Mohammed al-Khoudry a Palestinian farmer in Gaza. (via news)
It’s true. Israel has money to build bomb shelters and buy expensive missiles to shoot down rockets, while Gaza does not. But that doesn’t mean that it is somehow valid for Gazans to use lethal force against Israelis, and not valid for Israelis to use lethal force in retaliation.
Gazan rockets are unprovoked. Compared to Israeli airstrikes, there are more of them. They are also more lethal (despite killing fewer due to Israeli countermeasures). And worst of all, they are fired for the sole purpose of making the lives of Israeli civilians miserable. If Israel is at war with Hamas, these rockets are illegally targeted against civilians.
Israeli airstrikes do kill some Gazans; far more Gazans have died from Israeli rockets than Israelis from Gazan rockets. However, Israeli airstrikes only happen in retaliation after a rocket has been fired into Israel (in which case the target is always a valid military target, such as a site used for storing missiles or a member of Hamas), or when a rocket is currently in the process of being fired (in which case, no, the people killed are not civilians, and the target is definitely valid). Unfortunately, due to the way Gazan terror groups have chosen to operate, the missile storage sites are adjacent to civilian homes. By the way, if Hamas is at war against Israel (which it is, since it constantly commits acts of war by firing rockets), using the population as a human shield in this way is illegal.
Almost no Israelis want Gazans to die due to air strikes. But right now, most Israelis do not believe that anything but retaliation against military targets will be effective in ending the rockets fired against Israel. If your suggestion is to simply do nothing, then of course Gaza will not stop firing rockets. If your suggestion is to lift the siege on Gaza, then not very many Israelis believe that would help, either. After all, there were plenty of rockets fired on Israel before the siege. If your suggestion is to release prisoners, then you are asking Israel to betray the families of the Israelis who were killed by them, and also to increase the number of terrorist attacks against Israel. Every time Israel has released prisoners, a substantial percentage have gone on to commit further terrorist acts against Israel. If your suggestion is to get out of the West Bank, again, not many Israelis will believe you. After all, rocket attacks against Israel increased dramatically after Israel ended the occupation of Gaza.
The worst part about this line of thinking is that it denies the real pain experienced by Israelis, which feeds into Israel’s persecution complex. It is very easy, being Israeli, to see all of the times international reporters ignore rockets Gaza fires on Israel, ignoring the real pain and suffering they inflict, only to portray Israeli retaliatory airstrikes as unprovoked, barbaric massacres, part of Israel’s plan to exterminate all Palestinians and commit genocide. No, Israel does not want to kill all Palestinians. No, Israel does not want to kill any Palestinians. Even the most right-wing Israelis will never advocate for killing even a large amount of Palestinians with any seriousness (though the very right wing ones will advocate deporting them from the West Bank before annexing it). Yet so many people portray Israelis in this way, which makes it easy to believe that few people outside of Israel truly care about its well-being, or the well-being of its citizens.
I’m sorry for the rant, but too often I see people being dismissive of the real pain Israelis are experiencing due to the rocket attacks. Many children and adults now have deep psychological damage due to living too close to Gaza and having to run to a bomb shelter every few minutes on some days. When I called my grandparents a few days ago, they told me they had to run to the shelter over 10 times in the previous day and a half (they live in Ashdod). When you ignore the real pain these people are experiencing, you make them disillusioned with the peace process. You make them less likely to seek out an agreement with international backing. I understand if you want to express your anger at Israeli air strikes. I understand that yes, it is better to be in Israel and to run from missiles than to be in Gaza and have nowhere to run from airstrikes. But when you publicly belittle the suffering of Israelis, don’t think it will help advance the peace process.