Contrary to the claims of the Hamas-sympathizers, the conflict is entirely the fault of the Palestinian government. Israel is the only semifree nation in the region, the only nation that upholds the right to an objective trial, freedom of and from religion, freedom of the press, and freedom of trade. The Palestinian government ruled by Hamas recognizes none of these rights. In a military conflict a rights-respecting government has a moral obligation to defend itself, even if this requires mass killing of civilians in the enemy territory; those civilians suffer and die because of their government’s actions — Israel has a moral duty to defend its own civilians, not sacrifice them out of concern for the civilians in enemy territory. The Palestinians, who elected Hamas, and whose enthusiasm or passivity keeps them in power bear moral responsibility for their government’s actions, and for the all of the deaths, Israeli or Palestinians that ensue in subsequent conflicts.
Since its founding sixty years ago, Israel has had to fight five wars in self-defense against its theocratic and dictatorial neighbors trying to oust Israelis from land settled and developed by Israel. The claim that the land had been stolen from the Palestinians is a fraud: it is a perversion of logic for the Arab governments, which reject property rights to demand that Israel respect such rights; it is an evasion of reality to maintain that a “free Palestine,” i.e. a Palestine dominated by a religious political party that routinely murders critics, bans public prayer, plots terrorist attacks against Britain and the United States, hides behind children in military conflicts, broadcasts propaganda to children comparing Jews to “apes and pigs,” and whose charter calls for Israel to be eliminated and replaced with an Islamic state can lead to freedom for individual Palestinians. That Hamas was elected is in this context irrelevant: no government, elected or not, that violates the rights of its own civilians and pledges to destroy a free nation is legitimate; there is no right to violate rights.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wider Arab-Israeli conflict are not fundamentally conflicts between two religious groups, Jewish and Islamic, or between two “ethnic” groups, Jewish and Arab; if such were the case, both sides would be worthy of condemnation. This conflict is at root a clash between the secular, rights-respecting society of Israel and the otherworldly, death-worship that characterizes the Arab states.
United World College Student Magazine -