Israel makes a regular practice of collective punishment. They have the Palestinians in the occupied territories all living in what is not much different than internment camps. Although, many militants are rotting in Israeli prisons, as a general rule, Israel doesn’t distinguish between militants and civilians. This is an identical philosophy of Islamic extremists who want to kill Jews who also don’t distinguish between military and civilians.
A religious point of view
According to the Koran, it is allowed that you can defend yourself from an oppressor. And if you are evicted, you have the right to evict the evictor. Although Muslim extremists seem to do a lot of killing, they are people who like to live by principles. The problem is not their religion, but the interpretation of their religious principles.
Israel is an entity, and it is the entity which violated the property rights of 700,000 Palestinians back between 1947 and 1949. Due to the high birth rate of Palestinians, the descendants of these former (current) refugees number in the millions. I don’t know the exact count, but there might be around 4,000,000 Palestinian refugees as well as several million more descendants of displaced Palestinians. Many Palestinians foolishly blame “Jews” for this problem, when it is not the fault of Jews at all. It is the fault of Zionists. The further irony is that over 80% of the donations that go to Israel by Zionists are not from Jews at all — they are from good old fashioned Bible thumping Protestant Southerners from America! Jews are not to blame for the suffering of the Palestinians — Zionists are purely to blame.
So, the entities responsible for the oppression of Palestinians and the theft of Palestinian owned land are:
(1) The state of Israel
(2) Individuals with the ideology of Zionism which calls for the expulsion of non-Jews from the land of Eretz Israel.
Terrorism and why it is wrong
The basic ethical problem with Terrorism is that they target civilians. If Hamas fires a rocket into Israel aimed at civilian areas, it could kill anyone. It might kill children who are clearly not at fault for anything more than wetting their bed. It could kill non-Zionist Israelis. It could kill tourists. This is wrong. According to Islam, Palestinians have the right to fight their oppressor which is the state of Israel, but not civilians who are not directly involved in the conflict.
Not all Israeli civilians do military duty
Another issue to consider is that most Israelis traditionally were forced to do military service. Islamic extremists might argue that they don’t need to distinguish between military and civilians since all civilians go into the military in Israel. This is not true. The Israeli military does not typically take conscientious objectors. They also typically do not enroll orthodox Jews who are a quickly growing minority in Israel, soon perhaps to become a majority. If you are a Jew who has any sympathy towards Palestinians or any Palestinian friends, the military will not take you. So, there are many Israelis who are not in the military and who object to the cruelty that the military inflicts upon civilians.
Collective punishment goes both directions in Israel.
Hamas engages in collective punishment against Israeli civilians through missile attacks. Israel engages in collective punishment against Palestinian civilians through holding them like prisoners in their towns. There are checkpoints throughout the occupied territories that make it time consuming or impossible to travel from place to place. Civilians are effectively under house arrest. From my point of view it is immoral to punish someone unless they have done something to merit the punishment. Punishing someone because they were born into a particular community is pure cruelty and bigotry and incites bigotry in return which is an unfortunate reality. Israel’s cruelty breeds extremism in Palestinians. It is easy to see how many could feel that extremism is the only chance they have. Palestinians who are pro diplomacy haven’t really made any headway in the last few decades. Of course, extremists haven’t made headway either.
Solutions to the problem
I don’t see any real solution to the Palestine Israel question. But, I do feel that both sides should only punish those who individually merit punishment. It might be easier if supporters of extremism all lived in the same areas. That way if there was a collective punishment, they would all merit it based on their demonic ideology! If ultra right wing Zionists all lived in particular communities, and Hamas targeted them — it would still be bad. But, at least the victims would have “done” something to merit this punishment.
An interesting twist on the reality of extremism
I think it would be fun if Palestinian extremists and Israeli extremists were forced to live together. I wonder what would happen. Would they just draw a green line between them and keep to themselves? Would they all kill each other? Or, would they make peace? The Israeli village of Neve Shalom is the opposite reality where Christians, Muslims, and Jews live happily together in peace as neighbors. Why is it that we never hear about them in the news? They make a great role model, don’t you think?