Israel Can Be A Legitimate Defender, But Not Offender – OpEd


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

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

The fact that most of the Arab nations virtually kept silent and did not extend support to Hamas shows clearly that Israel’s position has been vindicated by majority of the 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 seem 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 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 programme of Hamas and perhaps, do not approve 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 attack on Israel would not happen again.

Now, the world opinion which was sympathetic to Israel during the initial stage of 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 to be an offender from the earlier position of defender. 

Obviously, Israel has to defend itself against the 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 act 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 and Israel simply continuing the attack on Hamas that would result in 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 future attack by Islamic terrorists against Israel is a possibility, Israel has to remain alert and strengthen its defence mechanism.

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. 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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