Sunday, July 20, 2014

On The Ground

This past week Israel finally sent ground troops into the Gaza strip. Not surprisingly, this cause cities in the United States to be invaded by misinformed masses of liberals who believe that the Israelis should simply follow the orders of the commandant and keep giving and giving until they get what they want... heck with 1967, they want Israel to return to the pre 1947 boarders (because the boundaries outlined by the United Nations were a Zionist plot). These protesters, on a certain level believe that Israel somehow deserves these rocket attacks… they would much rather see Israelis ignore the violence and propaganda, put their heads down and work. After all, work will set you free.

However, there were numerous opportunities given to Hamas by Israel to avoid this escalation. More opportunities than should have been given. Each time Hamas has refused. Finally, Prime Minister Netanyahu offered this final hand, this opportunity for de-escalation, and opportunity for a resolution and end to the violence. Given the circumstances, I don’t know if he could have phrased this any better:

To Ismail Haniya, and the leaders and operatives of Hamas:

We, the people of Israel, owe you a huge debt of gratitude. You have succeeded where we have failed. Because never before, in the history of the modern State of Israel, has the Jewish people been so united, like one person with one heart. You stole three of our most precious children, and slaughtered them in cold blood. But before we could discover the horrible truth, we had 18 days of pain and anxiety while we searched for them, during which our nation united as never before, in prayer, in hopes, in mutual support.

And now, as you continue to launch deadly missiles indiscriminately, intended to maim and murder as many civilians as possible, while you take cowardly refuge behind your own civilians - you continue to inspire us to hold strongly onto our newly discovered unity. Whatever disputes we Jews may have with each other, we now know that we have one common goal: we will defeat you.

But we are offering you now one last chance. Within 24 hours, all rocket fire - and I mean all rocket fire - will cease. Completely. Forever.
I give you formal notice that our tanks are massed at the Gaza border, with artillery and air support at the ready. We have already dropped leaflets over the northern parts of the Gaza strip, warning civilians of our impending arrival, and that they should evacuate southward, forthwith. If you fail to meet our ultimatum, we are coming in, and, with God's help, this time we will not leave. Every centimetre of land that we conquer will be annexed to Israel, so that there will never be another attack launched at our civilians from there.

Even so, we will continue to keep the door open to allow you to surrender gracefully. The moment you announce that you are laying down arms, we will halt our advance, and there we will draw our new borders. If you continue to attack our citizens, we will continue to roll southwards, driving you out of territory that you will never again contaminate with your evil presence.

It pains me deeply that your civilians will be made homeless. But we did not choose this war; you did. And if our choice is between allowing our citizens to be targeted mercilessly by your genocidal savagery, versus turning your civilians into refugees, I regret that we must choose the latter. If only you loved your people as much as you hate ours, this war would never have happened.

To the rest of the world: Israel has tired of your ceaseless chidings that we should "show restraint". When you have your entire population under constant missile fire from an implacable enemy whose stated goal is the murder every man, woman and child in your land, then you may come and talk to us about "restraint". Until then, we respectfully suggest that you keep your double standards to yourselves. This time, Hamas has gone too far, and we will do whatever we have to in order to protect our population.

Hamas, once again, I thank you for bringing our people together with such clarity of mind and unity of purpose. The people of Israel do not fear the long road ahead.

This conflict is not just about the rockets that are being fired or the troops on the ground. This is a conflict that has come to a head because of the drastically different values that are placed on human life. This is not a new observation by any means but it always seems to get lost on those that flood the city streets in the western world to protest the rightful defensive actions taken by Israel. Whereas the IDF stands between the threat and civilians, Hamas has put the civilians all around them to shield them from the consequences of their aggression… it is because of this dichotomy that you will continue to read about the chasm between the casualty totals.

With the conflict still raging and more and more reservists being called to serve, peace may be the objective but, right now, sanity is our goal. While I don’t anticipate a quick resolution, I pray for a quick and permanent end to the violence. All of which rests on the shoulders of the men and women of the IDF to whom we are all grateful and will continue to pray for. But, let us end this post in a way that you might not be expecting… with a little humor from Benji Lovitt whom I had the pleasure of briefly meeting during our Jerusalem days. He has single handedly given us many moments, one liners, pictures, and turns of phrase that have made us smile, if not laugh loudly and annoyingly, and in some of the more serious instances laugh so hard that hummus came out of our noses. So here it is, what I think is the best picture and caption from Benji Lovitt so far:

Aaaaand there went the ceasefire.
You just couldn't control yourself, could you, Hamas?
I mean, Jim.