Last week, Israel took a very dangerous step in an ever-developing quagmire by assassinating another Hamas leader via car bomb in Syria. This occurred after weeks of warning by Israeli government cautioning the terrorist organization that they would not allow recognized borders to hinder their goal of protecting Israel.
After the strike, the Israeli government defiantly stood by their actions, with Defense Minister Zeev Boim claiming that “Syria is responsible for directing terrorism against us and therefore it is not immune from our operations to prevent terrorism.” Boy, that sure sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
The main glaring difference between Israel’s pre-emptive initiative and our own poorly conceived war in Iraq, and believe me there are far more differences than just one, is that Israel has the actual terrorist problem we imagine ourselves having.
How many of you keep an eye out for men in bulky clothing the moment you step on a bus out of fear they may be concealing a bomb? How many of you can lay claim to having assisted in the deterrence of a terrorist attack? How many of you have lost loved ones from terrorism? You may scoff at such seemingly ridiculous questions, but these are realities that Israeli citizens face every single day of their lives.
This is not meant to diminish our own very real threat of terrorist attacks but, to be quite frank, it is simply not at the same level as that of Israel’s. Thus, their impetus for a far more aggressive action is, ironically, far more justified.
The Israelis have never been innocent angels throughout this struggle, however, and now is certainly no exception.
While their intelligence was accurate and they did accomplish their immediate goal (something our government most certainly has no claim on) the ethics of leading an attack within the borders of another sovereign nation remain very questionable.
What takes precedence, the survival of the self or the whole; or more specifically, Israel or the international community? Does Israel stand to gain more by leading its own independent military actions or taking the higher road and turning to the international community to assist?
Unfortunately, the United Nations has turned its back on their plight, never missing a chance to condemn the radical measures Israel is forced to undertake as a reaction to the extreme terrorist actions emanating from Palestine that the UN hypocritically ignores. The United States stands out as the one true ally to the Israelis and even that is a relationship established out of a greed for power, technology and influence so while the US can be counted on for the timely veto, we’ll never truly throw any diplomatic punches. So Israel has basically been left to fend for itself while alienating the rest of the world or having to take the hits as they come while not managing to anger anybody else.
So continues the pattern of first the assassination, followed by an Israeli admission and then the subsequent reactions of both Palestinians and the rest of the world calling out the “Israeli occupation.” Sadly, this has become a common sequence of events in the Middle East over the past months with no real solution in sight or mind.
It’s an equation without a solution, the unanswered questioned Charles Ives never dreamed of. It’s the tragedy that our fathers bore witness to and that we will most assuredly pass on to our own children. And all parties included seem intent upon making sure that doesn’t change.
Noah Potvin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.