Say what you want about the conflict in Gaza, but you can't argue that the use of violence is on equal footing

gaza conflictAs always, the latest Gaza Conflict is being wrongly framed. In the United States media, and Western media in general, the conflict in the Gaza strip is being framed with a false moral equivalence between Israel and the Palestinians.

I often see articles and media programs that portray both Israel and Palestine as equal in the bloodshed they unleash. Yes, the Israelis commit violence. Yes the Palestinians commit violence. However, I contend with the idea that there is an equal amount of violence being committed.

We must understand, that the war being waged now is not a war between nation states on equal footings. Israel and Palestine are vastly different in their ability to wage war. For one, as is probably the most obvious, Israel does not have its territories occupied and blockaded by outside forces. Israel is also the most powerful military force in the Middle East. No other nation compares with Israel’s capabilities, both offensive and defensive.

The Israeli military is not the largest force, per-say, but is the most advanced and has capability to strike at targets thousands of miles outside of its territory. Israel has jets, tanks, the most advanced communications equipment, as well as an efficient and well manned group of soldiers. Israel is very capable militarily.

Meanwhile, Palestine is the odd man out here. Palestine has no official state, so therefore there is no Palestinian military. There are Palestinian militias and self-defense forces waving in loyalty between Fatah and Hamas. This could change as a result of brutal Israeli actions, but for now, the Palestinians lack serious means of waging war against Israeli forces.

Hamas can launch hundreds of low-grade, homemade rockets without any guidance systems, and have very few of them reach a target, let alone cause any damage. On the other hand, the Israelis can launch precision missiles, bombs, and a whole variety of strike options that are guaranteed to cause maximum damage. While the rockets of Hamas are numerous, they have little effect.

Thanks to the US-funded Iron Dome program, Israel has nearly complete defensive coverage against Hamas rockets. Can we say that Gaza has complete protection from Israeli strikes? Of course not. So, how exactly can we claim there is equivalence between Israel and Palestine? One commits attempts at mass violence with futile results, while the other commits violence on a mass scale with lethally effective results. Where’s the equivalence?

Now, I understand that neither the Palestinians or Israelis should commit violence. I don’t believe the tactics of Hamas are correct. Though, I feel the same about Israel as well, perhaps even more strongly. Here is why: Palestine is occupied and blockaded. Israel is not.

Would America tolerate decades of occupation? Would people in Texas simply bow down to an occupying army, foreign or domestic, and blindly accept the fate dealt to them by outside forces? Probably not. So how can we possibly expect the Palestinians to act any differently? The Palestinians are occupied, and while I don’t condone violence for the sake of a political message, I also am aware of the frustrations of an occupied people.

Of course the situation is complex, but the violence on both sides is not equal. There is no moral equivalence between mass destruction and mass attempts at destruction. Israel and Palestine are locked in a dreadful conflict, but violence is not on an equal footing and capability. There is far more nuance to this than US and Western media care to tell us.


  1. Capacity to inflict damage is only part of the equation. The writer apparently forgets that Israel left Gaza in 2005 and left some good-sized greenhouses which they hoped would profit the Gazans and they offered other helps as well. So, what happens? Gaza elects Hamas two years later–and Hamas is pledged to make the PLANET Judenrein (German for Jew-free). Don’t take my word for it; google their charter and read it. So, once in power, Hamas proceeded to do NOTHING for its people but build tunnels and rockets with the aim of, if they can’t annihilate Israel by force, of blackening its image enough so that enough of the world may question its legitimacy–and let me ask you a related question here: when does an indigenous population become de-indigenized, if at all? Jews got that name because they came from Judea, which is part of the ‘West Bank’. Did that land stop being their homeland because Hadrian banished most of them and stuck the name ‘Palestina’ on it to erase their memory? Would you care to ask any Native American these questions?
    The point here is that the Jews, not the Arabs, are the indigenes of Israel: the Arabs first settled there only in the seventh century C.E. And have you noticed Israel has fair-sized non-Jewish minorities while the ‘Palestinians’ insist on their land being Judenrein and pretty much Christianrein too? Point here is Israel’s willing to share the land and the Arabs–well, at least the Arab ‘leadership’–are not?
    I know I’m pretty far from the original point, but current events (as is history) a honeycomb-weave web of lots of interwoven matters. One thing leads back somewhere else and laterally to God knows where.

    • Brian, you clearly demonstrate your ability to repeat Israeli government propaganda very well. To start, Gaza isn’t occupied by Israeli troops (like the West Bank still is) but it has no effective power over its borders. Israel blockades its coast and its airspace, as well as its border crossings. Gaza is under effective control without an occupying force.

      Secondly, I never once advocated in favor of Hamas or its tactics. Though, as the point of the article states, Israel has much more destructive power then Hamas. That is a fact.

      I’m surprised you didn’t go for the “anti-Semitic” ploy. To address “nativism”, the very same argument you just made is the same that the white South Africans made during apartheid. Also, many Jews in Israel have their origins outside the region. Many families are from Europe, so calling them indigenous is quite a stretch. Most Arabs have been there for generations at this point. Yet, that is an irrelevant point.

      The point is that there is no equivalence between Israeli terror and Palestinian rsistance. Your nationalist mantras sound nice, but hold no value over the articles premise. Try again, sir.

      • When you surrounded by countries who would like nothing better than to wipe you from the face of the earth than its kind of a “duh” that you want to have the absolutely most destructive and effective military.

        As to Palestine, it is true that the Israelis can be very harsh and that the sanctions and blockades on Palestine are overstepping. so here is my solution, Israel agrees to remove all troops from Palestine and disband all blockades into Palestine. On the condition that Palestine controls its radicals and ensure that no attacks on Israel happen from within its borders. If Palestine can not uphold these terms then Palestine will be leveled, period. No do overs, no “it was out of our hands” just clean cut elimination by absolute force.

      • Julian >>> The point that Negates and Invalidates you whole argument is your Total Disregard for “Palestinian Hamas Terrorism and Atrocities”!!!! You never once do you even allude to them!

        I’m far from an Israeli Enabler or Zionist, and I do NOT support the Current Government or their policies… but I Can Not, and will Not, Ignore the Terrorist actions committed by Hamas, nor the fact that though their Rockets may be without accurate Guidance, they are nevertheless more destructive because they willfully are being used to terrorize the Israeli Civilian population. Israeli responses, while more destructive, are used primarily against Military targets!!! If there is unnecessary collateral damage blame MUST be placed on Hamas’ use of their own citizens as Human Shields… How is this morally acceptable in today’s world??? How can you NOT include them in your indictment of the whole situation?

        Where is the Balance in your reporting????

        • Where is the balance in Israel’s actions? Name a terrorist incident by Palestine that has caused the same damage as Israeli bombing? Also, as I said, Palestine is being occupied. Israel is not. If someone occupied your homeland, stripped you of rights, and denied you access to fundamental needs such as food and water, would you act so nonchalant about it? Probably not.

          The article was not meant to give a false equivalence. If that’s what you were looking for, sorry to disappoint.

          • If you believe that the Palestinian residents of Gaza have No responsibility to control the Actions of Hamas then there is No point in even discussing anything with you… You’re Politically Correct position reflects a complete lack of understanding of the history or big picture of the Middle East conflict! There is NO One event that lives in a vacuum there… and if the People there do Not take responsibility to achieve Peace… Including ostracizing and repudiating the Positions of Hamas, and their refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist in Peace!

            Further, if you believe there is Equivalency in a conflict between the tactics and strategies in a conflict between a military force vs a terrorist force you have no comprehension of the difference between how those forces are organized or work to achieve their aims! Or do you expect that the Israelis should be using the same low-tech rockets to indiscriminately defend themselves???

            Why don’t you put the blame on where it belongs?? the Right Wing Likud Government of Israel and the Arab Terrorists that will never Negotiate… Both have No interest in Peace, when war is so profitable! For them it is all about power… the Citizens are just Pawns!

            But Pawns have a Vote…. and the power of Revolt when their Leaders no longer represent their views!! It is Up to the Palestinians to stop allowing their lives to be used as human shields, and for them to exercise their Rights to select their true representatives… and if they chose Hamas… so be it!

        • Also how does Hamas launching ineffective rockets somehow bear worse than Israeli terror tactics that see whole neighborhoods destroyed?

          You’re comparing pebbles to hand grenades.

  2. Awesome!! I’ve been saying the military capabilities are so out of balance there is no comparison. What is up with civilian casualties? Is anyone ever going to be prosecuted for war crimes? Killing children? As a friend said and I concur, there was a time that I felt protective of Israel but not anymore. How could people who claim to be so self righteous stoop so low I will never understand. A tribe is a tribe is a tribe. SMDH.

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