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Phoning the targets to warn them

Posted by Richard on July 27, 2006

The other day I noted that Hezbollah was not just launching attacks from civilian homes, apartments, schools, and hospitals, in some cases it was preventing the residents from leaving, holding them hostage to its desire to maximize civilian casualties for public relations purposes. Hamas has long used the same strategy of surrounding its attackers with civilians, preferably role-playing, brainwashed "human shield" children eager to fulfill their destiny and become martyrs.

Contrast the tactics of those groups with how the Israelis prepare for attacks on nominally civilian targets (and note the source for this report):

Shin Bet security service agents have begun telephoning members of Palestinian terrorist organizations and warning them to leave their houses, so that they and their families will not be hurt when Israel bombs them, Palestinian sources said yesterday.

According to the sources, Shin Bet agents have contacted members of various armed organizations over the last few days and warned them that Israel plans to attack their houses. The houses in question are being targeted because Israel believes that they are being used to store or manufacture weapons, including Qassam rockets and rocket-propelled grenades.

Before dawn yesterday, the Israel Defense Forces bombed two such houses – one belonging to an Islamic Jihad operative in Gaza City and one belonging to a Hamas operative in Rafah, on the Gazan-Egyptian border. According to the army, both houses served as weapons factories.

In addition, the IDF has interrupted local radio broadcasts in several parts of Gaza in recent days, overriding the scheduled programing with warnings about planned attacks on houses that serve as arms caches. The interrupted broadcasts have included some by Hamas’ Radio Al-Aqsa.

I’m simply astonished — and of two minds. On the one hand, it warms my heart that the Israelis are — despite many years of unspeakable barbarism and provocation by their enemies — so goddamned civilized, honorable, and decent.

On the other hand, a part of me wonders if they’re too civilized, honorable, and decent. As I said the other day, "It’s not only unwise, it’s downright wrong to stay your hand so much that the aggressor might win — or survive to prey on more victims in the future." Isn’t that what this level of solicitude leads to?

There aren’t any easy answers here. War is at best a terrible thing that inevitably kills innocents, so one ought to favor actions intended to minimize the number of innocents killed. But what if those spared by these warnings aren’t innocent? And the warnings enable them to move their rockets to another location, and kill some Israeli teens in a pizza parlor a few hours later?

No easy answers, that’s for sure…

But I do know this: I know which side I admire and which I despise. I know which culture and community I’m proud to share the planet with.

If you’ve served in the IDF, or IAF, or Shin Bet, or any other part of the government of Israel — heck, if you’re one of the 99% of Israelis who support the fight against these Jew-hating 7th-century barbarians — and you’re ever in Denver, look me up. I’ll buy you a beer. Or two or three…

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3 Responses to “Phoning the targets to warn them”

  1. DirtCrashr said

    Since the Shin Bet seems to know what phone numbers to call, perhaps they’re also watching which way the rats run when the call comes in. Collecting intelligence means being forever vigilant.

  2. blacknorwhite said

    50 Israelis killed vs 750 Lebanese killed. But then again they had coming didn’t they? Isn’t that why you’re a self-described fan of disproportionate response? I have a solution for you: we can kill all Muslims. That will make the world a better place forever. It will be the Final Solution.

  3. Anonymous said

    Blacknorwhite: In the gray world in which you live, perhaps judging people based on their race or religion and judging people based on their behavior are morally equivalent — but not in mine. I want to kill the Islamofascists — or Islamonazis — until those still surviving decide to change their behavior and cease being Islamofascists.

    As for your death toll comparison, I already addressed the contemptible proposition that Israel shouldn’t be permitted to wage war more effectively than Hezbollah — see the update to my disproportionate response post.

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