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It is stifling to see continuing public acceptance for the “shoot the hostage” tactics currently employed by Israel.  This ongoing policy was recently amplified when in response to the rocket attack of two Hamas gunmen from either within or nearby the United Nations-run Fakhora girl’s elementary school, Israeli forces shelled the school killing at least 42 civilians, many of whom were children taking shelter.  Regardless of where the rocket attacks originated, the IDF response exemplifies their willingness to sacrifice lives of the many in order to kill the few.  

Envision a scenario where two combatants are actively firing at troops from within a school.  Knowing that there are likely many people taking shelter within the school, is it morally sound to bombard the building with bombs? The civilians within are essentially hostages and should not be punished for being complicit.  The army has the right to return fire, but this right should not extend to weapons that have the power to kill indiscriminately, or to locations heavily populated with civilians.  So is this shoot-the-hostage policy something we proudly stand behind?  

So long as the sovereignty of Palestinians is held hostage by the Israelis through an economic stranglehold that prevents food, water, and aid to flow freely to a struggling society, two things will remain static. First, dogmatic militia of the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah will continue to be a reluctant avenue of legitimate gripe among the Palestinian and Lebanese people. Second, rockets will continue to sail into Israel.  No Israeli military incursion is powerful enough to stop attacks on its soil without first properly addressing the economic plight of its neighbor, and without recognizing that via collective punishment it is playing an active role in maintaining the status quo among the poor in Gaza.

Article posted on 1/13/2009

By Brian T. Murphy; Photo from the movie Speed

Shoot the Hostage Policy Not Kosher

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