Leftist: “There is Nothing Proportionate in this Response”
Ezra Klein provides a timely reminder why the Left gets no respect when it comes to national security or foreign policy. Big surprise, of course, he condemns Israel:
This is the paragraph that I can’t get out of my head:
Hamas had in recent weeks let it be known that it doubted Israel would engage in a major military undertaking because of its coming elections. But in some ways the elections have made it impossible for officials like Mr. Barak not to react, because the public has grown anxious and angry over the rocket fire, which while causing no recent deaths and few injuries is deeply disturbing for those living near Gaza.
No deaths and few injuries. “Deeply disturbing.” Hamas lacks the technology to aim its rockets. They’re taking potshots. In response, the Israeli government launched air strikes that have now killed more than 280 Palestinians, injured hundreds beyond that, and further radicalized thousands in the Occupied Territories and millions in the region. The response will not come today, of course. It will come in months, or even in years, when an angry orphan detonates a belt filled with shrapnel, killing himself and 25 Israelis. At which point the Israelis will launch air strikes killing another 70 Palestinians, radicalizing thousands more, leading to more bombings, and so the cycle continues.
He goes on to note that the Israeli counterattack lacks proportionality. Now, Klein can’t possibly mean that the Israelis should simply respond by indiscriminately rocketing Gaza with a like number of attacks. Such an act, without troubling to even aim at military targets, would be universally condemned (and rightfully so). So what does he mean by proportional? I think what he’d really like to see is Israel limited to attacks which cause “no deaths and few injuries.” In other words, he’d like Israel to do nothing while terrorists get to try over and over to shower violence on innocents.
It is worth noting that Klein’s post is internally inconsistent since he writes that the Hamas attacks have resulted in “no deaths and few injuries” but that the Israeli attacks are “simple vengeance.” Vengeance for what, Ezra?
Nowhere in Klein’s post does he mention that the Israeli attacks have been against military targets. And he may not even be aware that Israel sent thousands of cell-phone messages to Gazans telling them to stay away from weapons caches.
Klein excuses the Hamas rocket attacks because of “the checkpoints, the road closures, the restricted movement, the terrible joblessness, the unflinching oppression, the daily humiliations, the illegal settlement” without recognizing that much of the so-called oppression is a response to suicide bombers striking civilian targets including buses, restaurants, hotels, and markets.
It’s been said before but it is worth repeating a thousand times: if Hamas, Hezbollah, and most of the Arab states (and Iran) laid down their weapons tomorrow and forgot about their plans to dissolve Israel, there would be peace in the Middle East. The Israelis could forget about the fences and the Palestinians might one day have something approximating a Western standard of living. On the other hand, if Israel laid down its weapons tomorrow, the country would be utterly annihilated, the Israelis killed to the last man, woman, and child.