Friday, October 13, 2006


This may be a bit off-topic these days but there was a sentence in a story about the ongoing back and forth violence between the Israelis and Hamas in Gaza. It's a sentence that I can't imagine being written about any other country except Israael. The sentence sums up why Israel and its supporters, (yours truly for one) always say Israel is different. That they conduct their warfare with morality and a code of ethics that no other military follows. In Israel it is referred to as Tohar HaNeshek or roughly, purity of arms. So what's the sentence?

"In another incident in Gaza, the Israeli Air Force bombed the house of a Palestinian legislator, Mariam Farhat, shortly after calling the home and telling the occupants to leave." The story went on to explain, "No one was injured. The military said the house was being used to manufacture and store weapons." Can you imagine any other military, any other air force ringing up the occupants of a house being used to manufacture and store weapons to warn them to get out before we bomb you? Would the U.S. do it? Would Russia? Pakistan? Forget the Syrians, Iranians or any of the many terror groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. They measure success by leveling homes with as many people in them.

And by the way, the poor, "innocent" homeowner was not so innocent. From The New York Times, "Ms. Farhat, who is a member of the militant faction Hamas, gained notoriety in 2002 when she made a video with her 17-year-old son, Muhammad, and encouraged him to attack Israel. A short time later, he took part in a shooting that left five Israelis and himself dead. The video was released after the shooting. Since then, two more of Ms. Farhat’s six sons have been killed in clashes with Israel. Ms. Farhat, who is known as “mother of the martyrs,” was elected to the Palestinian parliament in the January elections that brought Hamas to power." And the Israeli Air Force actually picked up the phone and called this "mother of the martyrs" and said, "Hi. Is this a bad time? Listen we've got a couple of F-16s with laser-guided smart bombs ready to destroy your home/weapons factory and storage building. Could you grab your address book and your cat and leave so that we can level the place? We'd really appreciate it. Thanks."

Like I said, I can't imagine any other military doing anything like that. They would level the building and hold a press conference about another victory in the war on terror. They would give the news media copies of the black and white gun-sight video of the building going poof. They would give themselves a medal for taking out a member of Hamas. The Israelis give a "heads up" to the "mother of the martyrs" so she can pack a bag while the IAF circles in strike fighters waiting for the go ahead to destroy a weapons factory making weapons that kill Israelis. I can't imagine any other army conducting themselves like that. I also can't imagine a day when nicknames in Gaza are things like "mother of a cure for cancer" rather than "mother of the "martyrs." Probably because there are mothers in Gaza longing for their sons and daughters to grow up and die for a cause rather than live for one.


Blogger d.K. said...

In Germany, I lived for about a year in a Bavarian town called Neu Ulm, just across the Danube River from Ulm. Ulm is famous for it enormous, magnificent two steepled Gothic Church. It's the tallest church in the world, and was begun in the 1,300s. During WWII, American bombers flew over the magnificent structure, and dropped white powder (flour) on the steeples, rather than bomb them into oblivion. The effect on local morale of having destroyed the Church would obviously have been much more severe than simply showing that we could have done it. The reason we didn't is because we, too, once had a sense of how to morally conduct warfare. Times have changed.

1:24 PM  
Blogger d.K. said...

I'm revealing the cob webs forming on my brain. After posting this, I did a search on the church in Ulm, which I've been in many, many times, and it turns out it has a single spire. I've confused it in my brain with some other cathedral somewhere. Sheesh.

1:45 PM  

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