Jan 2, 2009

Has Israel Gone Too Far?

By Jan Markell & Gary Bauer

To judge by much of the world's response to Israel's actions since being besieged by Hamas rocket attacks is to answer in the affirmative. But while much of the media and political Left continue to present the radical Islamists as "David" and Israel as "Goliath," a closer look shows that Israel waited as long as it could before responding to an enemy whose sole reason to exist is to ensure that the Jewish State won't.

For months, Hamas thugs in Gaza have fired missiles and mortars into southern Israel, subjecting hundreds of thousands of Israelis to a campaign of 24-hour terror. This was done in clear violation of an Egyptian-negotiated cease-fire to which Hamas had agreed. Hamas ended the truce even against the wishes of some Muslim heads of state. Then after pounding Israel for a week, and after Israel warned it would respond, Hamas did nothing but continue bombing, targeting civilian centers across southern Israel.

So while the world collectively yawned during months of Hamas attacks against Israel, when Israel did what any sovereign nation would do under the same circumstances -- striking back at those responsible for the aggression -- it was met with a chorus of condemnation. The American Left is planning to hold "Gaza solidarity" rallies today in 26 states; thousands demonstrated in Washington D.C.; protestors met outside the Israeli embassy in London; and 2,000 Germans demonstrated against Israel in Berlin.

The Israel-bashers argue that, since most rockets and mortars fired by Hamas into Israel have missed their targets, Israel should not respond effectively. But under international law, any nation can respond at a level sufficient to meet the threat. Hamas rocket attacks are destroying normal life and have made daily routines impossible for countless Israelis whose children cannot go to school. Israel has every legal and moral right to demolish the terror infrastructure that supports the daily rocket attacks on its people.

Of course, we've seen this movie before. The same scenario has been played out numerous times. In August 2005, Israel spent billions of dollars relocating thousands of its own citizens from settlements in Gaza, only for that act of beneficence to be interpreted by Hamas as validation of their brutal terrorism. Gaza was transformed into, in Benyamin Netanyahu's words, "a huge base for terror." In February 2007, Hamas used Gaza to launch thousands of rockets that hit civilians in Ashkelon.

And, just as night follows day, each time Israel responds with force, it is condemned for its "disproportionate response." This time around, more than 300 Palestinians have been killed, against four Israelis. But here's why. Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas of the world, and Hamas is infamous for hiding among its constituents, using them as human shields. Weapons are being stored in mosques. The only university in Gaza has turned its labs over to the terrorists, who are using them to make bombs and mortars. These cowards intentionally set up their bases near schools and hospitals to maximize the number of casualties to gain sympathy in the media.

Gaza is hell, but not because of Israel. Its conditions are unbearable because its people elected Hamas -- an organization with no economic plan, no educational ideas, nothing to offer at all except to kill the Jews, kill the infidel and destroy Israel.

Gaza, in recent years, has been turned into "Gazastan," an Islamic republic that educates its own children to seek death in martyrdom operations. Gaza TV airs children's shows that teach six and seven year-olds to kill Jews. The Gaza government just instituted a new legal code based on Sharia Islamic law that permits crucifixion for certain crimes against Islam.

Hamas exists to wreak havoc and destroy Israel. And it has acted accordingly since its inception. Between 2000 and 2004, Hamas was responsible for the deaths of 400 Israelis, according to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Hamas charter states that "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it." And, "[t]here is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors." Hamas also is a proxy of Iran, whose president denies the Holocaust and vows to "wipe Israel off the map."

Tuesday, Israel rejected international pressure to end air strikes against Hamas, which continues to hit Israeli civilian centers across Southern Israel. Though the number of Israeli casualties may be small, Hamas doesn't really mind if its missiles fail to hit their targets. As long as Israel hits its targets, and as a consequence more Palestinian civilians are killed, Hamas is content, because images of dead Palestinians helps Hamas in the eyes of its real target, public opinion.

The New Year will bring nothing new to Gaza so long as Hamas is allowed to perpetuate the same old vicious cycle of provocation, reprisal and international outrage against Israel.

[We are in agreement with Gary Bauer and this ministry asks that readers continue to pray for a besieged Israel facing worldwide condemnation. She faces elections in mid-February.
Awaiting His return,
Jan Markell]