Israel has run out of cheeks to turn
But Afrah, Aisha, Haleema and Salma are weeping an awful lot more.
These new-made widows howl for their dead husbands; mothers wail for their slaughtered sons and daughters; children scream for the loving embrace of the mother who will never again comfort them; families are bereft; communities ravaged. The weeping is incessant; the suffering incalculable. For every tear that is captured in a photograph, a million are shed unseen, unheard, unfelt by a world obsessed with trivia and increasingly incapable of weeping, as the Lord exhorted, with those who weep.
Israel is acting like a depraved tyrannical maniac. It has persecuted its neighbours for years with an economic blockade which limits imports to humanitarian supplies and prevents all exports - a policy which has virtually eradicated private industry and brought Gaza's economy to collapse. And now the Interior Ministry has been flattened, the Islamic University destroyed, mosques purposely targeted, and the private home of Hamas’s democratically-elected leader has been razed to the ground. Israel is slaughtering the innocents, bombing women and children to kingdom come, wherever that kingdom may be – she’ol, jannah, Jahannam; they don’t really care.
Cranmer thought Tony Blair was supposed to be a peace envoy to the Middle East.
He has failed spectacularly.
And David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, has made a strongly worded appeal for an immediate ceasefire.
But his is an impotent voice pathetically whistling in the wind: he is an insignificant nobody; an irrelevant mediocrity; an ineffectual commoner and expendable pawn in a game dominated by rooks, knights, bishops and kings.
Israel has declared war with Hamas ‘to the bitter end’ in response to rockets being fired by Palestinian militants into southern Israeli towns. But over the past eight years these rockets have claimed fewer than 20 Israeli lives. The death toll in Gaza is currently in excess of 300, with almost 2000 Palestinians reported injured.
And what is the best Israel might expect from this war? Another temporary ceasefire?
It will simply be yet another in a long line of ceasefires, each of which has been broken by one side or the other, each of which has manifestly failed, and each of which leaves Israel even more isolated than it was before the previous one. Israel wants to stop the fire, so it meets fire with fire. Might is right.
Bombing does not lead to peace; the bullet is no guarantor of stability or security. Zionism has been ill-served by all military operations, for none has ever advanced dialogue with its enemies; none has ever yielded progress.
...even as Israel hits the Islamist factions inside Gaza, Hamas continues to fire rockets into southern Israel, hitting the city of Ashkelon with their longer-range missiles, still arbitrarily murdering Israeli civilians. As Israel has massed tanks and mobilised thousands of reservists in preparation for a ground offensive, Hamas has called upon an army of 1500, swelled with thousands of civilian supporters. About half a million Israelis live within range of the militants’ crude and sometimes deadly projectiles; they have endured hundreds of the things raining upon them without warning, day and night.
Israel has simply run out of cheeks to turn.
This is not a war against Gaza, but against Hamas. And Hamas is a terrorist organisation, however democratically-elected. Israel says that it cannot make a fresh deal with Hamas, likening it to the West signing a détente with al-Qaeda. And they should know, for they live with a 7/7 every day, and expect a 9/11 at any moment.
They do not need to justify themselves with press briefings about the university laboratories being used for weapons manufacturing and development. They do not need to brief the world that university lecturers teach bomb-making, or that mosques are used to shield the militants. They do not need to report Israeli intelligence that many Palestinians in Gaza were fed up with Hamas.
For all of this will be dismissed as propaganda by an obsessively anti-Israel media.
It would be comforting, to a degree, if this battle were 'to the end'. But this will not be Israel's final reckoning with Hamas. It may be bloodiest, but there will be future battles, and they will continue until the sons of Ishmael love their sons as much as they hate the sons of Isaac.
And Cranmer thinks this may be quite some time.
In the meantime, what might Aquinas say?
Well, Israel will take as much note of him as they have of the British Foreign Secretary. Not because he too is a pitiable pipsqueak, but because the rules of engagement have changed, and the concept of a ‘Just War’ has become as negotiable as every other Christian notion in the postmodern world of relativism.
So Cranmer wishes to articulate the most just way forward for Israel at this present time:
You must ignore the UN Secretary General and the EU 'High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs'. They do not know what they are talking about. Hamas is not likely to surrender, for it is steeped in a religio-political ideology of resistance and martyrdom. Since they are attacking you - albeit primitively and indiscriminately - you must eliminate the source of their weaponry. If this cannot be done through border-checks and blockades, you must respond proportionately. Since this means you will kill their civilians as indiscriminately as they are killing yours, you have no option but to meet arbitrary fire with precision fire, but your fire must be stronger than their fire, or the undeclared war will drag on for years, and the deaths you suffer will not merit a headline, while their casualties will be disproportionately broadcast to the four corners of the earth. If you do not kill, you will be killed. You have no choice but to ignore the worldwide liberal media (and the British Foreign Secretary) and kill your enemy. If you do not do so, you will be perceived as weak, and this will (with EU aid) embolden those who seek to destroy you. If you try to negotiate, you will find yourself confronting Allah himself, for these terrorists believe they fight for their god, and he is on their side. Jihad cannot be negotiated with, and all attempts to do so will result in a victory for the jihadist, a prolonging of the suffering, and a postponement of the inevitable final conflict.
And while the world's media focuses on the tears of Afrah, Aisha, Haleema and Salma, you can be comforted in the knowledge that their Hamas-indoctrinated, jihadi-obsessed husbands - Abdul, Ahmed, Umar and Mohammed - have been despatched to Jahannam.
And the coming of the Prince of Peace is a little nearer.