Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Proper Response to Israel’s Gaza Critics

Evan Pokroy

Once more residents of Southern Israel have come under fire from the Gaza strip. In the past few weeks, scores of mortars and rockets have been fired into Israel. Some longer-range rockets have even hit major population centers like Be’er Sheva and Ashkelon, causing schools to be closed.

The government has responded with limited air strikes and then once more moving into the fortress mentality by starting to deploy the Iron Dome anti-missile system. With that in mind a bit of moral clarity is needed. There had been relative quiet on the Gaza border since the end of the Cast Lead operation; while there have been a few minor incidents, both sides have been keeping an uneasy ceasefire.Then a sudden wave of terror struck Israel. Starting with smaller rockets fired into the communities bordering the Strip, working up to larger Grad missiles hitting Ashkelon. After that was the barbaric attack that left five members of the Fogel family slaughtered in their home in Itamar. More missile attacks followed, culminating in two Grad rockets hitting Be’er Sheva, one falling in a residential district. Then the peace of Jerusalem was shattered with the explosive device set off near the Central Bus Station, killing one and sending scores to the hospital. Earlier that same day a man was killed outside the community of Revava. The day ended with another barrage of mortars fired from Gaza

Looking for some moral clarity, it showed up in the most surprising of places: Al-Jazeera television. About a year and a half ago, the head of the Arabic Communication Desk for the IDF, Capt. Avichai Edraee was interviewed on the Qatar news station by an obviously hostile host in reference to a recent Israeli retaliatory strike on Gaza. Capt. Edraee is absolutely unapologetic on who is to blame for Israel’s bombing, even those that result in the loss of civilian life. It comes down to this, calm is paid back with calm; attacks are paid back with counter-attacks. There is no middle ground, now it is not time for, as Margaret Thatcher once quipped, to go wobbly. The world should be informed and the Palestinians should be made aware that if they attack Israel then the response will be swift, violent and overwhelming.

Here’s the video, with subtitles. There will be plenty of blaming Israel—Matt Yglesias of ThinkProgress tweeted: “Guessing US won’t declare no-fly zone to help rebel forces in Gaza”—and there will be enough misinformation to go around—Hussein Ibish wrote at that rockets hadn’t fallen from Gaza in “many months.” So Edraee’s response is instructive (thanks to Act for Israel for pointing out the video):

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