I’ve had several recent conversations with friends and colleagues of mine about Gaza, and there’s one point that constantly comes up about Hamas rockets. I should mention that this point (discussed below) also comes up when reading Western NGO reports, even those that are sympathetic to the Palestinian point of view.
The notion that Hamas rockets are launched indiscriminately has already been discussed and countered, in the sense that Hamas typically declares a military target before launching their rockets. But even if they are willing to acknowledge this (and often they will not because this is not circulated in the Western press), they will argue that given that Hamas knows how crude their rockets are, there is a good chance that the rockets will miss their targets (despite intended military target) and hit a civilian home or a non-military target. Therefore, the argument goes, given the relatively low expected success rate, launching rockets even when declaring a military target is still not acceptable because of the high probability of civilian damage.
Leaving aside the ironical (and tragic) fact that the supposedly more accurate high-tech missiles that Israel launches cause way more civilian damage than crude Hamas rockets, there’s something more sinister (though perhaps unintentional) in the reply above: the implication is that the oppressed have no right to resist through (legitimate) armed struggle because they are poor. In essence, the supposed accuracy of the missiles (or rockets) is license to launch them, and the lack of access to this high-tech supposedly “accurate” technology ablates the possibility of acquiring that license. As such, given that the oppressed are typically resource-deprived and thus poor and are therefore confined to low-tech non-guided rockets, their poverty becomes the reason for the lack of acquisition of this license (to engage in legitimate armed struggle).
To me, it is this conclusion that is unacceptable, and so I ask: in some imaginary world, if Palestinian resistance groups were given the same high-tech weaponry as that possessed by the Israelis, would that change your perspective? Their answer is never a comfortable yes…