An army is a blunt weapon. Send it into a populated area where the enemy doesn't wear a uniform and innocents are going to die. This is happening right now in Gaza. Many people are quick to blame Israel for these deaths, calling them "unnecessary" or even "war crimes."

Lately, Israel has had to endure unguided missiles raining down on its territory. Since they are unguided, the people launching them, Hamas soldiers, aren't conducting surgical strikes. In fact, it appears they  would be happy if they hit schools, hospitals, markets, and other heavily-populated targets.

So, imagine you are Israel. Do you have another way of attempting to put a stop to the daily barrage of missiles?

This is not an invitation to criticize the creation of Israel after WW2. It's not an invitation to criticize policies you think led up to Hamas.

I'm only asking what's the alternative to sending in its troops to attempt to cleanse Hamas out of Gaza?

Tags: Gaza, Hamas, Israel

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Will "respecting international law" somehow cause Hamas to end its war on Israel?

If not, then Israel has the right to do what it takes to survive.

Maybe Hamas could get the ball rolling by giving up all those missiles it's constantly lobbing into Israel. Or at least stop launching them from schools, hospitals, markets, and mosques, a cynical tactic they use to CAUSE the death of innocents.

One of the reasons the number of civilian casualties falls disproportionately on Gazan civilians is that Israel's main responsibility is to protect its citizens. To that end it has shelters, an alarm system, and the "iron dome" (kind of a Star Wars defense system) that intercepts many of Hamas's missiles. 

By contrast, Hamas, WANTS Gazan civilians to die because people like many of you here see the two sides as morally equivalent, by some strange logic.

Contrast that with Hamas in Gaza who actually bases its military operations in or near schools, hospitals, markets, and other potentially casualty-rich targets.

Anyway, weighting relative civilian casualties is a fallacious way of comparing Israel and Hamas.

The issue was never “proportionality”; it is the suffering and dying of too many Arabs and Jews. And while there is much that is complicated about the Middle East, ending the violence in Gaza is not complicated. Hamas needs to halt the missile attacks and provide credible assurances to Israel and the world that they will not be resumed. If the rockets stop, quiet can come tomorrow. And tomorrow is not soon enough. (source)

Unseen, exactly where can Hamas base itself in the Gaza strip where it is not near civilians? Gaza is one of the most overcrowded places on earth. Almost two million people are crammed into a strip of land just 25 miles long and between three and a half and seven miles wide( often in refugee camp type situations)  – roughly the same size as the Isle of Wight. In general there are few opportunities to leave; and in the midst of a conflict such as this, there is no exit.

"

Israel, meanwhile, does not have an unblemished record in the use of human shields. In 2010, two soldiers were convicted in an IDF military court of using an 11-year-old Palestinian boy as a human shield in its 2008-09 operation in Gaza. The pair ordered the child to search bags they suspected of being booby-trapped.

It was the first conviction of what is known within the IDF as the "neighbor procedure" – forcing civilians to assist troops in military operations. Investigations by news organisations and human rights groups have suggested the IDF has used Palestinians as human shields in operations in both Gaza and the West Bank."

"Gaza is one of the most overcrowded places on earth."

This is a popular pro-Palestinian canard. Let's make some neutral comparisons of thousands of citizens per m2 to other cities (as Gaza is, essentially, a city statelet): 

Paris: 21,2
Cairo: 18,1
Athens: 16,8
Gaza city: 10,2
Tel Aviv: 7,6
Jerusalem: 6,4
London: 5,4
Gaza-strip: 5,0

See also wiki's list and a map of the population density:

Obviously, every Gazan counts for four Parisians. 

But, to be fair, population density in some of those places is accounted for by the verticality of the dwellings. Of course, at the same time, a missile hitting a high-rise apartment tower could easily kill a huge number of people.

@Erock68la - 

And yet:

Israel:  29 dead, 2 of which were civilian.

Gaza:  576 dead, ~70% of which were civilian.

There is something bizarre, in fact, about the idea of “proportionality” being used as a moral criticism against Israel. A proportional response by Israel to the attacks of the last seven years would mean that every time a rocket is fired by Hamas at an Israeli civilian center, Israel would respond by firing a rocket at a civilian center in Gaza. Israel, of course, rejected that, then and now. Still, when Hamas violated the ceasefire yet again and got its hands on longer-range rockets, something had to be done. (source)

Hamas always finds a way to refuse a cease-fire or to break it. Why? BECAUSE THEY WANT THE CONFLICT TO CONTINUE!!! If they don't care about their civilians, does it then become Israel's responsibility?

@Unseen I have argued for proportionality by Israel in this discussion, but my quoting casualty statistics this time was in response to what you said about Hamas' targets being civilian/terroristic and Israel's targets being military. These numbers clearly don't support that. Or else both sides are really inept or unlucky at hitting their targets.

You are actually right about one thing, Unseen. The numbers certainly don't indicate moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas.

The statistics bear out that Hamas will NOT let their civilians get out of the way of Israeli attacks. Israel warns of impending attacks by leafletting, but Hamas insists that they not leave so that people like you can have casualty counts to go on about.

I'm only asking what's the alternative to sending in its troops to attempt to cleanse Hamas out of Gaza?

That's an interesting choice of words: "cleanse". But I digress. What are the options for Israel?

1. Tolerate the rocket attacks on Israel.

2. Agree to Hamas' demands: allow freer movement of goods and people across the borders in exchange for agreeing to a cease fire (which will likely last a few years).

3. Target Hamas with air strikes only and accept the civilian casualties, which probably isn't enough to stop the rocket attacks on Israel.

4. Invade Gaza on the ground, target Hamas, accept the civilian casualties and stop the rocket attacks on Israel (likely for a few years).

5. Bomb and shell Gaza indiscriminately until every building is destroyed and everyone is dead, and stop the rocket attacks for good.

Israel prefers option 4, with some of the "indiscriminate" aspects of option 5. It should be no surprise that Israel persists with half measures and never goes all the way to option 5. The restraining factor is that overt "ethnic cleansing" of 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza would be illegal, immoral, and perhaps terminal for its international relations, not that Israel has ever been overly concerned with the former.

Only one thing is going to end this cycle of violence: if proof emerges that Israel's enemies pose an existential threat. For instance, Hamas turns up with powerful, accurate missiles, or nerve gas, or biological agents, or something scary like that. Once Israel has that kind of pretext the leadership will have no cause to restrain themselves. They'll pound all of Gaza to blood and rubble, claim self defense, and solve the problem once and for all. Until or unless that happens, Israel will stick with half measures like option 4.

They'll pound all of Gaza to blood and rubble, claim self defense, and solve the problem once and for all.

Substitute Israel for Gaza and that is the clearly stated goal of much of the Muslim world, including the Hamas fanatics. They simply can't abide by the existence of Israel. The idea that somehow Hamas will turn peaceful EVEN IF ITS DEMANDS ARE MET strikes me as painfully naive.

BTW, Israel at least makes a show of attempting cease fires, whereas Hamas either rejects them or says they're accepting whereas in reality they are just using the cease fire as an opportunity for more attacks.

Give me a call when at least a cease fire starts working.

Substitute Israel for Gaza and that is the clearly stated goal of much of the Muslim world, including the Hamas fanatics. They simply can't abide by the existence of Israel. The idea that somehow Hamas will turn peaceful EVEN IF ITS DEMANDS ARE MET strikes me as painfully naive.

I didn't describe any scenario where Hamas turns peaceful, unless you count option 5 where they're peaceful because dead (along with everyone else in Gaza).

I suppose there is an option 6 where Hamas meets the stated goal of its charter and obliterates Israel. If this demand is met then Hamas would really turn peaceful because there's no enemy left to fight. Absent an errant nuke or two, it's safe to file this scenario under 'impossible' (or 'painfully naive' if you like), which is why I omitted it from the list. Hamas cannot obliterate Israel, but Hamas it would if it could. Israel can obliterate Hamas and all of Gaza, but it chooses not to.

That's the only way I see the cycle of violence ending: the total destruction of one side (Israel) or the other (Hamas and company). Israel is more powerful so-- absent a surprise from Hamas-- smart money is on the heavyweight to win this fight eventually.

Until then, the cycle of violence goes on indefinitely. Hamas launches a homemade-rocket attack on Israel. Israel retaliates with overwhelming force. The body count piles up until a ceasefire is declared. Humanitarian aid pours into Gaza and Hamas re-arms. A few years later, they attack again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Both sides claim that God (as Allah or Yahweh) gave them the land that is now Israel. if you accept the politicized lineages, the two sides have a history as blood enemies dating back to the time of Moses. The conflict will go on until one side is wiped out.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

God is on both of their sides.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

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