by Ralph Peters
DEAD Jews aren’t news, but killing terrorists outrages global activists. On Saturday, Israel struck back powerfully against its tormentors. Now Israel’s the villain. Again.
How long will it be until the UN General Assembly passes a resolution creating an international Holocaust Appreciation Day?
Israel’s airstrikes against confirmed Hamas terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip were overdue, discriminating and skillful. So far, this retaliatory campaign has been a superb example of how to employ postmodern airpower.
Instead of bombing empty buildings in the dead of night in the hope of convincing bloodthirsty monsters to become peace-loving floral arrangers – the US Air Force version of “Shock and Awe” – the Israeli Defense Force aimed to kill terrorists.
Israel’s attack aircraft appear to have accomplished that part of the mission. As I write, some 300 terrorist dead have been reported in Gaza, while the propaganda-savvy information office of Hamas has strug- gled to prove that 20 civilians died.
Given the fact that Hamas adheres to the terrorist practice of locating command sites, arsenals and training facilities in heavily populated areas, the results suggest that the IDF – supported by first-rate intelligence work – may have executed the most accurate wave of airstrikes in history, with a 15-to-1 terrorist-to-civilian kill ratio.
The bad news is that it still won’t be enough. While Israel has delivered a painful blow against Hamas, it’s still not a paralyzing hit. The only way to neuter such a terror threat – even temporarily – is to go in on the ground and scour every room, basement and underground tunnel in a region.
That would mean high Israeli casualties and, of course, condemnation of Israel’s self-defense efforts by every self-righteous, corrupt and bigoted organization and government on earth, from Turtle Bay to Tehran.
What have been Israel’s “crimes?” Not “stealing Palestinian land,” but making that land productive, while exposing the incompetence and sloth of Arab culture.
Israel’s crime isn’t striking back at terror, but demonstrating, year after year, that a country in the Middle East can be governed without resort to terror. Israel’s crime hasn’t been denying Arab rights, but insisting on human rights for women and minorities.
Israel’s crime has been making democracy work where tyranny prevailed for 5,000 years. Israel’s crime has been survival against overwhelming odds, while legions of Arab nationalists, Islamist extremists and Western leftists want every Jew dead.
But Israel’s greatest crime was to expose the global cult of victimhood, to prove that hard work, fortitude and courage could overcome even history’s grimmest disaster.
Was it a crime to hand Gaza back to Palestinian authorities, to give peace a chance? Look what Israel received in return for trading land for peace.
Let us never forget the fundamental truth that, while Israel longs to live in peace with its neighbors, those neighbors openly profess the desire to eliminate Israel and exterminate its people.
Indeed, Arab and regional jealousy toward Israel is so all-consuming, so necessary to excuse the Arab art of failure, that even these judicious airstrikes will hardly make a dent in the terrorist threat.
Unless Israel sends in ground forces for the long haul – and thousands of IDF reservists are being mobilized – there will be, at best, a temporary respite from terror attacks. Even a new occupation of Gaza would not fully solve the problem.
A crucial point about interfaith and interethnic conflicts that we sheltered Americans refuse to understand is that, all too often, there’s just no good solution – and not even a bad solution, short of acts of barbarism.
It’s a rare conflict that results in an enduring peace. Unintended consequences abound. At times, you fight just to buy time, to gain breathing space – or merely to frustrate an enemy’s designs for a limited period.
That’s the situation Israel faces: No hope of an ultimate victory, but a constant fight to survive. Enemies who believe their god ordains their actions can’t be placated. For faith-fueled terrorists, such as the core members of Hamas, the struggle with Israel’s a zero-sum game. Compromise is, at most, an expedient tool, never an acceptable end state.
What will we see in the coming days? Much depends on Israel’s resolve. The most probable scenario is that Hamas will continue launching terror rockets for a few weeks to salve its wounded vanity and maintain the image of “resistance,” but will ultimately reduce its attacks against Israel – while it rebuilds its cadres and restocks its arsenal.
Israel will have bought time, not peace.
What might Israel have done better? It’s essential to take out the top terrorist leaders. But Israel’s government remains reluctant to target the cowardly Hamas leaders hiding in Damascus – or even the top terrorists remaining in Gaza.
For terrorist bosses, the rank-and-file are disposable and replaceable. You can’t just kill the gunmen. You have to kill the names.
We may sympathize with the average Palestinian family, exploited by generations of corrupt leaders and now caught in yet another round of violence. But let us never forget that Israel hasn’t fired thousands of blind rockets into Palestinian cities, that Israeli suicide bombers don’t attack Arab restaurants and bus stops, and that Israel seeks to avoid harming civilians – while Hamas seeks to kill as many civilians as possible.
In a world where there are no good answers, Israel just answered as best it could. The world’s response? “How dare Jews defend themselves.”
Humanity doesn’t progress. It just changes clothes.