Israeli response to terrorists' attacks is justified

Posted: Sunday, January 25, 2009

In his letter, "Why is Juneau silent about Israeli violence?" published in the Juneau Empire on Jan. 18, Albert Petrarca raised many questions about the Israeli-Gaza conflict and the lack of Juneau's "moral outrage" to the "Israeli slaughter of Palestinians."

The main theme of pro-Palestinian argument is that the Israeli army is using excessive force against unarmed Palestinians, leading to many more Palestinian casualties than Israeli casualties.

The history of Israeli-Palestinian relations is a complex one and cannot be adequately addressed in a short essay. The simple answer to Petrarca's many questions is that the Israel defense forces have a responsibility to defend Israel and its population from the terrorists' attacks. The Israel defense forces have shown the greatest possible restraint in dealing with armed Palestinian protestors, snipers and missiles launched from Gaza Strip, and are making a determined effort to limit Palestinian casualties.

In the recent past, the citizens of Gaza have democratically elected and, therefore, have chosen to be governed by Hamas - an extremist terrorist organization that calls for the eradication of Israelies. A Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have perpetrated dozens of terrorist attacks, including deadly suicide attacks in Israeli population centers, causing the deaths of scores of civilians.

I question: What justifies the level of a military response by a democratic nation in defending its residents from an enemy's aggression?

The United States response to Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 was the bombing of Japanese industrial and strategic locations for four consecutive years during World War II, including the use of the nuclear bombs at the end of the war. To many, the United States' response was an excessive use of force against the enemy, but is seen as justified.

The United States' response to terrorists' attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 was to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. Again, to many, the United States' response was seen as an excessive, but justified, use of force.

To many, the Israeli response to terrorists' attacks to protect its citizens and the only democracy in the Middle East has been an excessive use of force, and indeed it has been justified.

Alexander Dolitsky


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