Monday, January 05, 2009

Now this is pro-activity on behalf of Israel

Danbury News-Times
January 4, 2009

Israel must take steps to protect its people

Lewis Siegel

For the past eight years, Israel has patiently withstood the onslaught of rockets fired into southern Israel from Gaza. During the week before Israel finally decided to hit back, 300 rockets were launched into Israeli cities.
Gaza is a territory in the southwestern region of Palestine, along the Mediterranean coast. It has a population of about 1.5 million Arabs. Until 2005, Israel had settlements and a military presence there.

In 2005, Israel made a unilateral move towards peace with the Palestinians in Gaza. It removed the entire Israeli population living in Gaza at that time (about 9,000 people) and also withdrew all military forces, with the hope that this self-sufficient and self-governed Palestinian territory would become a model for peaceful co-existence with Israel.

Unfortunately, Hamas, the terrorist organization, won a series of elections and became the governing body in Gaza.

What is Hamas? Why is it considered a terrorist organization (so designated by the United States, Canada, the European Union, Japan and others)? Why is a peaceful agreement with Hamas virtually impossible?

Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement) was formed in 1987 as an offshoot of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. It is called a terrorist organization for the following reasons:

ˆ§ Its main purpose for existing was expressed in its Covenant of 1988 with the following words: "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it." Hamas hoped to accomplish the annihilation of Israel and the elimination of all Jews from the ancient land of Palestine.

ˆ§ Hamas is not simply engaged in a territorial struggle with Israel. Its stated goal is the elimination of the Jewish people in general. The following is a direct quote from the Hamas Covenant: "The Day of Judgment will not come until Moslems fight Jews and kill them. Then the Jews will hide behind the rocks and trees, and the rocks and the trees will cry out: O Moslem, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him."

ˆ§ Hamas targets primarily civilians for killing, not military targets. Its suicide bombers attempt attacks on schools, restaurants, theaters, etc., where large numbers of civilians can be killed. The rocket attacks are directed at civilian populations. The inability of Hamas terrorists to control the trajectory of their rockets is the only limitation on the number of people they kill.

ˆ§ Hamas, with unprecedented cowardice, launches its rockets from areas of Gaza that are densely populated with civilians, so as to invite retaliation in a manner that will maximize the number of civilian casualties. The more Palestinian Arabs that can be killed, the more outcry Hamas can generate from the outside world.

So the dilemma Israel has been facing for the past eight years has been to find a way to convince an enemy that is committed to Israel's destruction to stop its rocket attacks.

Israel did agree to a truce for a period of time with Hamas. It failed miserably, as the rocket barrage diminished but never stopped.

Israel's restraint has been remarkable. Over the last couple of years, Israel has retaliated in a very selective, piecemeal manner to avoid the loss of civilian life that would inevitably result with a full-scale effort.

However, Hamas has been obtaining longer range rockets recently, which will eventually cause greater destruction. As a last resort, Israel must do what is necessary to protect its people and their country.

Those who claim Israel and/or the United States should be willing to negotiate a peace or at least a meaningful truce with Hamas are not being realistic.

How can you negotiate with someone whose only raison d'etre is to kill you? Even a simple truce failed. Can one negotiate with Osama bin Laden or with Hitler?

Israel is being criticized by some for maintaining tight control of the border between Gaza and southern Israel. One can only imagine how many Hamas suicide bombers would come pouring through if Israel relaxed its restrictions at the border.

We are now hearing the condemnation of Israel from different quarters, claiming its response to the rocket attacks are disproportionate.

Consider this analogy: Suppose your home is attacked by three gunmen and one of your family members is shot. Would a proportionate response be to shoot just one of the gunmen and allow the others to continue the attack on your home?

How many Americans during World War II were clamoring for the Allied forces to control their military operations to a proportionate response? If that had been done, the war would have lasted much longer, and so many more Allied lives would have been lost.

The only meaningful proportionate Israeli response is the removal of Hamas terrorists from Gaza completely, so that a peaceful solution to the crisis might be reached with the more moderate Fatah government of the Palestinians.

If that can be achieved, not only will the Israelis in Sderot, Ashkelon, and Ashdod be able to live normal lives again, but the Palestinian Arabs in Gaza will also be afforded a far better quality of life than Hamas is allowing them.

Lewis Siegel lives in Ridgefield.


New Haven Register
January 4, 2009

World's outrage at Israeli response 'wrongly directed'

Israel initiated a series of devastating air attacks upon selected Hamas targets in Gaza, resulting in the deaths and injuries of hundreds of Palestinians. Why did it do it? To stop the daily rocket attacks on southern Israel from Gaza.

Danbury News-Times
January 4, 2009

Israel must take steps to protect its people

Lewis Siegel


Waterbury Republican-American
January 4, 2009

Hamas wages an endless war

Charles Krauthammer

Late Saturday, thousands of Gazans received Arabic-language cell-phone messages from the Israeli military, urging them to leave homes where militants might have stashed weapons. - Associated Press, Dec. 27.

WASHINGTON - Some geopolitical conflicts are morally complicated. The Israel-Gaza war is not. It possesses a moral clarity not only rare but excruciating.

Israel is so scrupulous about civilian life that, risking the element of surprise, it contacts enemy noncombatants in advance to warn them of approaching danger. Hamas, which started this conflict with unrelenting rocket and mortar attacks on unarmed Israelis - 6,464 launched from Gaza in the last three years - deliberately places its weapons in and near the homes of its own people. This has two purposes. First, counting on the moral scrupulousness of Israel, Hamas figures civilian proximity might help protect at least part of its arsenal. Second, knowing Israelis have new precision weapons that may allow them to attack nonetheless, Hamas hopes inevitable collateral damage - or, if it is really fortunate, an errant Israeli bomb - will kill large numbers of its own people for which, of course, the world will blame Israel.

For Hamas, the only things more prized than dead Jews are dead Palestinians. The religion of Jewmurder and self-martyrdom is ubiquitous. And deeply perverse, such as the Hamas TV children's program in which an adorable live-action Palestinian Mickey Mouse is beaten to death by an Israeli (then replaced by his more militant cousin, Nahoul the Bee, who vows to continue on Mickey's path to martyrdom).

At war today in Gaza, one combatant is committed to causing the most civilian pain and suffering on both sides. The other combatant is committed to saving as many lives as possible, also on both sides. It's a recurring theme. Israel gave similar warnings to Southern Lebanese villagers before attacking Hezbollah in the Lebanon war of 2006. The Israelis did this knowing it would lose for them the element of surprise and cost their own soldiers' lives.

That is the asymmetry of means between Hamas and Israel. But there is equal clarity regarding the asymmetry of ends. Israel has but a single objective in Gaza - peace: the calm, open, normal relations it offered Gaza when it withdrew in 2005. Doing something never done by the Turkish, British, Egyptian and Jordanian rulers of Palestine, the Israelis gave the Palestinians their first sovereign territory ever in Gaza.

What ensued? This is not ancient history. Did the Palestinians begin building the state that is supposedly their great national aim? No. No roads, no industry, no courts, no civil society at all. The flourishing greenhouses Israel left behind for the Palestinians were destroyed and abandoned.

Instead, Gaza's Iranian-sponsored rulers have devoted all their resources to turning it into a terror base - importing weapons, training terrorists, building tunnels with which to kidnap Israelis on the other side. And of course firing rockets unceasingly.

The grievance? It cannot be occupation, military control or settlers.

They were all removed in September 2005. There's only one grievance, and Hamas is open about it. Israel's very existence.

Nor does Hamas conceal its strategy. Provoke conflict. Wait for the inevitable civilian casualties. Bring down the world's opprobrium on Israel. Force it into an untenable cease-fire, exactly as happened in Lebanon. Then, as in Lebanon, rearm, rebuild and mobilize for the next round. Perpetual war. Since its raison d'etre is the eradication of Israel, there are only two possible outcomes: the defeat of Hamas or the extinction of Israel.

Israel's only response is to try to do what it failed to do after the Gaza withdrawal. The unpardonable strategic error of its architect, Ariel Sharon, was not the withdrawal itself but the failure to immediately establish a deterrence regime under which no violence would be tolerated after the removal of any and all Israeli presence - the ostensible justification for previous Palestinian attacks. Instead, Israel allowed unceasing rocket fire, implicitly acquiescing to a state of active war and indiscriminate terror.

Hamas' rejection of an extension of its often-violated six-month ceasefire (during which the rockets never stopped, just were less frequent) gave Israel a rare opportunity to establish the norm it should have insisted upon three years ago: no rockets, no mortar fire, no kidnapping, no acts of war. As the U.S. government has officially stated: a sustainable and enduring cease-fire.

If this fighting ends with anything less than that, Israel will have lost again. It can ill afford to lose any more wars.

Charles Krauthammer ( is a syndicated columnist.

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