Author of "My Israel Trail"
A simple statement by a moderate centrist Israeli.
Our end game is clear (as explained to my brother this evening):
In this war, our short-term goals, as stated by the government of Israel and supported by the vast majority of our people, are:
(1) Destroy Hamas, capture or kill its members (leaders and fighters – some 20-30,000 total);
(2) Ensure the release of all remaining hostages;
(3) Prevent Hamas from ever being able to operate or rule in Gaza again.
Our long-term end game in the coming months/year:
(1) Help the international community to set up a responsible interim government in Gaza – democratic, respecting civil/human rights, interested in real peace with Israel and all our neighbors (may include remaining in Gaza for quite a while);
(2) Ensure either the dismantling and replacement of the Palestinian Authority with a similar regime respecting the rights of its people and promoting their interests/benefit, or at the very least the replacement of the current corrupt dictatorial leadership now in place with better leaders;
(3) Respond to Hexbollah’s aggression in the North (if you haven’t heard, they’re firing almost as many rockets as we’re getting from Gaza and carrying out cross-border attacks constantly) with military action, perhaps as extensive as in Gaza but certainly not awaiting further provocation (as if any is needed under international law or basic morality); and
(4) Curtainling/destroying Iran’s nuclear capability and its ability to foment futher violence against us in the region (from/in Syria, Jordan, Yemen etc.), perhaps including encouraging (finally) regime change in Iran. (Yes, these are terrifying and world-changing elements… and yet now seen as even more necessary than before. Whether we have partners in achieving these is an important issue – but their significance is now widely recognized.)
If any of these goals disturbs you, think carefully about your priorities and values, and about history. These goals and actions are similar to those of the US/UK and the western world in our actions these past few decades against ISIS, Al Qaieda, Saddam Hussein (and now the Houthis as Iran’s latest proxies), let alone against the brutal dictatorships of Nazi Germany and Japan in WWII.
If the civilian casualties involved in these defensive military operations (currently in Gaza, soon in Lebanon, eventually in Iran) bother you, we concur: we’d prefer there be not a single Arab Muslim or Christian (or Israeli Jew or Arab or others) harmed, ever. (Not relating to the diabolical numbers games played by too many western politicians and leaders, just noting that the figures promoted by Hamas are not remotely accurate nor a basis for discussion. Whatever the numbers, they are both tragic AND the responsibility of Hamas, it’s patron Iran, and its supporters Turkey and Qatar, let alone its supporters across the western world.)
But we Israelis ask simply where were you when Syria killed 500,000 of its own people, thousands were killed by the Houthies more recently, millions by Iran and Iraq in their war(s), thousands of “Palestinian” Arabs killed by Syria, Jordan and Lebanon over the years…? And more importantly, where were your mass demonstrations in London, NY, SF, Paris (let alone Istanbul, Cairo, Indonesia and elsewhere across the Arab/Muslim world) when thousands, in fact millions of Arabs and Muslims were killed or maimed by dictatorial regimes across the region? And most importantly, where were you in 1929, 1936, 1947, 1967, 1973, 1995, 2000 and ever since as Jews were massacred continuously and brutally for merely being Jews, across the land of Israel? (See my article, “Ayeka” at https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/ayecha-where-are-you/.)
We are finished with your excuses and your empty moralizing, let alone your despicable and antisemitic (im)moral equivalency and double standards. We don’t give a sh*t anymore what your demonstrators shout or your anti-Israel politicians preach or your ignorant cultural icons post. We will do what is necessary to ensure our survival, our continued existence and thriving in our ancestral homeland, and sooner rather than later you will thank us for standing up to an evil which actually surpasses that of Nazi Germany in both its individual barbarity and its encompassing hatred for all of western civilization, Christians and Jews (and all other “infidels” as well) and stated intent to destroy us all (not just the Jews, the Roma, the Communists, gays and other ‘undesirables’…).
We’re doing it for ourselves, yes; but it’s objectively the right thing to do, morally (and legally and historically), and it’s for the entire free world in the end. Thankfully, there are many government leaders and individuals around the world (including in the Arab and Muslim world) who are beginning to recognize this and are willing to stand up for this moral imperative.
You can stand with us, or you can stand with evil. It’s really that simple. Yes you can comment and criticize specific actions and policies. But you cannot deny the justice of our cause. If there ever was a just war – and fought justly as well – as defined by Michael Walzer, this is it. And you cannot use terms like “indiscriminate force”, “carpet bombing”, “disproportionate response”, “massacre” and “genocide” and expect us to take you seriously or even listen to your opinion.
Goodnight and sleep well. In this surreal reality we’re living through, we in Israel are sleeping better now than we have in decades, as we realize now what we must do, we have awakened to this reality, and we are prepared, willing and in some ways glad to finally stand up for ourselves as we should have every time we’ve been attacked over this past century, rather than constantly doing the Christian thing and turning the other cheek.