Tag Archives: Gaza

No moral equivalency in this struggle

A Democratic senator from New York tonight laid out with stunning clarity who are the bad guys in the latest eruption of violence in Israel.

Chuck Schumer said the bad guys are the Hamas terrorists. The Israelis who are defending their country against rocket attacks aimed at civilians are doing what they must to survive, Schumer said on MSNBC’s “Hardball” talk show.

I couldn’t possibly agree more with the senior senator from New York.

Yet we keep hearing from those who try to blame “both sides” of this conflict.

How can they say such things with a straight face?

Hamas is the terrorist organization dedicated to Israel’s destruction. The Palestinian Authority governs the Gaza Strip; Hamas is part of that governing authority. Hamas has been shelling Israel for several weeks now. They place their missile batteries among civilians. The Israelis must respond with its military might against the attacks. How, then, do the Israelis avoid inflicting some civilian casualties?

Schumer also noted that Israel has accepted two cease-fire deals brokered by Egypt. Hamas has rejected both of them.

The senator also spelled out that it’s Hamas that started this conflict and that Hamas has never backed away from its desire to see Israel eradicated.

The Israelis are doing what they must.

I believe Sen. Schumer has spelled out where our national allegiance must rest in this conflict. It belongs squarely with Israel.

Hamas bears full responsibility for violence

The Hamas terrorists who are part of the Palestinian Authority government bear all the responsibility for the violence that has erupted in Gaza.

All of it. Every last ounce of it.


It amazes me to the max that so many world observers actually are critical of Israel for its heavy response to the violence that Hamas instigated when it began launching rockets into Israeli neighborhoods — targeting civilians.

Now the Israelis have sent troops into Gaza, the most densely populated region in the world. Casualties have been great, particularly on the Palestinian side. Why is that? Because Hamas started this fight.

I listened on CNN this evening to James Woolsey, a former CIA director, who offered an important piece of wisdom to the question: Can there ever be peace in the Middle East between Palestinians and Israelis?

Woolsey said they’ve been living together for centuries. He noted that one-sixth of Israel’s population comprises Palestinian Arabs. He mentioned that they serve in local and national government; an Arab once held a cabinet position; another Arab sits on the Israelis supreme court. They are part of life in Israel.

Hamas, though, won’t accept that. Neither will other terrorist organizations that populate other countries that border Israel.

Woolsey’s answer to the question was this: As soon as Hamas recognizes that Arabs have lived peacefully in Israel for many years, that’s when we can find peace in the region.

A follow-up question ought to be: How do you persuade madmen to think rationally?

Hamas testing the limits of hope

The fighting in Gaza between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization that has picked a serious fight with our nation’s strongest Middle East ally is testing my once-unshakeable optimism that there can be a peaceful solution to this ancient conflict.

It’s Hamas’s fault.


Hamas has rejected an effort led by Egypt to broker a ceasefire. It has fired more rockets into Israeli neighborhoods, killing an Israeli resident overnight. Israel has responded with more air attacks. It is threatening now to invade Gaza with ground troops and armor.

It baffles me beyond my belief that Hamas would pick this fight. I am acutely aware of the ancient tensions and the dispute that goes back almost to the dawn of recorded history between Arabs and Jews in the region.

While other Arab nations and political groups have declared a sort of peace with Israel, Hamas and some others have continued to insist that Israel has no place in the region. They are fundamentally wrong in both a political and historical sense.

I don’t proclaim to be an expert on Israel, but I’ve had the high honor of spending five weeks in that country. I have spoken with dozens of Israelis about this on-going war with Arab terrorists. The only conclusion I can draw is that Israelis — on the left and the right — simply want to live in peace with their neighbors.

Hamas sees it differently. They want Israel wiped out. They contend the land occupied by Israel is Arab land. Hamas wants it for Arabs and will fight for it.

I won’t argue here what I understand to be God’s view of who belongs in the region.

Israelis and Arabs can live side by side in this place. Indeed, they do so within Israel’s territorial borders. Nazareth, one of the holiest cities in the Holy Land, is now 80 percent Muslim. Mosques and churches stand next to each other, on the same block as synagogues.

Yet the fighting continues. It has flared again because Hamas has launched rockets into Israeli neighborhoods.

The Israelis say they’ll do whatever it takes to put down this violence, even if it takes more violence. That’s the nature of the place they call home.

My hope for an eventual peace remains. However, it’s getting a little shaky.

Israel needs to strike back

How much clearer does Israel have to make it for the world to understand its predicament?

Terrorists in Gaza are launching missiles into Israeli cities and towns. They have injured Israeli citizens. Their targets are civilian neighborhoods, houses where families live with their children. Is the Israeli military supposed to let the attacks go without response? No.


Now it comes out that Israel shot down a drone launched from Gaza. It was downed near the city of Ashdod, just a few miles from the Israeli border with Gaza.

The United Nations is upset because of what some have called a “disproportionate response” from Israel to the attacks launched by Hamas, the terrorist organization that helps govern Gaza alongside the Palestinian Authority.

The response does not upset me in the least. Of course, I have the comfort of living thousands of miles away.

Still, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — a hardliner’s hardliner — makes no apologies for the air attacks his military has launched against the Gaza militants.

It falls on Hamas to stop the provocation. Immediately. Hamas started this conflict. The terrorists who run the organization do not want the Israelis to finish it.

Hamas inviting disaster

Try putting yourself into the heart and mind of an Israeli citizen.

Imagine living in a country surrounded by people who at one time or another have sworn to eradicate your country from the face of the planet. Imagine that those neighboring countries are so close to each other — let alone to your neighborhood — that a supersonic jet can go from point to point in a matter of a few minutes.

Think also of how you might react if one of your neighbors, governed by a known terrorist group that retains your country’s destruction as its main objective, begins firing missiles into your community. The missiles are targeting civilians, children and their parents.

How in the world would you react if you had the means to respond aggressively? You would use whatever force you had at your disposal to put down the attacks.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered air strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza. Why? Because Hamas — the governing authority in the Palestinian Authority — has launched attacks on his country.

Netanyahu has made no apology for the ferocity of his country’s response.

I do not blame him one single bit.

Hamas needs to end its campaign to eliminate Israel. Same for Hezbollah, which operates in Lebanon, on Israel’s northern border. How about ISIS, which is waging a civil war in Syria, yet another neighboring country?

They’re all deadly serious about their intent to eradicate Israel.

Should the Israeli government do nothing when its people are being threatened with ordnance falling from the sky from multiple directions?

Not for an instant.

Israel preps for needed response

Imagine this scenario playing out.

A terrorist cell in, say, Toronto starts firing rockets and mortars across Lake Ontario into Buffalo, N.Y. The president calls on the Canadian government to stop the attacks. The government in Ottawa refuses to do anything.

The president issues an ultimatum: Stop the missiles or else. The ordnance keeps falling on your city. The president is forced to act. He or she sends in troops to put down the violence being reined on our cities.

Justified or not? I’d say we would support such an action.


That’s what is happening in Israel, which has been fighting for decades against forces bent on the country’s destruction. The missiles are coming from Gaza, which is governed by the Palestinian Authority … which has made a pact with the evil terror group Hamas.

I must add here that Hamas has declared its intention to exterminate Israel.

Israel’s response has been to launch air strikes against military targets in Gaza. Hamas has responded with attacks on Tel Aviv, the commercial and financial capital of Israel.

The Israelis say they now plan to send ground troops into Gaza to put down the violence. The PA has done nothing to stop these attacks.

Are the Israelis justified in applying this muscular response? Absolutely.

Just five years ago, I was given the privilege of visiting some cities near Gaza that had been struck by earlier rocket attacks from terrorists. The damage was frightening in the extreme. The Israelis managed to put that uprising down.

They should be given the world’s blessing to do so again.

“We warned them. We asked them to stop it,” Israeli President Shimon Peres told CNN. “We waited one day, two days, three days and they continued, and they spread their fire on more areas in Israel.”

No country should be forced to exist with this kind of terror lurking so closely.

Make peace or deal with Hamas?

Put yourself in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s shoes.

You govern a country of some 8,000 square miles surrounded by nations that at one time or another vowed to exterminate you and your constituents. Yes, you’ve made peace with a couple of those nations — Jordan and Egypt. The rest of the region remains iffy.

You’re in the middle of peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority and then you learn that the leader of that government has brokered a deal with one of the world’s most ferocious terrorist organizations, Hamas. That organization has orchestrated terrorist attacks on your country from the Gaza Strip, which the Palestinian Authority governs.

The PA now wants to form a “unity government” that includes Hamas.

Do they want peace with Israel or not? Netanyahu has called off peace talks because the PA has formed that arrangement with Hamas, which still vows to exterminate Israel.


Can you really blame the Israeli prime minister? I cannot.

Netanyahu is furious with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for agreeing to the Hamas deal.

Having seen some of the damage that Hamas has inflicted on southern Israel myself, I understand fully why Netanyahu has called off the peace talks. I was part of a group that toured Israel in the spring of 2009 and we saw damage done by rocket fire in Sderot and Ashkelon, near the border with Gaza, which had erupted in violence prior to our arrival in Israel.

It’s a blow to Secretary of State John Kerry, who persuaded the sides to talk to each other after they didn’t speak for five years. Kerry still believes a path to peace is still open, but it’s now been littered by the presence of Hamas in this arrangement with one of the principals in the talks.

“He can’t have it both ways,” Netanyahu said of Abbas. “He has to choose: Peace with Israel or a pact with Hamas.”

Netanyahu is right to be angry.