More at Stake than You Think in Gaza

(Telegraph-UK) Daniel Taub - Around the world, terrorist organizations have been watching Hamas and its fellow terrorist groups with close attention. In particular, they are keen to know whether, by adopting a deliberate strategy of embedding itself within the heart of the civilian population, Hamas has discovered the Achilles' heel of states confronting terrorist threats. In hiding weapons in private homes and locating its rocket launchers and command centers among public buildings, Hamas is imitating tactics learned from Hizbullah. In its own conflict with Israel, Hizbullah entrenched its Katyushas and terrorist units within homes and villages in south Lebanon, confident that international outrage at civilian casualties would tie Israel's hands in responding. Every country facing a terrorist threat has an interest in ensuring that the brutal tactics in play in Gaza are not seen to have succeeded. This means having the courage to stand firm and to engage in the unbearably difficult exercise of responding, proportionately but effectively, to terrorists wherever they may be. If the negotiations do restart and the international community urges Israelis to make significant territorial withdrawals from the West Bank as part of a peace package, it should be aware that Israelis will naturally think back to the last time they were urged to pull out of land for peace, and the value of the reassurances they were given at that time. When Israelis face rocket and missiles onslaught from territory they were urged to leave, the international community needs to stand by its assurance that Israel would be entitled to respond with the force and for the time necessary to protect its civilians. The writer is Israel's Ambassador to Britain.

2012-11-26 00:00:00

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