Early this Wednesday morning, Israel responded to Hamas’s ongoing attacks, in which the terrorist group has launched over 100 rockets into southern Israeli cities since Saturday. A surgical strike launched by Israel’s air force (see the video here on NRO) in Gaza killed Ahmed Jabari, head of Hamas’s military operations and the man who masterminded the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006.
Like every democracy, Israel’s chief priority is to safeguard its population. Kathryn Lopez’s post in this space on Tuesday reveals what’s at stake, namely protecting a bus full of children and adults from Hamas jihadism.
“Whoever thinks that he can routinely attack the daily lives of the residents of the South without paying a heavy price is mistaken. I am responsible for choosing the right time to exact the highest possible price and so it will be,” said Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israel dubbed the military operation “Pillar Of Defense,” a reference to Exodus 33:9, in which Moses enters a tent to speak with the Lord, and a pillar of cloud descends outside the entrance to guard it.
The targeted killing of Jabari — an inveterate terrorist who exulted in killing Israelis — will spark hypocritical outrage from many European countries and the Arab League, none of which had anything to say as Hamas showered Israel with rockets.
For Israelis, the relief of discussing Jabari in the past tense is, arguably, comparable to the joy felt in the United States after Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. Jabari is the highest-level Hamas official to be killed by the Israelis since Operation Cast Lead in 2009.
Hamas will likely continue to fire rockets into Israel, and secure support from its angered population for new terrorist operations. On Wednesday, a mob of irate Gazans called for “retaliation” and declared “We want you to hit Tel Aviv tonight.”
U.N. secretary general Ban Ki Moon called on “Israel to exercise maximum restraint” and enact an “immediate de-escalation of tensions.”
Ban’s inability to recognize Hamas as the cause of the violence is typical. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government reportedly recalled its ambassador to Israel and took the side of Hamas.
Let’s hope the Obama administration shares Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s perspective. As Representative Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.) put it in a tweet immediately after the attack, “Israel has right + duty 2 protect its citizens from rocket attacks by violent extremists like #Hamas.”
— Benjamin Weinthal is a fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.