If anyone has a better idea, I’d love to hear it.
First off, yes, Hamas are terrorists. They do bad, terrorist things. They also use human shields while they do bad terrorist things. I, for one, am not stupid. I know this. And I’m at least a vaguely moral person and recognize that it is wrong. So there’s no need to trot out tired old defenses focused on how very bad the bad guys are.
I also happen to note that the bad guys just aren’t very good at what they do, except for what they have once again succeeded in doing…they prompted yet another asymmetric response that turned into a massacre, and we’re supposed to just be happy about that because never forget or some such bullshit.
So let me remind you of something completely different.
The Beslan school siege (also referred to as the Beslan school hostage crisis or Beslan massacre) started on 1 September 2004, lasted three days, involved the illegal imprisonment of over 1,100 people as hostages (including 777 children), and ended with the deaths of at least 334 people. The crisis began when a group of armed Islamic militants, mostly Ingush and Chechen, occupied School Number One (SNO) in the town of Beslan, North Ossetia (an autonomous republic in the North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation) on 1 September 2004. The hostage-takers were the Riyadus-Salikhin Battalion, sent by the Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, who demanded recognition of the independence of Chechnya, and Russian withdrawal from Chechnya. On the third day of the standoff, Russian security forces stormed the building with the use of tanks, incendiary rockets and other heavy weapons. As of December 2006, 334 people (excluding terrorists) were killed, including 186 children. [emphasis mine]
Now let me direct your attention down the page a bit.
You might notice that the response to Russia was, for the most part, not supportive. Was that gentle enough? Not supportive?
When the defense for today’s misery echoes excuses made for and by tyrants then, well, that’s a bad look.
So, look. I’m just some guy. I’m no genius. But I think I’ve got an idea Israel should maybe try, and it would probably be cheaper than all the munitions they currently convert into dead bodies.
When there are peaceful protesters who are about to be predated upon by Hamas terrorists using them as human shields, love those neighbors. Help them. Show up with school buses with armed escorts, and kindly help the peaceful protesters into the buses and take them to a community center where they’re not being detained but treated to a nice beverage and some forms to register their particular grievances, all to be duly noted politely with nods and whatnot. And this might take a while, maybe even overnight or two, with some nice barracks-styled open dorms for them to stay in during all this processing where you’re keeping them safe from the terrorists. And maybe the logistics for returning them from whence they were picked up are a little less orderly. This could be a while. Why, maybe, after the forms are completed, there’s no reason for them to stay at all, except for the need of expeditious and chaperoned transport. If they can arrange acceptable transportation themselves, why certainly they’re free to leave at any time. But it wouldn’t be safe for them on the streets to just make the walk, you see.
Now, some people aren’t going to want a nice ride and snacks and forms and a nice bed. When you try to assist them on the bus, they might resist. Inform them of the obvious. That anyone that remains, in spite of all these very generous (and very inexpensive by comparison) efforts, might be construed as willing human shields, and there’s no guarantee it’ll end well for them. Last chance. Boarding for cakes and forms in 5, 4, …
That would be a good faith demonstration of actually trying. It is also counter to good judgment to expect it of Israel. And counter to good morals for Israel to remain on its current trajectory.
This is right about the point where someone is going to feel compelled to ask if Israel has the right to defend itself. Doesn’t Israel have a right to exist?
Don’t, because I’m only going to reply with, “on what terms?”
Once again, I commend to you the description of the public reaction to another bloodthirsty tyrant.
On what terms?
And please, spare us appeals to such gaudy notions as, “even Saudia Arabia thinks the Palestinians should put up or shut up.”
I’m even less a fan of the past and current Saudi regime. Oh, yay. Modernity! Women drivers! Steal a fig? Off with your hands. Public lashings. Oh, and that little thing where so very much money was poured into Wahhabist schools to crank out a horde of zealots, the kinds of people capable of 9/11. So, really, save the SA card for someone who forgets.
The time is long past for Israel to take the moral high ground. It’s a hard decision to make, but it’s the right one. Massacres in defense of tragic, but comparatively paltry, insults to your sovereignty aren’t going to keep the world public appeased forever. The current regime has murder in its blood. For the sake of all that’s good, may Israel’s people finally find a conscience and turn its support to the peacemakers, instead. Someone has to go first. If yours is, indeed, the noble cause, that spot is reserved for you.
One last pro-tip from this rando on the internet. That whole thing with using human shields to provoke an asymmetric response is, as you know, intended to give you enough rope to hang yourself with in the court of public (and political) opinion, on which fortunes Israel’s security and billions of dollars of US dole depend. I’ve already covered how that’s being handled. But do remember, those tables could easily be turned. Taking it on the chin a few times will suck, especially for the deceased and those who mourn them, but try that. Don’t rise to Hamas’ provocations. Make a huge show of not rising to Hamas’ provocations. And when you stop responding, you take away their favorite weapon…you. And they’ll grow desperate while you’re exploring peaceful approaches to resolution, like making it far easier for humanitarian aid to reach those you’ve ghettoed. And when they’re desperate, they’ll do more desperate things and start losing their support.
If anyone has a better idea, I’d love to hear it. Continued massacres do not count.