What you call a “plight” exposes a perspective devoid of facts. Their plight is of their own making. Who controls Gaza today? As I recall, the government of Israel cruelly expelled all of the Jews from Gush Katif (aka Gaza) several years back, and allowed a hornet’s nest of Arab terror to arise on our southern coast. The innocent Arab civilians, as you would deem them, willingly chose Fatah and then Hamas to represent them, instead of endeavoring to build a normal society (which as a rule does not exist anywhere in the Arab/Islamic world). Hamas created a complex underground infrastructure of terror and placed the south of Israel in a state of perpetual terror. Yet in your mind, even this madness isn’t enough. Somehow, you still deem Israel an “occupying force.” You speak of plight? What about the plight of the most vulnerable Jews of the peripheral western Negev? What about the plight of the entire country who can be immolated with rockets and mortars at any given moment?
You bemoan the use of the collective ‘THEY’ out of a conviction that since there are children in Gaza, they cannot be guilty. Would you feel the same way about the Hitler Youth? The Arabs of Gaza are trained from birth to become shaheeds, and they are cultivated with the genocidal death code of Amalek. This occurs because the entire society is diseased with a spiritual contagion. Forsaking humanity for barbarism, the overall society allows, supports, encourages, and breathes the same infectious beliefs as those running what amounts to an Islamic Third Reich in Gaza.
I pose the following questions:
- Who used (and Heaven help us! uses) the huge supplies of concrete that Israel insanely allowed into Gaza to build a complex system of underground terror tunnels in which to wage war against us, rather than create an infrastructure of schools, hospitals, and homes?
- Who trains their children from the cradle to detonate themselves in a crowd of Jews, to slice open Jewish throats with daggers, and to assemble Kalashnikovs blindfolded while reciting poetry extolling the virtues of martyrdom, rather than teaching the three “R’s”?
- Who assembles in the streets of Gaza City to celebrate the murder and mutilation of kidnapped Jews? Who hands out sweets? Who derives nourishment and pathological euphoria when Arabs slaughter Jews?
You speak of mercy. Mercy is a noble trait, one which defines us as a Jewish nation, yet ONLY WHEN the halacha (which you call upon) demands its expression. This point evades you. When we wage war with evil people, the Torah demands the opposite. One critical aspect of this can be found in the dictum, “Ma Hu nikra rachum, af atah heyeh rachum”,-“Just as Hashem is called merciful, so should you be merciful” (Tractate Shabbos, 133b). G-d alone determines what is merciful. Not some liberal distortion of the trait which ignores the existence of evil in the world, and offers terms of mercy to brutal people during the course of a milchemet mitzvah.
Rabbi Landes, you distort unrelated Jewish texts to justify your notion of “purity of arms.” You have astounding chutzpah to bring up the Rambam and his “Laws of Fasts” which have no relevance, similarity, or application to the current situation in Gaza. The former relates to the Jewish need to introspect and utilize the witnessing of acts of destruction in order to repent. It certainly doesn’t abrogate the halachic requirements of Jewish war against hostile enemies, which by their very definition, demand cruelty towards evil people. The proper section of the MishnahTorah (the Rambam’s halachic work) to gain a Torah perspective on how to combat evil people would be the “Laws of Kings and Their Wars.”