I am sure many of us watched in horror as the conflict between Hamas and Israel continued to escalate until, after 11 days, there were hundreds dead, with cities and livelihoods left in ruins.
This is an age-old conflict that has existed for a while and has only intensified since the Israeli government disengaged from the Gaza Strip in 2005.
I am fully aware of the fact that this is an especially precarious topic for discussion and that there are a multitude of reasons as to why this conflict occurred, and as to why the Middle East is in a state of turmoil in general. However, ultimately we must not allow ourselves to retrogress into an isolationist stupor.
We must stand with our ally Israel. I would like to explain why I believe that fundamentally it is not only the right thing to do, but also the best way to protect our interests as a nation and civilization, by first addressing a few points that many have already discussed, and closing with why this has everything to do with Western Civilization and its adversaries.
Before all else, it is important to detail some of the numbers you’ve most likely been hearing. In this 11 day conflict, there were a total of roughly 266 deaths, with 254 of these falling to Palestinians in Gaza and 12 to Israel. During this conflict we saw thousands of rockets fired from Hamas and a multitude of air strikes from Israel.
In sum, there were roughly 4,340 rockets fired from Gaza by Hamas towards multiple Israeli cities. Israel’s Iron Dome defense system intercepted most of these rockets, thus resulting in only 12 deaths. These numbers hardly explain everything, but we can analyze them nonetheless.
Many people will point to the fact that there is a grave disparity between the death tolls of Israel and Gaza, and, of course, they would be right. However, this all but captures the picture of this conflict.
Imagine if Israel did not possess the marvelous technological defense of the Iron Dome. We would have seen far more deaths, and quite possibly an attempt from the IDF to completely decimate Hamas in Gaza. It would also be remarkably hard to imagine any possibility of a cease fire.
It goes without explanation that the deaths of both Palestinians and Israelis in this conflict are detestable. However, we must also consider the fact that Hamas committed double war crimes in this conflict by not only firing rockets into Israel, but by firing from heavily populated areas in the Gaza Strip. This is because Hamas is a Jihadist militant organization that holds no regard for human life. They fire from behind the populace because they wish to use innocent Palestinians as human shields, knowing that the IDF will take extreme precautionary measures to insure that there will be as little citizen deaths as possible.
This is why announcements were made by the IDF before striking key buildings occupied by Hamas in Gaza, and also why strikes were called off by the IDF due to spotted Palestinian children at play.
The IDF has taken extreme measures to harm as few citizens as possible because they regard all human life to be valuable, unlike the Jihadist militants of Hamas who have had roughly 640 of their own rockets land in Gaza territory.
To reiterate an aforementioned point: these quantitative discussions, while certainly not futile, ultimately should not be the foremost topic in the discourse surrounding this conflict.
Hamas, like Hezbollah and other Jihadist militants, is funded by Iran. Since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the phrase “Death to America” has become a popular phrase in the Islamic Republic. Iran’s current Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei — who has enjoyed supreme power since 1989, making him the second longest serving leader in the last century in Iran (second only to Iran’s last King), who controls Iran’s executive, legislative, and judicial branch, along with its media and military — has also used this popular phrase.
The most powerful man in the Middle East, alongside the Jihadist militants he funds, laments Israel’s existence and endorses the death of America because he ultimately laments the existence of Western Civilization.
In this conflict, Israel, as a repository of Western ideals, is representing the Western tradition in a war with one of its greatest adversaries: theocracy.
Fundamentally, the Islamic Republic, and its arms of Jihadist militants, abhor the west. They abhor democracy, they abhor the freedom of speech, they abhor the freedom of religion, and they abhor the secular law along with the judeo-christian ethic upon which it rests.
There are a multitude of factors at play in this conflict between Hamas and Israel (religious, geographical, diplomatic, social, cultural, etc…), and discussing these, along with the numbers in the fighting, is certainly not fruitless.
However, when discussing why the U.S. should support our ally Israel, we should primarily shift our attention to one matter of fact: standing with Israel means standing with a sanctuary of liberalism in a dark land of authoritarian and despotic theocracy.