In the end of the movie “Die Hard” the hero, John McClane (Bruce Willis), surrenders his machine gun to the bad guys as they are threatening to kill his wife. This is a classic plot element that appears time after time in good versus evil movies. The hero gives up his gun because the bad guys hold someone that he loves hostage. The audience screams, “Don’t do it, they will kill her anyway.” Still the hero surrenders. And in plot twist after plot twist, somehow the hero ends up victorious. In “Die Hard”, John McClane had another gun concealed behind his back. He used his second gun to kill the bad guys.
Even though the audience knows that it is a mistake to give up the weapon, the audience expects the hero to do it. What kind of movie would it be if the hero simply shot the bad guy? We want our heroes to be heroic. We want our heroes to succeed, but only if it means that innocent lives are not lost. John McClane surrended. Likewise, Spiderman, Superman, and many many other heroes have surrended in identical situations. We expect it from our heroes. We demand it.
In Gaza, Hamas is holding the civilians hostage. They shoot from behind innocents and wait for Israel to respond. If Israel holds its fire, Hamas wins. If Israel responds and civilians die, Hamas wins.
The world demands that Israel not fire back. What does this say? It says that in the eyes of the world, Israel is the hero.
But this is a strange scenario. Hamas is not holding Israelis hostage. They are holding Gazans hostage. The hostages are not friends to Israel. Most of them hate Israel.
Israel is in a difficult standoff. Israel does not want to fight in Gaza. Israel seeks peace with her neighbors. Israel mourns every death (with the exceptions of the deaths of the hundreds of terrorists that have died in the fighting).
In situation after situation, Israel has to decide whether to allow Hamas to shoot their rockets or to try and stop them and risk the lives of civilians. Sometimes Israel calls off the strike and allows the terrorists to escape. Sometimes Israel doesn’t.
The UN is calling for Israel to cease firing. Israel has. Time and again. But Hamas does not cease firing. Still, the UN wants Israel not to fire back. After all, Hamas weapons have not proven to be very effective. Most of the world demands that Israelis hide in their shelters and trust the Iron Dome to protect them. Israel refuses.
I never know what to do in hostage situations. I don’t want the hero to surrender and I don’t want innocents to die. I only know one thing.
It is hard to be the hero.