Over the weekend, an unanticipated, yet easily expected incursion shocked Israel into a new war. Hamas, the governing authority over the Gaza Strip, is reported to have brutally attacked, raped and murdered hundreds of Israelis, even including some Americans. Possibly US citizens traveling or with property in both places. They have additionally taken many hostages. This was an unconscionable attack not just on the state of Israel, but upon freedom in the Middle East and worldwide.
Not only that, it came 50 years to the day after the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Clearly sending a message. And now Israel has declared a state of war again, invoking its Article 40 Aleph.
As far as a response, I’d say Israel as a nation has the right to retaliate just about any way they see fit. To put it in perspective, if a hostile foreign power of any size physically invaded a US state, fatally shooting civilians while survivors stood in horror, I think you could imagine our Marines moving in for special operations that very night. We might even temporarily seize control of the responsible power until some kind of internationally recognized agreement could be made.
But not so fast…
However, I’d like to think any response we’d make would be limited to military positions, and that we’d never go after the civilian population of another sovereign territory. In Israel’s case, they are as of this moment besieging Gaza, reportedly cutting off electricity and water supplies to the entire area.
Keep in mind, Gaza is a narrow span of land along the west/southwestern corner of Israel, about 20-25 miles long and only occupies 141 square miles. My home city of Oklahoma City is much larger, paging in at over 600 square miles, with approximately the same population. So we aren’t talking about blocking off the state of Mississippi – more like a metro area.
But somehow, looking up and writing out those statistics doesn’t make my stomach turn any less, knowing women and children are potentially starving in the wake of this all. I’m not going to celebrate the loss or endangerment of more innocent lives, no matter how terrible the attack was that took place across the border.
In the last few days I’ve seen reactions all over the map from people I follow. Not counting those who oppose Israel, just among those I generically align with opinions range from ‘obliterate Hamas’ to calls for peace. If it were up to me, honestly I’d be somewhere in between. You can’t let acts of terror go unpunished, but you can also never lower yourself to the level of a terrorist in an attempt to defeat one. Most disturbing to me is how quickly and seemingly without any hesitation many conservatives adopted the position of turning Gaza into a glass parking lot overnight.
Even when faced with the question of what are families with no connection to the attack supposed to do, and nowhere to go, some are saying too bad for them! They should have considered the risks of living where they are. According to reports, there aren’t safe places to flee to or organize plans to leave because the whole area is now a warzone. Neighboring country Egypt is also closing its border, effectively locking most Gazans in.
While I’m not strictly anti-war, I value life. So by extension I’m against the innocent taking of lives. And while not a conservative, but generally aligning with conservatives, what should we be more concerned with conserving than life itself? Yet the loudest voices in the room at this moment appear to be calling for a total destruction that I cannot support. Missouri Senator Josh Hawley has already stated he wishes to divert current Ukraine war funds over to supplying Israel. I’m feeling a bit like writer & editor Cassandra MacDonald these days: politically homeless.
Im noticing. I am feeling very politically homeless for the first time in a while. https://t.co/pj8UscjwXz
— Cassandra MacDonald (@CassandraRules) October 9, 2023
What is Hamas?
If you’re like most non-news-addicted working individuals, you’ve probably heard of Hamas, but wouldn’t exactly be able to describe what they are if asked about it. They’re um, this organization, and they’re bad, they hate the Jewish people. But that could describe a lot of groups, sadly. So let’s take a quick look at their recent history. It was during the last year of George W. Bush’s administration that Hamas took over when Fatah, the previous ruling org formerly led by Yasser Arafat, lost power in parliament. Neither organization has a holy, saintlike history when it comes to acts of terror or aggression toward Israel. Just look at Arafat’s record of terror here, spanning more than 50 years.
I found this tidbit interesting, considering I had always viewed Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton the destabilizers of American foreign policy. Yet here during Bush’s admin, when I was a bit younger and less aware of world events, we have at least two changes of power in the Middle East that led to more instability. Namely, Hussein’s ouster in Iraq and this takeover in Gaza.
Summing it all up
I know these thoughts are little disjointed. And so is this conflict. Iran’s being blamed for it. Biden’s receiving blame for releasing the funds to Iran. People are saying it’s not World War 3, yet people are also saying Putin supported the attack and we need to keep fighting him in order to fight Hamas. This small regional conflict could easily escalate to a much larger one in a short time. Any decisions made by several key countries, such as the USA and Saudi Arabia, could have wide ranging impacts we can’t foresee yet.
With that in mind, I just want to urge caution to anyone who’s been rightfully upset by what we’ve seen. Personally I avoided watching the horrific videos, knowing some could be real but others would be fake or old footage. I don’t want to be goaded into war rage.
Let’s remember the words of our nation’s anthem, which echoes “conquer we must, when our cause it is JUST.” Most fighting for American independence in 1776 and 1812 did not WANT the fight. We wanted any other course possible, but only when those options ran out did we take up arms.