What if Israel Responded Differently?

We Can’t Bomb The World Into Peace

We can chase down all our enemies
Bring them to their knees
We can bomb the world to pieces
But we can’t bomb it into peace

Bomb the World by Michael Franti

The Palestinian / Israeli conflict is generational and filled with vengeance.

It has been heavily influenced by Western and Middle Eastern actors to make the already complicated geographical, political, and religious situation between the two countries, even more chaotic.

I’m not here to give a breakdown of how we got to today as there has been so many “tick for tack” incidents over decades that it’s impossible to replay the domino effect.

Israel and Palestine have had a complicated history since inception, but regardless of the history that is indeed critical to the topic, I want us to take a leap and ignore the past for a few short words in this piece…

I want to rewind the most recent events and focus on the last few dominos that fell. I want to focus on the moment we are in.

Because the moment we are in now has painted Israel in a horrible light to the international community and it makes me sad by the way people are viewing Israel.

I don’t see Israel in this negative light.

Israel is not a bad actor as it has been portrayed as by international community over the last few days.

So I need to ask one critical question given the circumstances we find ourselves in:

How could Israel have changed its action so it didn’t hurt so many innocent Palestinians and change the international narrative to help both Palestinians and Israelis going forward in the long-term?

Let’s focus on a very high level on the recent dominos that fell (and as a reminder, avoiding the long and complicated history that came before these events):

  1. There was growing discontentment by Palestinians for the Israeli settlement expansion. As a response, bricks were being thrown and fires balloons were being sent by Palestinians from a Mosque which was hurting Israeli’s. Israel then raided the Mosque in retaliation. This then erupted into a chaotic riot resulting in many Palestinian civilian injuries as well as Israeli police injuries. This occurred on two holy occasions for both Palestinians (Ramadan) and Israelis (Jerusalem day). Both countries were also struggling politically to transition over power to their next leader. All these conditions ignited a spark.

  2. Hamas, a terrorist organization, responded by firing 1500+ rockets (the most rockets ever in such a short period of time) into Israel including the site they claim as sacred, Jerusalem.

    1. Israeli common life has been completely disrupted. 10 Israeli’s died including 2 children, 100s injured, buildings destroyed, and chaos erupted between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs within Israel resulting in 200+ injuries.

    2. Thanks to the Iron Dome, many rockets were destroyed. Some rockets fired by Hamas damaged Gaza and killed Palestinians.

  3. Israel responded with heavy airstrikes which has claimed the lives of 212 Palestinians including 61 children. 1500+ Palestinians have been injured and many more displaced.

    1. Hospitals, schools, and a media tower building were all destroyed while trying to destroy Hamas military personnel and equipment. Hamas strategically places it’s military near critical civilian infrastructure which makes it extremely hard for Israel to avoid civilian causalities with airstrikes. With that said, Israel has done much destruction to the Palestinian people.

While I firmly believe this amount of bloodshed wouldn’t have happened if Hamas didn’t fire rockets, I want to think about Israel’s response after a conversation I had with a human rights activist and a dear friend. It’s conversations like these that can keep our minds and hearts open to finding a way toward peace.

I want to focus on what could have happened after sequence #2.

What if Israel chose not to respond to the rocket barrage fired at its people?

What if instead they reached out to both Western and Middle Eastern colleagues to show how horrible Hamas is for peace in the region?

What if Israel didn’t bomb Gaza to the grave? What if Israel took the high road and said “we will not attack Hamas because we don’t want to hurt innocent Palestinians”?

What if Israel worked with local Palestinian authorities and organizations to try to address Hamas? Would they have listened to Israel?

Would the international community supported Israel hastily and effectively to stop Hamas even while Israel was being bombed?

Would the international community realize just how powerful Israel’s actions were to show their stance on saving all human life? To let bombs reign on their people, destroy their way of life, all while waiting to discuss with the international community on how to proceed in a noble effort to see if lives could be saved?

Has Israel ever been in a stronger position to engage with both Western and Middle Eastern allies to create a peaceful coalition to demilitarize Hamas and try to bring long-term stability to the region for all?

If Israel acted this way and the international community was able to get behind it, would more lives be saved now and in the long-term? Would the world be a better a place? Would the world recognize Israel for its brave actions?

I’m not sure if Palestinians as well as Middle Eastern and Western allies would have rallied behind Israel. I’m not sure if they would have seen it as a priority and a real problem. I’m not sure they would have moved fast enough and do anything meaningful to help. Even in the eruption of chaos today, it doesn’t seem anyone can help…

Israel could have taken rocket fire for weeks as they waited to try to engage the international community.

What if the waiting to work with the international community allowed Hamas to get off a vicious attack against Israel killing hundreds of Israelis?

None of us know what could have happened. All I know is I don’t like to see so many innocent people die and Israel viewed in this light by the world.

Hamas fired rockets. Hamas puts their military by their people. They are horrible and we can’t expect them to be different. You can’t reason with crazy.

A famous saying by Israeli people is:

If Hamas put down their weapons tomorrow, their would be peace. If Israel put down their weapons tomorrow, their would be no Israel.

Israel is just society and a just nation.

So it makes me wonder, was there something else Israel could have done to bring peace?

Violence brings one thing
More more of the same
Military madness
The smell of flesh and burning pain

We can chase down all our enemies
Bring them to their knees
We can bomb the world to pieces
But we can’t bomb it into peace

Bomb the World by Michael Franti