The Yom Kippur War of ’73 was not unique to the Jewish religion; also known as the Ramadan War by the Arabs – after their holy month of Ramadan – this war indeed had a purpose beyond senselessly aggravating Israel. I would hardly call the attacks done by Syria and Egypt onto Israel in the ’73 war “unprovoked” considering both countries were merely trying to take back lands that had been lost to them during an earlier war in ’67 initiated by Israel onto both Egypt and Syria.
In his article, Joey Tartakovsky uses a truly simplistic tone backed by highly inconsistent data to try and justify the recent attacks done by Israel to Syria. Ultimately there is no legitimacy for the argument justifying pre-emptive strikes on neighboring countries if your sole reason is “punishing terrorists and those who harbor them.” The truth is that terrorism is not that easy to deal with. Attacking countries where it is thought that terrorists might work is dangerous to those countries’ stability and regional peace. Our outlook on much of the way the world behaves has taken a form of paranoia that is both unhealthy and unsafe. Israel has understandably been experiencing this type of feeling since it became a state, surrounded only by Arab states. Its aggressive attitude towards its neighbors can’t always be said to be “retaliatory.” Such a one-sided view cannot be said to be legitimate.
But now back to Tartakovsky’s article, which I will attempt to revise so as to have it sound more consistent with the facts. Firstly, Chapter 7, Article 51 of the U.N. Charter does state that: “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.” It turns out that the Security Council has taken such a measure to “maintain international peace” when it issued Resolution 242. That’s right, the same 242 Tartakovsky mentions out of context, which states that the following be applied: “(i) Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent  conflict.” Those territories mentioned refer to the Golan Heights, Gaza and Sinai, which were territories taken by Israel from Syria and Egypt during the 1967 war, which Israel initiated. Since the U.N. did indeed issue Resolution 242 as a “measure necessary to maintaining” peace, and Israel failed to abide by it (as is typical), Chapter 7, Article 51 no longer applies and it cannot be said that an unprovoked “surprise attack” was launched against Israel. Israel knew it had been occupying lands illegally which Syria and Egypt merely tried to regain.
Resolution 181 which Tartakovsky refers to as “pertaining” to the Arab-Israeli conflict actually has nothing to do with the Middle East and instead deals with a question relating to policies of apartheid of the government of the Republic of South Africa.
Israel never started responding to terror, rather it imported the idea from such terrorists as Vladimir Jabotinsky, father of the Irgun, and Yitzhak Stern, father of Lehi. Both the Irgun and Lehi groups are recognized as Israeli terrorist organizations; they helped in the founding of Israel by committing various acts of terror. These include the bombing of the King David Hotel – killing 92 British, Arabs and Jews and wounding 58 – by the Irgun, the assassination of Swiss U.N. Peace Mediator Count Bernadette by the Lehi and countless raids and massacres in Arab towns such as in Deir Yasin by both groups. Future members of the Irgun and Lehi include former prime ministers of Israel Yitzhak Shamir of the Lehi and Menachem Begin of the Irgun.
Finally, HAMAS was only formed after Israel continued to illegally occupy Arab lands for nearly a decade. Hezbollah only started attacking Israeli military targets after Israel illegally invaded Lebanon in the early 1980s, where it still remains in the south of the country. Al-Aqsa Brigade was only formed after Israeli soldiers savagely massacred every person in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, hence the name. The Palestine Liberation Organization has not launched a “terrorist” attack in over 15 years.
David Ronquillo is a senior math and physics major.