Oy,” said my Jewish friend who certainly should have known better. “So many Palestinians killed in Gaza! This action by Israel is morally indefensible!”

I could scarcely believe what I was hearing. Morally indefensible? Is Israel supposed to stand aside while Hamas shoots rockets into its cities and forces its citizens into air-raid shelters? Hamas provably shoots these rockets from schools, mosques, and housing projects. It sites entrances to its tunnels in the same places, tunnels through which armed fighters emerge to try to kill (or even better, kidnap) Israelis. Is Israel supposed to say well, OK then, you can keep shooting rockets at us from any launchers you hide in civilian zones?


The Gaza Strip is a relic of the cease-fire line of 1948. After the Arabs rejected the UN-proposed partition of British Mandate of Palestine (which the Jews accepted), preferring to fight for the land, the Egyptians invaded Palestine, and that strip is as far as they got before they were defeated. After 1967, Israel administered this strip for many years (although allowing Gaza home rule through the Palestinian Authority from 1994) until its unilateral withdrawal in 2005. Hamas won an election there in 2006, and by 2007 had dismantled the forms of democratic rule, repudiated the Palestinian Authority that was its legal framework, and set up its own rogue military bandit state. There have been no elections there since, and none are expected. Instead of using the industrial plant the Jews left behind, and their new relative independence, to improve the lives of their people, Hamas turned Gaza into a forward base for attacking Israel. Hamas is implacable in its determination to destroy Israel, and also to kill as many Jews as possible. If you doubt this, just look at its bloodthirsty charter.

Hamas is now demanding, as a precondition to a cease-fire, an end to the economic blockade imposed by Israel (and now by Egypt as well) as a measure of self-protection. But the blockade is only needed because of Hamas’ continuous, relentless war against Israel. The border is closed against import of arms and military stores and export of terrorists. For years they have been complaining, for example, that they lack the cement to rebuild damaged structures, build schools and hospitals, etc. Israel has allowed cement into Gaza for internationally supervised projects. The result: hundreds of thousands of tons of cement have been diverted to be used for tunnels to smuggle arms, hide missiles, and infiltrate Israel to murder and kidnap civilians. It would be suicidal for Israel to remove the blockade until Gaza is demilitarized and the demilitarization credibly supervised.

In the meantime, what? Liberals say negotiate, but there is no negotiating with Hamas. Unlike the Palestinian Authority, they don’t accept a two-state solution – the only solution for them is the destruction of Israel. Israel cannot negotiate its own destruction, and it cannot tolerate rocket attacks. As long as Hamas fires rockets at Israel, Israel will defend itself. As long as Hamas positions its weapons in civilian areas, civilians will be at risk and Hamas will be responsible. Israel already sacrifices much military advantage by warning civilians to leave targeted areas (areas where rocket launches have been seen and photographed, or where tunnels have been identified); this permits Hamas commanders to escape, and allows them to reposition weapons. Nevertheless Israel warns them anyway. But the idea that Israel should not take out rocket bases if Hamas sites them in civilian areas is absurd on its face.

When they stop shooting at Israel, there will be room for peace. When Hamas stops hiding its weapons behind its civilians, those civilians will not be at risk. In the meantime I don’t want to hear any talk about moral justification from Hamas, which makes a policy of launching indiscriminate attacks on civilians from civilian areas and welcomes making its citizens into “martyrs,” or from Hamas’ sympathizers and surrogates and fellow travelers, or from fashionable European liberals (I am a liberal myself until the rockets start falling), and especially not from deluded Jews. For thousands of years Jews could not defend themselves, and were massacred. Those days are over now.

July 2014


Since the ground war ended on August 5 with the destruction of the last known infiltration tunnels, there have been five or six cease-fire agreements proposed by the Egyptians and others. Israel has agreed to every single one not proposed when it was actually being fired upon. Every single one has been broken by Hamas, or by jihadi elements in Gaza under Hamas control, by firing more rockets into Israel. Each such violation has been met with retaliatory strikes by Israel, aimed mainly at rocket sites and at the Hamas military leadership. Each such strike has been met with howls of outrage at the civilian casualties Hamas knew would be inevitable when it broke the latest cease-fire agreement by firing rockets from civilian housing blocks.

August 24, 2014