Israeli Air Strike – Gaza first, Iran next?

Whilst many world leaders can not seem to find the courage to condemn Israel for their disproportionate response to the rockets fired at them by Hamas (but had no problem doing so with Russia), public demonstrations have appeared all over the world (including Israel, where students at universities in Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem demonstrated against the Israeli military operation)

Although Israel no longer “governs” the Gaza Strip, they control the airspace and sea access, which makes the strip a virtual prison camp. Since January 2008 they have been punishing their “prisoners” by cutting fuel supplies and have curtailed travel and the entry of goods.

However, this action does not seem to have satisfied the Israeli leaders search for revenge and recent air strikes have now claimed the lives of more than 300 people (including children), with many more injured.

This sort of response goes beyond the biblical “eye for an eye” and is more like “eyes for an eye, and teeth for a tooth”. Whilst the rockets fired by Hamas have caused deaths and this can not be ignored, the weapons they are using are like fireworks compared with the military might of Israel (and their nuclear arsenal). Isn’t this a bit like shooting a school kid who has thrown a stone through your window?

We are often told that keeping the memory of the Holocaust in people’s minds is to prevent such events happening in the future, not just to Jewish people, but anyone, regardless of their faith, race or color.

Sadly, this has not happened, and terrible events are still occurring in many parts of the world, but if one nation should understand how it feels to be made a target of hate and killing, shouldn’t that be Israel?

We can understand the Jewish people wanting to “protect” themselves from a repeat of what happened in World War II, but when did the victim become the victimizer?

Many Jewish people lost their lands and possessions when escaping from the Nazi’s and know what it is like to have no home or money. The Palestinians, who had no hand in all of this, now find themselves in much the same situation, why should they have to pay the penalty?

Let’s be honest, how would any of us feel if we were forced off our land, would we just accept it as fate, fight back, or at least demand some compensation?

Israel, as a nation, will never be fully accepted in the Middle East, not by the Palestinians or Israel’s neighbors, unless some reasonable compromise is achieved (that does not just benefit Israel). Unfortunately, the continual use of force will never bring peace and Israel will either have to keep fighting (as it has done with very few breaks since 1948), or exterminate those who challenge their right to be there.

Some have suggested that the air strike on Gaza might actually be “training” for a future strike on Iran. Israeli leaders have made it very clear that is their wish, and see Iran as the last remaining military threat to Israel.

It is true that Iran is the second most powerful country in the Middle East, from a military point of view (after Israel) and the only country that could stand up to Israel, if they also had nuclear weapons. Israel is determined that Iran will not obtain such weapons and have been considering an air strike on potential nuclear sites (inside Iran) for a long time. In 1981 the Israeli air force destroyed the nuclear reactor France was building for Iraq, for the same reason.

Should Iran be allowed to obtain a nuclear device? Probably not, but should Israel have these either? If we were to judge which of these two countries have been the most aggressive over the last 60 years, Israel would be the winner by a huge margin! Perhaps, as risky as it may seem, a nuclear armed Iran might actually be a good thing, as far as bringing some balance to the Middle East is concerned. Would Israel rush into so many wars if it didn’t dominate the area, and would this force them to be more compromising? Could such a situation actually bring the peace some of us are looking for?

An attack on Iran is almost inevitable, but Iran is sure to retaliate and this will result in many deaths on both sides. Once again, the civilians will pay the biggest price of all, while those who start it remain at a safe distance. Isn’t this the way it has always been? Maybe if the politicians were forced to take part in these wars as well (at the frontline), they might think twice about what they are doing.