Protesters around the world are demanding a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war, less than two weeks after Hamas, the terrorist group and Gaza’s governing entity, killed more than 1,000 Israelis in an unprovoked military strike.
Though Hamas initiated the violence and bloodshed, the global community — including America, at times — is urging Israel to end the “collective punishment” of Palestinian citizens by allowing all water and fuel back into the city and ceasing military strikes.
I believe many asking for a ceasefire want to save Israeli and Palestinian lives, but I’m concerned we are expecting Israel to be more benevolent and charitable than we would reasonably expect any other democratic nation to act in our fallen world.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IRHA), of which the organization is a member, warns this could be antisemitic. For seven years, its held that:
“Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace and the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to: Applying double standards by requiring of [the State of Israel] a behavior not demanded of any other democratic nation.”
Let’s take a look at the facts, and how they were reported:
Hamas brutally murdered 1,400 of Israel’s citizens out of the blue. Israel retaliated with air strikes targeting Hamas leadership, who are known for hiding in heavily trafficked areas. The New York Times described the situation this way,
Hundreds of Palestinians who heeded the Israeli military’s order to evacuate portions of the Gaza Strip are confronting deadly airstrikes from Israeli warplanes even after they’ve moved. And a grim question hung over the enclave on Tuesday: Was there anywhere safe to go?
The Times is referring to Israel’s initial 24-hour warning telling Palestinians to evacuate Northern Gaza ahead of an Israeli ground strike. The United Nations suggested the warning could violate international law. The Times reported on the plight of Palestinians evacuees, writing:
“Israel said it was preparing ‘a significant ground operation’ but did not say when it would start.”
Israel stopped funneling fuel and some water into Gaza last week, prompting criticism from Congressional leaders calling the siege an unfair “collective punishment.” Israel has further stopped humanitarian aid from entering the country until Hamas releases the estimated 150 Israeli and American hostages it’s held for over a week-and-a-half. The United States and Egypt are among several entities working to convince Israel to abandon their demands.
In sum, countries and organizations are expecting Israel:
- To stop targeting Hamas through air strikes and cease planning any ground invasion.
- To continue supplying Gaza and its government — Hamas — with resources.
- To allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, which will almost certainly reach Hamas members as well as civilians, without requiring the terror group to make any concessions.
As much as I wish we lived in a world that prioritized life to this extent, I am realistic enough to know they are not reasonable standards to expect of such a brutally injured nation.
I do not believe America would have acquiesced to ending the War on Terror after two weeks of airstrikes — less than a month after 9/11. I do not believe Ukraine would be expected to allow humanitarian aid to reach battered Russian soldiers in contested areas. I know for a fact no nation typically expects their enemy to announce a military offensive, as the Times seemed to suggest Israel should do above.
I also believe that, until Jesus takes his throne on Earth, democratic governments have a responsibility to their own citizens before the citizens of others. That’s why I sympathize with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who told reporters last week,
I agree there are many, many Palestinians who don’t agree to this. But unfortunately, in their homes there are missiles shooting at us, [at my children], on the entire nation of Israel. We have to defend ourselves.
While some calling a ceasefire or a humanitarian corridor into Gaza are likely only concerned with saving lives, I believe others desire Israel’s destruction rather than the war’s peaceful resolution. Only God can truly discern which is which.
While I eagerly anticipate His kingdom come, I am committed to biblically confronting antisemitism as strongly as I advocate for the sanctity of life.
Photo from Shutterstock.