Of the various questions to be asked about the Gaza conflict, there are two important ones in regards to the blockade on Gaza that keep coming up: looking back, why did Gaza become blockaded in the first place; and looking forward, how might we be able to resolve this situation?
Let’s start with how we got into this state of affairs.
Critics of Israel often describe Gaza as an open air prison. “Yes”, they keep claiming, “you pulled out of Gaza in 2005, but only to make it into the world’s largest prison”. This, on the face of it is not entirely false, I’m afraid to say. Whether you use the prison claim as an analogy or an exact description, one can’t deny that Gaza is under a blockade. What is important to remember, however, is that this was not always the case – Gaza hasn’t always been blockaded like this. And the reason it has become blockaded has allot to do with the reason why people get incarcerated. There’s no point in ignoring the cause and effect relationship here – or confusing between which is which – the amassment of weapons and the launching of rockets into Israel came first, and was the cause that brought about the later effect of Israel having to blockade Gaza. If a fanatic Islamist declares you to be his enemy, vows never to negotiate with you, never to have peace with you, never to stop trying to kill you, and then demonstrates his intent by amassing a large arsenal and deploying it for the exact purposes he had announced – successfully killing men, women and children – you lock him up in prison, do you not? If he forms an organization around himself, and the organization works tirelessly to eradicate your entire country, and commit genocide, you declare the organization to be a terrorist one, do whatever you can to stop it, and lock up its members before they can do even more harm than they’ve already done. And when this terrorist organization manages to take over an entire region, and uses every available resource they have (including humanitarian aid) for amassing a huge arsenal of rockets that can reach the entire population of your country, what other choice do you have but to try to prevent it from getting even more weapons and ammunition into their region? You’re not happy about this – you simply have no choice – unless you enjoy having your country demolished. It’s absolutely awful to have to blockade an entire region, which also includes innocent people, and many blameless children, but what other choice do you have when shiploads (literally, shiploads and shiploads) of weapons and ammunition are sent to this region with the explicit intent of using them to destroy you? Israel is NOT doing this for fun, it’s doing it because it has no choice other than accepting its own destruction by the Hamas terrorist organization – a situation that many critics of Israel seem to be just fine with.
OK, so that explains how we got into this situation in the first place, now how do we get out of it? Well, short answer – I don’t exactly know (newsflash – nobody does). But just because we’re not sure how to best solve this situation, it doesn’t mean we can’t already figure out what would necessarily be a horrible idea. Horrible idea #1 – immediately end the blockade, and allow the genocidal organization that has been tirelessly trying to kill your entire population, to get its hands on a potentially limitless amount of weapons and ammunition. If a convicted terrorist is locked up for mass murder, continues to shoot rockets at you while in prison, uses humanitarian assistance to dig tunnels in order to smuggle even more rockets into his prison, and launch suicide attacks out of it, and then tells you that you must let him out of prison; not so that he’ll stop trying to kill you (remember, he’s vowed to NEVER stop that), but so that he can do even more harm to you; at which point do you decide that this would be a good idea?
I want you to take a moment to think about how ridiculous it would be to entertain such an notion.
Hamas: “We’ll keep shooting rockets at you until you end the blockade”.
Israel: “If we end the blockade, will you stop trying to get more rockets, stop shooting at us, and stop trying to violently eliminate our country?”
Hamas: “NO, of course not. We will never stop doing that!”
Israel: “Well, in that case, why should we be complicit in our own destruction?”
Hamas: “Do what we say, or we will continue to shoot at you.”
Israel: But you’ll continue shooting at us if we end the blockade as well – and with much bigger and stronger weapons.”
Hamas: “No negotiation – do as we say!”
The bottom line is this, if you want to advance your agenda – any agenda – an absolutely terrible way of going about it is by shooting rockets into Israel. There might be many ways to advance agendas, but shooting rockets into Israel is NOT one of them.
And finally, as if all of this wasn’t ludicrous and tragic enough, Many people insist on doubling down, and presenting what might be the most preposterous claim out there. This is the claim about the Hamas rocket attacks being the only defense they have in light of Israeli military superiority. Again, let this one sink in for a moment, and try to see if you follow the reasoning here – launching rockets into Israeli cities (not at Israeli military bases, mind you) is what got the Gaza strip blockaded in the first place, launching even more rockets (and bigger rockets) into even more Israeli cities causes Israel to launch military campaigns into Gaza (not once, not twice, but three times now), and all of this is somehow a way to DEFEND Gaza? Do these people even understand the definition of the word Defend? This would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic, and dangerous. Shooting rockets at Israeli civilians is in no way a form of defense – it is nothing if not a criminal OFFENCE.
I want to make it clear that I am not insensitive to the horrific situation that the many innocent people in Gaza are in right now, and the pictures of devastation and of dead and injured children break my heart, but a broken heart doesn’t – indeed MUSTN’T – also mean a broken mind; one that surrenders its logical faculties, and accepts ludicrously self contradicting claims about what got us here, and what might solve the situation.