A Further Perspective

Ceasefire: Under What Grounds?

The old playbook no longer applies.

By 8.1.14

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We have all been here before. The same movie reruns every few years; only the names are changed to protect the guilty. It features a battle between two squads, two teams, two cultures. One side in this conflict is comfortable with its own identity and does not change names with the seasons: Israel. The other guys are chameleons, adopting new aliases, new tactics, new tricks, but always committed to the maximum in indiscriminate damage: Hamas, Hizbollah, PLO, PFLP, Al Qaeda, Fatah, Islamic Jihad.

While Israel is scrupulous in observing the Geneva Convention, along with the conventions of humanity and civility, the antagonists flout the rules with wanton abandon. They fight without uniforms, they attack wearing masks, they kidnap, they put on Israeli Army uniforms to fool people, they blow themselves up, they employ women and dogs as explosive devices, they use their own children as human shields, they doctor photographs, they launder money, they divert civilian aid for hostile purposes, they turn schools and hospitals into armories and depots for the vilest weaponry. They use nationalism when it suits them, they use religion when that suits them, they target the smallest and weakest and most helpless, etc. etc. etc. All in all, they behave in the most unethical and disreputable fashion without regard for human life or civil society.

Every few years the time comes for an attack against Israel, following a clock or a calendar only they can decipher. Suddenly “fundraising season” rolls along and it is time for them to update or upgrade their stock of rocketry or other instruments of malevolence. It is out with the old, in with the new. The best way to dispose of obsolescent missiles growing stale in their silos is to shoot them off in the direction of Israel. Lob a few thousand of these things over the border and try to beat your old records in causing civilian casualties; now there is some real summer fun!

Israel shoots back with its much more powerful conventional arsenal, first warning civilian populations to steer clear of the combat zones. The “fighters” without uniforms, “militants” without a military, rebels without a cause, run to hide behind the women and children. Eventually an Israeli airstrike hits a school or a hospital, the sad pictures are quickly exploited and the United States emissaries show up on cue to demand a ceasefire. Europe comes huffing and puffing to the table, lest its countries miss a chance to placate their anti-Semites, and Israel bites the bullet, shutting down the operation.

This scenario has played itself out umpteen times and there is no discernible difference between Democrat and Republican administrations in this pattern of response. The State Department, in particular, always demonstrates an absolute moral blindness in overlooking the worst excesses of the bad guys; in the most recent such episode, a Department spokeswoman last week defended a UN school for getting the rockets off its premises by “calling the police” in Gaza. In a charade which turns into caricature, a terrorist group pretending to be a government has collaborators posing as concerned citizens.

This system has been so standardized that the George W. Bush administration would burnish their pro-Israel conditions by pointing out the President let Israel have three weeks before he demanded a ceasefire. Once again hysteria repeats itself. Now Obama, Kerry and Hagel are trying to follow this timetable but Israel has so far been emboldened to rebuff their entreaties.

This time Israel is arguing that the old playbook should no longer apply. This army campaign has uncovered a network of tunnels dug over the last decade, designed as launching points for the most despicable attacks. The materiel stored in these tunnels has heavily featured caches of handcuffs and sedatives, a gruesome kidnapping kit assembled by an entity presenting itself as a sovereign, entrusted by generous countries with hundreds of millions in aid.

Perhaps the Bible will have the last word after all. It argues in Exodus for the right of self-defense, specifically citing the instance of the marauder entering your home through underground passages, intent on wreaking mischief in your domicile. In such a case, the verse (22:1) teaches “the thief has no (claim for his) blood” and the homeowner may shoot to kill.

Hamas and its allies are not only tunneling under Israel. They are tunneling under the entire structure of our civilization. They are hijacking every principle and value we hold dear. They are the tunnel at the end of our light.

It is time to shake our tunnel vision, to dispatch the tunnelers and embrace the visionaries.

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About the Author

Jay D. Homnick, commentator and humorist, is a frequent contributor to The American Spectator.