Throughout history, the use of force by the state of Israel for self-defense has long been controversial. Just in the past week, peaceful Palestinian protestors took to the Israeli-Gaza border. Also in attendance was Hamas, the terrorist group that Gazans selected as their ruling party. While there were many peaceful Palestinians marching in the street protesting the actions of the Israeli government, there were also members of Hamas launching Molotov cocktails and rocks over the border. They shot at Israeli Defense Force soldiers and the IDF shot back. During the week of protests, there were over a dozen protestors killed from IDF fire.
There are now diplomats such as Senator Sanders who condemn Israel’s use of force at the Gaza border in the last week. Sanders and others say it was an overreaction by Israel and that too many innocent lives were lost. I would like to ask Senator Sanders what he would like the U.S. government to do if Hamas soldiers started launching Molotov cocktails at the U.S. Capitol building. Would he want the Capitol police to fire back? Or would he just let the “protestors” in the door?
The unfortunate part of the entire situation is that there truly are peaceful Palestinians who just want to express their anger in the streets. But when Hamas imbeds itself in the middle of these peaceful protestors with weapons intended to kill…there is a problem. Ever since Hamas came to power about a decade ago, all they have done is deprive the Palestinian people of more than they can even imagine. From spending hundreds of millions of dollars on underground tunnels to causing the IDF to fire upon what was a peaceful protest until Hamas showed up, the Palestinians in Gaza remain impoverished and below a basic level of living because of their government.
As I walked through the streets of Jerusalem this past January, there were IDF everywhere. There were Jews everywhere, and Christians and Muslims. There were Israelis, Palestinians, Americans and people from all over the globe packed into this tiny city. But the IDF was not firing on the Palestinians, they were not telling them to leave the city and never come back. They were there to keep everyone safe. And when someone, from any side, starts disturbing the peace by throwing bombs and rocks, the IDF will defend their state.
The state of Israel is in fact a state. It is a free, democratic state with defined borders and a right to self-determination. When the Israeli border is attacked, it will be defended. And what is sad is that Hamas is both directly and indirectly killing its own people. While the IDF does everything it can to prevent civilian casualties, Hamas actively engages civilians to become unintended targets of the IDF.
So while Senator Sanders and a multitude of scholars around the world continue to condemn Israel for defending its free democratic state, I will continue to condemn a terrorist group who is governing its own people into destruction.