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Jewish World Review
Dec. 31, 2008
/ 4 Teves 5769
Why Hamas succeeds
Irit Sheetrit, 36, a mother of four, was killed Monday night in the Israeli town of
Ashdod when a Grad-type rocket struck the bus stop where she had run for cover.
Four others were injured in the attack.
Earlier in the day Hani al-Mahdi, 27, was killed, and a dozen others wounded when a
Grad rocket struck the construction site in Ashkelon where they were working.
The deaths of Ms. Sheetrit and Mr. al-Mahdi passed largely unnoticed outside of
Israel, as had the deaths of dozens of others in preceding months. Outside of
Israel, the news media are concerned only that the Israeli response to the attacks
might be "disproportionate."
Some 6,000 rockets and mortars have been fired at Israel from Gaza since 2001, most
of them since Israel unilaterally withdrew from there in 2005.
Last Saturday, Israel responded to the latest rocket attacks from Gaza with air
strikes on 100 targets. About 300 Hamas terrorists were killed in the strikes. But
the attention of the news media was focused on the 50 civilians Hamas claims also
Since Hamas deliberately locates its military facilities in heavily populated areas
(and usually exaggerates the number of civilian casualties) that number is
remarkably low. As retired Army LtCol. Ralph Peters noted, these were the most
accurate airstrikes in history.
But Israel gets little credit for either its military skill or its remarkable
forbearance. Nothing better illustrates the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of so
many Western journalists than the ritual condemnation of Israel for the accidental
deaths of a few Palestinian civilians, and the near total absence of condemnation of
Hamas for its repeated deliberate attacks on Israeli civilians.
"Those who scream 'disproportionate' think grotesquely that not enough
Israelis have been killed," wrote Melanie Phillips in the British magazine The
Spectator. "If anything has been 'disproportionate,' it's been Israel's refusal to
take action during the years when its southern citizens have been terrorized by
rockets and other missiles raining down on them from Gaza. No other country in the
world would have sat on its hands for so long in such circumstances."
"I condemn Israel's disproportionate attack on Hamas because, so far, it has only
lasted four days and I would like to see a proportionate response that terrifies
Hamas for seven years, the years that have filled Sderot and neighboring towns with
nightmares, death, amputations and trauma coming from the rockets and mortars fired
from Gaza," wrote New York Jewish Week editor and JWR contributor Jonathan Mark.
Liberal journalists fret the Israeli response to the most recent rocket attacks from
Gaza will diminish the prospects for a negotiated peace. But Hamas is not
interested in talking with Jews. Hamas is interested in killing Jews, which is why
Hamas keeps firing rockets into Israel.
The Israelis constantly are advised to trade land for peace. But when they do trade
land for peace as when they gave up their defensive positions in southern Lebanon
in 1978, and when they returned control of Gaza to the Palestinians in 2005 the
result has been more attacks on Israeli civilians. For terrorists like Hamas, there
will be no peace until they have all the land.
The moral myopia of those who paint the victims of Hamas terrorism as aggressors
puts Israel in a no-win situation. There can be no diplomatic solution, because
Hamas will not negotiate in good faith. And there can be no military solution,
because Western leaders react so harshly when Israel retaliates.
"Fighting breaks out as Hamas ends truce," read the headline in a British newspaper
Dec. 19. If you google "Hamas breaks truce," you'll also find stories from June 26,
and from June 12 and April 25 of 2007.
There is a groundhog day repetitiveness to this. Hamas agrees to a ceasefire when
its supply of rockets grows low. Once the rockets have been replenished, Hamas
breaks the ceasefire. Only Western liberals can fail to discern a pattern.
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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a
deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan
administration. Comment by clicking here.
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