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Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | Last updated: 6:17pm

Israel defense warranted, but unilateral support can be dangerous



As a Jew, deciding who is right in the Israeli conflict is extremely difficult.

All of my Jewish friends are posting statuses like “No matter what, I stand with Israel” and all kinds of things in Hebrew on Facebook, but I can’t help but feel torn. On one hand, I will always want there to be a home for my people. But on the other hand, it’s hard to know when airstrikes stop becoming effective and start becoming unnecessary.

The one thing I do know is that unilateral support in any group is a terrible idea. Standing up for any group in spite of infringements on human rights is a slippery slope that can lead to a dangerous result: Accepting that such actions are OK.

That’s not to say that Israel is necessarily violating human rights. Hamas, the militant group running Palestine since 2007, is a terrorist organization. The U.S., and other countries including those in the European Union, classify it as such. If anyone is constantly violating human rights, it’s Hamas.

Israel was being proactive when its defense forces assassinated Ahmed Jabari, the Hamas military chief of staff. According to Yosef Kuperwasser, the director of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, in a Reuters article, more than 800 rockets had been fired into Israel since the middle of October.

When someone attacks another, the victim has a right to defend against those attacks. A government has an obligation to protect its people, and that necessitated retaliation.

Could the Israeli government have taken other options? Probably, but the other options would have consisted of risking Israeli soldiers in an equally unpopular assassination or sitting around and continuing to take the abuse.

No country would choose the latter, especially when ignoring such attacks only enables the behavior in the first place — as the 800 rockets can attest to.

What’s truly sad, though, is that there is probably no solution that doesn’t involve violence.

Fundamentally, many countries don’t want Israel to exist because it’s a Jewish state that conflicts with their Muslim beliefs or they dislike Israel because its creation displaced tens of thousands of Palestinians.

While religion is often used by people as a justification for violence (the crusades, the inquisition, etc.), the true problem is more about resources. Jews want the land to have a safe place for a people that were decimated during the Holocaust and the pogroms in Russia decades before that.

Arabs want the land because they were there before, and for a long time too. After having what they saw was rightfully theirs taken away, they wanted the entirety of Palestine back.

And how do countries settle land disputes? Well, they fight over it until someone loses.

So while it isn’t OK for Israel to infringe upon the basic human rights everyone has, it isn’t doing that. It’s merely defending itself like any country under attack would do and has done nearly any time two groups fought over land.

In the meantime, the best thing anyone can hope for is that the two groups agree to a ceasefire so that no more civilian lives have to be lost.

— Jason Krell is the copy chief of the Arizona Daily Wildcat. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @Jason_Krell .


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