Even after Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, Hamas continued unrelenting rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli cities. Playgrounds in Israel have bomb shelters. Why have there been no reports over the years on the shattered lives of Israelis?
Hamas is an Iranian-backed terrorist organization dedicated to annihilating Israel and disrupting peace efforts. Using civilians as human shields, Hamas deliberately launches rockets from civilian neighborhoods, places weapons in and near the homes of its own people, and hides in schools, hospitals and mosques. Militants wear civilian clothes and are counted among civilian dead. Hamas knows that even though Israel attacks military targets with precision, there will be civilian casualties and the world will blame Israel. No other country in the world is being asked to endure attacks on an almost daily basis without response.
In democratic elections after Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, a majority of Palestinians elected Hamas. Terrorism has its consequences.
For Palestinians it is a struggle for survival. For Israelis it is an undertaking to break Hamas’ back. But the battle in Gaza is of no less significance to the U.S. What is at stake is America’s ability to reclaim its sovereignty in making foreign policy decisions based on its values and self-interests, including mending its strained relations with the Arab and Muslim worlds.
While the Bush administration lacked the will to alter the dynamics that produced the current conflict, the upcoming administration is determined to get engaged. Barack Obama kept his cards close to his chest while the onslaught in Gaza went on. If he delivers a fair resolution to the crisis, Arabs and Muslims will pardon his cautious posture while hundreds lost their lives under Israeli fire. If, on the other hand, he maintains the “Israel is our strongest ally” policy, then all bets are off.