From the Tuesday edition of the Morning Jolt:
Can We Reach the Point of ‘No More Hamas’?
The number one export of the Gaza Strip is textiles. Number two is rockets. Number three is headaches. They have a particularly enthusiastic immigration policy, consisting of kidnappings.
The whole region’s full of other people digging for archeological relics, antiquities, minerals, and oil . . . and somehow Hamas digs massive tunnels just so they can kidnap people.
Everybody else on the Mediterranean makes a killing on tourism; the Palestinians and their allies kill tourists. The Palestinians have Bethlehem — the birthplace of Christ! One of the biggest potential tourism attractions in the history of the world! — and beachfront property, and yet somehow they continue to have a struggling economy. Maybe if the children’s programming featured less encouragement of mass murder and more basic economics and entrepreneurship.
We’re used to these brief, intermittent rocket-firing spats between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel crosses over into Lebanon in 1978 to hunt the PLO, Israel moves out later that same year; they annex the Golan Heights in 1981; they move back into Lebanon in 1982, withdraw in 1986. They move into Hebron, they withdraw from Hebron. They withdraw from the Gaza Strip. Hezbollah kidnaps two soldiers in 2006, and a second war against Hezbollah begins and ends a few weeks later.
What if this one doesn’t end after a few weeks? What if this one goes on longer, until there’s effectively no more Hamas?
At least there would be some sense of resolution to this mess, wouldn’t there?
It sounds like Israel wants to attempt something like that:
Israel slammed Gaza with a barrage of airstrikes overnight in what was the heaviest bombardment in the three-week conflict. At least 60 died in the strikes in Gaza overnight.
Symbols of Hamas control came under fire, including TV headquarters, government offices and the home of a top leader. Israel said it targeted more than 70 sites and hit 10 “terror operatives.”
The Gaza Strip’s only power plant was struck by a tank shell, hitting a fuel tank and causing the plant to shut down, the head of the power station told ABC News. Fire burned following the attack, with heavy smoke rising over Gaza City. Engineer Fatahi Khalil, from the electricity company, confirmed to ABC News that it will take a year to fix the power plant. The damage will be assessed at a later time, he said.
The pounding came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned in a televised speech of a “prolonged” campaign in Gaza.
John Podhoretz scoffs at the emerging “Israel is really losing the conflict” narrative:
How is Israel losing? Oh, it seems Israel is getting bad press.
What else is new? What else is new about any of it?
Is Israel isolated in Europe? That isolation has been deepening for a decade. Has Barack Obama turned unfriendly? Well, his unfriendliness is far from new, as this piece of mine from July 2009 would suggest. Has the incursion led to an increase in overt anti-Semitism? Well, if so, any effort to excuse away such monstrousness by citing this war is nothing less than an act of blaming-the-victim. If Israel were to restrain itself from countering a mortal threat because it feared the promulgation of documents like this, it would be betraying its own reason for existence: a homeland for the Jewish people that needed and needs to exist precisely because of sentiments that help create documents like these — sentiments that are then turned into action, and into Kristallnacht, and into gas chambers.
See, anti-Israel folks? When you guys sound like a broken record, and can barely mumble some pro forma denunciations of Hamas, all of the pro-Israel folks tune you out. Most of us like Israel, for a whole host of reasons: the democracy, the religious pluralism, the freedom of expression, the nation’s seemingly endless stockpiles of attractive women carrying automatic weapons, Wonder Woman.
But even if we didn’t like Israel, for the average American, there’s nothing admirable about the other side. What, did Yassir Arafat stir warm feelings of admiration? Hamas? Hezbollah? Iran? Syria? Sure, not every Palestinian danced in the street on 9/11. But some did. Enough did to earn the enmity of millions of Americans.
Trust me, Hamas, that’s not an image Americans will find warm and fuzzy.
Also note that the world is at outrage overload right now. Russia’s buddies just shot an airliner out of the sky. Every Central American “Oliver Twist” just showed up on our doorsteps in the past few weeks. Those Nigerian schoolgirls are still missing. ISIS and their allies are clear-cutting Christians in the Middle East. The death of 1,000 Palestinians is awful . . . but right next door, in Syria, about 170,000 have been killed in the civil war there. In Iraq, ISIS is implementing mandatory genital mutilation for women.
And we’re supposed to get upset about Israel’s tactics against Hamas being too harsh?
Why does that seem to bother our secretary of state more than every other abominable crime going on in the world?
And why is he so determined to implement a cease-fire when Israel might be on the verge of changing the dynamics on the ground by actually removing Hamas from the situation?
Secretary of State John Kerry has made a significant mistake in how he’s pursuing a Gaza cease-fire — and it’s not surprising that he has upset both the Israelis and some moderate Palestinians.
Kerry’s error has been to put so much emphasis on achieving a quick halt to the bloodshed that he has solidified the role of Hamas, the intractable, unpopular Islamist group that leads Gaza, along with the two hard-line Islamist nations that are its key supporters, Qatar and Turkey. In the process, he has undercut not simply the Israelis but also the Egyptians and the Fatah movement that runs the Palestinian Authority, all of which want to see an end to Hamas rule in Gaza.