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Gaza War Justified
On December 27, Israel launched an offensive into the Gaza Strip. This began the Gaza War. Israel's target was to weaken Hamas and destroy rockets aimed for Israeli cities. Israel had the right to defend itself.
I was in Israel during this war. Everywhere was in uproar, and there were violent riots all over in favor of Gaza. Stones were thrown at Israelis caught up in these riots, and the rockets keep landing farther into Israel. My cousin's university in Beersheba was canceled for the week because of rockets landing nearby. Israel only goes into a hectic war like this one when it knows it is in danger.
Since Hamas took over Gaza in 2006, it has been shooting rockets into Israeli towns and cities. During the summer of 2008, Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease-fire, yet in November rockets were sent into Israel again. Israel does not allow its citizens to be attacked without retaliating. In a CNS interview, Israeli government spokesman Danny Seaman said they wanted to convey the message that Israel would not tolerate attacks against its citizens (Stahl, 2008).
Israel's retaliation in the Gaza War aimed only for Hamas officials, not civilians. The problem is, Hamas victimizes its own people by hiding among them. It sends rockets from mosques, schools, and private homes so Israel has no choice but to hurt peaceful Palestinians. Hamas wants to make a distorted public view of Israel.
The United Nations (UN) believes the Gaza War is a humanitarian issue because of all the nonmilitary people killed. They seem to ignore the fact that most of the rockets Hamas launch aim directly at Israeli citizens. 'Hamas uses its power to harm civilians. Our actions are designed to minimize the harm to civilians,' said Tzipi Livni, (Stahl, 2008). Also, the UN thinks it helps innocents by going against the war, yet it only encourages Hamas to use Palestinians as shields. Hamas sees that this is an effective method to get the world on their side. The UN has to realize that Hamas and other terrorist groups are the enemies, not Israel.
But why does Hamas continue to be so violent? Like many other terrorist groups, it refuses to acknowledge Israel as a country. Its main goal is to blast Israel off the face of the map. The fact is, they lost their land over 50 years ago, and Britain owned it, not them. Also, the Palestinians were offered the larger portion of Palestine, but they would not accept it. They would only take all of Israel. Palestinian terrorist groups are always being offered peace, yet they never want it. This is because with out a common foe (Israel) they would kill each other.
So far, the Gaza War has accomplished a lot. By the time Israel announced the unilateral cease-fire on January 18, rocket attacks from Gaza were noticeably reduced. Eighty percent of the 300 known tunnels Hamas dug were destroyed, many Hamas leaders were killed, and large amounts of weapon stashes were confiscated. Israel has not fully accomplished its goals, but this was a step towards them.
The number of Palestinians killed is heart breaking, but Hamas was and still is a threat to Israel. To keep its own country safe, Israel had to attempt to end rocket launches from Hamas. Any country would do the same. The problem is, there might never be an end to this type of violence. For lasting peace to exist between Israel and its surrounding countries, the terrorist organizations must end. They need true governments with leadership that cares about their well being, not terrorist groups whose only purpose is to kill.
'IDF accomplished goals of Gaza op' Jerusalem Post January 2009
Stahl, Julie. 'Israel Pounds Hamas in Gaza, Rocket Attacks Continue' CNSNews December, 2008
Bronner, Ethan 'Parsing Gains of Gaza War' The New York Times January 2009