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When I was 14, I read two books that changed my thinking and my life forever.
The first was a novel, based on real events, called Exodus, by one of the 20th Century's greatest writers, Leon Uris. It provided a fictionalised, but largely accurate, account of the birth of Israel through the life and times of two brothers, Yossi and Yakov Rabinsky, as they flee Poland and emigrate to Palestine, then under British rule. There, Yossi Rabinsky becomes Barak Ben Canaan and fathers a son, Ari Ben Canaan, both of whom become integral to the fledgling Jewish state as it wins its independence.
It is one of the finest novels ever written- breathtaking in scale and scope, visceral and unforgettable in its impact.
At the end of the book, upon learning of the death of a young woman much beloved of the Ben Canaan extended family at the hands of Palestinian fedayeen, the reader is stunned to find the stoic, resolute, physically unbreakable Ari Ben Canaan weeping in the small garden of his family home. Turning to look up at the skies, he screams the words of the title there up to the Lord. He begs his Creator to explain to him why an innocent, sweet, beautiful woman had to die so cruelly at the hands of those who sought to destroy everything that he had spent his entire life trying to protect.
That scene has stayed with me ever since I first read it. It comes back to me now every time I read of another Israeli boy or girl killed in the latest episode of violence in an already violent land.
The second book is O Jerusalem! by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre- sadly, out of print for a very long time. A much more detailed and very closely written historical examination of the state of Israel, it provides the perfect non-fiction complement to the writing in Exodus, explaining the historical background behind the events of Exodus in a way that the reader can easily grasp and understand.
What is remarkable about these two books is how closely they agree on the basic facts of Israel's existence. The first, a work of fiction, unambiguously presents the Jews as righteous and decent people who rebuild their historical homeland out of rock and desert, sweating and fighting and dying to give life to the ancient dream of a land of their own. The second, a work of investigative historical journalism, is far more balanced and nuanced, and presents a great deal of material from all sides of the Israeli War of Independence.
Ultimately, though, they both come to the same conclusion: Israel is the Jewish homeland by right, and the Jews have bought it, and their consequent freedom, through blood and steel and sacrifice.
So when the latest round of hostilities started up, yet again, I was reminded, not for the first time and certainly not for the last, just why it is that Israel needs to defend herself through any means necessary.
No matter how much the liblepr idiot rabbits of the Western media try to spin it, Israel is faced with a daily fight for its very survival. Its people are threatened not merely by Arabs who want their own homeland, but by a "religion" that demands their subjugation, their enslavement, and their destruction. They are daily confronted with a creed that values dead Arabs over live ones- and values dead Jews over all else. They have to deal with a people and a race that has shown exactly zero capacity whatsoever for developing and maintaining an advanced civilisation in the last two hundred years, despite the best efforts of the British, the Americans, the Russians, and even the Israelis themselves to push the Palestinians into something resembling a civilised society.
The useful idiots of the Western media and political elite constantly call for Israel to be investigated for "war crimes". They seem to forget that there has never been a military force in all of human history that has held such a crushing advantage in equipment, training, capabilities, and sheer badassitude over its enemies- and yet still goes to enormous lengths to avoid civilian casualties by warning its enemies to evacuate target zones before bombing them.
The fact remains that no army in history has ever obeyed the Laws of War as scrupulously as Israel's has. No nation in history has ever held such a one-sided military advantage over its enemies, and yet refused to use that advantage to conquer and colonise wholesale its defeated enemies.
It is well past time to end this pretence that Israel is somehow an unjustified aggressor in this latest phase of their never-ending war with Islam and its adherents. Israel has an absolute and completely legitimate right to defend itself from external threats; if hundreds of rockets raining down upon its citizens is not such a threat, then nothing is. Israel's incursions into Gaza are not only thoroughly justified, they are absolutely necessary.
Indeed, I will go rather a lot farther than this and argue that Israel has every right to be far more heavy-handed than it has been in the conflict thus far. The Laws of War dictate that enemy combatants must be clearly identifiable as such; they must wear clear markings to distinguish themselves from ordinary civilians; they must not use civilians to hide from invading forces; and they must adhere to honourable and lawful methods of combat.
The Palestinians have singularly failed to do so- indeed, they embrace openly dishonourable and distasteful methods of war by hiding their weapons among civilians, by telling civilians to stay put even when the Israelis go out of their way to warn those same civilians that an attack is coming, and by using civilians as weapons through the use of suicide-bombing tactics.
When an enemy violates the Laws of War like this, there is only one appropriate response: annihilation. No quarter given, no mercy shown.
In other words, the Israelis would be completely justified in not only occupying Gaza, but colonising it as well- subjugating it as a conquered land and forcing its inhabitants to fall in line whether they like it or not. There really is no other choice at this point.
The tranzis and libprogs of this world will undoubtedly scream bloody murder- but then they already see Israel as a neo-imperialist power as it is, so nothing really changes except that, in their eyes, a de facto situation becomes a de jure one.
The Islamists of this world will do the same- because they know that the one thing that destroys their credibility faster than anything else is the presence of a strong, vital, and powerful Jewish state. There is no clearer refutation of their "religion" than the presence of a Jewish homeland.
There is only one way to secure Israel's future, and that is to do what the Romans did to the lands of barbarian invaders at the height of their strength- take the fight to them, occupy and colonise their lands, and bring the invaders down through fire and steel.
And as for America? The best policy is to leave Israel alone to do its thing and survive as best as it can. America has plenty of problems of its own right now, there is no need whatsoever to go abroad meddling in the affairs of other nations. Especially not ones which, like Israel, can handle things just fine on their own.
The answer to the question that Ari Ben Canaan poses in Exodus, in his agony and grief and despair, is very simple: the Palestinian Arabs do not want to let the Jewish people live because to do so would be to admit that everything they have believed in for 14 centuries is a lie. To do so would be to admit that the Jews are capable of building what the Arabs are not, despite the many and manifest protestations of their so-called "holy book" that the Arabs and Muslims are the best of all peoples. To do so would be to admit that for a hundred years, the Arabs have rotted and decayed in squalor and misery of their own making, while the Jews actually built something worth preserving and protecting.
Israel's fight is its own; history can judge whether or not she fought it well. But it is a thoroughly justified and righteous one nonetheless.