by MATHEW D. STAVERÂ
The question has been asked before, but it bears repeating: How long would Americans tolerate hostile neighbors who repeatedly lobbed deadly missiles into American states?
Thatâ€™s what has happened in Israel, as the terrorist group Hamas has launched nearly 1,000 missiles into Israel, reaching as far as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, thus threatening 80 percent of Israelis. This would be equivalent to a hostile nation launching that many missiles into New Jersey!
America has never endured attacks on its soil without a response â€“ Pearl Harbor and the Sept. 11 attacks come to mind. Why shouldnâ€™t we expect Israel to defend itself, especially when its enemies have sworn to drive the Jews into the sea? How long would Americans tolerate an attack on one of the sovereign states? I suspect not long.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reminded Americans of this fact when, on â€œFox News Sundayâ€ this past week, he said:
â€œI just want your viewers to imagine the United States being bombarded, not in one city or two cities, but in every city between New York and Coloradoâ€¦ Eighty percent of your citizens would have to be in bomb shelters or ready to go into bomb shelters within a minute to a minute-and-a-half, max. No country can accept that. We canâ€™t accept it, and weâ€™ll take necessary actions to stop it.â€
Clearly, the patience of Israel has worn thin, and who can argue that Israel is not justified to defend itself? Thus, the Israelis have initiated Operation Protective Edge, with the goal of protecting civilians and obtaining â€œa sustainable quietâ€ for both Israel and the residents of Gaza.
The key to achieving this goal is the ultimate eradication of Hamas and the severing of the supply lines of terrorists from Iran. However, it is hard to decouple the activities of the extremist child, Hamas, from those of its evil parent, Iran. Netanyahu places the blame for â€œarming, financing, training Hamas and Islamic Jihadâ€ squarely on Iran, calling it the â€œpreeminent terrorist empire of our time.â€
Israel cannot afford to wait â€“ and indeed, has never waited â€“ for the world to save it from those who would destroy the only democracy in the Middle East. America must take a strong stand with Israel and must take a strong stand against Iran. Removing some of the sanctions against Iran will only strengthen Iran and embolden its terrorist activities.
Even as Israel retaliates against the radical actions of Hamas, it shows restraint in refusing to indiscriminately launch wholesale attacks on Palestinian cities, as is being done to Israeli cities, towns, and villages.
While Hamas has called on the people of Gaza to stand on the rooftops of homes where ammo is stored and from which rockets are launched, Israel has dropped leaflets and sent cell phone messages to citizens of northern Gaza, urging them to get away from the terrorist command centers for their own safety.
Using civilians as human shields, as Hamas has done, is a direct violation of the Geneva Convention, but such is the radicalism of extremist Islam. Netanyahu delineated the difference when he said, â€œWe are using missile defense to protect our civilians, and theyâ€™re using their civilians to protect their missiles.â€
What is going on here should serve as object lessons for Americans. There are times when evil has to be met with force. President Ronald Reagan believed this principle and applied it. This is lesson number one. Israel demonstrates how this is done with as little damage as possible to innocent civilians.
Lesson number two is that the irrational ruthlessness of radical Islam has no basis in reality. Hence, Hamas uses its own followers as human shields, eliminating those who most vehemently support its destructive policies.
Or it fires rockets at an Israeli nuclear facility, ignoring the potential Chernobyl-like consequences for the entire region, including Gaza. It is senseless, but then so are suicide (homicide) bombers.
Following the 1967 Six-Day War, French President Charles de Gaulle blamed Israel for the hostilities, calling the Jews â€œwarlikeâ€ and expansionist. In his response, former (and first) Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion reminded de Gaulle that Israel had seen its homeland destroyed and Jerusalem razed twice in its history, first by the Babylonians, then by the Romans.
Israel is unique, Ben-Gurion wrote, in that no other people in history ever returned to its land after 1,800 years of exile. He reminded the French president that Israel had been given a title deed to the land by the Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate, which merely reaffirmed what Almighty God told Abraham thousands of years before.
â€œThe Bible is our mandate,â€ Ben Gurion said.
No people on earth have endured the centuries-long oppression equal to that of the Jews. And just five years after their darkest hour when six million Jews were exterminated by the Nazis, the Jewish people returned again to their homeland to rebuild the nation of Israel. This is a modern miracle, though one predicted by the prophets of ancient Israel.
In May, I delivered more than 250,000 petitions of support to Prime Minster Netanyahuâ€™s office from Christian Americans expressing support for Israel. A few weeks later, I relayed this same support in a meeting with Ron Dermer, Israelâ€™s Ambassador to the United States, assuring him that the people of America stand with Israel.
During this time of stepped-up terrorist attacks against Israel, nothing is more important than our support for the embattled Jewish people.