The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

98° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Terrorism worthy of condemnation no matter who commits it

    When it comes to hot-button issues like gay marriage or abortion, it’s rare that one side is so irredeemably wrong that its proponents can safely be dismissed as totally clueless, simply bigoted or outright amoral. But supporters of the Israeli attacks on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have officially crossed over into that area.

    The popular spin on the story is that a ceasefire was established between the Israelis and the Palestinian government, but the Palestinians broke the ceasefire in December by launching unprovoked rocket attacks into Israeli cities. The Israelis justly counterattacked by launching air and ground strikes aimed at picking out members of Hamas, which seized power illegally in the Palestinian government via a coup.

    Reality is not friendly to this viewpoint.

    In truth, Israel is in the wrong for continuing to maintain a blockade on the Gaza Strip, preventing Palestinians there from receiving needed food, water, medical care and electricity. Hamas militants reacted by launching what have been humorously described as “”bottle rocket”” attacks on Israeli cities. These have killed about 13 people in the last few weeks and wounded about a hundred more.

    Israel responded in turn by launching a series of air strikes on Gaza, followed by ground assaults, and all Hell has since broken loose for the Palestinians. The attacks have targeted alleged Hamas bases but also mosques, universities and hospitals, and have left a thousand dead and 4,000 injured. The attacks have also involved the use of white phosphorus and cluster bombs in civilian areas, meaning the Israeli Defense Force is treading dangerously close to war crimes territory.

    Apologists for the IDF claim the attacks on civilian areas are justified because Hamas militants do not fight in uniform and are disguised as civilians. This may be the case. But for how well Hamas has disguised itself among the civilian populace, one might think they’re a democratically elected political party rather than a cackling cabal of crazy Arabs.

    IDF apologetics doesn’t stop there. Other defenders of Israel on the Internet, in the media and even in our government have compared Hamas’ rocket attacks to a man taunting a wild animal; we shouldn’t feel bad for Palestine any more than we should feel bad when the man gets attacked. Fine. But a more appropriate version of this analogy would involve the wild animal attacking and brutally killing the man, then going after his wife, kids and relatives.

    The Bush administration was especially humorous in stating that Hamas’ attacking Israel rather than tending to the welfare of their citizens proves they do not care about the Palestinian people. But as Israeli scholar Reuven Paz has noted, around 90 percent of Hamas’ yearly budget is committed to an extensive social, welfare and educational net. The United States government, in contrast, spends far less than 90 percent of its budget on these things. Does that make us a terrorist state worthy of condemnation?

    What, exactly, do the Israelis intend to accomplish by bombing the smithereens out of innocent Palestinians? If it’s to use Palestinian lives as a bargaining chip to force Hamas to reconsider its attacks, then that’s terrorism, plain and simple. Terrorism is worthy of condemnation no matter who commits it.

    Why, then, have American politicians been so unwilling to speak out against Israeli terrorism, even though, as a Washington Post poll showed, about half of Americans disapprove of Israel’s tactics and feel that Israel and Hamas are both to blame?

    One can immediately draw a parallel between the Gaza conflict and Russia’s invasion of Georgia in August. While most American politicians and ideologues were quick to condemn Russia for its supposedly unprovoked aggression against Georgia, the situation was actually a bit complicated, and Russia claimed to be acting on behalf of the oppressed South Ossetia region.

    Hawks in the U.S. were quick to condemn Russia during that conflict, apparently crippled by their blind belief that “”Russia”” was a code word for “”Great Satan.”” President-elect Barack Obama earned a great deal of disdain when he refused to do likewise, instead committing the harsh sin of stating that the conflict was complex.

    The Gaza conflict is a similarly perfect mirror of American politicians’ black-and-white views when it comes to the actions of their allies and enemies. Republicans aren’t the only ones guilty of this; Democrats do it too.

    Lest it sound like I’m an apologist for Hamas, I’m not. Attacking innocent people is inexcusable whether Palestinian or Israeli militants are guilty of it, and Hamas’ harsh statements denying the right of Israel to exist ought to be retracted.

    But is it any surprise that Palestinians continue to assert themselves against Israel in the only way they really can? The Thirteen Colonies revolted against Great Britain over far less than what Palestinians have to deal with now.

    Unfortunately, blind American political support for Israel seems unlikely to change any time soon. But if nothing else, the clumsy attempts of the IDF’s supporters to justify the unjustifiable will continue to provide amusement for us all.

    – Taylor Kessinger is a senior majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology, math and physics. He can be reached at

    More to Discover
    Activate Search