This article is co-authored by Prof. Walter E. Block.
Imagine a peaceful world. Suddenly, relatively weak Liechtenstein launches rockets into the next-door domain of far stronger Germany. Or posit that Monaco does so against its neighbor, France. These attacks kill dozens, maybe hundreds of people in the attacked countries.
What would then happen? Germany and France are civilized countries. They would assume, at least initially, that this was an accident. These two powerful nations, however, would ensure that nothing like that ever happened again. They would expect that those responsible for this outrage be held accountable for it.
But assume now that the inquiries of France and Germany were rebuffed by Monaco and Liechtenstein. Instead, imagine the latter two maintain that these missile launchings were entirely justified and will occur again in the future — and with greater intensity and frequency. To punctuate their intentions, they even give medals and pensions to those of their citizens responsible for these outrages. Posit, moreover, that these recent attacks are not the first of such episodes, that they have been taking place for decades.
What then would take place? France and Germany would do to Monaco and Liechtenstein what the Allies did to Hiroshima and Nagasaki and (minus the atom bombing) to Dresden. These two strong countries would first declare war against the two weaker countries, and then proceed to pulverize them. Afterwards, they would launch a Nuremberg-type trial for their leaders and those responsible.
Israel and Gaza are roughly analogous to these two other sets of countries. Hamas and related Gaza terror groups — some “unofficial,” some actually running the government by voter approval — have been attacking Israel for lo these many years. What has been the response of the Brobdingnagian nation to the Lilliputian entity? Has Israel acted to stop the Gaza attacks in their tracks? If one had thought so, one would be wrong.
Instead, the Arabs of Gaza locate their launching devices in or near hospitals, children’s playgrounds, residential areas, or elementary schools, and then fire hundreds, even thousands of rockets at civilian population centers. They do so every few years. The Israeli response? One Israel government after the next issues a few half-hearted warnings and administers some perfunctory slaps on the wrist. Then, when Israel is about to mop up the place, they succumb to calls for mediation, compromise, a cease-fire.
Oh, yes. They also employ the purely defensive Iron Dome anti-missile system, which knocks out many but not all of the rockets emanating from Gaza. So the hurt is so much less.
Why does Israel not respond to these unwarranted attacks in the same manner that our hypothetical France and Germany undoubtedly would, were they met with similar provocations from Liechtenstein and Monaco?
Behind these decisions lies a long and unhappy tale.
Why then does Israel not borrow a leaf from the hypothetical responses of France and Germany? We can only speculate here.
Part of the story is its reliance on the United States. Another part is the well-established Jewish reputation for compassion. Then there is a less-often contemplated moderating factor: the Iron Dome itself. Without it, with Hamas missiles hitting so many more Jewish civilian targets so much more perilously wreaking so much more havoc and destruction, Israel might long ago have ended these provocations once and for all, since it has the military capability to do so.
And therein lies the paradox of the recently failed efforts by Democrat House “progressives” in America to weaken Israel’s Iron Dome defense capability. Without that protective shield that allows Israel the time and patience to prosecute alternatives to stopping Hamas’s rocket fire from Gaza, Israel would have to obliterate her attackers so much more fiercely from the outset. However, thanks to the overwhelming 420-9 bipartisan support that Israel enjoyed in the U.S. Congress vote to approve continued Iron Dome funding, a vote that now has approved a $1 billion supplement for Israel’s Iron Dome defense system, thousands of lives will remain protected on both sides of the aisle.
And Israel’s responses to endless Gaza terror outrages will remain muted.
Rabbi Prof. Dov Fischer, Esq., a high-stakes litigation attorney of more than twenty-five years and an adjunct professor of law of more than sixteen years, is rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County, California and Senior RabbinicFellow at Coalition for Jewish Values.
Walter E. Block, Ph.D. is the Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics at Loyola University New Orleans.
Adapted by the writers for Arutz Sheva from a version of this article that first appeared here in The American Spectator.