Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Balanced Sight

I must congratulate the Singapore Government, and especially the Singapore Malay leaders, in the courageous and sensible stance they are taking over the Israel-Gaza conflict. People the world over, it appears, are up in arms over Israel's disproportionate response to the rockets that have been lobbed into its soil, and continues to do so.

Well, in the first place, there is no such thing as disproportionate response in war. You mean a person fires two rockets at you and you are only entitled to respond with 2 rockets? Well of course not, you say. But then, where do you draw the line? 4 rockets for 2? or 6 rockets? The argument of proportionality simply breaks down in war, where the ultimate objective is the achievement of specific targets - in this case, Israel wants these rockets fired by the Hamas to stop. But the rockets have not stopped, so Israel continues to wage war on the Hamas in Gaza.

But back to our Singapore government. Its stand is the most practical, from an outsider's point of view. We do not get the bombs and rockets on our soil. Those in Southern Israel and Gaza do. So if we sided one over the other, we are expressing a preference that proportionately more rockets land on one side over another. That is what protesters the world over are suggesting whether they are pro-Israel or pro-Hamas. Rather, Singapore is urging for a ceasefire and for both sides and for both to go to the negotiating table as soon as possible. This is probably the most acceptable way, now that the world wants to care about it, to solve the problem now, if not long-term.

Going out on the streets to stage protests and demos may look good, but it does no good for anyone. Boycotting other's products, like what one former leader north of Singapore is mindlessly suggesting, deprives the Jews, Christians, Muslims, and everyone else affected, their honest and decent livelihood, especially in these depressed times.

The best thing to do is to pray for the conflict to end.

Image: morgueFile.com. Author: Michael Connors

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