Gideon Levy writes on the dangers of the Gaza operation, both moral and political. I think his opening paragraph captures these dangers quite well:
Israel embarked yesterday on yet another unnecessary, ill-fated war. On July 16, 2006, four days after the start of the Second Lebanon War, I wrote: “Every neighborhood has one, a loud-mouthed bully who shouldn’t be provoked into anger… Not that the bully’s not right – someone did harm him. But the reaction, what a reaction!”
To be honest, the issue of ‘proportionality’ never held much sway with me, but I’ve started looking at it in a slightly different way. In the past, the idea of proportionality was distasteful because it seemed to suggest that there should always be a basically equal amount of dead. I now see it in terms of reasonable or unreasonable response.
Israel’s response, like in the Second Lebanon War, is too much, and seems almost like a reaction of rage. This may or may not be a good parallel, but what came to mind was, if your ‘enemy’ kills your cousin, you respond by killing his whole family and burning down his house. I can understand that Israel wants to act to stop the rockets coming in, but that doesn’t mean that any response is justifiable.
These bombings are getting a lot more coverage internationally than anything I can remember in my 2+ years here. For the first time, I have friends sending me emails and messages, asking, ‘what is going on over there?’
One friend told me, that upon seeing images of Gaza on television, a line from Schiller’s poem, “Song of the Bell”, came to mind. She translated the line as meaning “woe, when they are unleashed”. It gave me pause to say the least. I can leave it to any readers to determine what exactly has been ‘unleashed’.
One thing I urge supporters of the current strikes on Gaza to reflect on, is that the IDF has acknowledged that these are not exclusively strikes on Hamas’ armed groups and buildings, but rather everything connected with Hamas. This meant bombing the Islamic University in Gaza, which was a troubling act. I know the University had many connections to Hamas, but it was still a University, and I think that regardless of association and ideology connected with an institution of learning, they should be considered off-limits as targets.
Finally, I will direct you to Wisdom and Folly from U.S., Israeli Media on Gaza | Tikun Olam-תקון עולם: Make the World a Better Place. There are some interesting comments in this section, and some good articles from Haaretz are discussed as well.