suffer because I don’t want to get involved? The innocents.
    I firmly believe that the Love of God is on both sides of this evil.
    God loves the people in Israel and Gaza the same, so this war is an ungodly war and this is the truth of the matter.
    I don’t see the love of God in any of the bombs from either side.

  • Solomon2

    “The legitimate object of war is a more perfect peace.” – General William Tecumseh Sherman.
    It was Sherman’s Army of the West whose march through the South killed few yet inflicted such damage upon its infrastructure, and thus demonstrated that the Confederacy’s slave system had existed only by the will of the Union, that the South lost its will to continue the war. Such a campaign would doubtless be considered a “war crime” today, but although Sherman was hated by Southerners for generations, there wasn’t a peep of guerrilla warfare after the rebel armies surrendered.
    I don’t think Arabs put much faith in written laws, nor do they spare their conscience in honoring them; rather, they rely upon personal and power relationships between themselves and their clans – the tribal law of the jungle where everything goes. It appears the Gazans are in shock because they did not appreciate how Israel really holds itself to law, and expects Gazans to do the same. The Arabs of Gaza only lived in the peace they did at Israel’s sufferance. Hopefully Israel will not just eliminate weapons and enemy personnel, but attempt to establish an alternate system of governance.

  • Reinhart Meyers

    This Israel and Palestinian problem has an easy fix. Stop Hamas from sending rockets into Israel. Too easy. If Hamas sent rockets into China, Russia, or Japan what would happen? I believe these countries would rightfully retaliate. Why would Israel be any different. Instead of sending rockets into Israel what horrible thing would happen if they helped the Israeli’s instead? Wow! That would be too hard to do. Here is water, iced tea, medical supplies etc. The Hamas and Palesinian’s seem to be too hateful to help anyone. Their problems would disappear if they became more helpful instead of trying to hurt someone. Too easy!

  • Scott

    Dear Your Name:
    Your example so ignores the facts and blatantly includes a false premise that I cannot see how you could be a person of good will.
    Israel’s recent strikes into Gaza have nothing to do with how the people in Gaza think or feel. Thus, your premise that Israel acted because it did not like what people inside Gaza thought or felt is simply a lie. The incessant sending of rockets into our Jewish towns.
    The entire world knows the facts — including the Arab world. Hamas has been shelling Israel for months and the shelling became much stronger after the cease fire ended (Only Israel followed the cease fire — Hams continually shelled Israel only less frequently during the cease fire)
    Hamas has been using our towns for shelling practice to carry out its declared purpose to murder all of us. Any you blame us for trying to stop the people who daily try to murder our children.

  • Ruvain

    Let’s see if Your Name has so much faith that G-d is on his side.
    Send us your son and we will place him in Ashkelon beneath the Hamas rockets. Except that won’t work as Israelis would not intentionally expose any child to danger.
    In criminal law, anyone who aides and abets a murder to escape is as guilty as the murdered. People who lie about the known facts, such as Your Name does, are akin to people who assist murders to escape the law.
    The fact that Hamas has succeeded in murdering more Palestinian children than Israeli children does not make Hamas less culpable. Hamas is employing a variant of Suicide by Cop; only its game is Murder by Cop — fire rockets into Israeli towns and then shove Palestinian children into the paths of the Israeli missiles.

  • Your Name

    To one to say that blocking all supplies is wrong is a weak or phoney excuse. The reason Israel checks supplies coming in is because many times there is weapons and ammunition in the supplies that are used against them. The Muslim world protests when Israel strikes against the Hamas. Yet all across the Muslim world there is not one protest against the Hamas sending rockets into Israel? The Muslim world should be angry when Hamas sends rockets into someone’s country. The reasoning for this behavior by the Muslims appears to be fueled by hatred. Hatred distorts logical thinking. No person or group should be sending rockets into any country in the world. It would be better to improve social needs rather than waste money on guns and bombs. Only until people improve themselves will the world become a better place for everyone.

  • Your Name

    I am an American and from my observations of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis it appears to me that the Hamas are really mean people who live with so much anger and hatred. I am wondering if they even love themselves? Why can’t they be decent and law abiding people and not provoke their neighbors fueled by hatred. What terrible horrible thing would happen if they didn’t shoot rockets into Israel? What terrible horrible thing would happen if the Hamas instead of spending so much money on missiles, bombs, and ammunition they spent it on improving life for their people like day care centers, plaza’s, foster homes, health care facilities, community swimming pools, and child care services, education? Or does this make too much sense? Can’t the Hamas understand these easy fixes for their people or do outsiders like us American’s give them good advice. Our culture is wonderful and I know the Palestinian’s can also be wonderful but they have to change their mean and bullying way of thinking and conduct themselves more humanely. That will be the key to their real future.

  • Solomon2

    Not every culture values materialism and peace above other things. Hamas’ core document is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. The pleasure they feel is a sadistic one that they feel is augmented by a holy purpose. What purpose does peace provide sadists if it deprives them of opportunity?

  • Robert

    I have American, liberal, Episcopalian friends who work in the hospital in Gaza. We haven’t heard from them this week.
    If either Hamas or Likud did not exist, one would have to invent the other. Both suffer leaders who are smart, resourceful, focused, and courageous, and who haven’t any way of organizing their followers other than in defense against a common enemy. So bombs make martyrs and martyrs make bombs. Short of a final solution, Israel’s current intervention will not be successful. And were there an Israeli final solution, Israel would not be easily forgiven.
    Light to the world, indeed.

  • Your Name

    Robert –
    Our prayers are with your American, liberal, Episcopalian friends in Gaza. I hope that they are successful in alleviating some of the misery there.
    Actually, the Likud doesn’t have a great deal in common with Hamas, other than both are political parties. Hamas rules Gaza – and Likud is in the Knesset opposition. Hamas is a terrorist organization; the Likud has not used suicide bombers to achieve its goals. A Likud prime minister, in contradiction to his election platform and in defiance of Likud party memebrs, engineered the withdrawl from Gaza – expelling 8,000 Israelis from their homes and destroying their communities, ostensibly to bring some degree of peace. And look at the results.
    Hamas has been repeatedly attacking Israeli civilian centers by missile in violation of a truce (or lull) that they agreed to. Israel has made it clear that she will not allow her citizens to be attacked indefinitely.
    Palestinian Arab leaders must build their own civil society and work for the advancement of their people. This cannot happen unless Hamas and other terror organizations are totally vanquished.

  • Reinhart

    The Hamas certainly needs better leadership. Anyone bent on the destruction of others is not good leadership. What Hamas controls is probably a mess. Litter, junk laying around, debris, and filth. They need to be focused on themselves and clean up what is their responsiblity. If they did they could show Israel and the world, “Look what we accomplished” And show what a clean and bright area can do for their people. Sadly because of what has been stated it doesn’t look like Hamas has the capability or the motivation to improve life for their people. The destruction of someone doesn’t improve life for anyone. Not for the targeted people or for the perpetrators!

  • M

    go back to the old testament when God told Israel about the Hamas–They did not fully listen to their God

  • Robert Moseley Sr.

    I am a believer that self defense of family is a first priority. Go get them and punish any culprit alive afterward.

  • cyndi

    Israel has no business in Palestinian Lands. The Hamas are only defending rheir territory, which any human would do. If israel would stop fighting and trying to take over Palestian Lands, there would be peace. Nobody likes to be run by someone else. Israel, out of Palesteine, and respect the pre 1967 borders! Do Not take what is not yours, then you will have peace. I do bid you peace.

  • Willi King

    As one that lived thru WWII and entered at the very end – what is so different? The attitude that I see is simple – “The Israelis have the RIGHT to exist as a country. They have the right to expect that a neighbor respect that right…..

  • Your Name

    Willi King says “The Israelis have the right to exist as a country.” Boy, I wish I could see things that clearly. Who was dislocated in the creation of that country…does that country include the so-called settlements…Will continued escalated violence ever serve anybody…too many questions to see things so simply!!

  • Joshua Kitchen

    As a fellow truthseeker, an American Jew and lover of peace I desperately urge you all to read these links, for the suffering people of Palestine who are and have suffered horrid conditions imposed by Isreal and with US support. We are paying $6.8 Million a day in US taxdollars, money that directly goes to killing children. We have blood on our hands whether we realize it or not and what are we doing about it?
    Most Americans have been deceived by an Isreali influenced media through organizations such as AIPAC who virtually lie about the REALITY of what is going on. PLease please please learn the TRUTH for yourself, and then spread it to as many people as possible. If any of us care about real peace and love for all then you will do this. We face overwhelming odds, but peace not will happen in the middle east until the TRUTH is made known to all.

  • Joshua

    If any country including the US has a right to exits based on theft and dispossession of its inhebitants then yes Isreal has a right to exits. But if we value laws and human dignity then no Isreal does not. As a Jew this was hard for me to accept but it is the truth that ever Jew face and every American must face in regard to Native-American relations which directly Paralel the Isreali-Palestinian one.
    What is so horrid is all the blood on our hands and the bombastic attitudes many of fellow jews hold.
    I am aghast at Isreali hypocrasy, we by all laws of war deserve to be wiped off the map for what we have done. Isreal must answer to God for these crimes, he will ignore our pathetic justifications, I just hope so many innocents will not have to day because of our arrogance. But fear it is to late.
    Wake up Brothers! Please wake up

  • Scott

    Joshua Kitchen and Joshua,
    One may speculate how Jewish you are. All Jews whom I know can spell Israel. Whether or not you’re Jewish, your persistent misspelling of Israel shows that you are very uneducated on the subject

  • Reinhart

    Cyndi, You stated that Hamas has the right to defend itself. That is true but sending rockets indiscriminately into a neighboring country has nothing to do with defending itself. It is nothing but aggression. If Germany for example borders six other countries and it sent rockets into all 6 countries that would not have anything to do with defending itself. No one should be sending rockets at anyone. China does not send rockets into North Korea. Russia doesn’t send rockets into Denmark. Egypt doesn’t send rockets into Morocco, etc. If a country was bombarded with rockets from another country or group then they have the right to stop it. The best thing to do which would be best for everyone is “don’t send rockets at anyone” Use the money for improving life for one’s people. Then things will be better for everyone. Anyone who thinks, “destroy, destruction, killing, hatred has a sad mentality and can only lead to a detriment to oneself and others. That is not being focused or good leadership.

  • Friend of Israel

    The TORAH clearly shows that the land of Israel was given by Yahweh to the decendents of Abraham, Jacob, and Isaac – they have the title deed. Too bad that most folks don’t read their Bibles and, through ignorance, support the people who call themselves Palestinians now. So much Arab land and such a little Israel – the Arabs won’t allow their brothers and sisters to come live in their countries and all Israel wants is to be left alone and live in peace, no matter who their neighbors are. PLEASE READ YOUR BIBLES.

  • Your Name

    When asked when there would be peace, Golda Meir, once replied, “When the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.”
    The simple fact remains that as long as Israel exists, the Palestinian Arabs will not rest. It is written in their charter that their sole purpose is the total destruction of Israel. Israel HAS COMPLETE RIGHT TO THE LANDS THEY INHABIT. THEY ARE NOT the intruders, the Palestinian Arabs are.
    How many times over the years have the Palestinian Arabs been given land, ONLY TO TURN IT DOWN. Their answer EVERY time was to attack Israel. They want what RIGHTFULLY belongs to Israel. I say to the Palestinian Arabs, go back to your own people! There’s one problem with that, their own people don’t want them.

  • new beginning

    Hamas is just defending itself… right. The cease fire expired, and then Hamas starts lobbing bombs into Israel. What part of that is defence? Who suffered from the lack of bombing? What was wrong with just keeping the bombs silent AFTER the ceasefire ended?
    What is Hamas’s aim if not the destruction of its foes? If Hamas wants to negotiate peace, why not pick up a telephone and place a call? If they want to start a war, they chose the right option. If they want to end a war, the choice they make now will be of winning or losing. Winning is highly unlikely for Hamas. Losing could entail the destruction of the political heads of Hamas, their infrastructure, and sadly, some civilians who live right in the military complexes that are lobbing the shells and rockets into Israel. Is Hamas using their civilian population as human shields, or are they willingly there as cover and therefore aiding and abetting the terror?

  • Your Name

    As far as certain people are concerned, the state of Isarel is occupied territory ever since its independence in 1948. As a cartoonist in The Jerusalem Post suggested to Jimmy Carter when he, as then president, hinted that Israel should consider giving up all occupied territories, if the United States was to give up all the territories it has occupied since 1776, it would have something about the size of Idaho left to speak of.

  • Chaya Long

    Even if Hamas is destroyed in Gaza, there are still nations surrounding Israel, inimical to Israel, who will take up the cause of Death to Israel! I see all-out war.
    But what is Israel to do? Take it all on the chin? I don’t think so. Until the Arab nations are willing to accept the reality of Israel, it’s going to be war, I’m afraid. We should most earnestly pray that G-d is with us!!

  • Your Name

    israelian hits schools and worship houses and normal people..5oo palastine killed 17% were children…….now obama tell your daughters they are so lucky

  • pairadice

    The Israeli – Gazan conflict has been going on for decades, since Yasser Arafat (whose father was a Gaza Palestinian) exhorted extermination of the Jews in Israel, tried to blow up water pipelines to Tel Aviv over 40 years ago, financed suicide bombers, engaged neighboring Arab states to invade Israel (and lost multiple times) and has left a legacy of constant attacks into Israel from Gaza.
    This problem is two generations old, and is not about to disappear in the next 10 days, unless Israel, as well as Egypt and Iran and other Arab “brothers,” allow the Gazan Palestinians to emigrate en masse to Iran.
    But that solution must come internationally, behind the scenes. Obama himself can not suggest that solution — it must be offered by the Arab “brotherhood.” So Obama must be diplomatic in the interim.
    Only when the Gazans have been absorbed into other Arab countries (where they can presumably live a peaceful life), will there be peace in the middle east and a new Palestinian state in the West Bank be able to be created.
    Make no mistake about it — trading land for peace means Gaza — the Gazans must trade their land in order to the Palestinians to have a state in the West Bank.

  • Edna

    Palestine is Palestinian. No one is the rightful owner of Palestian land other than the Palestinians. If we want to use the Bible as an authority, then the Palestinians are the seed of Abraham.
    How ridiculous to confiscate the land and lives of others after 2000 years and claim it as legal. Israel is the illegal war state built on the blood and bones of the Palestinian people.
    What is happening now in Gaza is a bloodbath. No one can justify the extermination of the Palestinian people. The Holocaust is no longer Jewish, it is Palestinian. More than 900 Palestinians have been slaughtered and thousands more have been injured. Whole familes have been wiped out.
    Molten Lead is unjustified. The blood of the Palestinians will indelibly stain the hands of all who condone this massacre and partake in it.

  • Christian Smith

    Bottom line- destroy Hamas and get rid of Jewish Settlers stopping Israel and the Palestine from making peace.

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