Israel, being a small country (in many places you can see across her entirety) of 7.9 million surrounded by over 300 million hostile Arabs, would like to find a peaceful way to end the rocket fire and the terror that is raining down on her citizens. Even with Iron Dome's 90% effective rate, some missiles do slip through the barrier and cause damage and disrupt any chances at a normal life. Twice this week Israel has agreed to a truce only to have the Palestinians break it with more rockets and since some of the Palestinian rockets are being deployed from underground locations, air assault has been unsuccessful in completely ending the danger. Furthermore, the Palestinian demands for a truce are ludicrous and would subject Israel to great risk from a foe who has never been known to stand by its word.
Here are the demands which Hamas, which controls the Palestinian government, submitted as conditions for a truce:
1. Return IDF tank positions to those before the conflict started.
2. Release all prisoners arrested since June 23 (the date of the killing of three Jewish teens by Hamas) and improvement of prison conditions.
3. Lift the Naval blockade of Gaza and reopen land crossing points.
4. Open an international airport and seaport in Gaza.
5. Expand Gaza's fishing zone by six miles.
6. Open the Israel-Gaza Rafah crossing with UN supervision, not Israeli.
7. Begin a 10 year truce using international observers at the border.
8. Israel should never enter Gaza and she must protect Palestinian worshipers at the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
9. Israel must not interfere with the unity government of Hamas and Fatah.
10. Rehab the Gaza Industrial zone and allow Gaza to have its own border security force.
The demands are quite a laundry list and in return they offer Israel absolutely nothing. Gaza was created by Israeli agreement to give up land she had previously captured in return for peace. The border closings and oversight have been necessitated by Hamas' unwillingness to play by the rules. And remember, the prime requirement Israel has on the table is the recognition of the Jewish state, something neither Mahmoud Abbas or any other Palestinian leader will acknowledge and this reluctance goes all the way back to Yasser Arafat.
Recognition and self defense is something any sovereign nation has a right to demand and Israel will not yield to anyone on this. Israel is in a strong position having fended off the most recent days of rocket attacks without casualties while the Palestinians have lost over 170 to Israeli air strikes. And this despite Israel's attempt to avoid civilian casualties by warning Gaza of the areas that will be attacked and giving civilians times to relocate. The Palestinians, however, chose to ignore the warning and use human shields, thereby causing the casualties.
All Americans should stand with Israel in this conflict since she is our ally, she is willing to fight and die for her own cause and she is the primary stable force in the Middle East. Without her, any chance of normalcy in that region would be highly unlikely. And now that Egypt has been returned to control by a moderate leader who understands the importance of Israel for stability, the chances of lessened conflict are improved. The actions by the Palestinians are, however, a major stumbling block to any positive action moving forward.
It's up to the Palestinians and their supporters to step up to the plate and make a commitment to real peace. Only then can the Land of Abraham and the birthplace of Jesus consider a lower war footing and even then she must remain vigilant. Actions, not words, by the Palestinians will be necessary to lower the threat. Pray for common sense and less hate to inject itself into the region and may God open the hearts of all in the region to truly find peace.