In recent days, the Israeli government has bombed the Gaza Strip, home to about 1.5 million people, in retaliation for the Palestinians firing several homemade rockets into Israeli neighborhoods. According to UN figures (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/December_2008_Gaza_Strip_airstrikes ), over 350 Palestinians have been killed, including 62 women and children, and over 1,400 wounded. Israeli losses during the same time period include the deaths of one soldier and three civilians, and 31 wounded.
The weapon the Palestinians have used since 2002 to prick the little toe of the Israeli leviathan is something called the Qassam missile (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qassam_rocket ). The Qassam is actually just a homemade rocket, fueled by a mixture of potassium nitrate fertilizer and sugar. With per capita income in the Gaza Strip at $600 per year, that’s about all they could afford. The mighty Qassam has a range of up to ten kilometers, or a little over six miles.
If you fired a Qassam from downtown New York City, it would land in–New York City.
Between 2002 and May 2008, this highly efficient and effective weapon of mass terror and destruction has been launched over 3,000 times. It has managed to kill, in that time, fifteen Israelis. Put another way, it takes 200 Qassam missiles to kill one Israeli citizen.
You would probably have a much higher kill rate throwing rocks.
The Palestinians packed, sardine-like, into the Gaza Strip, which is completely surrounded by a security barrier (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaza_Strip_barrier) should be happy to be there! Israel allows just enough goods into the Gaza Strip to avert a humanitarian crisis (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/14/world/middleeast/14mideast.html?_r=1) They should be grateful!
And of course, we must refrain from comparing the Gaza Strip to the early Warsaw Ghetto. Such comparisons are absolutely unwarranted.
Perhaps the most amazing fact to come out of the most recent mess in the Middle East is that 71 percent of US citizens favor taking neither side in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, yet the US government–including the incoming Obama Administration–stands by its one hundred percent support for Israel.
Here are the results from a recent scientific poll:
“A new WorldPublicOpinion.org poll of 18 countries finds that in 14 of them people mostly say their government should not take sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Just three countries favor taking the Palestinian side (Egypt, Iran, and Turkey) and one is divided (India). No country favors taking Israel’s side, including the United States, where 71 percent favor taking neither side.” (http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/international_security_bt/503.php?lb=btis&pnt=503&nid=&id=)
As a libertarian, my view is that the US should steer clear of the entire mess. Like 71 percent of the American people, I have no desire to choose sides. I don’t have a dog in that fight. Thank goodness our elected leaders are wiser than us. They know that they should take the Israeli side every time.
[Update 1: See an excellent article by Justin Raimondo at Antiwar.com on the subject of justifying Gaza. In particular, follow the links regarding just war theory and the concept of proportionality, which is out the window in Israel’s response in Gaza to the launching of home-made Qassam rockets. http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=14001 ]
[Update 2: See also an article by Eric Margolis at http://www.lewrockwell.com/margolis/margolis131.html regarding the incredible bias shown in the media in spinning the Gaza situation.]