After more than 200 rockets were launched against its territory in recent days, Israel did what any democratic state would do to protect its citizens: it fired back. Carefully selecting targets in the Gaza Strip in order to reduce civilian casualties, the Jewish state continued its attacks yesterday for a third straight day against its tormentor and sworn enemy, Hamas, the terrorist organization responsible for the rocket assault, while massing tanks and calling up reserves for an expected ground attack.
Naturally, Israel’s latest efforts to defend itself have only earned harsh words from the liberal and leftist world media, whose press reports have branded the Jewish state the aggressor in all matters Palestinian for decades. True to form, the anti-Israeli international press is in an uproar about the latest hostilities, focusing on the approximately 300 casualties Israeli arms have inflicted while mostly ignoring Hamas’s declared goal of wiping out Israel, the vulgar anti-Semitism it has indoctrinated its people with, and months of Hamas rocket attacks, all of which led to the latest conflict. But this is unsurprising, since an honest assessment of the situation would have led to the highly disagreeable conclusion, for the leftist and liberal media anyways, that Israel had no choice but to respond militarily to Hamas’s aggression at this time.
Besides halting the rocket attacks against its territory, with this offensive against Hamas Israel is also breaking the circle of terror, with which Iran has surrounded it. Hezbollah, Iran’s ally in southern Lebanon across from Israel’s northern border launched a similar rocket campaign in 2006 that resulted in a full-scale Israeli offensive. More than four thousand rockets were launched into Israel during that conflict, which Hezbollah has meanwhile made good in expectation of the war’s next round.
Like Hezbollah, Hamas is also sponsored by Iran. According to intelligence experts, Iran has spent large amounts of money to arm and train Hamas, supplying the Sunni terrorist organization with Hezbollah advisors. Besides its ultimate goal of destroying Israel, Iran is using Hezbollah’s and Hamas’s aggression against the Jewish state to enhance its prestige in the Muslim world vis-a-vis Sunni Muslim regimes it wants to undermine. Strongly condemning Israel and supporting Hamas, Iran’s supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, “condemned the silence of some Muslim governments who claim to be Muslim” which prepared the ground for the Israeli attack.
For their part, Muslim governments like Egypt and Jordan will probably make the proper noises denouncing the Israeli attack in order to placate the anti-Israeli protestors on their streets. In secret, however, they probably support the destruction of Hamas since it removes a dangerous Iranian ally from their neighbourhood. Fatah, the Palestinian organization that runs the West Bank and lost Gaza to Hamas last year, has also accused its rival of harbouring al Qaeda operatives.
By ridding Gaza of Hamas, or at least cutting it down to size, Israel will also ensure that more powerful rockets, possibly with longer range, will not be fired against its territory. A story in yesterday’s New York Times stated the Israeli military possessed just such information, which helped prompt Israel’s military reaction. It also reported Hamas launched last Sunday a rocket at Israeli targets 20 miles away as part of a barrage that was fired the farthest yet into Israel. This rocket was probably not the homemade Kassam rocket Hamas regularly uses, but rather the Iranian manufactured and supplied B21 with a 45-pound warhead.
Israel is also justified in launching its current strike because Hamas is at war with Israel and not the other way around. Hamas is a radical Islamic organization that believes it is ordained by God to destroy Israel and set up an Islamic dictatorship in the region as its contribution to the worldwide jihad. As a result, it will never make peace with the Jewish state while always preparing for war against it. Its propaganda confirms this by constantly calling for Israel’s destruction and the killing of Jews.
And as part of its unrelenting military campaign to destroy Israel, besides the rocket salvos, one military analyst states Hamas has been waging a war “every day” with “bombs and snipers” at Israel’s security fence. The goal of the campaign is to drive Israeli security forces away from the fence, so that Hamas can break into Israel proper where it probably wants to employ its suicide bombers that the fence had rendered useless. One report states the current round of Hamas rocket attacks began last November after Israel discovered its terrorist operatives digging tunnels under the fence.
The ceasefire Egypt negotiated between Hamas and Israel last spring should not deceive anyone as to the possibility of any lasting agreement ever being brokered between the two sides. Hamas explained the truce in religious terms as simply a respite to be used to strengthen its position, like Muslim military leaders used truces in early Islam. And, like Hezbollah, this Hamas did by smuggling weapons and rockets into the Gaza Strip through illegal tunnels from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
Like Israel, Egypt has blockaded access to Gaza from its territory, making the digging of such illegal tunnels necessary. Israel, however, restricts use of its border crossings with Gaza because of the rocket attacks, while Egypt does so because it believes Hamas is giving refuge to Islamic terrorists that want to overthrow its government. Israeli and Egyptian co-operation may also extend to the present hostilities. The Israeli foreign minister visited Cairo a week before their outbreak and may have received tacit Egyptian approval for the confrontation with Hamas.
Israel’s best option now is to ignore the Western liberal and leftist media, which Hamas regards as an ally since it is always portrayed as a victim, and invade Gaza as quickly and overwhelmingly as possible in order to keep casualties down on all sides. In doing so, Israel will be removing a major Iranian threat to its security, present and future, and leave its hands free to confront others that are sure to follow.