Israel Can Be a Legitimate Defender but Not an Offender

Israel should give up the concept that the best strategy for defence is offence, which is an outdated concept.

2 mins read
Female officers of Israel Defense Forces in the frontline, hunting Hamas [IDF Photo]

When Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel that resulted in the killing of more than a thousand innocent Israeli citizens, world opinion was largely sympathetic to Israel and unequivocally condemned the attack by Hamas.

When Israel reacted to the situation by launching an attack on Hamas, most sections of world opinion felt that Israel was justified in exercising its right of defence. Only a few Islamist groups, Islamic terrorists, and some motivated so-called human rights defenders criticized Israel for its counter-attack.

The fact that most Arab nations virtually kept silent and did not extend support to Hamas shows clearly that Israel’s position has been vindicated by the majority of Arab nations. This is a significant moral victory for Israel, clearly establishing the fact that most Arab nations have accepted the sovereignty of Israel as a nation. Perhaps, only Qatar seems to have extended indirect support to Hamas, with Iran almost directly supporting Hamas though discreetly.

While Israel launched the counter-attack against Hamas, which is still continuing, it is reported that around 20,000 people living in the Hamas-occupied region could have been killed. The fact is that most of the people killed were innocent citizens who are not part of the war program of Hamas and perhaps do not approve of the acts of Hamas. Those who have been killed in the Hamas-occupied region must have been as innocent victims as the citizens of Israel who were killed by Hamas during its surprise attack on Israel.

Now that Israel has mostly destroyed the military base of Hamas, though not completely, the question is how long should Israel continue its attack on Hamas and how far it should take the war against Hamas.

The Prime Minister of Israel made a remark that stopping the attack on Hamas at the present time would be a gift to Hamas. Obviously, Israel wants to completely destroy the military base of Hamas and eliminate Hamas totally, so that such an attack on Israel would not happen again.

Now, the world opinion, which was sympathetic to Israel during the initial stage of the Hamas-Israel war, is now turning against Israel, as the world thinks that Israel continuing the war further cannot be an act of defence anymore but an act of offence. In other words, Israel has turned from the earlier position of a defender to an offender.

Obviously, Israel has to defend itself against future attacks by Islamic terrorists and Hamas, which is part of the terrorist group. The ground reality is that not only Israel but the entire world has to protect itself from the violent acts of Islamic terrorists.

Several places in Europe have been recently attacked by Islamic terrorist groups, and India is now becoming a major point of attack for Islamic terrorists. Obviously, worldwide efforts are required to free the world from terrorism, and such efforts need sustained and coordinated measures. Israel simply continuing the attack on Hamas which would result in the killing of more innocent people is not the right strategy.

Israel should give up the concept that the best strategy for defence is offence, which is an outdated concept. While a future attack by Islamic terrorists against Israel is a possibility, Israel has to remain alert and strengthen its defence mechanism.

The present is the time that Israel should remain as a defender and not an offender.

N.S.Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause and to promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

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