In the last couple of days, Max has ably fended off criticism of missile defense–a commonsense and effective tool in homeland security. He closes his second post on the subject with a question: “Why do so many critics have such an investment in trying to prove that missile defense doesn’t work? Isn’t a good defense the best way to keep the peace?”
Yes, it is, and it makes opposition to missile defense from the left quite strange for another reason. Those who want Israel to continue making territorial concessions to the Palestinians–after every single previous such concession brought terrorism and rockets–have much riding on the success of Israel’s missile defense systems, such as Iron Dome. It is absurd to believe that after what keeps happening in Gaza, Israel will allow the same to happen in the West Bank–where missiles can be launched a couple of miles from Judaism’s holiest sites in Jerusalem and would also have a better shot at hitting Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv. The former would be a physical assault on Israel’s capital as well as a conceptual assault on Judaism and Jewish history only the world’s basest anti-Semites could stomach, and the latter would bring Israel’s economy to a standstill.
Under such circumstances, Israel can only be expected cede territory if its citizens feel secure in doing so. A similar discussion has taken place around the chain-link fence Israel has been constructing to keep terrorists out–a step made necessary by the Arafatization of the Palestinian polity and the Palestinian strategy of instigating suicide bombing campaigns.
Yes, some dispute the “path” of the fence, arguing its placement. But isn’t the chain-link fence, which is meant to keep terrorists out, an incredibly peaceful and humane solution to the problem? Of course it is. But even if many on the left are unconcerned with Israel’s security, shouldn’t they support such nonviolent security measures as a tactical matter to encourage Israel to withdraw from territory the Palestinians want for a possible future state? After all, arguments that Israel cannot take even purely defensive measures to safeguard its people should not be taken seriously.
None of this is to say that missile defense will solve the conflict. It isn’t perfect, it’s expensive, and living under constant threat of rocket fire would still be hellish—it cannot be easy to get used to bombs exploding over your head all day long. The best solution, without a doubt, would be for the Palestinians to eschew terrorism and give up their mission to destroy Israel. The end of terrorism would bring peace. Until then, Israeli security is paramount. The lesson from Gaza is that complete withdrawal did not bring security for Israel. If the Palestinians really want a two-state solution, they should prove the same wouldn’t be true in the West Bank.