Hamas Decided to Create a Crisis

(Weekly Standard) Elliott Abrams - In the last two weeks the number of rockets and mortars fired from Gaza into Israel grew into the hundreds, something no Israeli government could tolerate for long. This kind of terrorism from Gaza is what produced Operation Cast Lead in December 2008, when Israeli air and ground forces attacked Hamas and other terrorist groups there. It remains unclear why Hamas decided to produce a crisis now, but it is clearly a Hamas decision and not merely the action of uncoordinated jihadist groups. Hamas could have done more to repress the other groups and prevent them from firing into Israel; instead it joined the fray and officially claimed credit for some of the attacks. The actions of the leaders of Hamas remind us that they are terrorists, enthralled by blood, death, and martyrdom. The Israeli tactic is to make the Hamas leadership pay directly for these terror attacks on Israel rather than to make the population of Gaza pay. Israeli targeting was extremely careful, and by Friday afternoon there had been several hundred strikes by the Israeli Air Force but fewer than two dozen Palestinian deaths - and very few accidental hits at civilians that Hamas could turn to propaganda advantage. The writer is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

2012-11-19 00:00:00

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