I took the liberty of stealing ck’s comment in the home demolition post because it deserves to breathe and have its own life. *sigh* I only wish my friends did this for me sometimes.

Things are just not as murky to me as they are to T_M. And I am not, as Muffti implies, a moral dullard either. Israel is in a fight for its life and continued viability. In that respect, the rules have not changed much since 1948.

I hope the new accords in Sharm al Sheikh bear real fruit and we can move on and end the cycle of violence once and for all. But we’ve been down that road before – and Marwan Barghouthi believes the uprising will continue in the West Bank after the Gaza pullout (and why not? It works!). So I didn’t even blog about it. I’ll wait and see if Mahmoud Abbas lasts at all.

The point is that one can’t make in vacuo moral judgements as Muffti seems wont to do. In my book, one has a moral obligation to save one’s own life in the face of another who wants to kill him. That’s Judaism’s rodeph thing: if someone comes to kill you, you must kill him first, even if such a thing is distasteful to you. Jews are not meant to be pacifists or Christians who turn the other cheek. We crave and idealize peace, but we’re not meant to be suicidal pushovers either.

Our enemies pretty much set the rules from day one of the conflict. Any Jewish settlement that fell into Arab hands did not suffer from unfair treatment. Jewish settlements in Arab hands did not suffer from discriminatory policies or uneven application of International humanitarian law. Nope. Any Jewish settlement that fell into Arab hands was simply wiped off the face of the earth.

These include Beit Ha’arava, on the shore of the Dead Sea and Atarot and Neve Ya’akov, north of Jerusalem; Kfar Darom, Yad Mordechai and Nitzanim, which were on the route of the invading Egyptian army; the four Etzion settlements south of Jerusalem (the residents of Kibbutz Kfar Etzion were massacred, the survivors of the other settlements were sent into captivity); the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem that surrendered to the besieging forces of the Trans-Jordanian Arab legion; Mishmar Hayarden, which was conquered by Syrian forces. Wherever an Arab army conquered a Jewish settlement, this settlement ceased to exist. The Arab ethnic cleansing was complete – not one Jewish settlement remained in Arab-controlled areas.

Thems the rules of our engagement. In light of that, we’ve certainly acted with restraint. And now, after that study, the Minister of Defense has ordered an end to home demolitions. Cool. Let’s hope the Palestinians go with the momentum and get their economy and lives in order, while not doing anything that would imperil their homes. Because if the chooice is between 60 Israeli lives and 270 Palestinian homes, moral dullard that I am, I’ll take the lives.

Hopefully we won’t have to go there again.

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