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NETANYAHU GOT IT RIGHT IN GAZA

Why has Hamas rejected the Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire and why did Israel accept it?

IDF officers shield child, protecting him with their own bodies during a Hamas rocket attack (photo credit: Li Aviv Dadon - IDF photo)

 It is the mindset of the Palestinian terrorists – 'we exist to kill and wound Israelis and annihilate the Jewish state'. That is their credo, and why they split from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah movement that opposes terror. For the third time in six years, Hamas unleashed their heaviest barrage of rockets for seven straight days and nights. Granted, they sent millions of Israeli children, women and men dashing for bomb shelters, but at the time of the ceasefire proposal, they had not killed even one Israeli, and only a small number were injured.

So just imagine the frustration of the Hamas military leadership, which is now running the show. The fact they telegraphed the Tel Aviv barrage indicated their desperation and fury.

  The reason why hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of Israelis were not killed is due to the amazing performance of Iron Dome, the Israeli missile defense system that has a 90% batting average in intercepting Palestinian rockets that are headed for a populated or strategic area. Take the Sabbath of July 14, just hours before the announcement of the Egyptian ceasefire proposal, Hamas actually broadcast warnings that it was about to launch a huge rocket attack on Tel Aviv, Israel's major city! It copied the Israeli practice of giving Palestinian civilians advance warnings of air strikes on their area or buildings. If they expected Tel Aviv residents to flee the city in a wave of panic, they were mistaken. Lo and behold, nine o'clock came with Israeli TV cameras zeroed in along the Gaza border and the sky of Tel Aviv for live coverage of what was to unfold. The biggest salvo of rockets flashed into the sky from Gaza, Iron Dome missiles intercepted them, some over Tel Aviv, and not even one did any damage. So just imagine the frustration of the Hamas military leadership, which is now running the show. The fact they telegraphed the Tel Aviv barrage indicated their desperation and fury.

 

 The method in Hamas madness

 

But if they carry on the rocketing of Israeli civilians, will they not inflict more suffering on their own people? Yes, but that is not what drives them - they hate Israel more than they love Palestine

 On the other hand, what have Hamas and Islamic Jihad to show for rocketing Israel and provoking a devastating counter-attack that has inflicted grave suffering and damage in Gaza? Agreeing to a unilateral ceasefire, without a package of Israeli and Egyptian concessions, would have been an ignominious admission of defeat. But if they carry on the rocketing of Israeli civilians, will they not inflict more suffering on their own people? Yes, but that is not what drives them - they hate Israel more than they love Palestine, which they could have achieved with the Oslo agreement signed in 1993 by the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Instead, under Yasser Arafat and Hamas, the Palestinians chose to make war, not peace.

 

 Take for example Israel's warning to Palestinian civilians to evacuate parts of northern Gaza from where the rockets were launched at Tel Aviv. When the civilians started leaving, Hamas ordered them to stay put and risk their lives! Hamas leaders actually wanted to see more Palestinians killed for propaganda purposes while they themselves remain hunkered down in underground bunkers. Why don't the Palestinian people rise up and tell Hamas and the other terror groups that they're fed up and to stop rocketing Israel? There's one simple and convincing reason - any demonstrators who did so would be gunned down as traitors and collaborators with Israel. And so, Hamas will fight on until it has scored at least one "victory", such as a rocket getting through Iron Dome and killing a significant number of Israelis. This would let them save face by claiming victory and then accepting a ceasefire.

 

...any demonstrators who did so would be gunned down as traitors and collaborators with Israel.

 This is the 'method in the madness' that is presently driving Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the other Palestinian terror organizations. On the very day that Hamas rejected the ceasefire, the first Israeli was killed in the current flare-up; 37-year-old civilian, Dror Hanin, was killed by shrapnel from a Palestinian mortar bomb while bringing refreshments to IDF soldiers along the Gaza border. Dror simply wanted to show his appreciation to the troops.

 

 Netanyahu got it right

 

If Israel backed down now, it would pay a much heavier price in the future.

 There has been a firestorm of criticism over the security cabinet's decision to approve Egyptian President al Sisi's proposal for a unilateral ceasefire. So much so that the PM was forced to fire Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, a young acerbic Likudnik, who charged that by accepting the ceasefire, Netanyahu had proved to be a feeble leader. This was also the public position of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, but Bibi could not fire him because it would break up his coalition government. An opinion poll by Channel 2 news indicated that 73% of Israelis were opposed to the ceasefire, contending the Palestinians would only break it again in the future when they felt like it. Remember, this is the third time in six years that the Palestinians in Gaza have escalated their sporadic rocketing into a massive barrage. Many Israelis argued that it was better now 'to finish the job once and for all ' by invading Gaza and destroying the rocket arsenals that are hidden under hospitals, schools, and apartment buildings. If Israel backed down now, it would pay a much heavier price in the future.

 

Hamas is known to have invested heavily in building many more sophisticated tunnels, which pose a major threat.

 This argument is not without logic. It is doubtful that Israeli air strikes alone can destroy all the missile arsenals and the workshops where they are produced. Therefore, there remains the possibility of Israeli troops carrying out limited ground operations into Gaza to seek out and destroy these sites. This also applies to the massive tunnels the Palestinians have built under the border area, and Israel's formidable security fence on the Israeli side of the frontier. In some places, a tank is deployed as a further measure to halt any Palestinian penetration. However, at the outset of the current conflict, the IDF discovered and destroyed one such tunnel that was about to be completed at Kibbutz Kerem Shalom. Apparently, the Palestinians planned to send a force of terrorists through the tunnel, exit on the other side of the IDF force, enter the unsuspecting kibbutz and then kidnap or kill as many people as possible before making it back through the tunnel to the other side. A similar underground cross-border tactic was executed successfully in the capture of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in June 2006. Hamas is known to have invested heavily in building many more sophisticated tunnels, which pose a major threat.

 

 It is an ongoing test of wills between Israel and the Palestinian terrorists. First Hamas sent waves of suicide bombers, who could simply walk in from the West Bank and Gaza armed with explosive vests that they would detonate inside buses or shopping centers. Israel countered that tactic by constructing sophisticated security fences in the West Bank and along the Gaza border. No longer able to send suicide bombers into Israel, the terrorists started launching rockets or lobbing mortar bombs into Israel. Making its successful debut in 2012, Iron Dome has now neutralized the rocket threat. So the Palestinian attacks can no longer be effectively launched over the border; so now they have been concentrating on going under the border. Unfortunately, Israel has not yet found a viable solution to this threat, as it has to the rocketing.

 

 The art of the possible

 

...this quiet alliance between Israel and Egypt is of cardinal strategic importance, although it has taken the Obama administration some time to realize it.

 But there was the bigger picture to be considered by Netanyahu. Israel and Egypt are partners in peace - a formidable achievement in reducing the threat factor facing the Jewish state. However, it was seriously threatened with the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is a kindred spirit of Hamas. Fortunately, the recently elected President al Sisi is a bitter enemy of the Muslim fanatics, including Hamas. The Israeli government has eased some limitations on the Egyptian demilitarization of Sinai in order to allow the Egyptian Army to take on the Muslim fanatics, who threaten both his regime and Israel. Therefore, this quiet alliance between Israel and Egypt is of cardinal strategic importance, although it has taken the Obama administration some time to realize it. Working behind the scenes, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and President Al Sisi agreed on the ceasefire proposal, and Netanyahu accepted it almost immediately in order to cement ties with Egypt's president. Naturally, al Sisi has now become kosher, so to speak, in the eyes of Washington.

 

 On the other hand, Hamas has shown all those with eyes to see that it is responsible for the carnage that has been wreaked on Gaza. It has turned into a win-win situation for Netanyahu - after starting the flare-up, Hamas has also taken responsibility for refusing to stop it. Subsequently, Netanyahu has declared that Israel will now step up its campaign to halt the rocketing. At the same time, Israel is still trying to prevent Palestinian non-combatants from being killed or injured by advance notice of pending air strikes. In the more than 1700 air strikes carried out by Israeli aircraft, the Palestinians say some 200 people have been killed, some 50% of whom were terrorists and members of the rocket squads. The figures indicate that approximately 100 civilians have been killed in one of the most densely populated areas of the world, and where Hamas exploits civilians as human shields.

 

...one Palestinian non-combatant is killed for every seventeen Israeli air strikes.

 What it boils down to is that one Palestinian non-combatant is killed for every seventeen Israeli air strikes. Can there be any doubt that Israeli pilots and their commanders are taking great care and precision in trying to avoid civilian casualties, while preventing Hamas terrorists from rocketing Israeli civilians?

 

 

 

 

 

 David Essing

 

 

 

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