Israel is my homeland. Though I have never set foot on its soil, its existence has afforded me sustenance throughout my life. And I would like to think that, were I a much-younger man, I’d be enroute there now to help assure that existence’s survival.
It’s not by accident that I identify so strongly with the Holy Land. My mother was a German Jew who survived the Holocaust by escaping to China, where she lived at the mercy of the occupying Japanese. Other family members were not so lucky; the Nazis murdered several just as their descendants got murdered this past weekend by Hamas. And those who survived were part of a family torn asunder, the vestiges of which were lost to each other for nearly a century.
It was in the wake of those horrendous events that the United Nations created Israel in 1948, the year before my birth. And it is on its shores that the psychic security of diaspora Jews like me has rested ever since. Had Israel existed in the 1930s, perhaps my family would have survived.
It is unfortunate that the historical and territorial claims of Isael conflict with those of the people the world calls Palestinians. For many decades, it seemed, the obvious solution—and the one posed by the UN—was the creation of two states in the region, one for the Palestinians and one of the Jews. But the Arabs have consistently rejected that solution, first in 1948 and many times since.
If there’s a silver lining in this week’s horrific and heartbreaking events, it’s that there can no longer be any doubt regarding the Palestinian leadership’s true aims: to wipe Jewish civilization and culture from the face of the earth. To finish what Hitler left undone.
I heard a podcast yesterday in which a former Israeli official characterized the current war, not as a disagreement on policy nor even a clash of civilizations. No, what this is, he argued, is nothing less than a clash between civilization and barbarism. Anyone who sees it differently simply isn’t paying attention.
So, what happens now? The goal of Israel should be to obliterate all vestiges of Hamas, the controlling terrorist leadership of Gaza, from the world forever. I would never advocate willfully targeting civilians, as Hamas has done routinely, and I am glad that the Israel Defense Forces is following its longtime custom of warning civilians before attacks.
That said, however, any Palestinians who die in the current conflict can only be considered tragic casualties of the chaos their leadership has spawned. How the rest of the world views it is no longer relevant. And if ending Hamas’ existence forever requires the re-occupation of Gaza by Israel, so be it.
Until now, I have been fairly polite and soft-spoken in my support of Israel. That ends today. It is time for the world to decide between savagery and civilization.
David Haldane’s latest book, A Tooth in My Popsicle, is available on Amazon and Lazada. A former Los Angeles Times staff writer, he is an award-winning author, journalist, and radio broadcaster with homes in Joshua Tree, California, and Northern Mindanao, Philippines, where this column appears weekly in the Gold Star Daily.