Last month, the death of a hunger-striking member of a terrorist organization in an Israeli prison escalated into yet another violent episode of rocket attacks out of Gaza. Let’s set aside the ridiculous efforts of some to blame Israel for his death, given it was intentionally self-inflicted. There is another, just as absurd, argument being made, and it needs to be put to rest.
The rockets were mostly fired by Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and its allies. Israel responded by conducting airstrikes. The exchange culminated in an Egyptian-negotiated ceasefire, which, thankfully, seems to be holding.
However, as is often the case when Gazan rocket attacks precipitate an Israeli military response, one particular argument popped up repeatedly from those criticizing Israel. Historically, conflicts between Israel and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip have resulted in more casualties on the Gazan side than on the Israeli side. This is a result of Israel’s superior technology, both in defense and offense. Israel’s Iron Dome system shoots down the vast majority of rockets that would hit residential areas. The rockets fired by Hamas, PIJ and other Gazan terrorist organizations are inaccurate and sometimes misfire or even land within the Gaza Strip itself, and Israeli airstrikes are much more accurate than Gazan rockets.
Critics of Israel argue that Israel’s actions must be wrong because the casualties resulting from this conflict are disproportionate. It’s a ridiculous argument. Rather than looking at raw casualty numbers we must look at the intents of each side.
Rockets fired from Gaza largely target Israeli cities near the border to Gaza, such as Sderot. However, they also sometimes target cities further away, like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. These rockets are not aimed at military sites but merely at civilian population centers. This is in stark contrast with the Israeli airstrikes, which are conducted in response and have military targets, such as the leaders of the terrorist groups firing the rockets and the launch sites themselves.
Yes, Israeli airstrikes are more lethal than Gazan rockets, but this fact is irrelevant to the justifiability of the actions taken by either side. An aggressor has no right to bemoan when their victim punches back; likewise, the terrorist militias which run the Gaza Strip have no moral high ground from which to criticize Israel whilst they initiate violence by targetting civilians.
If Mexican cartels were to start firing rockets into cities in the southern states of the US tomorrow, should we demand that the US respond only by killing fewer of the cartel members than however many US civilians were killed by cartel members? Of course not. The US government would have a duty to ensure the safety of its citizens. Israel, too, has the right and responsibility to protect its people and territory.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.