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Humanitarian Israel By: David Solway
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, January 08, 2009


As we observe a mounting and increasingly pervasive campaign to censure Israel for defending itself against the Hamas thugocracy, we are also witnessing a likely self-induced blindness among both elite institutions and ordinary people. The UN, the media, the NGOs and proliferating altruistic organizations, the European governments (with the exception of Germany), the intellectual panjandrums and a vast popular constituency appear utterly incapable of recognizing the obvious. Israel is in fact under no obligation to lend its support to its self-avowed enemy. It is under no imperative to provide Gaza—whose population elected Hamas by a wide margin and supports terror attacks against Israel by an even wider margin—with medical treatment, diesel fuel, electrical power and food shipments. The Geneva Conventions which assign responsibility to the occupying power for the welfare of the occupied people do not apply in this situation since Gaza can no longer credibly be described as “occupied.”

So the question needs to be asked. What other nation in the world heals and victuals its enemies, while at the same time allowing its own population centers to undergo relentless bombardment? What nation in its right collective mind would go on supplying sustenance to and serving its attackers’ energy needs? Russia, for example, is not under attack, yet even in a non-conflictual situation it has no compunction in cutting off Gas supplies to the Ukraine and threatening to do the same to Europe—in the middle of the winter no less—yet the General Assembly sits on its hands, Amnesty International is deafeningly mute, the streets are empty of protesters. Innocent people can freeze to death for all they care.

But Israel is routinely denounced for supposedly depriving its mortal enemies of food and material. Gaza, let us recall, is a hostile “state” which persists in trying to abduct Israeli soldiers, laying explosive devices at the border, sniping at Israel’s labor force and firing rockets daily at its civilian communities. But what is even more preposterous than such false and hypocritical defamation is the fact that Israel, apparently bowing to pressure or subject to some misguided sense of noblesse oblige, continues to act as Gaza's fuel pump and breadbasket.

Whatever way we look at it, the situation is so absurd and self-defeating as to defy belief. The many “well-intentioned” peace outfits and most of the world’s governments have not seen fit to acknowledge the plain reality of the overall situation. To repeat: Israel is under no obligation whatsoever to cater to or initiate relations with another state or people. Such is the rule the Muslim nations have adopted wholesale vis à vis Israel . It is the assumption behind the anti-Zionist divestment campaigns of the Churches, NGOs, universities and trade unions, and, indeed, it is an axiom the “world community” has sanctioned for its own members, with the hypocritical exclusion of the Jewish state. This is a basic principle of the jus gentium: there is no legitimate compulsion for a competent authority to “do business” with or provide succour to those it does not wish to.

And thus there is no ethical, legal or political justification for imposing this responsibility upon Israel, especially as Israel has been under attack for years from the very entity it is expected to sustain and subsidize. Nevertheless, from the unreflected perspective of the rest of the world, Israel, which owes nothing to Gaza, must go on furnishing its adversaries with their stipulated requirements. Simply put, Israel is the victim of what we might call negative exceptionalism. Unlike any other country on the planet it must work against its own interests. It is as if there exists among its many enemies a shadowy, perhaps unconscious, realization that only one country in the Middle East is capable of defeating Israel, and that is Israel itself. And therefore, in the current conflict, it must be bullied and constrained to furnish Hamas with the ammunition, so to speak, that can be used against it.

That, I believe, is for much of the world what Gaza is all about. Against all common sense and natural law, Israel must be forced via moral condemnation and political pressure to feed, equip, endow and replenish Hamas and its Gazan electors until the Jewish state finally succumbs to a process of physical and military erosion, and becomes something other than a Jewish state. The world demands that Israel defeat itself in the absence of any stronger opponent in the region to complete the task. And Israel, at least up to now and despite its belated military response to continued Hamas aggression, seems perfectly willing to comply.


David Solway is the award-winning author of over twenty-five books of poetry, criticism, educational theory, and travel. He is a contributor to magazines as varied as the Atlantic, the Sewanee Review, Books in Canada, and the Partisan Review. He is the author of The Big Lie: On Terror, Antisemitism, and Identity. A new book on Jewish and Israeli themes, Hear, O Israel!, will be released by CanadianValuesPress this fall.


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