Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Indoctrination and anger

The front page of every single European newspaper carries news about Israeli military operations in Gaza. At best the titles talk about a military "offensive" and at worst about "crimes against humanity".

While most reasonable people will grant Israel the right of self-defense, at least in principle, there seems to be an emerging consensus about the disproportionality of Israel's reaction. Undeniably, the victims on the Palestinian side vastly outnumber the number of Israeli victims. Without trying to minimize the loss of human life, innocent or not, illegitimate as well legitimate use of force is usually disproportionate. Let us not forget that each of the rockets fired at Israeli cities, is nothing less than an unsuccessful murder attempt. When nations are under serious threat, they react with whatever force they have got. Had the Russians been subjected to the same threats as Israel, they would be no Gaza to talk about. It would have been leveled to the ground as was the case in Chechnya and more recently but to a lesser extent in Georgia.

There are those who assert that the recent violence plants the seeds of hatred for future generations. But as Bret Stephens points out, how is a two-state solution is supposed to come about by allowing Hamas to rule half of a presumptive Palestinian state?

Still in "The Wall Street Journal", Zeev Maghen writes about the difference between hate and indoctrination. Of the thousands of articles on the Middle East I have read in the past 20 years, it is probably one of the best, chillingly so.