Disproportionate. The word began being trotted out again throughout the local, national and world media once Israel began its assault this past weekend against the terrorist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip. World leaders have joined the hue and cry, criticizing the Israeli military for killing more than 300 people, most of them militants (along with an unfortunate number of civilians), while only a few Israelis have been killed by the rockets and mortars that Hamas has been raining down on the southern towns of Israel.
But in the depth and swiftness of its response, the Israeli government clearly wished to say "Enough!"
In all, some 6,000 missiles have fallen on the portion of Israel that borders Gaza (as many as fell on England during the Blitz, as several commentators have pointed out) since Israel disengaged itself from the strip three years ago. These incessant bombings have managed to keep a million citizens hostage. Recent news reports say that on Dec. 24 alone, 70 bombs fell in Israel's south. Aside from the psychological toll the attacks have caused among the men, women and children of the cities and towns there, the region's economy has been decimated, and people are now beginning to depart for good.
Israel was backed into a corner and had to respond. Clearly, the country's leaders have sought to direct a crippling blow against Hamas' bomb-making capabilities, and thereby secure for their citizens a measure of peace. It's the least a nation can do, and, when it comes right down to it, few others in the world would have shown the restraint that Israel has shown these past few years. Not for nothing have officials called this the necessary war.
One of the most interesting aspects of the international outcry against Israel is that many leaders have scolded the Jewish state for being so bold as to defend itself, but few have taken any significant action to stop the IDF from proceeding in its task.
It seems, once again, that Israel can be vilified while it continues to do the world's dirty work. It fact, it's quite shocking, but completely understandable, how few friends Hamas has when it comes to Realpolitik. That, in the end, may play well into Israel's hands, and may even help push the peace process along after this powerful but necessary skirmish has come to an end.