Why We Fight
In the 1949 classic war film Battleground about soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division fighting the desperate Battle of the Bulge, there’s a scene where a few of the men eat a long and overdue hot meal off the line after days of cold and combat. When Belgian civilians, starving and dressed in rags to protect them against the harsh winter, search the garbage for food, one soldier remarks, “I don’t even see those things.” This elicits an immediate and angry response from another paratrooper. “Well I want to see them,” the soldier shouts back. “I want to remember them.”
Israeli soldiers who have fought Hamas in the Gaza Strip have also seen their share of sights they can and will never forget. Beyond the danger of operating inside the dense setting of an urban battlefield battling suicide bomber terrorists who use civilians as human shields, Israel’s soldiers have seen children with hungry stomachs, and they’ve smelled the stench of sewage flowing in the streets. They have seen police stations where Palestinian security agents and Hamas religious enforcers have tortured and maimed suspects who have been held without due process or the right to a fair trial; they have operated on the streets where Hamas thugs dragged the body of a man murdered simply because of his sexual orientation. Israeli soldiers have seen a dozen men, women, and children, sleeping on a living room floor and they have also walked by expansive villas, made from imported marble and tile, belonging to terror chieftains and criminals. Mostly, the soldiers have had to fight inside the extensive tunnels that cost untold millions of dollars to build—untold millions that could have been spent on food, infrastructure, hospitals, and the seeds of hope for the Palestinian people.
Rockets were once again fired at Israel—this time, on the night of April 27, and the sirens sounded at Kibbutz Kissufim forcing men, women, and children to run for their lives seek safety from the blitz inside their air-raid shelters. There was no reason behind the barrage of Hamas rockets. There is no justification—ever—for the indiscriminate launching of unguided missiles against a civilian population. There were no military targets that Hamas was after. The objective of lobbing lethal warheads against civilians was simple: to kill as many Israelis as they could. To terrorize for the safe of terror. But, then again, Hamas has never needed a reason to perpetrate crimes against humanity.
The enemies of Israel will always point the finger of blame at the Jewish state for all of Gaza’s woes. But the Palestinian Authority, the PA, assumed control of the inhabitants of Gaza in 2004 when Arafat made his triumphant return following the signing of the Oslo Accords; in 2007, Hamas took over the strip in an extremely bloody coup. The United States, the European Union, and the Gulf State Arabs have been incredibly benevolent to the Palestinians; billions of dollars have been sent to Ramallah and Gaza meant for the Palestinian people. That money was hijacked and ended up paying for rockets and explosives, assault rifles and RPGs, and wages to entice young men to kill and to be killed.
Until the Islamic resistance group cares more about its people and the sanctity of life than it does for committing crimes, the situation will never improve.