Op-Ed: The Poor, Wretched Muslims of Gaza
Phil NussbaumThe writer, a Lubavitcher hassid, is president of Meta X Database Intelligence and board member of Mercaz Dovrei Ivrit, Montreal, former vice pres. of Raoul Wallenberg International Movement for Humanity.
The people of Gaza live their lives in constant fear. Fear is what motivates their every action, their every choice in life.
On one side they face the formidable might of Israel, whom they see as the enemy. Within, they face the unrelenting, barbaric control of Hamas and their leadership who consider them expendable.
Whom do they fear more? Is it the Israeli reprisals or the Hamas chokehold?
There is no contest here! Hamas is much more threatening to the man in the Gazan street than Israel is.
Hamas is a constant threat to every Gazan individual. One false move, one wrong turn and he pays with his life. Israel, on the other hand, may be formidable, but is seldom heard from and even less often seen in the Gazan street.
So, when Hamas arrives with rocket launchers to position and caches of bombs to store in an apartment building, hospital, school or mosque, the owner, director, principal or Imam knows full well that with so much as a single word of opposition, he will immediately face the barrel of a gun.
From Israel, there is little to fear. Israel will not target an apartment, a hospital, a school or a mosque. Hamas presents a clear and present danger, Israel a remote, uncertain one.
Hamas is hard, Israel is soft. Israel talks a lot, makes a lot of threats and generally backs down. Hamas fires first.
The Gazan seems to have no choice; he must back Hamas or die.
The only solution for Israel is to foment a revolution within Gaza, but how?
Targeted executions of Hamas operatives won’t do it, that’s evident. It’s been tried over and over again. Then, what?
The Gazan must learn to fear Israel more than Hamas. That’s the answer.
If the Gazan’s fear of Israel would exceed his fear of Hamas, then every tenant in the apartment building, every doctor and nurse in the hospital, every teacher and student in the school, every Imam and worshiper will arise to oppose turning his facility into an instrument of war.
Yesterday, a missile launched from Gaza landed in Ashkelon. No one was injured, but damage was done. Israel threatened the Gazans, but made it clear that they will take no action now. That reaction does not exactly strike fear into the hearts of our enemies.
In the 70’s, trouble started brewing in Gaza. Arik Sharon, the general in charge of Gaza, issued an ultimatum. He made it crystal clear that if a Gazan harms so much as a single hair on a Jewish head, the town from which the perpetrator comes would be razed to the ground. Gazans knew he meant it. No town was razed, but fifteen years of quiet in Gaza ensued.
So that leads me to the answer. It’s really quite simple. Israel issues an ultimatum. Every projectile, missile or bomb launched from Gaza which lands in Israel will earn the following response: Israel will ascertain where the launch originated from and will totally decimate and flatten the area within a kilometer, in every direction. It will be done with only enough delay to allow the people in the area to flee.
The ultimatum should first be repeated enough times so that it’s clear to all parties.
Hopefully, with the help of the One Above, the ultimatum will be taken seriously so that actual physical harm to civilians may be avoided. Israel, however, must be prepared to act decisively to do what must be done.
This approach will ultimately save lives, Jewish lives as well as Muslims, who are also G-d’s creations.
The time has arrived for Israel to be a Lion once more!