Return to Sderot

The latest situation in Gaza reminded me of a post by Yaacov Ben Moshe from Breath of the Beast entitled Welcome to Sderot that I wrote about back in June. In it he described the constant, dripping, pressure of Hamas attacks on Israeli villages in range of rockets launched from Gaza, and how both Hamas and the Israeli government appeared to use a macabre calculus on how much violence could be tolerated. At the time I compared this to the grim irony of the West being willing “to trade blood for peace, to cut off fingers and feed them to dogs under the table so as not to upset the place-settings.”

As it now appears that the Israeli government has decided enough is enough, and is prepared to shrug off the ignorant pressure of “world opinion” in the same way they have been shrugging off the random missile attacks, it is worth revisting Yaacov’s penetrating essay:

Sderot is an Israeli town within range of Hamas rockets and the victim of the leadership policies of both the Israeli government and that of Hamas that requires a macabre calculus of acceptable losses that keeps both groups of leaders in power … while killing Jewish civilians. Hamas knows that launching rockets on a slow but steady basis, but killing only a few at a time will maintain its political power base with the jihadis, satisfy its foreign sponsors, while not seriously exposing itself to all out countermeasures from Israel.

Simultaneously, Israel’s government tacitly accepts a handful of deaths as being below the threshold of requiring dramatic and deadly response, knowing that it will be pilloried by foreign public opinion and seen as the aggressor if it does so. Ben Moshe cites JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs) Report 781:

“For Hamas, the key is to keep the rocket attacks below an understood threshold and Israel’s response will be tolerable, precise and produce minimal collateral (Palestinian) damage. The Hamas pattern is to fire one, two or three rockets at Sderot. Wait a few days and do it again. Injure two, three, four Israelis. Kill one or two, but not more than that – this week. Increase the range and accuracy of the rockets incrementally. Hit Ashkelon, but just once. Then wait. Hit a shopping center, but if no one is killed, the Israeli response is unlikely to threaten Hamas rule. If Israel does retaliate, the world will probably be more annoyed by the “disproportionate response” than the original rocket attack.”

As I was reading, though, something was bothering me. I was still stuck on the seemingly more limited issue of the terror involved. Who are these people who are being killed by the rockets? How do they live knowing that, only if some, unspecified number of them of them are killed and maimed, will their government be moved to do something about the terror under which they live? This dangerous and painful situation is only partially a product of the Arab/Islamist dream of annihilation of Israel. It is made possible by a combination of ruthless internal enemies (e.g. the far left peace movement), clueless dupes (e.g. Olmert, Livni, et al) and shortsighted erstwhile foreign “friends” who do not understand the reality of the threat. This motley assortment of fools and instigators hold Israel’s defense establishment, her regard for her own citizens and, indeed, her very moral, civic, ethical and intellectual integrity hostage.

The people of Sderot listen for the sirens all day and all night 365 days a year and all must wonder if today is the day that a rocket will come through the ceiling in a busy dining hall or a kindergarten classroom or a high school auditorium and finally be “enough” to force the government to use the power it has always had- but may not always retain- to eliminate the threat. They wait for the government to act. They pray for the rest of the world to recoil in horror. They face each day with bravery and hope. Just like the people in Jackson’s story, they are hostages.

Do you believe that it is about The Nakba or The Occupation or The Settlements? Do you allow yourself the fantasy that there is a way to stop the madness- a sacrifice big enough to satisfy this ravenous cult?

Then what did the innocent victims die for on 9/11- or Madrid- or London- the Darfur? This is part of the same grotesque lottery that has been going on for 1500 years. In spite of the sacrifice of the innocent victims of 9/11, it is all too easy for us to deny that we are hostages too, but those “zero beings” from the Islamist void will not be happy to delete only Israel. They have “selected” them for annihilation first but it is nothing personal, you understand, just a sacrifice to prove there is no value to human life. There is no value to anything that does not affirm the spiritual vacuum of Islamism. It is not because they worship Allah, nor is it is that they believe Mohammed was a prophet. It is that they believe that he was the only prophet, that they know the absolute truth and that it is their mission to ignore (and destroy) all evidence to the contrary. If you believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, they will not rest until they destroy you too.

The Jihadists are not interested in cease-fires or peace. They are happy to tell you what they want. They want the world to live under Shari’a law. They believe that anyone that doesn’t want that is sub-human and deserves to be killed. This is nothing less than another confrontation with the evil of fascist, totalitarianism, and that is a beast whose hunger cannot be sated with souls, nor can its thirst be slaked with blood. The lottery they are holding is to determine not if you will be destroyed but when you will be destroyed. We are all citizens of Sderot — its just that most of us don’t know it yet.

9 thoughts on “Return to Sderot

  1. Not to be impetuous, but my question is “Where do we draw the line?”

    With, for instance, the issue of gay marriage. The resistance to gay marriage is based on specific religious beliefs. While there are many reasons put forward, I think we can agree that the root of these reasons is religiously motivated.

    So, in the instance of Hamas and extremist Muslims we castigate them for wanting to make the world over in the image of their beliefs. But governments do that on a daily, though less extreme basis.

    There is an inherent need to uphold morality in law and action, but how do we decide which ideas of morality? Where is the line?

  2. There are a lot of examples that can be used but a very basic place to draw a line would be “I will not kill you for what you believe.” If your belief, however, is that my very existence is an abomination worthy of death, I may be justified in reacting with deadly force – or even acting pre-emptively (more on this later).

    In a pluralistic society, such as in Israel or the U.S., opposing viewpoints (political or religious) can exist side-by-side even if they don’t do so comfortably. Individuals are allowed to pursue their consciences and to advocate for their beliefs politically (and should expect those of opposite beliefs to do the same). If one group can build enough critical mass it can affect legislation. Votes, not rockets, make the difference. (Ironically, the pluralistic societies seem to bear the brunt of world criticism more than the totalitarian ones.)


  3. The gay marriage example you used is an example of what is possible in a pluralistic society (have you ever noticed this isn’t even a consideration in Iran, Iraq or the Gaza?). It may not be irreconcilable issue, however. Personally, as a religious, conservative and libertarian individual I don’t believe the government belongs in marriage and that “Civil Union” should be the contractual norm for all with the word “marriage” reserved for civil unions that want to apply a sacred (which means “set apart”) and holy foundation and commitment to the relationship. I would resist any civil union – gay or straight – that wants some apparent holy sanction without any intention of actually living out the precepts and requirements of that faith. That said, a religious sect or denomination is free to decide that it will bestow such a sanction on a gay union, but it also must be willing to accept that some or many of its members will follow their conscience and change their affiliation.

    Freedom of religion, at its heart, means you are free to believe and worship (or not) as you choose without the government mandating your observances or the government or any other group killing you for doing so.


  4. To get back to the use of deadly force, I see a parallel between the Israel/Hamas situation and a personal right to self-defense as it is reflected in “Conceal and Carry” (firearms) permits.

    There is quite a difference between violence being the “ultimate solution” or a “last resort”. Mas Ayoob is one of the foremost advocates of owning, and developing the necessary proficiency, to use firearms for personal protection. I just read his book In the Gravest Extreme, however, and he points out quite clearly that someone who thinks that carrying a gun means never having to take any crap from anyone is grievously misinformed. Using a gun, even in a justified situation, will likely ruin your life in terms of the legal and financial ramifications, not to mention your own moral questions after the fact. A gun should never be used to avoid the loss of mere material things or even your own personal humiliation; only in the “gravest extreme” of preventing the loss your life or another’s.

    That is the situation Israel finds itself in now; it has made political decisions under pressure in exchange for the promise of peace only to still be attacked (one stat I saw, I believe it was in the Wall Street Journal today, is that there have been more than 10,000 rocket attacks into Israel since 2001). It has given up money, land and – from a nationalistic view – pride to preserve peace yet still sees its citizens maimed and killed due to the single-minded hate of its opponents. It has made a decision to try and remove or degrade the threat, even if it means suffering the inevitable political repercussions.

  5. This is a really good post, NW. Really, really good.

    I don’t want to sound flip here, but I suspect you’ll know what I mean: considering how far the secular West has slid into leftist intellectual parlor games, it’s especially troubling that people who routinely study existentialists in college cannot recognize the existential threat that we face.

  6. i may be the odd man out here, but i live my life that way often times enough…

    i feel no threat whatsoeveer from islam. if they come for me, i’ll fight them,(die if God wills it).

    but this fight with the jews is as much, more actually, about nationalism and ethnic conquest than anything else.

    when the jews feel threatened, they vote far-right conservative judaism of conquest. other times, the tend toward moderation.

    the arabs are no different, cept for they are foreveer on the short end of the stick so long as jews occupy their lands. as a result, they tend toward militantism, though most would rather just live their lives day to day, in peace, like the rest of us.

    as for the citizens of sderot: why dont they move?

    this question needs answering before the one of why the jews tolerate its incessant shelling.

    the rest of your analysis, ie, the politics, is spot on.

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