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After nearly three weeks it is clear that Israel’s military operation in Gaza is a just and necessary undertaking. The operation followed the termination of a so-called cease-fire that was in any case frequently violated by Hamas.
The dangers posed to Israel from Gaza had been allowed to multiply in the three years since Israel’s 2005 unilateral withdrawal from the territory and its subsequent 2007 seizure by Hamas. Up to 150 rockets a day have hit Israel in recent weeks, while 50 a day (about two per hour) was a common occurrence, month in, month out, sending Israelis from their homes, offices and schools into bomb shelters.
In recent days, rockets have struck Ashdod, Israel’s second largest port, and Beersheba, the main city in Israel’s Negev desert. A rocket has even landed on the outskirts of Tel Aviv. The number of Israelis placed at risk from rocket fire has thus swelled in recent weeks from 250,000 to nearly a million.
That Israel is well within its rights to seek to end Hamas’s murderous attacks is beyond reasonable dispute. It is inconceivable that the United States, for example, would tolerate – let alone for a period of years – incessant rocket attacks upon Detroit or Seattle from terrorist groups based in Canada, or upon Houston or San Diego from terrorist groups based in Mexico.
In targeting the leadership, personnel and fortifications of Hamas, a State Department-listed terrorist group, Israel is clearly acting legitimately within its inherent right of self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter.
Predictably, criticism has fallen not on Hamas, which fires on Israeli civilians and embeds its personnel, arms and fortifications among Palestinian civilians, but on Israel for striking back at Hamas. Somewhere in these pronouncements, the small, deadly fact that most of Israel’s neighbors simply do not accept a Jewish state in the Middle East – and keep initiating wars against it – slips out of sight.
Hamas is the purest case in point: its Charter calls not only for Israel’s elimination but for the murder of Jews everywhere (Article 7), something Hamas’s “foreign minister,” Mahmoud Zahar, specifically called for (specifically the murder of Jewish children) in recent days.
Since 2005, more than 6,000 missiles have been fired into Israel by Hamas. Absent the rockets, kidnappings of Israeli soldiers and manifold other attacks of the past several years, there would be no Israeli action in Gaza today.
Therefore, if international expressions of concern for Palestinian civilian loss of life – a small fraction of the overall casualties – were genuine, the critics would have been condemning Hamas for its genocidal platform.
They would be condemning the hundreds of rockets fired into Israel over previous months when Israel did not strike back.
And they would not be bemoaning Palestinian civilian losses without condemning their direct cause: Hamas’s deliberate placing of its personnel and fortifications in civilian areas – a war crime that makes civilian casualties inevitable, no matter how much care Israel takes.
United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSC) 1860, from which the U.S. abstained, neither identifies Hamas aggression as the cause of hostilities nor affirms explicitly Israel’s right to self-defense. It simply calls for a cease-fire.
But Israel’s legitimate goal is the defeat of Hamas, not a cease-fire, just as defeating Al Qaeda and other Islamist groups is America’s goal. (Not coincidentally, Al Qaeda has established itself in Gaza, while Hamas figures have called for and welcomed the prospect of America’s destruction).
Even the Olmert/Kadima government, the most conciliatory in Israel’s history, had no difficulty in rejecting implementing an immediate cease-fire and affirming that it is for the sovereign state of Israel to determine when its right to self-defense has been effectively exercised.
When might that be said to have occurred? When Israel will have done at least two things: retaken the Philadelphi Corridor along the Gaza-Egyptian border and removed Hamas from northern Gaza.
Reasserting control of Gaza’s southern border with Egypt – the relinquishment of which was much criticized by Maj.-Gen. Dror Almog, former head of the Israel Defense Forces Southern Command – would permit Israel to drastically curtail the smuggling of offensive weaponry into Gaza.
Reasserting control over northern parts of Gaza, from which the missile barrages are launched against Israeli cities, towns and farms, would end the state of paralysis, insecurity and fear that grips southern Israel.
About the Author: Morton A. Klein is national president of the Zionist Organization of America. Dr. Daniel Mandel is director of the ZOA's Center for Middle East Policy.
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At some point we need to stop simply defending and promoting Israel and start living in Israel
“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”
Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning
He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.
Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.
Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.
Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed
Many journalists are covertly blaming the Charlie Hebdo writers themselves through self-censorship.
Why does the Times relay different motivations and narratives for jihadists in Europe and Israel?
To defeat parasites-the hosts of terrorists-we need to deny them new people, potential terrorists
Combating Amalek doesn’t mean all who disagree with you is evil-rather whom to follow and to oppose
Desperate people take what they can, seizing opportunity to advance their main goal; the Arabs don’t
His is not a record that inspires any confidence.
President Obama spent his first term pushing from power longstanding Arab allies in Egypt and Tunisia, seeking to engage the now blood-soaked Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, pulling his punches against Iran’s nuclear program, and putting “daylight” between his administration and Israel.
The United Nations General Assembly’s vote to make “Palestine” a “non-member state” of the UN has done no less than legitimize the two Palestinian regimes that promote terrorism and Israel’s destruction. How can the world claim to be fighting terrorism when it has just declared that two terrorist regimes should enjoy sovereignty?
A recent news item shed piercing light on the reason for the intractability of the Arab war on Israel. The well-known 1970s disco group Boney M, invited by the Palestine International Festival to give a concert in Palestinian Authority-controlled Ramallah, was pressured to drop performing one of its signature hit songs, “Rivers of Babylon.”
Recent polls show that Americans, American Jews and Israelis all disapprove of President Obama’s policies toward Israel. One reason for the disapproval that emerges in these polls is that the Obama administration pressures and criticizes Israel, while giving Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority a free pass.
Last week, in return for a video – not the freedom of a kidnap victim, but a video of a kidnap victim – Israel freed 20 Palestinian prisoners. This has to stop.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/israels-goal-must-be-the-defeat-of-hamas/2009/01/14/
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