Israel Never Has a Choice

According to the Israeli spokesperson, the vaunted IDF saw “a few hundreds” of protesters “trying” to reach the border between Syrian-controlled territory and Israeli-controlled territory on the Golan Heights, so “we had to open fire”…on civilians… in Syria.

“We had to open fire.” One should feel pity for the poor IDF, which had to open fire to protect the barbed wire from being injured by evil protesters along the border between Syria and the Syrian land occupied by Israel. No other army in the world carries the burden of being forced to fire across international borders at civilians. Imagine how difficult it is to bear this burden!

Of course, Israel had to occupy the land, as well; the fact that Israelis go there for ski vacations is irrelevant. Israel had no choice but to occupy and retain the Golan Heights, just as it had no choice but to kill protesters, just as it has no choice but to run Palestinians out of their homes on the West Bank – isn’t the Israeli population increasing? Israel also had to kill those nine protesters sailing in international waters toward Gaza on the Freedom Flotilla from Turkey. Not only were the nine an existential threat to Israel’s exceptionalism, but Turkey, lately behaving rudely, had to be taught a lesson.

Now that the Rafah Gate is open (sorta), Israel will surely have to teach Egypt a lesson, too. And once those inconsiderate Palestinians get a victory at the U.N., Israel will no doubt have to teach Iran a lesson.

What Israel did is completely different than Assad murdering his protesters, Saleh murdering his protesters, Quaddafi murdering his protesters, Mubarak murdering his protesters, or Abdullah murdering his…ah…Bahrain’s protesters. What Israel did is completely different from East Germany’s old Stasi murdering people trying to get over the Wall. Those guys don’t know an existential threat from a bagel.

Principles are involved here, and it is time that the people of the world stop whining. Being exceptional is a lot harder than you think.

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5 comments on “Israel Never Has a Choice

  1. It is a good thing that you did not let the facts and their context interfere with your analysis.
    Good job! (yeah, right!)

  2. I appreciate the opportunity to share my thoughts with you.

    Part 1

    Israel is a sovereign nation with a right and obligation to protect its borders. It cannot allow anyone, peaceful as they might be, to breach them, especially from a country that has been in a state of war since it attacked Israel in 1948. It appears that Syria was behind this protest and ordered their military not to interfere. Palestinian Protesters who maintained a distance from the not-injured barbed wire were not shot at. Israel used non-lethal methods as well as loudspeakers warning the peaceful protesters to stay away from the fence. Interestingly enough, Syria- among other nations- does not recognize the current border. Furthermore, Israel has stated privately and publicly that she will withdraw from the Golan Heights in exchange for real peace.

    Speaking of the war of 1948, the Arab armies attacked with the explicit goal of wiping Israel off the face of the map. If that is not an existential threat, I do not know what is. It certainly s not a bagel.

    The rash of suicide bombings during the course of the second intifada are explicit proof of what can happen when Israel’s borders are insufficiently protected. Granted, suicide bombers are not an existential threat, but no country in the world can be expected to accept people blowing themselves up or having thousands of rockets fired at their cities. It is safe to assume that Israel can tell the difference between rockets, suicide attacks & bagels

    To this day there are countries and organizations that are explicitly dedicated to the complete eradication of Israel. Existential threat? I think so, certainly if they were to have the means and power to carry out their threats. Certainly not a bagel

  3. Part 2
    Have you heard what the Hamas & Iran have been saying? Would it not be insane for Israel to ignore this? They certainly are not spearheading a world-wide campaign to promote bagels.

    The right of return of Palestinian refugees to Israel is certainly an existential threat and absolutely not a bagel.

    There is no other country in the world whose very legitimacy is questioned and not recognized by other countries.

    The Gaza flotilla was nothing but a provocation. There are many other ways to get aid to Gaza. Did you ever stop to wonder why there were no casualties on the other ships that were part of the flotilla? Have you seen the footage of what occurred on the Mavi Marmara?
    The organizers of the next flotilla have very recently announced that they will agree to cargo inspections at sea but insist that the ships must then sail to Gaza and not any other port. Why? Their aid to Gaza will reach their destination even if the ships unload in an Egyptian port or Israeli port.

    As I recall, the Gaza blockade is mostly the result of Hamas taking control of Gaza. Elected or not, Hamas’s stated goal is the destruction of Israel. There is a steady flow of arms into Gaza despite the blockade. Can you imagine what kind of weaponry would arrive in Gaza if access to Gaza would be unimpeded? Remember, this is an organization that fired thousands of rockets into Israel. This is an organization that has no qualms about firing a guided missile at an Israeli school bus.

    Given the violence Hamas used against Fatah when they assumed control of Gaza, can there be any doubt what they would do to Israelis if they had the ability to do so?

    The Stasi’s aim was to keep people from getting out. Israel is trying to keep people from enemy states from getting in. In any case, the comparison to the Stasi Quaddafi or Assad is ludicrous. Israel’s situation is not even remotely similar. As for Bahrain, this is a complicated issue, but can you imagine what might happen if the Shiites were to gain control? Is there any doubt that it would greatly increase Iranian involvement in a region that is of tremendous strategic importance to the entire western world? Furthermore, and I may not be entirely correct here, but I was not aware of Saudi troops committing murder there.

    What kind of lesson would Israel have to teach Egypt?

    As for Iran, it would be nice if Israel could teach them a lesson not to threaten to wipe her off the map. Surely you have heard Ahmadinajad state this on many occasions and quite openly.

    It is not likely that the Palestinians will achieve any sort of victory at the UN- certainly not one that will bring them closer to real independence.

    Like many Israelis, I believe that the ultimate solution to this conflict will be very close to President Clinton’s proposals and will result in the 2 state solution- 1 for the Palestinians and 1 for the Jews. This, however, can only happen through negotiations and a transparent clear desire to declare an end to the conflict & claims and a sincere desire for a real peace.

    Israel is a Jewish state, but all citizens, Jewish or otherwise, have equal rights. Granted, there is a degree of discrimination against minorities, but let’s not forget how many Arabs have been elected to the Israeli parliament, nor the fact that an Arab, Dr. Ahmed Tibi, is the deputy speaker of the house. Incidentally, Dr. Tibi never misses an opportunity to express very strong criticism against Israel, yet he is still free, still alive and still a member of the Israeli parliament. It is doubtful that he could do anything remotely similar in any other Arab state.

    Bagels are more of an American Jewish food and are not very popular in Israel.

  4. John,
    Thanks for your comments. A couple points at the moment; I may return later to your many points.

    I am glad you support a negotiated settlement. It is quite clear that Netanyahu does not: simply his demand that Israel retain military power while Palestinians be deprived makes that clear.

    I also wanted to push the discussion of Hamas back in time. It is well known in theory that analytical conclusions depend on the timeframe used as the baseline, though in practice people forget this. Evaluating Hamas is a case in point. Hamas, like any organization, can change in response to conditions. Indeed, they already did by competing according to democratic rules in the 2006 election. Israel's prompt sabotage of their regime taught them a very unfortunate lesson. Israel's founders were terrorists also. If they have not changed, they have no right to criticize Hamas. If they have changed, so can others who find violence against the innocent to be useful tactics.

    In my opinion, Israel would have a better shot at safety if it allowed Hamas to have a stake in the system.

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