Thursday, January 08, 2009

Just asking...

With apologies to David Foster Wallace

Are some things still worth dying for? Are the benefits of the Disengagement (1) one such thing? Are you up for a thought experiment? What if we chose to regard the innocents killed by rockets or mortars since the Disengagement not as victims but as martyrs? In other words, what if we decided that the sacrifices of safety and comfort being made by those living within range of the Hamas rockets is a price that should be paid in order to deliver significant benefits to the whole country?

In still other words, what if we chose to accept the fact that every few months, despite all reasonable precautions, a handful (2) of innocents may die in the sort of rocket attack that Israel cannot 100-percent protect itself from without subverting the very principles that make Israel worth protecting?

Is this thought experiment monstrous? Would it be monstrous to refer to the 400 plus highway deaths Israel accepts each year because the mobility and autonomy of the car are evidently worth that high price? Why now can we not have a serious conversation about sacrifice, the inevitability of sacrifice—either of (a) some portion of safety or (b) some portion of the values that make the Jewish idea so incalculably precious?

(1) Benefits of the Disengagement? Yes, and there were several (list on request, but use your head)

(2) I can't find any reliable information on how many Israelis were killed by rockets since the disengagement - which only tells me the number must be very low. This list says 23 people were killed by rockets between November 2001 and June 2007 - of which 4 were Palestenians, and 2 were foreign nationals, leaving 17 Israeli victims. The MFA says only 10 people were killed in roughly the same period and lists 4 more in 2008. So "handful" isn't anything of an exaggeration when we're talking about rocket casualties. (though, of course, many dozens or perhaps hundreds more were wounded and maimed in ways large and small.) Still, this pales next to the number of people who die or are injured on Israel's roads each year.

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