Mr. Thomas, explain “total victory”

letter in Daily Local News, 1/5/09

Cal Thomas’ column for Jan. 2 shows that not even the deaths of 350 Palestinians, in recent days, is enough to satisfy his lust for revenge against the enemies of Israel.

“Total victory or death should be Israel’s slogan,” he writes, presumably because “it is (also) the slogan and goal of Israel;s enemies.”

Thomas, a self-proclaimed evangelical Christian, does not tell us what “total victory” might mean. Complete expulsion of all Palestinians from Gaza and the rest of Palestinian-occupied territory? Tens of thousands of Palestinians dead, so that the mere thought of resisting Israeli government policy does not even arise in anyone’s mind?

One can’t be sure. What is certain is that Thomas is on the side of the most intransigent elements in Israeli society, the people who persuade themselves that Israel has already made more “concessions” than it should have, and in exchange for its good will has gotten only more rocket attacks from Hamas.

What Cal Thomas, a professed Bible believer, might be saying is something like the following: the way of the sword does not work, as Jesus and others have taught, no matter how much misery it causes in the short run. This, of course, is true no matter who wields the sword.

Between Israel and the Palestinians, of whatever stripe, there is nothing like a balance of power. So desperate and hopeless Gazans, at least a few of them, lob some virtually home-made rockets into Israel.

It appears to some outside observers, though Americans who support Israeli government policy without question are not neutral parties, that a solution to the Palestinian question — though hardly “total victory” — can only come through nonviolent means and a fair, negotiated settlement. But until ordinary Palestinians can see real hope for themselves and their children, some of their number will continue to pound their fists against the prison walls which now surround the Gazan and other territorial boundaries.

F.R. Struckmeyer
West Chester


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