Israel vs. Hamas, Day Two

We have a lot of domestic issues on our plate in the United States, but we should take a moment to monitor what’s happening to our ally Israel – not only because Israel is our ally, but because civilized people should always take interest in a struggle against murderous barbarians.  And that is what this is all about.  It’s always been what the Israeli struggle against terrorism was about.  It’s civilization vs. anti-civilization.  There are Palestinians who very much want to take civilization’s side in this struggle, but the barbarians are running the show.  Maybe this time they’ll be defeated thoroughly enough for something better to rise in their place.

Last week’s pretense that the murder of those three innocent Israeli students was the work of “rogue operatives” who have nothing to do with Hamas or the Palestinian government are gone, replaced with Hamas spokesmen declaring that “all Israelis have now become legitimate targets.”  War has a way of clarifying such matters.  Of course, that’s what these guys thought last week, too.  They’re just saying it out loud now, in part because now that the Israelis have gone to work on them in earnest, they’re crapping their pants.  They don’t have much left except blood-curdling threats.  They managed to put rockets further into Israel than they ever have before – there are reports that nearly half of the Israeli population spent the night in bomb shelters – but it’s not going to win the day for them.

Hamas claims their rocket and artillery terror strikes are some kind of grand offensive on behalf of the Palestinian people, as reported by the Jerusalem Post:

Ismail al-Ashqar, a Hamas legislator, said that his movement would continue the rocket attacks until Israel succumbs to its demand and lifts the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip.

Hussam Badran, a top Hamas figure, said that Israel???s ???dream??? of eliminating the rockets would not be fulfilled.

???The occupation began this aggression and we have the right to defend ourselves,??? he said. ???This is a war against the whole Palestinian people.???

He also lashed out at the Palestinian Authority leadership in the West Bank, saying it has been ???completely detached??? from its people.

???This could be the last chance for the Palestinian Authority leadership to correct its stance and join the choice of the people, which is based on resistance,??? Badran said. ???This is the time for unity at the battleground.???

What a load of bunk.  This is a criminal gang shooting at the cops who came to arrest them for murder.  (As for “unity on the battleground,” well heck, son, you’ve already got it.  Fatah, the group run by the Obama-supported chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has been caught shooting rockets at Israeli civilians, too.  The Western media is merely reluctant to report it, for obvious reasons.)  There have been civilian casualties, despite the Israeli Defense Force’s best efforts to avoid them, because the criminal gangs have a penchant for hiding their long-range weapons behind civilian human shields.

The Israelis mean business.  This one might be a game-changer, which would be fantastic news for the decent people trapped under the misrule of thugs like Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Fatah.  Fox News has an after-action report on Day Two of Operation Protective Edge:

The army said it attacked more than 160 sites in Gaza early Wednesday, including 118 concealed rocket-launching sites, six Hamas compounds — including naval police and national security compounds — 10 militant command centers, weapons storage facilities and 10 tunnels used for militant activity and to ferry supplies in from Egypt. The border between Gaza and Egypt has effectively been closed for months.

Since the offensive began Tuesday, Israel has attacked more than 400 sites in Gaza, killing at least 41 people, according to The Associated Press. The strikes came after militants fired more than 160 rockets at Israel, including one that reached the northern Israeli city of Hadera for the first time. The city is about 60 miles from Gaza.

The Hadera explosion caused no injuries, the Israeli Army said, but it did mark the farthest distance a rocket has traveled from Gaza. With its new reach, Hamas’ rockets now have an estimated 5 million people ??? more than half of Israel’s population ??? in range.

Israel’s defense minister Wednesday warned that the offensive would be long-term.

“The operation against Hamas will expand in the coming days, and the price the organization will pay will be very high,” Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said.

By early Wednesday, air raid sirens sounded in Tel Aviv and Israel’s south, and the army said two rockets were apparently intercepted above the central Israeli city by an anti-missile battery. In total, at least seven rockets were fired toward Israel on Wednesday, and the “Iron Dome” anti-missile system intercepted about half of them mid-air, the army said. There were no reported injuries.

The Israelis say they won’t stop until the rocket threat against their civilians has been decisively eliminated.  The people saying this know exactly how difficult that task will be.  It’s worth repeating that while the murder of those Israeli students was the event that grabbed world media attention and triggered the crackdown on Hamas that escalated into this shooting war, those random rocket strikes on Israeli civilians go on constantly.  It happens so often that Western media doesn’t bother reporting it; that would be like interrupting the six o’clock news in Boston with tomorrow’s weather forecast for Tel Aviv.  On the other hand, to quote an often-used analogy, how would Americans handle a daily rocket barrage from Mexico into Texas?  We’d put a stop to that, wouldn’t we?

Israeli Army spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner told reporters that the military’s aim was to take a “substantial toll” on Hamas and to deplete its rocket capabilities. He said the army would gradually ramp up its strikes on Gaza.

“The organization is going to pay for its aggression. It is literally holding us hostage with its rockets,” Lerner said. “The country is not willing for this situation to continue.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that continued rocket attacks against Israeli territory would not be tolerated.

“I have ordered the military to significantly broaden its operation against Hamas terrorists and against the other terrorist groups inside Gaza,” Netanyahu said in a televised address. “I call on you to display patience because this operation could take time.”

Netanyahu’s government has authorized the Israeli Army to activate up to 40,000 reservists for a possible ground attack against Gaza. The army said that about 1,000 soldiers were immediately activated, in addition to an earlier group of 1,500 reservists called into action.

“If we need to go inside in a ground operation, then we will do it. These things are on the table. These options exist. We will not stop anything until the rocket firing ends,” said Yitzhak Aharonovitch, the minister for internal security and a member of Netanyahu’s inner Security Cabinet. Israel’s last ground offensive was in 2009.

It’s not just rockets and artillery shells coming from Hamas.  They also tried an amphibious invasion.  The Israeli navy was not amused.

The Jerusalem Post says Hamas was expecting a much more limited response, and is “stunned” by the ferocity of the IDF smackdown, prompting some of the gang leaders to think about throwing in the towel:

On Tuesday night, Hamas spokesmen were sending distress signals to various parties. The organization is concerned that if the IDF operation continues for another few days, the movement will pay a very heavy price ??? one that could even bring about an end to Hamas???s rule over the Gaza Strip.

Hamas accused Israel of ???crossing all the redlines??? by bombing the homes of its military commanders. This shows that Hamas did not expect Israel to take such a drastic move. Less than 24 hours after the beginning of the IDF offensive, Hamas talked about the need to return to the truce that was reached with Israel in 2012.

A spokesman for Hamas???s armed wing, Izzadin Kassam, listed this demand as part of his movement???s effort to end the current confrontation. The spokesman called for an end to the IDF crackdown on Hamas members in the West Bank, which began after the abduction and murder of three Israeli youths last month.

On Tuesday night, Hamas and other Palestinian groups appealed to Egypt and Arab countries to intervene to stop the IDF operation. Given Hamas???s bad relations with the Egyptian authorities, it???s unlikely that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi would rush to save the movement that is openly aligned with his enemy, the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Post suspects that Abbas and Fatah might not mind seeing their Hamas rivals get trashed by the Israelis, tipping the balance of power more decisively in their favor.  The IDF should not allow that outcome, because as mentioned above, Fatah is part of this, too.  The IDF should not serve as the weapon of one Palestinian gang against another.  Terrorism is about shattering the rules of civilization to get what the barbarian scan’t achieve through lawful means, or even through old-fashioned battlefield valor.  Nothing good can come from a “government” that uses its populace as human shields to launch terror attacks on someone else’s populace.

Israel has lived alongside such horror for far too long, and the only thing they get from the President Obama is lectures about how they should give more of their strategic territory to the people currently showering rockets on their apartment buildings and schools.  Where are this Administration’s ringing and unambiguous condemnations of the thugs who make targeting civilians with indiscriminate long-range weapons not only a key component of their deliberate strategy, but almost the entirety of their strategy?  Where’s President Obama while all this is happening?  He’s shooting pool up in Colorado and holding fundraisers in Texas.  Where’s Secretary of State John Kerry?  Has anyone checked his yacht to see if he’s hiding out there again?  Could these clowns at least take a few moments out of their day to pretend they care that a vital American ally is under attack?

Update: The Jerusalem Post might be wrong about how the usual suspects will fail to rally around Hamas and protect them from the consequences of their actions this time, because Jordan is threatening to revoke its 20-year-old peace treaty with Israel unless they halt Operation Protective Edge.  Turkey, which has directly supported Hamas for quite some time, has also made similar demands, a bit less forcefully.  The Israelis should publicly tell Jordan to get bent, and the Obama Administration should privately tell them the same thing, unless they’d like to deal with the ISIS threat from Iraq on their own.

Update: For the benefit of anyone inclined to take whining from Hamas, Jordan, or Turkey about the “brutality” of the Israeli operation seriously, here’s a video from the IDF showing how they use noisemakers to fire warning shots at Hamas-controlled buildings before they switch to live ammo.  In this case, when Hamas human shields swarmed to the top of the building, the IDF aborted its attack.

Does the fundamental difference between this, and Hamas deliberately targeting civilians in Israel with weapons it can’t even control, really need to be explained to anyone?  Of course the barbarians delight in accusing their civilized enemies of barbarism.  It’s one of the oldest tactics in the book, going back for centuries.  You might even say its refined modern version is the work of Saul Alinsky, who strongly advocates that the enemies of a civilization should defeat it by holding it up to standards that the revolutionaries themselves disdain.