|Israeli tanks about to enter Gaza on July 18. They need to finish the job.|
Most readers here know my view about ‘paying the price’ to get hostages out of captivity of any sort. When it comes to radical Islam, the urgency of getting a captive back increases exponentially. It isn’t only about their lives being in constant danger. It is about the possible torture they might endure prior to being killed. And the brutal way in which they will be killed. Think Daniel Pearl.
So when it came to trading terrorists for Gilad Shalit, I was in favor of it. And thankfully so was the Israeli government. Almost 3 years ago, Gilad Shalit came back unharmed.
It was a difficult decision. The arguments made against it were legitimate. The fear was that the released terrorist would increase the likelihood of terrorist attacks that would result in the death of far more people than one soldier. But as I said, thank God that has not happened.
What about the officer that is in the hands of Hamas now? If reports are true and that soldier is in captivity, should we capitulate to Hamas demands to get him back? As difficult as it is for me to say this, the answer is no. This does not mean that we shouldn’t try to get him back unharmed. Israel needs to do what it can. But in no way should it affect their current mission to destroy those secret tunnels in Gaza and demilitarize it. There is no better demonstration of the need to stick to that goal than the kidnapping this morning of that soldier.
The war is resulting in a lot of human carnage and misery, mostly by Palestinians in Gaza. But there are also Jewish families suffering the loss of their sons, husbands, and fathers killed in war. In fact all of Klal Yisroel suffers from that.
Much of the civilized world looks at that carnage and blames Israel for it. It is after all Israeli tanks, guns, planes and missiles doing the damage. The world cannot seem to look past the here and now. All they see is Israel killing innocent civilians. They refuse to acknowledge the obvious. That Hamas is entirely responsible for every single Palestinian death caused by this war.
The more Palestinians that are killed by Israeli fire, the better Hamas likes it. Especially if the majority of deaths are innocent woman and children. Television images abound showing Palestinians bleeding, crying, and otherwise suffering on camera. That begets for them a tremendous degree of sympathy. Just yesterday I saw a UN official in Gaza break down and cry while reporting about the carnage he witnessed in a UN mission filled with Palestinians seeking refuge there - hit by Israeli mortar fire.
That Israel was returning gunfire coming from Hamas in that area is completely ignored. As if Israel was targeting them on purpose. What kind of monster would make such a ludicrous accusation (even by implication)? Aside from that fact that targeting civilians (the way Hamas does) is completely immoral and something Israel would never do, there is absolutely no military or political benefit to it. I have no respect for that UN official at all. He is an Anti-Semite (albeit a crying one).
The truth of the matter is that very few Arab nations respect Hamas. There has not been too much criticism from them, if any. I would not be surprised if they are secretly are rooting for Israel. It would be to everyone’s advantage to ‘take Hamas out!’ Even with all those innocent Palestinians in Gaza being killed in the process.
As for the President’s reaction to all this, don’t be fooled by his criticism of Israel’s killing of innocent civilians. The only thing I hear from the administration is that they are ‘very concerned’ about civilian casualties… and have asked Israel to try and be more careful in how they respond.
But that is not the same as saying they ought to stop. The US has to express concern for innocent victims of war. Who doesn’t express concern for such carnage?! Even though they must privately realize that Israel is doing its best not to harm civilians.
When Hamas ‘paints targets’ on themselves by telling civilians to stay put even when Israel warns them to get out of the way… what is Israel supposed to do about that? I think the President realizes that. His criticism is a response to the visual images of the carnage in the streets of Gaza. Expressing concern for civilian casualties is quite legitimate… even if Hamas is clearly at fault for that. As I have recently said, my only quibble with the President is that he is not making that last point clear.
But what is important here is that he has not asked Israel to stop… and supports their goal of destroying the tunnels and pacifying Gaza permanently. This has been stated by every spokesman of the Obama administration thus far.
Back to the kidnapped IDF officer. In light of all this, I would at this point encourage Israel to give Hamas an ultimatum. If they do not return their captive unharmed to Israel in short order (e.g. 24 hours) Israel will have no choice but to re-occupy Gaza in its entirety, no matter what it takes. If they think Palestinians in Gaza are suffering now, that will look like a walk in the park compared to what Gaza will look like if Israel pulls out all the stops.
Hamas can only lose here. If they do not release the captured IDF officer, their existence as rulers of Gaza will end. Any Hamas member remaining in Gaza after Israel reoccupies it will be arrested and tried for war crimes. Israel should make the same exception for Hamas war criminals they did for Nazi war criminals and allow the death penalty to be incurred.
If that IDF officer is not returned unharmed, Israel should resolve to reoccupy Gaza – no matter what it takes. That the rest of the world may squawk about it should be of no concern to Israel. Israel has had enough. The Gaza experiment is over. The captured Israel officer is the proverbial ‘straw that has broken the camel’s back’.
By re-occupying Gaza and thereby destroying Hamas, Israel will be doing the entire free world a huge favor I think they know that.. Because if God forbid Hamas has it way, the entire world is at risk. Radical Islamist fervor is already sweeping the Middle East, parts of Asia, Africa, and even parts Europe. Their ultimate mission is world rule via Sharia law. If Israel fails, Europe could be next… and then it could be us.
For those who think the US is safe from such matters, remember 9/11. If that doesn’t show you their iron determination, nothing will.