The World Watches Israel under Fire

by Benjamin Weinthal

As Patrick noted below, the past couple days’ attacks have now reached Tel Aviv. Palestinian terrorists have claimed responsibility for the attacks, including the murders of three Israelis this morning in a Kiryat Malachi apartment building  in southern Israel, and scores of injured soldiers.

Since Saturday, Hamas has launched over 400 rockets into Israel. In retaliation, on Wednesday, Israel flexed its muscles, killing Hamas’s military-operations head Ahmed Jabari in a targeted air strike. The total Palestinian death toll has reached 16 as of this writing.

Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy in Lebanon, called Thursday for an Arab oil embargo against the United States in response to Washington’s support for Israel.

To the surprise of many observers, the U.S. State Department issued a response in which it singled out only Hamas for blame. To its credit, State dispensed with the nonsensical “cycle of violence” rhetoric that often dribbles out of European foreign ministries, equating acts of self-defense by Israel’s legitimate democratic government with the terrorists who attack it.

“There is no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel. We support Israel’s right to defend itself, and we encourage Israel to continue to take every effort to avoid civilian casualties,” read the State press statement.

Though Representative Joe Walsh (R., Ill.) applauded Secretary Clinton “for reiterating the United States’ support for Israel’s right to self defense,” he noted that there are holes in U.S. foreign policy toward Hamas and its supporters.

“This is hardly enough. More than 220 rockets have been fired at Israeli civilians from militants in Gaza. The United States must hold the Palestinians accountable for these unprovoked, heinous acts. It must also hold Egypt, Qatar, and Iran accountable for their support of Palestinian militants and the terrorist group Hamas,” said Walsh, who supports linking U.S. aid to Egypt and the Palestinians with the adoption of new anti-corruption and ant-terrorism mechanisms.

On the other side of the Atlantic, United Kingdom foreign minister William Hague declared that Hamas “bears principal responsibility” for the crisis, adding that “this creates an intolerable situation for Israeli civilians in southern Israel, who have the right to live without fear of attack from Gaza. The rocket attacks also risk worsening the plight of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, which is already precarious.”

The German foreign ministry wrote me earlier today that foreign minister Guido Westerwelle is “very worried about the violence in Gaza and southern Israel,” but surprisingly affirmed that Israel has the right to protect its population.

Unsurprisingly, Russia, Jordan, and Turkey have joined Egypt and Qatar in savaging Israel for its acts of self-defense. Meanwhile, since last Friday alone, Bashar Assad’s regime has murdered over 600 Syrians. Russia and Iran remain the key financial and military crutches beneath Assad, as the world yawns.

Predictably, the human-rights group Amnesty International showed no courage in slamming Hamas for its criminal ongoing rocket fire against Israel. The Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor has chronicled the mass cowardice of many human-rights groups who end up enabling Hamas.

— Benjamin Weinthal is a Berlin-based fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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