The argument presented in Ari Parritz’s column Friday was woefully one-sided (One Qassam too many, 11/20/2008). In Parritz’s introductory statements, he discussed military euphemisms: “firebombing industrial and refugee cities was ‘strategic;’ and destruction of worker villages was appropriately
‘de-housing’ (yes, really).” He then framed this in the context of Hamas’s disingenuous ceasefire. What he didn’t realize is Israel itself employs these very tactics.

The main argument, that Qassam rockets launched at the town of Sderot “should be viewed as nothing less than an attack on Tel-Aviv or Jerusalem” is from the same ideology that bred the disproportionate retaliation during the 2006 war in Lebanon. That war was waged over two soldiers taken hostage and left Beirut in ruins and more than a thousand civilians dead — “collateral damage,” I suppose.

Israel has the right to defend itself, but it must do so wisely. Capturing or killing terrorists in Hamas is one thing, but an over-reaction based on collective punishment will only help the groups who fire these rockets.

What I found most disagreeable in Parritz’s column, however, were the little things. The “de-housing” he finds so unbelievable was employed in 2005 to bulldoze 90 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, and it continues as a bizarre tactic aimed at the families of those Israel deems terrorists. He also wrote that “Gaza is one of the most media-covered regions in the world,” but failed to note that foreign journalists are not, in fact, allowed into Gaza. Why is that? Because of “Israel’s naval blockade and other painful but unfortunately necessary means of defense,” which the United Nations “dwells on.” Those painful but necessary means of defense Parritz mentions offhand include a fuel and food blockade on all of Gaza. Is starving the children of Gaza a “necessary means of defense?” If Palestinians were doing this to Israelis, who wouldn’t be reminded of the Holocaust? This is collective punishment at its worst.

I am not trying to continue the kind of scorekeeping that has plagued the debate of this conflict on campus. Hamas is committing crimes against Israelis, and in this I agree with Parritz. But to ignore the atrocities Israel is perpetrating just isn’t fair. Painting Israel as a defenseless nation that always does the right thing is, for lack of a better term, propaganda. Looking at this conflict in a clear and unbiased way is the only way it can ever be resolved. Picking a side and blindly supporting whatever it does will only fuel it.

George Nakhleh
LSA junior

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