Vox’s Max Fisher has a story today which acknowledges that, yes, Hamas is a group of terrorists using human shields, including children, in its war against Israel. But why, Vox asks, does Israel insist on fighting back.
Only the people responsible can know for sure why Palestinian
militants would use civilian buildings, but any real possibility is bad.
Maybe militant groups use civilian buildings like this UN school simply
because they don’t mind the danger this creates for the Palestinians
they claim to protect. Maybe it’s because they are hoping that the
rockets will be safer in a UN school because Israel won’t want to bomb
it, which means using Palestinians kids and teachers as human shields.
An argument you hear from Hamas’s harshest critics is that they are
hoping Israel will target the schools, thus rallying people to their
Here’s the thing, though: while incidents like this force Israel to
decide between bombing civilian structures or allowing Hamas to use
those structures as rocket storage depots, it does not actually force
Israel to choose to bomb civilian buildings. It is entirely within
Israel’s power to not bomb civilian buildings.
Fisher is right of course. There’s nothing forcing Israel to respond. They certainly could sit back and decide that, for the sake of Palestinian civilians, they will henceforth wink at Hamas storing rockets in schools or mosques.
Of course those rockets will be fired eventually. The threat of a rocket once stored at a school in Gaza landing on a school in Israel is real. But Fisher’s thinking doesn’t seem to progress to what comes next. He asks us to consider a world in which Israel always stands down but then fails to actually consider it himself.
It’s not hard to imagine what it would be like: Israel in a constant state of alert. Life under militant terrorism with no end in sight. The real question is why an entire population should be asked to accept such a state of existence when it has the ability to stop it. It’s a question Fisher doesn’t ask presumably because he does not have an answer to offer.