The Way of Terror and the Response

[Toronto Star] Alan Baker - Day after day we are treated to footage on our TV screens of what we are told is a "cycle of violence." The equation, so glibly presented through the media, between pure, deliberate terror on the one hand, and the attempts to prevent it on the other, is misguided, misleading, and creates an utterly false and unfair equivalence. Hamas and the other terror organizations functioning under its control and supervision in Gaza are involved in directing the daily rocket firings, which willfully and deliberately target Israeli homes, schools, hospitals, religious seminaries, and kindergartens for the singular purpose of terrorizing and killing as many Israelis as they can. Death is their only motive. That is the way of terror. They fire 40 or 50 rockets every day in the hope that all will kill. It is deliberate and indiscriminate, and it is directed to terrorize a civilian population. It is not merely illegal and immoral, but it is a violation of the most basic norms and principles of international law. As such it is a war crime of the first dimension, going against all accepted norms of civilization. Israel does not willfully and deliberately target civilians, schools, homes and hospitals. Israel has no reason to harm any Palestinian wishing to live peacefully. Israel is obliged - through a very basic need for survival - to defend its citizens against the very terrorists who are actively engaged in firing the rockets and operating the suicide bombers, and only them. If there were no daily, deliberate rocket-fire against Israeli towns and villages; if the industry of importing missiles, weapons and ammunition from Egypt were to be stopped; if the ongoing and prevalent industry of terror-planning, rocket-building, ammunition-manufacturing, and jihadist religious incitement and glorification were to give way to normal industries and economic growth; if the psyche of hatred and terror that prevails over Gaza were to give way to a psyche of peaceful coexistence, then Israel would have neither justification nor need to respond to terror and to defend its citizens. The writer is the Israeli ambassador to Canada.

2008-03-07 01:00:00

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