WAR, all war, is horrible. That is unarguable. But sometimes the consequences of not choosing war, to refuse to initiate it, or avoiding it by rolling over and refusing to accept the aggressor’s challenge of combat, is simply worse.
If Israel were to cave in to the demands for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire that so many are calling for, what would happen? True, the non-combatant civilians of Gaza would be safe for now (something we should certainly pray for), but how much more horror and death would be stored up for the future?
Israel’s greatest defence is the fear its armed forces instil in its enemies. That fear is based on the remarkable history of Israeli war-fighting. Ever since Israel’s almost miraculous victory in its War of Independence, it has shown an ability to punch well above its weight. Its bravery, determination, initiative and commitment to tackle all enemies and the sheer power and technical capability of the Israeli Defence Force are almost unrivalled.
Unless Israel responds to the sickening pogrom we saw just over two weeks ago with a massive deployment of naked military power, its deterrence capability will disappear like morning dew on a summer day. The maniacs of Hamas or Hezbollah would happily crack on with planning their next and doubtless bigger atrocity, safe in the knowledge that they would face no significant retribution. For Israel to declare a ceasefire now would be virtually to issue a hand-written invitation to its enemies: ‘Come and have another go, come and kill us, behead our children, kidnap our elders and rape our young women.’ Israel might as well offer to hold their coats.
Any break in hostilities will only give Hamas the opportunity to re-group, re-arm and carefully select its next target. Hezbollah and the evil theocratic fascists of Tehran will move further forwards with their plans to destroy Israel and all of Israel’s people. And the murderers will sit in their bunkers, safe behind their protective wall of civilian Palestinian bodies, knowing they have ‘got away with it’.
War is an abomination, but weakness in the face of true evil is even more terrible.