Jan 27, 2009

Crticism and Choices

Written during the third week of "Operation Cast Lead" in which Israeli armed forces went into Gaza to stop eight years of indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza, at Israeli civilian targets.

I find it imperative to take a moment from my self-inflicted enlistment into the electronic media war to finally write something of my own, to my own.

After two weeks of combat, I am a little weary of firing on deaf ears. There seems to be a need to raise the morale amongst those in my own ranks and heal some of the battle wounds that the foreign (outside of Israel) media may have managed to inflict upon some of you. I have noticed and heard that there are some hairline cracks in folks' outlook and opinion of what Israel is doing, and so this is a short break to reinforce some of your foundations. My break is only a result of battle weariness, and not because of any lack of ammunition. Quite the opposite. The foreign media fuel my ammunition dumps exponentially each minute with their bias (at best) and outright lies (as second best). I have been shouting in silent type for two weeks, and despite apparently doing it again here and now, in yet another email, this time I would like to freely add some politically incorrect thoughts and let some emotion erupt.

It is disturbing enough to hear and see the world opinion and media, which include calls for our annihilation. It is even more disturbing to have to spend limited energies on arguing my case to those (of "us") who doubt the justification of this operation, its magnitude and time-span. I need to address our critics, those of "us" who are critical and condemn Israel's actions in the current operation in the Gaza area.

While I value opinion and discussion at all times, I will not tolerate any negative opinion or criticism right now. Many critics have been sitting in glass houses (with a sense of security due to Israel's existence) before the operation, and now seem ready to throw stones (at best). I am not only referring to Jews in the Diaspora, but also to those in Israel (some found it suitable to demonstrate in Tel-Aviv against the operation in Gaza and to wave Palestinian flags). The only criticism I am open to is criticism of our own bad choices.

We make "bad choices" when it comes to dealing with the Arabs.

We "chose" to fight a number of wars against our Arab neighbors, one of them on our holiest days. We "chose" to fight against suicide bombers and shrewdly disguise our violence by erecting a fence (only 2% is wall) to keep them out. You see, we militant Israelis, we like choosing violence. It took the trigger-happy Zionist generals and politicians seven years of continuous rocket fire to choose to go to war.

Unfortunately, once again, we are at war.

Unfortunately, some require clarification and elaboration of the above. This war is not academic, nor a war of words or politics. Right now it is a war in which real blood is shed, in which people are maimed and killed. "People" means soldiers, terrorists, militants, families, elderly and children. "Maimed" means crippled and traumatized. Oh...on both sides, notice my choice of words. (Glad I cleared that one up for some.)

There is one thing that we perpetually choose too, if you really need me to point it out.

We chose life.

We'd like to choose to live our lives in our country without having to build bomb shelters in every building since our independence 60 years ago. We choose to warn innocent civilians of an impending bombardment with flyers, phone calls and stun grenades. We chose to offer almost all of the West Bank in peace talks at Camp David, Annapolis and other talks. We chose to warn the Hamas about officially ending the cease-fire "lull." We chose to try turning a blind-eye to the rockets that were launched during the "lull" and seven previous years. We chose this war option.

We "chose" war. We chose war despite knowing and living the ramifications of war. We chose to send our soldiers to war. "Our soldiers" is not an idiom. It means family, friends, colleagues, neighbors -- i.e., people we know firsthand. We chose to take the calculated risk that some will not return, and that others will return maimed for life.

During an ongoing war, I find the audacity of some of my own putrid. It sickens me to hear misinformed foreign-media-fed misguided individuals pass negative opinion and criticism. I find it uncanny not to leave the academic rhetoric aside, while blood is being shed. We are engaged in fighting enough enemies on enough fronts. We do not need an internal front, too. Some Diaspora Jews freely enjoy the sense of security that just the pure existence of Israel provides. Now, some spit into the well. Whether it be democratic, free, enlightened, correct or not, I'll hit anyone I catch pushing over an elderly person. Furthermore, you'd probably find me refusing to even discuss it and with a smirk on my face. Perhaps that might awaken a sense of duty to give a hand, an ear or a shoulder to the pains of war.

War is synonymous with pain, suffering and bloodshed. We, as war-mongering Israelis, have lots of experience. So much so, that (listen carefully to this): I may one day forgive our enemies for killing our people in pursuit of their ideology, but I will never forgive them for forcing me into a situation in which I have killed some of their innocents. I suggest reading the latter again. Only when the Arabs can honestly understand this will they be ready for true peace. Until then, we will remain in a cycle of violence and war that has war-ups and truce-downs. The truces, lulls, and whatever names they may use, are only types of pseudo-surrenders that they agree to, in order to recuperate.

So, dear brethren, if you still harbor any doubt at all or need some ammo for those who do, one question remains: "What is your alternative to this war?"

I was going to end here, but feel that I need to elaborate for those whose vision has been obscured by the likes of Pallywood smoke screens and political rhetoric. Let me put it another way, "What do you propose we do to ensure that our kids go to school safely?" Hmmm....Let's look at the most common answer to the current situation:

"Stop the operation immediately and negotiate".

We have been there already - didn't work. There was a "cease-fire", a "lull", during which the Hamas terrorists militants lobbed rockets into Israel and armed themselves for their "final solution." Who publicly and proudly announced the end of the "lull"? Who sent 900,000 civilians into bomb shelters?

Negotiate? With whom exactly? A radical group that openly seeks our total annihilation at all costs (and they are crying now at the cost, poor things). A fanatic terrorist group that came into power after a violent coup, intent on "freeing all Palestine of Jews?" If you really need to ensure that my facts are correct, then look up the Hamas charter. I consider myself "a nice guy" and am open to discussion, but don't know how to go about it. Please set an example by negotiating with Al-Qaeda and then teach me how it works.

Let's take this little further. "Do you know what Hamas wants?" Hmmm... I suspect they don't either although it is in their charter. "Do you know what they expected to achieve by firing rockets into Israel?" Hmmm... I have no idea. So let's look at their charter again. I suspect it is a word that begins with a big "T" and has three "r"s. They once wanted us out of Gaza. We are out of Gaza. So? Now what? Any ideas?

Oh yeah... I almost forgot. So if the war now might seem justified, criticism turns to the use of "disproportionate" force. The British (oh I just love the Brits -- BBC, Sky, Tim Marshall, Tim Butcher and the other blatant liars who act as journalists instead of Pallywood), bombed Dresden disproportionately, citizens, hospitals, all of it! Before pointing a finger at Israel, please make sure that: you pointed a finger at Hamas for seven years; have made sure that civilian deaths are an integral part of Israeli policy; make sure that Israel is publicly proud of civilian deaths and distribute sweets with each; have lodged complaints against the Hamas for using human shields; and...and...and... Then, and only then, might I be prepared to hear gripes from "ours."

Well, Israel is here, a fact and a reality. I am here and not going anywhere. Right or wrong, I'm not going anywhere and neither are my people. I am going to choose violence when negotiations and warnings go nowhere and my children remain in danger. I'm going to be very violent to try to ensure a brighter future for my children and brethren, whether it includes war or not.

Some say that violence breeds violence. It sure does. It sure has, I am now violent. I reached a dead end after seven years of exhausting all peaceful options and turning a blind eye to over 4,000 rockets. History doesn't seem to be able to teach the other side anything. Perhaps someone has a way of getting it through to them. Please enlighten me. I'll type it slowly for you and whisper it for those that cannot easily read vulgarities:

Don't mess with us! You have chosen to force us to remain mightier, we have and will, until you choose otherwise.

I am not going to wrap this in airy political, democratic, diplomatic or academic cellophane. That is the bottom line, the bare truth. I remain proud of my vulgarity that stems from our basic right to protect our citizens. I remain proud of our attempts to prevent civilian casualties, on both sides. I remain proud of our "disproportion" and the humanitarian aid we let pass into Gaza. I remain proud that there are wounded Palestinians in our hospitals. I remain proud of our humanness. I remain proud of our gutsy cabinet. I remain proud that after sixty-something years we still hunt Nazis and that we hunted the Munich games perpetrators, Abu-Jihad and the rest. I might need to feel ashamed at some isolated incidents, but will deal with those later because they are a tiny minority and do not reflect policy.

We will remain strong enough to fight to survive only if we are armed with: some history; an understanding of enemy mentality; unequivocally support Israel and spew out internal criticism from the good-for-academic pacifists during times of war.

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