Since the clouds of war over Gaza began to disappear, much is being talked about whether the recent war in Gaza was necessary or not. Well it was, simply because no country could allow a neighbour - state or not - to fire rockets on its cities, deliberately targeting civilians. But there are some issues related to the conflict that have not made headlines but should be kept in mind, when talking about the war.
- This war was not only necessary, Israel even fought it in the right fashion. The increasing range of Hamas' rockets turns a small border threat into a wider strategic threat. Drawing conclusions from the 2006 war with Hisbollah - when Nasrallah said that he would not have abducted Israeli soldiers had he known how aggressively Israel would respond - and the Cold War, Israel had to adopt a strategy of Massive Retaliation, making it clear that every attack would be followed by a massive conventional response in order to deter future attacks. Only by such a strong response can future casualities be prevented, though the question at this juncture remains, whether a strategy to prevent nuclear war, can be adopted to a conventional setting.
- Only once would I like to see a comment on TV asking what would have been if Hamas would not have smuggled weapons and ammunition through its tunnels but medicine and food. Of course Hamas never did, instead it used the tunnels to smuggle weapons and outsourced responsibility for the population of Gaza to Israel. The Israeli government understandably has no intention of helping its enemy by providing the services, food and humanitarian relief that is the responsibility of Hamas in the first place. But instead of supplying its people, Hamas was more interested in an arms build-up.
- The question of proportionality, whether the death of five Israelis justifies the death of more than a thousand Palestinians is especially odd in the German context. The federal court recently ruled that the German authorities were not allowed to shut down airplanes in case of hijacking, because the lives of 120 passengers could not be weighed against more than a thousand people on the ground, whose lives would be saved by such an act. This decision was hailed by the German left, the very same group that now accuses Israel for a supposedly disproportional response. A classic case of double standards on the left.