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Downtown protest condemns Israel, lacks perspective

By Scott Tibbs, January 4, 2009

On Saturday, a number of people went to the county courthouse square to protest the Israeli "aggression" against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip. Israel has been harshly condemned for the military operation against Hamas, provoked by rocket fire into Israeli villages by terrorists affiliated with Hamas. Hand-made signs accused Israel of state terrorism and war crimes.

No one wants to see civilians killed in a military operation, and Israel is morally obligated to do what it can to avoid harming noncombatants. The problem with the protest is that it is focused on the Israeli retaliation against Hamas terrorists, while ignoring the fact that Hamas terrorists have been intentionally targeting Israeli civilians and firing rockets into Israeli villages.

There is no moral equivalence between terrorism that targets noncombatants (including women and children) and a military operation to defeat, eliminate or deter those terrorists from attacking civilians. Israel is by no means perfect, but to focus on their retaliation while not acknowledging the terrorism that provoked Israel's response is both myopic and morally deficient.

Israel has a right to defend itself, and it should not be expected to sit back and allow Hamas terrorists to target civilians for murder with no military retaliation. Critics of Israel's response would have more credibility if they recognized that the Hamas terrorists are responsible for provoking this flare-up in conflict and strongly condemning the terrorists who target innocent civilians with cowardly rocket fire.