Mounting Terror in Israel

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As the crisis intensifies, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has canceled a trip to Russia and is consulting with top security officials. As always, Israeli decision-making in such situations is particularly difficult. If it were just a military matter, Israel is clearly superior militarily to Hamas, as was evident two years ago in Operation Cast Lead. Hamas has built up its capacities since then, but so has Israel.

But Israel also has to face diplomatic issues if and when it decides to defend itself. Put differently, it has to face what passes for Western (and UN) “moralism.” Seemingly, at a time when the U.S., Britain, France, Italy, and Canada have gone into combat in Libya, it shouldn’t be hard to grasp that Israel—which lives amid the Arab Middle East all year round—has to fight sometimes too.

But it isn’t that simple, and it wasn’t during Operation Cast Lead. As Palestinian civilian casualties—inevitable as Hamas ensconced itself in mosques, schools, and hospitals—flashed across U.S. and European TV screens, Israel came under mounting Western and UN pressure to halt the fighting and leave Hamas standing, and eventually it caved to it.

Meanwhile Hamas has rebuilt, and the results in Israel are already bloody. Will it be different this time if and when Israel hits Hamas hard again?

It would not be a safe bet. Israelis could hardly be encouraged by the world reaction to the Itamar massacre—indifferent at best, dehumanizing the victims as “settlers” at worst. This despite the fact that the victims—when terrorists broke into a home in the Samarian community of Itamar two weeks ago—were a mother and father and their 11-year-old, 3-year-old, and 3-month-old children, all stabbed to death, the grisly photos disseminated by the Israeli government in what turned out to be a futile measure.

Added to the basic disposition to keep Israel on a very short leash militarily—no matter how severe the hypocrisy, especially on the part of Western powers that also find themselves fighting in the Middle East and even kill civilians as collateral damage when they do—is that, unlike Operation Cast Lead in the waning days of the Bush presidency, another president now sits in Washington. As many have pointed out, President Barack Obama seems to waffle on almost all other Middle East issues but to come out swinging only when condemning Israel for building housing in places he thinks no Israelis should live. Again, it makes Israeli decision-making about possible military measures all the more difficult.

In sum, while Israeli civilian casualties of terror no longer seem to register, unintended Palestinian civilian casualties—should Israel mount another offensive in Gaza—are sure to kick up a storm. Somehow, the laudable Western ethos of trying to avoid civilian casualties gets twisted—particularly in Israel’s case—into something self-defeating and self-destructive: the purpose of war no longer being to protect one’s own population, but to protect the other side’s population, even if it means forfeiting any lasting, solid achievements in the war.

As the old Jewish maxim has it: “If I am not for myself, who will be?” Translated into today’s terms: if I am under terrorist assault, am I allowed to defend myself?

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  • ze-ev ben jehudah

    Take back Gaza and kick those bastards out and put a few cluster bombs
    in those underground tunnel system from and to Egypt.

    • marat1

      Israel needs to unleash an OVERWHELMING amount of force and power. It is the ONLY way to make the price too high for Hamas. Part of that should include the targeted elimination of high ranking Hamas officials. They declared war in their very charter, which calls for "The Destruction of Israel." How about "The Destruction of France?" Or Germany, Britain….Israel cannot afford to react defensively alone to these attacks, a posture that ensures the deaths of more of their citizens.

  • Dispozovdaburka

    Obama's good friend Louis Farrakan would approve of the Muslim Brotherhood taking over all of the Middle East.
    He would approve of the Muslim Brotherhood taking over the US government too.

  • Steve Chavez

    The terrorists only want to turn their evil ways of their followers to the real enemy instead of on themselves. COULD THE LEADERS OF SYRIA AND IRAN want to refocus their own internal discourse, which could lead to their violent removal, on Israel? What better way than to suddenly start up another barrage of rockets and bombing that Israel would then be required to respond to! When Saddam shot his SCUDS, and feared to be filled with WMD, Israel did not react so as to "keep the coalition in place" to remove him from Kuwait. Now thousands of rockets have been fired into Israel since the last Hamas/Israeli war but NO UN/US SCREAMS AT THOSE ATTACKERS! When Israel dares to target one of those rocket launching sites with a laser-guided weapon, THEN THE SCREAMS WILL START. WAIT FOR OBAMA TO CALL THE ISRAELI'S TO COMPLAIN ABOUT THEIR "OVER-REACTION!"

  • Marty

    The bottom line is that Israel will be condemned by muslims and europeans and democrats regardless of what course of action it takes. Only collective suicide by Israelis would please any of the above. Even then, they would merely ask if Israelis at least suffered for a time. Israel should "overreact" each time it is attacked and its civilians are targeted by murderers in gaza or anywhere else. We've all seen what sort of benefits Israel receives when it exercises "restraint."

  • jaythehistorian

    George Gilder a Christian friend of Israel in his book "The Israel Test" had the best explanation of why negotiating with the Fakestinian gangsters is not only a total waste of time, but harmful to Israel. He said the belief by Israelis such as Barak, Olmert, and Livni that the conflict with Fakestinians is about real estate and could be solved with giving them more land is total nonsense They have made it as clear as possible they want to see the elimination of Israel ,period. Israel took a baby step in the right direction when the Israeli Kennesset passed in the past few days laws which prohibit state funds from going to municipalities which act in a treasonous manner such as holding official events which refer to the founding of Israel by using the Arabic word for the "disaster", among other actions. They should also increase the Jewish population in Samaria and Judea, reinstate all the security checkpoints and in a diplomatic way tell Obama and Hilliary , both virulent antisemites to go screw themselves. Israel can survive very well without the $2 billion a year in CREDITS to buy American made weapons. They should also drag their feet as much as possible in response to efforts to bully Israel in negotiating their own suicide. Israel is a military powerhouse and will continue to be without US CREDITS. Its' expertise in defense weapons especially buys them influence with other nations. For example, Russia was convinced not to sell the S300 air defense system to Iran after Israel offered to sell Israeli UAVs. Israel is the biggest supplier of weapons to India which has resulted in a closer relationship between the 2. Israel has a good relationship with China. It lost billions of dollars in weapons sales to China due to the meddling of the US. It should announce they will not accept CREDITS (not aid) from the US. This would allow Israel to make new allies on the basis of mutual interests. When the US returns to sanity and Obama no longer sullies the White House , Israel can have a better relationship with the US. But they can not allow a Jew hater and racist such Obama to treat Israel as an enemy.

    • WilliamJamesWard

      All true and very disturbing, we await the day Obama is sent packing
      with his thugs and subversives, I hope Isreal will survive and prosper
      but to do so it must act is self preservation until the rest of the world
      throws off the vile yoke of falsehood………………………………..William

  • StephenD

    Excellent article. Great comments followed. Being a simple man I wonder, since there'd be negative ramifications regardless for Israel, why not stop all this nonsense and turn the place into a piece of glass? When what's left of those folks are more concerned with finding water and food rather than how they can destroy Israel, maybe then there can be peace. Until you remove the threat, you remain threatened. Seems pretty simple to me.

  • stern

    Steve Chavez, great comment – and you're in good company. Please see this Strator review of the situation:….
    Stratfor is usually very good at analyzing the situation.

  • J.J.

    Egypt will lead the next wave back into despotism, the only type of government they know.

    Saturday, "Hundreds of Islamists stone Egypt's ElBaradei

    "CAIRO — Islamists hurled stones and shoes at Mohamed ElBaradei, Nobel Peace laureate and a secular contender for Egypt's presidency, as he tried to vote Saturday in a referendum on constitutional amendments.
    ElBaradei was hit in the back by a stone thrown from the crowd of hundreds but managed to escape unhurt and slammed as "irresponsible" the holding of a referendum without adequate law and order.
    "We don't want you," the mob shouted, throwing stones, shoes and water at the former UN nuclear watchdog chief as he turned up at a Cairo polling station, five weeks after president Hosni Mubarak was ousted by mass protests.
    "He lives in the United States and wants to rule us. It's out of the question," one of them said."

    Not that ElBaradei would be much better, having been a protector of Iran's cover-up for years.

  • USMCSniper

    Muslims have chosen the rules of the game. Let them all know in no uncertain terms what "Never Again" means. As for the Palestinians, it is a matter of record that Palestinians strap munitions on their own women and children and send them out on homicide-suicide missions to murder other innocent Jewish women and children in markets, restuarants, on school buses, and in their homes. The Palestinians in their own words and by their actions are committed to the genocide of the Jewish people therefore, have foreited their rights to even exist at all let alone having a UN and US sanctioned terrorist state of their own.

  • BS77

    Events of the past week should erase any doubts about Hamas wanting to be a "partner for peace". Hamas decided it was time to start firing rockets and mortar shells into Israel…..without any rhyme or reason. When five members of a Israeli family were murdered, Gaza barbarians celebrated in their usual fashion. Then a bomb was detonated by a civilian bus stop…killing a British tourist and wounding dozens. This is the way Hamas and the terrorists behave. Cowardly attacks upon defenseless citizens. Anyone thinking of granting these subhumans a state is insane.

  • Irwin Ruff

    Obama's actual religion is meaningless. In practice he acts like a Muslim, and his whole administration is in agreement with his positions, or else more extreme. It is very clear that (along with the Muslims) he wishes to destroy Israel, although he can't say this openly – yet. I have no doubt that once Muslims have a sufficiently major position in this country, he'll introduce some plan to to reduce American Jews to dhimmi status. He believes that all he has to do is talk, and people will fall at his feet and do whatever he wants. But at least some of us will oppose this anti-Semite with all our might – even actively.

  • Dispozovdaburka

    The Obamahealthcare or (lack there of )
    Is the first step (as seen in Eurabia)
    of Islamasizing the West.
    That is why it was the FIRST and FOREMOST priority on his agenda.
    This Obamacare reduces ALL Americans to a Dhimmi Status.
    Muslims are exempt as it is considered a form of USURY.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Go back in time and recognize Begin was right, think why in the name of all
    that is holy that the PLO was allowed to come back? Either sell all you have
    and move to Florida or take Gaza back, take the West Bank, and threaten to
    expand to all land that was Israel of old. A make or break decision is so much
    better than being gnawed to death by Palestinian terrorists and fear of public
    opinion. Why is there no leader who is bold and strong, where is David of old,
    he is spinning in his grave. I know there are Davids and Jonathans
    as in Biblical history in Israel, let them lead, let them show the way out of
    this self imposed darkness, to hell with the rest of the World………….William