Remember What Actually Is

It’s very easy in the heat of a moment to forget the history of a conflict (ask any husband or wife who has had an argument with their spouse). Somehow in the fog of the war in Gaza, a lot of basic history and truth has been forgotten. On Thursday, Victor Davis Hanson posted an article at American Greatness about the war in Gaza. He reminds us of the roots and events of that war that the media seems to be overlooking.

The article reports:

Occupied Gaza.” Prior to October 7, there were roughly two million Arab citizens of Israel but no Jewish citizens in Gaza. Gazans in 2006 voted in Hamas to rule them. It summarily executed its Palestinian Authority rivals. Hamas cancelled all future scheduled elections. It established a dictatorship and diverted billions of dollars in international aid to build a vast underground labyrinth of military installations.

So Gaza has been occupied by Hamas, not Israel, for two decades.

The Jews were not allowed to buy property in Gaza. Any Arab that sold land to a Jew was executed. That is the example of an apartheid state.

The article also notes:

Collateral Damage.” Hamas began the war by deliberately targeting civilians. It massacred them on October 7 when it invaded Israel during a time of peace and holidays. It sent more than 7,000 rockets into Israeli cities for the sole purpose of killing noncombatants. It has no vocabulary for the collateral damage of Israeli civilians, since it believes any Jewish death under any circumstances is cause for celebration.

Hamas places its terrorist centers beneath and inside hospitals, schools, and mosques. Why? Israel is assumed to have more reservations about collaterally hitting Gaza civilians than Hamas does exposing them as human shields.

Disproportionate.” We are told Israel wrongly uses disproportionate force to retaliate in Gaza. But it does so because no nation can win a war without disproportionate violence that hurts the enemy more than it is hurt by the enemy.

The U.S. incinerated German and Japanese cities with disproportionate force to end a war both Axis powers started. The American military in Iraq nearly leveled Fallujah and Mosul by disproportional force to root out Islamic gunmen hiding among innocents. Hamas has objections to disproportionate violence—but only when it is achieved by Israel and not Hamas.

Two-state solution.” Prior to October 7, there was a de facto three-state solution, given that Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza were all separate states ruled by their own governments, two of which were illegitimate without scheduled elections.

It was not Israel, but the people of Gaza and the West Bank who institutionalized the “from river to the sea” agenda of destroying its neighbor.

Israel would have been content to live next to an autonomous Arab Gaza and West Bank that did not seek to destroy Israel in their multigenerational efforts to form their own “one-state solution.”

Please follow the link above the read the entire article. It is a reminder of how the truth has been propagandized as the war has continued.

Avoiding Moral Equivalency

On Thursday, The Washington Examiner posted an article cautioning Americans to beware of moral equivalency in the war between Israel and Hamas.

The article notes:

Israel’s bombing campaign in Gaza is brutal and devastating, and some very large X, formerly Twitter, accounts are saying that hundreds of Palestinian children have been killed. This is awful, and if true, it’s tempting to lump Israel’s killing of Palestinian women and children into the same category of evil as Hamas’s killing of Israeli women and children on Saturday. But that would be a grave moral error.

At the same time, some of Israel’s defenders make a different moral error. They point to the depravity and evil of Hamas’s terrorist attacks and the wanton murder and rape of Israeli innocents and suggest that Israel is justified to use any means it wants to eliminate Hamas or at least its ability to kill Israeli Jews. This view ignores crucial moral distinctions.

The first moral distinction is about intention. Hamas planned its invasion so as to kill as many defenseless Israeli civilians as possible. It stormed a music festival to kill everyone there and sent death squads into kibbutzim. This was the deliberate murder of innocents, including children, which is evil beyond words. Hamas’s slaughter of Jewish children is made more evil by the ethnic animus behind it and the presumed intention to spark a broader war in the Middle East.

To the extent that the Israeli bombing of Gaza kills Palestinian children, it’s a different sort of evil, and very likely a defensible, necessary evil. (I’m writing in generalities because we don’t have many confirmed reports on Israel’s tactics and strategies.) If you bomb the location of a terrorist cell or rocket depot, but your bombs also kill civilians, that is not deliberate targeting of civilians, it is collateral damage — a regrettable, anticipated, but unintended consequence of necessary military actions.

Israel does not have a duty to avoid all collateral damage. It would be impossible to reduce Gaza civilian deaths to zero, given that Hamas is known to put military resources in schools and hospitals.

Expect the media to make a big deal out of civilian deaths in Gaza. However, the Israeli Defense Forces have warned civilians to leave targeted areas. Hamas has prevented them from leaving. The difference is seeing civilian casualties as the high cost of war and seeing civilian casualties as useful propaganda tools. It should also be noted that Gaza has never built civilian bomb shelters. Israel has them throughout the country. That is the difference in the attitudes of the leaders of the two countries.