Two years since Operation Pillar of Defense, the Jewish state of Israel has once again been forced into war with the terrorist organization Hamas. After more than 1,500 rockets were fired upon Israeli civilians during a period of one month, and tunnels created by Hamas to smuggle terrorists into Israel to conduct large scale attacks were discovered, Israel decided to launch a ground invasion into Gaza on July 17, 2014, to destroy Hamas’ underground tunnels and strike a blow to its terror capabilities.
Israel did not want to conduct a ground operation in the Gaza Strip; an Egyptian proposed cease-fire was accepted by Israel on July 15 and rejected by Hamas, which instead plummeted Israel with approximately 50 rockets, causing the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to respond. Israel later accepted a “humanitarian cease-fire” proposed by the United Nations, to allow aid to enter the Gaza Strip. Hamas, clearly uninterested in the fate of its own people, launched a barrage of rockets against the state, as Israel refrained from responding for six hours. Just prior to the humanitarian cease-fire, approximately 13 terrorists tried to infiltrate Israel through an underground tunnel to launch a terrorist attack on a Kibbutz; the IDF prevented the attack.
Tragically, a total of 43 soldiers have been killed since the start of Operation Protective Edge on July 5, including two American lone soldiers. But Israel will not allow their deaths to be in vain.
The IDF has uncovered at least 31 terror tunnels, struck more than 720 terror targets and killed at least 70 Hamas terrorists from the start of the ground invasion. Countless number of rockets fired into Israeli cities have been thwarted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. “After years of building up its rocket arsenal, terrorist capabilities and tunnels, Hamas is being hit hard, painfully, and extensively,” the IDF spokesperson tweeted on July 18.
In the meantime, Israel has transferred tons of medical supplies into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom Crossing, as well as blood supply and food. Since Operation Protective Edge began, Israel has participated in four “humanitarian cease-fires” to enable ambulances and Red Cross cars into Gaza to evacuate the wounded, and provide humanitarian aid. Israel created a temporary hospital to treat wounded Palestinians, but Hamas has prevented Palestinians from crossing into Israel for treatment.
Hamas continues to use civilians as “human shields,” a tactic it defends. Hamas purposefully fires its rockets from civilian areas, including schools and hospitals, to increase the number of civilian deaths displayed to the mainstream media. In fact, rockets were found in two United Relations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) schools in the Gaza Strip.
Israel, on the other hand, attempts to prevent the innocent loss of life by warning Gazans with leaflets about impending strikes, asking them to evacuate their homes and delaying strikes. Hamas has told Palestinians to ignore these warnings.
The world should hold the Islamist terror group responsible for the deaths of all innocent Palestinian lives.
“Hamas could easily reduce the death and injury toll among its civilians, by simply allowing them to go underground into tunnels and shelters which abound throughout Gaza. But Hamas has a deliberate policy of refusing to allow civilians to enter the tunnels or shelters. They reserve these places of refuge for their fighters and commanders, which explains why so few Hamas fighters have been killed,” Alan Dershowitz explains in a column in The Jerusalem Post. And it should be noted that the death toll numbers released by the mainstream media tend to be inaccurate figures.
Hamas’ use of human shields is not new; it’s a sick, twisted strategy the terrorist organization uses time and again, including the use of women and children, in its wars against Israel, to try to win worldwide sympathy and the media battle. The terrorist group also distributes inaccurate photos garnered from other conflicts and fabricates videos, the former of which the BBC took notice.
Part of the world seems to have taken notice to the realities on the ground, with international figures speaking to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to issue condemnations of Hamas and support for Israel’s right to defend herself.
A staunch ally of Israel, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said, “Canada calls on its allies and partners to recognize that these terrorist acts are unacceptable and that solidarity with Israelis is the best way of stopping the conflict.” Eventually, President Obama joined the choir, stating, “No nation should accept rockets being fired into its borders or terrorists tunneling into its territory.” The president added, “I also made clear that the United States and our friends and allies are deeply concerned about the risks of further escalation and the loss of more innocent life.” And a new Pew Research poll shows that U.S. support for Israel is currently at a record high.
International and political support for Israel and military successes are encouraging, but not enough to ultimately win the war against Hamas.
Israel, and the entire Western world, should view Hamas’ current war against Israel as part of a much larger one, in order to ensure military and political victory.
The Islamist terrorist organization Hamas was founded in 1987, and its “fundamental principles” include “‘killing the Jews’” and liberating the entire land of “Palestine” with “jihad,” according to the Hamas Charter, which was authored in 1998 and still guides the terrorist organization today. Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks to create a global Islamic caliphate governed by Shariah law through the use of jihad.
Hamas’ current war against Israel can be traced back to the August 2005 Disengagement Plan, during which Israel evacuated all of the roughly 9,000 Israelis living in Gaza and handed control of Gaza over to the Palestinian Authority. Israel had hoped that doing so would pave the way for an independent Palestinian state and peace. Instead, the anti-Semitic Hamas organization seized the opportunity to use Gaza as a launching pad for attacking Israel. Hundreds of Hamas operatives completed training “courses” in Iran and hundreds received similar instruction in Syria by Iranian-trained instructors. The Israeli withdrawal enabled Hamas to gain its own physical space to build its infrastructure, rockets, mortars and conduct training for future terrorist attacks. Israel had stabbed itself in the back.
In January 2006, the Palestinians democratically elected Hamas as its governing leader; the same organization which, only two years later, began to use innocent women and children as human shields during Operation Cast Lead in 2008 and 2009, as it does so today. Israel was forced to launch the Operation to defend its civilians from incessant rocket attacks, and launched Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012 to stop the increase in rocket attacks. In between each Operation, Hamas focused on rearming itself, increasing its military capabilities, reviving terrorist cells and continued to launch rockets at the Jewish state.
Today, Israel is once again paying the price for its attempts to create “peace” with the Palestinians. But “peace,” or even a real, long lasting “cease-fire,” cannot be achieved with an anti-Semitic terror group that wants to obliterate the entire state of Israel and the Jewish people, and shares the Brotherhood ideology of violent jihad. Israel should not allow herself to be pressured into accepting a cease-fire proposed by the international community. Rather, the Jewish state should complete the mission it committed itself to in Gaza to prevent another war with Hamas – and the loss of innocent lives – in the future.
Jennifer Dekel is the director of research and communications at The Endowment for Middle East Truth, a pro-America and pro-Israel policy shop in Washington, D.C.
Originally published at: https://www.wnd.com/2014/07/hamas-drags-israel-to-war-again/
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