Picture credit: JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images
Artillery Row

Every argument for Israel

Answering the case against Israel point-by-point

Not another article on the Israel-Palestinian conflict! Is there anything new to say? Maybe, sort of. Bear with me.

As a member of the Ireland Israel Alliance, I have been involved over the last year in many public debates on Israel. It strikes me that the “pro-Palestine” side struggles to understand what the “pro-Israel” side believes. (This may be true in reverse also.) The Israel-Palestinian conflict is so complex, with arguments and dense counter-arguments and even denser counter-counter-arguments, that debate often gets derailed before we ever get to the bottom of what the opposition believes.

So let me try something different. The ancient Greeks were great believers in the power of a fictional dialogue for this sort of thing. I am going to try to cram most of the pro-Israel arguments into one article, with the help of my fictional adversary. One may not agree with the arguments, but at least you will find out what pro-Israel people believe. Someone else should do a version for “every anti-Israel argument”. So let’s get started. We will let the “pro-Palestine adversary” start. Then the pro-Israel person will reply.

The “genocide” in Gaza

OK, let’s jump in with the big topic. How can you defend Israel when it is committing genocide in Gaza?

What do you mean by genocide? You mean a war? 7 million Germans died in WW2. Was that a genocide of the Germans?

No of course not. But Gaza is genocide. Many people say so.

Gaza is not genocide. It is a difficult urban war against a terrorist enemy that refuses to surrender.

But over 30,000 are dead, including over 10,000 children!

There are many replies to that. First, those numbers come from Hamas. Second, those numbers include the following: (1) Terrorists engaging in combat. (2) Families of terrorists forced to stay with them. (3) Civilians killed by the terrorists. (4) Innocent civilians caught up in the fighting. (5) Many, probably thousands of, under-18 male teenagers working for the terrorists in support, weapons transport, recon and combat. When killed, these all count as “children”. And the numbers may also include: (6) Normal deaths from old age and disease. Hamas may well add these to the total. Why not? There is no downside for them. The numbers may even include: (7) Completely fictional deaths made up by terrorists.

Are you saying we are being lied to?

Yes. The numbers are from a group of genocidal terrorist rapists. It would be extraordinary if they were not lying.

But there are photos and video of dead children. You cannot deny their suffering?

No, I do not. War is hell. Innocents die, no matter what you do. The list above shows many reasons why innocents die in war. I could actually respect the position that says Israel should not have gone to war at all, to protect innocent life. I cannot respect the position that says there is some kind of “genocide” going on.

But it’s not just “war is hell”. Israel is targeting children.

Total nonsense. First, Israelis are from the same moral universe as us. Would you target children in war, and then boast about it? No. Neither would they. Go meet some IDF and talk to them and you will find they are Westerners like you and me.

Hmm. Is that all you have for saying that there is no genocide?

No. Many other reasons: (1) The IDF’s enormous efforts to move civilians around from sector to sector to keep them safe. (2) Doing this with literally millions of leaflet drops, phone calls and text messages to give warnings of attacks in different sectors and tell them what sectors to move to. Even though this alerts the enemy. (3) Aborting strikes when civilians appear. Many videos of this. (4) Letting in vast amounts of aid, even though this feeds and supplies the enemy. 23,000 trucks of aid allowed in since the war started. None of these things make any sense if they are trying to commit “genocide”.

Maybe they are trying to impress gullible people like you.

They are not doing genocide in order to fool us into thinking there is no genocide. Clever.

Rules of engagement

OK let’s park the “genocide” debate. You must agree that Israel’s “rules of engagement” are brutal.

Compared to what? Compared to countries like Syria or Russia they are incredibly advanced. Those regimes are happy to kill any and all civilians and lose no sleep about it. Even compared to Western countries like America and Britain, Israel fights a cleaner war. Leaflet drops, phone call warnings, “roof knocking”, defined evacuation routes. America and Britain never provided this level of care to civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But Israel still does terrible things. Israel sometimes kills Hamas men with their families.

This is a really difficult issue. Israel has said that Hamas fighters do not get to go home. They cannot fire rockets, kill ground troops, and run back to the family house and the IDF cannot touch them. The IDF regards that house as a military base.

But you cannot do an airstrike. You must do a ground operation to raid the house.

Sounds good. But the ground operation could involve heavy street fighting for many streets, and more civilian deaths, not less.

But you can’t just bomb the Hamas man’s house from the air, not knowing who is inside.

I’m inclined to agree. I think this is one area where you can validly question Israel’s actions over the years. I prefer your rule. But you know what your rule means, right?

What does it mean?

It means every Hamas man can surround himself with his family to stay safe all day, indeed for the whole war. And Hamas knows this is in fact broadly true (even if not 100 percent true). Hamas fighters in Gaza deliberately keep their families close. It is fairly easy to send them to safety, but they choose not to. They keep their wives and children around, and travel with them, to keep IDF strikes at bay. They would not bother doing this with an enemy like Assad, because it would not work. He would not care. So it is actually a tribute from the terrorists to the morality of the Israelis.

Maybe that is the price you have to pay.

Maybe so. As I said, I prefer your rule. But let’s be honest that it extends the length of the war and leads to more dead, not less.

I have more points. The IDF’s list of targets is appallingly wide. It has killed low-level Hamas men and even the Gaza police.

I’m not seeing the problem. All are terrorists engaged in war against Israel.

The IDF is trigger happy and shoots everything. For example, killing its own hostages in that Dec 2023 incident.

That was a disaster. Everyone has a right to be angry. And dozens of IDF soldiers have died in friendly fire. The IDF is engaged in a brutal urban war against terrorists with no regard for any human life and no respect for any rules of war, including faked surrenders and human shields. Sometimes if the IDF don’t shoot they die. Sometimes if they do shoot they kill the wrong people. The troops often get seconds to decide. The war is a nightmare, and I would hate to be making split-second life or death decisions on the ground.

At least you agree this war is a nightmare.

I do agree this war is a nightmare. Hamas started it. Don’t start wars.

So what is the solution?

The solution is that Hamas surrenders and releases the hostages, and Hamas is disbanded. Israel has been clear on that since 8 October.

But that is unrealistic. It won’t happen.

Then the war continues until Hamas is destroyed.

Gaza’s “oppression”

We are not going to agree. This war has gone far enough. The war should end.

The war against Gaza is one of the most justified wars in human history.

What? How can you say that?

Israel has one of the best casus belli in the history of the world. Hard to think of anything as clear cut as invading your neighbour, immediately carrying out sadistic massacres, taking hostages and then retreating. Israel has more right to wage war than almost any country in the history of the world. Name any country ever with a better right to wage war.

But Gazans did not just invade at random. They were oppressed!

Gazans were not oppressed.

What? How can you say that? Everyone agrees Gazans were oppressed.

In what way were they oppressed?

Lack of free movement.

The problem was there was not enough lack of free movement. If there was a massive wall, the terrorists would not have broken through to rape and massacre Jews on 7 October.

Yes, but for non-terrorists there was also lack of free movement. It was like a prison camp.

Nonsense. Israel did not control the Egypt border. Gazans used to go on holiday to Egypt (and places like Turkey and Dubai) and come back. Furthermore, 20,000 Gazans had work permits to work in Israel before 7 October.

OK, but there was a blockade restricting basic goods and food. They lived in brutal conditions, like the Warsaw Ghetto.

Nonsense. Gaza had nice shopping malls, hotels, fine restaurants, cafes, swimming pools and beach resorts. There are endless photos and videos of them. Shops in Gaza were better than the basic shops I grew up with in 1970s Ireland!

So why did Gazans attack Israel and burn all this to the ground?

Because of an ideology dedicated to hating and killing Jews. It makes no sense, but they teach it to their children. It explains why they could not build a state in Gaza after 2005, but wanted war after war forever. It explains the unrestrained barbaric sadism of 7 October. Their ideology has destroyed their lives, and now it has destroyed Gaza. They are true believers, not an “oppressed” people.

The cause of the conflict

So let’s go back to the cause of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. This did not start on 7 October. It started when Israel stole Arab land in 1948. Many Arabs were violently expelled from their land so that a group of European colonisers could take it. This is the cause of the conflict.

Well, not really. It is a lot more complex. Let me give an example. Jews lived in Hebron for thousands of years until expelled in 1929. They came back after 1967. Are you saying they should leave again?

OK, well I do not know about Hebron. But how about other places?

Jews lived in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem (note that name!) for thousands of years until expelled in 1948. They came back after 1967. Are you saying they should leave again?

Look I am not sure, but Israel in 1948 was a land grab surely?

Again, not really. When Israel was defined in 1947, the area designated was a clear majority Jewish area (538,000 Jews and 397,000 Arabs). Of course it was. Setting this area up as a state was therefore reasonable and needs no justification. No Arab need be expelled. All the Arabs had to do was agree.

But then Arabs would have to live under Jewish majority rule!

Yes, the lucky ones. Living under Jewish majority rule would mean wealth and freedom unheard of in neighbouring states. This is in fact what happened. Today, 2 million Arabs live in Israel. They have the highest life expectancy of any Arabs. They get the vote and have advanced Western freedoms. Arabs in the PA and Gaza do not even get the vote (because Fatah and Hamas do not believe in democracy).

But lots of Arabs were expelled in 1948!

Well, yes. The Arabs went to war against Israel, and lost. Israel’s territory grew. Crimes of ethnic cleansing were committed on both sides. I do not defend everything that happened in the 1940s. It was a more brutal age — look at what was happening in Europe in the 1940s. Also, the Arabs explicitly told the Jews they had to win the war or be exterminated. So the Jews fought accordingly. It was brutal.

But all those Arabs have to go back.

In 1949, that would make some sense. 75 years later it makes no sense. Most of those people are dead. Their descendants never lived there. You need a more realistic solution. And aren’t you ignoring something?


The one million Jews expelled at that time from Arab states across the Middle East and North Africa. Do they get to go back? Of course, that cannot happen either. You can’t rewind history.

The solution

OK but we need a solution to this conflict. The solution is Israel ends the occupation.

What do you mean? What occupation?

The occupation of Gaza and the West Bank.

Gaza has not been “occupied” since 2005. They did end the occupation. They got endless rocket fire and war, and finally 7 October. They should never have left Gaza. Ending the occupation of Gaza was a terrible idea that, ironically, has led directly to Gaza getting destroyed.

OK but they can end the occupation of the West Bank. Return to 1967 lines.

You mean ethnically cleanse 0.7 million Jews?

Well I don’t like to put it like that. But Jewish settlers may have to move as part of the peace process.

“May have to move”? You mean the forced ethnic cleansing of 0.7 million Jews against their will.

But it will bring peace.

Well that is the problem. First, such a forced population movement would be a crime. Second, it would massively escalate the war, not bring peace.

How so? The Palestinians would get a state. They get what they want. Why should that cause more war?

Do you know anything about human psychology? When they get a big part of what they want, that means Allah has granted them a great victory over the Jews, and the final victory over Israel is near. Jihadis from all over the world would flood into the new Palestinian state, ready for the final war against Israel. The Palestinian state would import artillery, drones and advanced weaponry. It would be Gaza times ten, a bloodbath. Likely to end in much of the West Bank getting destroyed.

There is no solution

This is very bleak. What on earth is your solution then?

I have no solution.

What? That is not possible.

It is a Western prejudice that all problems have solutions. Some do not. This one does not. There is no way that modern Palestinians will end “the struggle” and live in peace alongside any form of Jewish state, on any borders, on any territory.

Wow, that is bleak. But what if the Palestinians change, and agree to live in peace?

Oh, if the Palestinians change, and agree to some compromise border on the West Bank, and give up jihad, and pursue peace and prosperity, and ignore the Jewish state, well then all these problems can be solved.


But where is the evidence that Palestinians will ever do that? There is no evidence. Not in our lifetimes.

So no hope.

Not exactly. Israel can survive and thrive while it waits for its neighbours to change. Israel’s march to being a dynamic, high-tech democracy has not slowed down ever, since 1948, and it will keep going. The people who really suffer from the Palestinians’ inability to make peace are the Palestinians.

So no hope for the Palestinians?

Correct. No hope for the Palestinians. And that is self-inflicted. They can change any time. But they won’t.

Depressing. Any closing statement?

We pro-Israel people actually want Palestinians to live in peace and prosperity. We want them to be rich and free, and pursuing shopping and life, instead of idiot dreams of jihad, honour, revenge and victory. What is stopping it are the ideas inside Palestinians’ heads. Israel cannot fix that. Israel just has to survive, and hope for better times and changed neighbours. It may be a sad and tragic view of the world, but the world is sad and tragic.

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